I can't say I'm that surprised Bush deceived so blatantly this time. The debate was supposed to be about economy/domestic issues and it's his administration weakest area.
There has been some misunderstanding about Pay-As-You-Go.
Kerry said "During the 1990s, we had pay-as-you-go rules. If you were going to pass something in the Congress, you had to show where you are going to pay for it and how."
Bush's response on Pay-as-you-go financing; he abbreviated as Pay-Go. Bush said "He talks about PAY-GO. I'll tell you what PAY-GO means, when you're a senator from Massachusetts, when you're a colleague of Ted Kennedy, pay go means: You pay, and he goes ahead and spends"
While Kerry wasn't incorrect about the 1990s policy, it wasn't called Pay-As-You-Go. Pay-As-You-Go means something far more sinister.
It means that we pay as costs come up. For example we pay Social Security retirement benefits on a "Pay-as-you-go" basis. The current workers pay for the benefits of the current retired. In other retirement plans, they are legally bound to keep enough funds on hand and untouchable so that it will guarantee benefits to the retirees no matter what happens. The government only keeps 2 years of outgoing benefits on hand, which is dangerous.
The US government is the only pension plan that it's legal to do this in the USA because
1. If the institution goes out of businenss, the retirees are out of luck.
2. A wild fluctation in probability can bring the entire system down.
3. It doesn't guarantee benefits if demographics change and there are too many retirees
However the government allows itself to do this on the excuses that
1. The US government can never go out of business, but individual institutions can
2. That since the entire US population is covered, it's such a large pool of people that the law of large numbers says wild probability fluctions are almost impossible
3. If the demographics change we'll just change the rules (though how is somewhat in the realm of fantasy)
While the first 2 excuses have been working so far, the third isn't and that's the problem with Social Security right now. Social Security is actually one of the most efficiently run and one of the least costly retirement plans in existance. However the changing demographics are putting it in serious jeopardy.
Ronald Reagan temporarily "saved" Social Security by raising the normal retirement age slowly over time from 65 to 67. Now the normal retirement age is 65 years and 4 months. By the time I retire it will be 67. However more will have to be done to save it again. The retirement age can easily go to 70 next time.
So the problem with Social Security is not a badly run system. The problem is very stupid policy. However
since we pay half out tax dollars towards interest on the debt, we don't have enough money to stop this policy. If the government just stopped spending more than comes in, we would eventually be able to pay for national health care, fix social security, pay for all the miscellaneous programs we need and then some.
Neither candidate has a plan to stop spending more than comes in. However Bush's plan is far more irresponsible than Kerry's. Clinton had been the only president in my lifetime to create annual surpluses.