October 8, 2004

Debt and Taxes

The following paragraph is pulled directly from an article in the Washington Post on October 8, 2004.

When Bush took office in January 2001, the government was forecasting a $5.6 trillion budget surplus between then and 2011. Instead, it is now expecting to accumulate an extra $3 trillion in debt -- including a record $415 billion in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30. The government has to borrow an average of more than $1.1 billion a day to pay its bills, and it spends more on interest payments on the federal debt each year -- about $159 billion -- than it does on education, homeland security, justice and law enforcement, veterans, international aid, and space exploration combined.

That last sentence is truly amazing. Bush has pushed for and signed into law several tax cuts worth hundreds and hundreds of billions of dollars. Those tax cuts, it is well documented, benefit the richest 1% of Americans. That means that for most working families, the tax cut amounts to a few hundred dollars a year, if that.

By cutting taxes and raising the deficit (and therefore the debt), Bush is in effect increasing spending on interest. As the Post states, interest spending accounts for more than the federal spending on education, homeland security, law enforcement, and veterans combined.

Bush: Tough on terrorism, protecting America. "Doing everything [he] can" to protect America and American citizens.

Bush: The Education president. No child left behind.

Bush: Supporting our troops and veterans.

Bush's actions expose the lie of his campaign rhetoric. Bush clearly feels that the government should borrow money and pay the interest on it in order to allow the richest Americans to stay rich. When the budget fights flare up, what will get cut? Interest on the debt? Now there's a good idea: Borrow more money to pay the interest you already owe. No, the interest must be paid every year. That means that something else must be cut.

Bush: The education president, tough on terrorism, supporting our troops, protecting America.

If Bush cared about education, he'd fund education instead of interest. If he cared about fighting terrorism and homeland security, he'd fund that instead of interest.

Tax cuts mean that the government has to pay more interest on more debt, which means fewer actual services provided. Bush is hoping, of course, that the richest 1% of Americans will invest their billions of dollars in tax cuts and create jobs here in America. So far that has not happened, and don't hold your breath. The rich didn't get rich by being good at sharing. They got rich by being good at looking out for Number One. Sometimes that means hiring, sometimes it means hoarding. In our economy, it means hoarding.

Bush's tax cuts are simply bad for the economy, bad for government, and bad for the country.

The Republican Party has done a great job of branding "liberals" as "tax and spend." In reality, for the past 20 years, Democrats have been "tax and balance" while Republicans have been "borrow and spend." A Democrat balanced the budget after Reagan's borrowing spree. Let's hope the same thing happens now, or the federal government may eventually collapse under the weight of the debt burden it's carrying.

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