Tuesday | March 18, 2003
How to pay for war
Bush has squandered massive surpluses, already rung up a $300 billion deficit this year, will tack on another $90 billion for just 1 month> of war, and projections show things will get worse before they get better.
So how does Bush and his cronies respond? By pushing tax cuts for the rich.
But by a mostly party-line 56-43 vote, the Senate rejected an amendment by the budget panel's top Democrat, North Dakota Sen. Kent Conrad, to block most new tax cuts, and any new spending not related to war or domestic security, until after Bush reveals how much he thinks the war and its aftermath will cost.
"We may need every dollar to do what is needed to prevail in this conflict and to respond to the terrorist threat that is expanded by it," Conrad said.
The question will be what kind of plan can make it through the Senate. We have
- The Borrow and Spend Republicans. These are the guys, like Frist and Grassley, that will push for everything Bush wants -- $726 billion in tax cuts.
- The Democrats: Daschle says Democrats are nearly unanimous in support of a $350 billion tax cut -- a mistake in my opinion, but whatever. With the Moderates, Democrats should easily kill the president's full plan.
- The Moderates: Also includes the Budget Hawks. These guys, numbering perhaps 5-10 Republicans, want a smaller plan, with the caveat that all $376 billion in "savings" be dedicated to reducing budget deficits.
So the possibilities are
- The Borrow and Spend Republicans peel enough moderates to get the 50 votes they need for the full plan.
- The Moderates and Democrats together pass the $350 billion plan. At this point, Democrats may be betting that a $500 billion budget deficit will be a bigger political liability for Bush than tax cuts can ever overcome. And once the plan passes, what else can Bush run on? (I know, I know ... more tax cuts.)
However, enough Democrats and Moderates (including McCain) will undoubtedly vote against any tax plan. If the Borrow and Spenders refuse to compromise, then no tax plan gets through.
- The Borrow and Spenders compromise, and the $350 billion plan passes 90-10.
I put my money on #3.
Posted March 18, 2003 06:51 PM | Comments (28)