Daily Kos
Political analysis and other daily rants on the state of the nation

Thursday | May 22, 2003

Bush continues to rack up debt

Bush has already scored record deficits, so it was only a matter of time before he would ask the nation to extend its credit line by a record $1 trillion. Okay, okay. The number is actually $984 billion, but that's like putting an item for sale for $19.99. We all know it's actually $20.

And this $1 trillion debt increase comes on the heels of a $450 billion increase last year -- an increase that Bush has burned through in a single year.

The GOP-led Senate will vote and almost certainly approve the debt increase. Another nail in the coffin of the illusion that Republicans are better stewards of the nation's finances. But this will offer Democrats a great opportunity to highlight the gross incompetence exhibit by the GOP-dominated Congress and their president.

[W]ith debate beginning as early as Thursday, Democrats see a chance to argue that Mr. Bush has mismanaged the economy and the budget.

Their goal is to draw attention to the huge annual federal deficits that have re-emerged and are expected to stretch indefinitely into the future after four straight surpluses under President Clinton. Democrats say the chief culprit is the big tax reductions Bush won in 2001, and the latest tax package will only make matters worse.

"The Bush economic plan has failed," said Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill. "It has failed to revive the economy, and it's driven us deeper into debt."

My question is, where are all those GOP budget hawks we used to hear about? Voinovich has caved again on the tax cut, accepting a $350 billion tax cut that is only $350 billion thanks to countless accounting gimmicks (and is certain to cost more).

And speaking of the tax cut, check this out:

Many of the cuts are scheduled to expire after a few years, despite the overwhelming likelihood that lawmakers never would let that occur and be accused of raising taxes. A reduction in the taxes people pay on corporate dividends and capital gains would end in 2009; other cuts in individuals' income taxes would last only through 2004.
We all knew they would use sunset provisions to make the tax cut fit into the artificial $350 billion Voinovich needs to cave in to Bush gracefully. But note what gets sunsetted -- not the dividiend and capital gain reductions (which help the wealthy), but the individual income tax reductions. That's because it would be relatively easy for Congress to repeal the corporate tax decreases. Those cuts in the personal income taxes will not be repealed in a million years.

This plan will cost our treasury hundreds of billions more.

This is how the GOP manages our nation's finances? By Enron-style accounting gimmicks, mamooth debt increases and a complete unwillingness to make any difficult decisions?

The GOP likes to say that taxes are "your money".

So to whom does the debt belong?

Posted May 22, 2003 08:09 AM | Comments (118)


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