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Selling the Tax Cut
March 7, 2001 10:53 AM   Subscribe

Selling the Tax Cut Time Magazine pokes some holes in Bush's Tax/Budget plan. He wants to increase spending, decrease taxes, pay down the budget, AND set aside a trillion dollars for emergencies. In fuzzy math terms 10-1-1-1-1=10. On top of that he plans to piss on senators who dare to question the plan.
posted by y6y6y6 (22 comments total)

 
My, You wouldn't be a little left leaning there would you? Perhaps you could advertise in neon next time. Fireworks maybe?

posted by revbrian at 10:59 AM on March 7, 2001


What's "pay down the budget" supposed to mean?
posted by pnevares at 11:08 AM on March 7, 2001


damn - "pay down the debt"
posted by y6y6y6 at 11:09 AM on March 7, 2001


Ah, okay. :)

Aren't we working with a surplus though? So (to continue the fuzzy math) if 10 is the surplus, 10-1-1-1-1 doesn't have to equal 10. It can be less, and we're still well off. I'm probably just missing something here, I haven't paid attention to the tax cut figures relative to the supposed surplus.
posted by pnevares at 11:15 AM on March 7, 2001


I didn't really read the article yet... but does Bush really want to set aside a huge amount of money for "emergencies"? I remember Al Gore proposing that as well. It seems to me that the federal government wouldn't have all that difficult a time finding money to borrow in case of an emergency of trillion-dollar magnitude. Why, exactly, do we need this? I would think that having the extra trillion somewhere in the economy would be a much better deal. Now, if we could somehow invest that trillion in a huge bank account and use the 5-6% interest each year to fund, say, NASA's wildest dreams... that would be cool. But it ain't gonna happen.
posted by daveadams at 11:28 AM on March 7, 2001


"I haven't paid attention to the tax cut figures relative to the supposed surplus."

Well, that's why I posted a link to the article. It goes into great detail about how things don't add up.

Yes, we have a surplus, but we don't have one big enough to pay for what GWB is pushing. Newsweek is putting the shortfall at 2 trillion dollars (I couldn't find a link to that article - you'll have to go retro and find the print version).

My favorite political cartoon recently is of a father and two kids sitting at the dinner table:

Father: "Hey! Let's eat dessert first!"
Child: "My dad's a Bush economist."

Bush is gleefully bouncing around the country celebrating his tax and budget plans. Meanwhile the money to pay for everything doesn't seem to exist.

I heard this morning on NPR that 1/3 of families with children wouldn't be getting any tax savings under Bush's plan.

For me Bush's plans involve little more than smoke, mirrors, and a big silly grin.
posted by y6y6y6 at 11:35 AM on March 7, 2001


Dubya keeps saying the surplus isn't the Government's money, it is the American public's money. That's great. The American public would rather have debt reduction than a large tax cut. Unfortunately, Dubya conveniently ignores that fact.
posted by quirked at 11:37 AM on March 7, 2001


I'm probably just missing something here...

Judging from the assessments of El Gordo's budget, the assumption of surplus/deficit is predicated upon a growth forecast that can be rendered hugely inaccurate by, well, events. And while it can be politically sensible to put on the rose-tinted specs and predict economic growth for evermore -- "we have the world's strongest economy" works well at rallies -- it can also be macroeconomic suicide, as Japan has proved for the past decade.

(Consider the business plans of the dot-coms two years ago, and their growth forecasts anticipating an ever-upward graph.)

An economic downturn reduces taxable income, and increases welfare spending. Bye bye surplus. And from what I've read, most government economists (including Greenspan) have taken an ostrich's view of the likely growth rate in the US for the coming year or two, in the hope of forestalling a loss of confidence. And we know where that can lead.
posted by holgate at 11:39 AM on March 7, 2001


I support the Bush plan. So what if the wealthiest get the biggest break? Isn't that what capitalism is all about ? Tt will make sluggards such as most posting here get away from their keyboards and start aspiring. This is America. You too can be in the top bracket.
Proof: how many in the top 1% post at Metafilter?
posted by Postroad at 11:46 AM on March 7, 2001


Oh. Sorryf. I forgot this:http://www.post-gazette.com/columnists/20010304gene.asp

This shows that even those portraying anti-corporation paralegals benefit from the proposed Bush tax plan...so commies, take note.
posted by Postroad at 11:50 AM on March 7, 2001


I heard this morning on NPR that 1/3 of families with children wouldn't be getting any tax savings under Bush's plan.

What percentage of those aren't currently paying any taxes at all to get "relief" from?

Or didn't NPR mention that?

As far as "the American public would rather have a debt reduction than a tax cut" - where exactly does that come from? Poll numbers since Bush's speech indicate exactly the opposite. Which makes sense... "would you rather get more money in your pocket this year, or call in more T-bills this year?" There's simply no way a majority of the American public prefers debt reduction, and if it were true, Gephardt and Daschle wouldn't be out pimping for their own huge tax cut plan.

An economic downturn reduces taxable income, and increases welfare spending. Bye bye surplus.

...in which case, the need for a tax cut is even greater. It's the current slowdown, remember, that has sparked even Gephardt and Daschle to promote a tax cut of almost a trillion dollars themselves.
posted by mikewas at 12:20 PM on March 7, 2001


[I heard this morning on NPR that 1/3 of families with children wouldn't be getting any tax savings under Bush's plan.]

It's kind of difficult to give a tax cut to people who don't pay any taxes.
posted by revbrian at 12:25 PM on March 7, 2001


I too had seen studies and polls, though I can not recall by whom and where published, that did in fact suggest that when people were asked about debt reduction or tax give back, they said they first wanted the budget taken care of for their future and that of their kids. I recall this because I was impressed with the fact that so many were not rushing to get money, though in most instnaces (see p. 44, current New Yorker) they would not be getting that much.
posted by Postroad at 12:34 PM on March 7, 2001


The American public would rather have debt reduction than a large tax cut.

Unfortunately, the American public can't have a debt reduction. It's not like they can just write a bigger check to the Visa company every month. For the most part, the debt consists of bonds to be paid back at a fixed interest rate over a fixed number of years. The only way to get rid of them is to stop issuing new ones and wait for the old ones to expire.

At least, that's what they told me when I asked.

-Mars
posted by Mars Saxman at 12:41 PM on March 7, 2001


Net! Real solution is to increase the taxes on the rich and phase in a more socialistic type of government over 10 years and then communism in 20.
posted by tiaka at 12:42 PM on March 7, 2001


How about The White House for a good source? Dubya's own numbers show a large group of lower income folks whose tax rate will be unchanged at 15%.
posted by quirked at 12:42 PM on March 7, 2001


From Postroad's link:

That score again: US Taxpayer $1,600 per year, Julia Roberts $9,041 per day.


You're ignoring the trickle-down effect, Postroad. With an extra $9,041 per day jingling around in her purse, Julia will certainly be spending more on, you know, stuff. And when Julia buys stuff, (ok, I'm assuming that Julia buys stuff that someone pays Postroad to produce, here) it goes straight to Postroad's pocket.

I don't know exactly what it is that you do, but if Julia Roberts doubles, or even triples (stop me! I'm getting giddy!) her consumption of relational database management software, I'll be able to afford that trip to Disneyland after all.

...so commies, take note.

Are there rules against sarcasm here? If there aren't, there should be.
posted by swell at 1:03 PM on March 7, 2001


For those interested in a more exhaustive analysis of the Bush tax and budget plans, I would suggest this site.

It presents a detailed look at the issues people are raising here. Using real NUMBERS. From the ACTUAL budget. By people actually know what they're talking about.

I didn't see Julia Roberts mentioned in any of the articles, but it's probably in there.

BTW - This is the site that came up with the "1/3 of families..." item I referenced. I'm still looking the article mentioning that, but they do take into account families who don't pay income taxes.
posted by y6y6y6 at 1:18 PM on March 7, 2001


With an extra $9,041 per day jingling around in her purse, Julia will certainly be spending more on, you know, stuff.

Dunno whether swell's engaging in some sarcasm of his own, but wasn't the folly of trickle-down proved in the 80s? The law of diminishing returns applies: giving money to someone lower down the income scale is better for the economy (in strict consumption terms) than giving it to the wealthy, because:

1. the biggest boost to the exchequer comes when someone moves from welfare to work;
2. Julia Roberts doesn't need another refrigerator right now.

Sadly, the main way in which Hollywood stars can directly enrich the poorest communities -- ie, buying, you know, cocaine -- is offset by the determination of the state to punish such aspiring entrepreneurs with incarceration, thus making them an even greater burden upon the economy. (While the real beneficiaries invest their laundered money in mutual funds.)
posted by holgate at 1:26 PM on March 7, 2001


Dubya keeps saying the surplus isn't the Government's money, it is the American public's money. That's great. The American public would rather have debt reduction than a large tax cut. Unfortunately, Dubya conveniently ignores that fact.

Sorry, but we're going to need to see some poll results on this. From a date no earlier than the start of the Bush Administration.

I too had seen studies and polls ... when people were asked about debt reduction or tax give back, they said they first wanted the budget taken care of for their future and that of their kids.

If the survey question was asked like that - "Do you want the money back into your pocket, or do you want it left in Washington to save your future and your children's future?" - then the poll is so wildly biased as to be worthless. You can only ask a direct question: Given the choice, would you rather have a tax cut, or have that money go directly to pay down the debt? No scare tactics.

BTW, most economists agree that the national debt, in and of itself, is good for the economy. Many say that if it were to be totally paid off, that would remove one of the bigger sources of investment out there, and could lead to a severe breakdown in the economy. You can argue that the debt may be too big at the present time, but you shouldn't want it to not exist at all.
posted by aaron at 1:36 PM on March 7, 2001



Real solution is to increase the taxes on the rich and phase in a more socialistic type of government

Tiaka in sensible comment shocker!
posted by Mocata at 6:14 AM on March 8, 2001


Aaron: you asked for poll numbers? They're out.
posted by mikewas at 7:50 AM on March 8, 2001


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