Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Budget is a Moral Document

After what seemed like an eternity, we are starting to seeing a return to economic sanity in the Congress.

Democrats controlling Congress negotiated a House-Senate blueprint for the upcoming budget year. The compromise budget renews the tax cuts aimed at the middle class, including the $1,000 per child credit, relief from the marriage penalty, estate tax cuts and the 10 percent tax rate on the first $7,825 of income for individuals. But to produce a small surplus in the next few years, there’s not enough room to extend the cuts on income tax rates, capital gains and dividend income. The Democrats also dropped $196 billion worth of Bush cuts to Medicare and Medicaid, money meant to go to the nations poor and disabled.

I’m looking forward to the day the Republicans attack the Democratic plan for permitting many of Bush's tax cuts to expire. The idea was to stimulate the economy. Those tax cuts were written and approved by Congressional Republicans and signed by a Republican President to expire in 2010. That was the plan, their plan.

It a shameful display of unrestrained recklessness, Republicans will leave behind a $300-400 billion dollar deficit, $700 billion to 3 trillion dollar bill for Iraq and Afghanistan and an additional $161 billion debt in 2010 if the tax cuts were made permanent. That would also result in yearly shortfalls of $250 billion starting in 2011.

If that weren’t bad enough, (President?) John McCain would extend the Bush tax cuts, and eliminate the alternative minimum tax (AMT), which would add $2 trillion in accumulated deficits to the federal budget in the next ten years.

Let’s finally retire the cliché, “fiscally conservative.” Conservatives really don’t have a clue. Defaulting on our nation’s obligations to its citizens and world allies, while demolishing the underpinnings of government, is the ultimate in crapulence.

Preferring the Democratic Party’s plans, no matter how difficult or impossible, at least leads us in the direction of balanced budgets, investments in infrastructure, education, energy independence and a single payer health insurance plan for all.

We’ve all heard the economists say there isn’t enough money to pay for everything, but that’s assuming some of the changes will not pay dividends, in turn, paving the way to an economic turnaround.

It will be difficult for anyone to say that this is the wrong direction when the only other way is down.

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