Welcome to the Bush recession. By resurrecting plans used by former President Ronald Reagan, President George W. Bush proposes a huge tax cut – understated at around $1.6 trillion – targeted at the wealthiest Americans.
The proposed cut will cost more than $2 trillion while using up almost the entire budget surplus. Because of this, Bush will give billions of dollars less to college financial aid, education, law enforcement, Social Security and Medicare than he promised. He now proposes $3 billion less to a prescription drug program than he said he would during the campaign. The C.O.P.S program, which puts 100,000 police officers on the street, will face possible elimination. The programs the tax cut will eliminate are the programs working families depend on.
The wealthiest one percent of Americans will receive up to 43 percent of the tax cut. But the Bush administration does not want the general public to hear this. The Bush people tout the fact that this cut helps a percentage of middle-income families. But the truth is the plan only helps them by reducing their taxes by miniscule amounts. Bush supporters do not mention that most low-income families will be no better off than they are now.
Bush’s tax plan also depends on cuts in important programs. The plan states that the government will slow debt repayment by $590 billion during the next four years. This means Bush’s successor will be left with a public debt 50 percent larger than if Bush had not tampered with the schedule, and every family of four will pay interest on $8,000 in more debt by the end of 2004. This is an abandonment of the balanced budget. We are risking a return to deficit spending and recession.
Bush’s plan will need to cut money for housing, the environment, transportation, law enforcement and other areas. The plan ignores Social Security and Medicare calling for studies but no concrete plans. By going through with the cut, there would be no money for reforms.
Most Americans favor a small tax cut that benefits low- to middle-income families, not the wealthy. The Bush plan is risky. He is recklessly holding on to a plan as dangerous as the voodoo economics that brought on enormous debt.
-The writer is president-elect of the GW College Democrats.