I've been thinking about how the astronomical costs of Bush's Iraq war
(very nearly $200 billion and counting, at a rate of $5 billion per month), much of which has not been included in the budget numbers, and now his proposed Gulf Coast reconstruction
(estimated at at least $200 billion) compare to the costs of his tax cuts (30-34% of which monies go to the wealthiest 1% of our citizens, depending on whether or not the cuts sunset). Those tax cuts have bothered me from the beginning -- it seemed criminal to squander the surplus Chimpy inherited from the (gasp!) Clinton administration
when the money could have been better used to secure the longevity of Social Security, extend healthcare benefits to more of our people, improve our education system, you name it. So I did a little research. Here are a few basic facts about those tax cuts:
Even if the cuts sunset, we'll lose $1,724.1 billion of government revenue over the 10 years. If Bush had just extended the tax cuts to all Americans except
the wealthiest 1%, which surely didn't need them, we'd have saved $541.4 billion of that revenue. That's more than enough to finance the Iraq war AND pay for the Gulf Coast reconstruction. Add another $178.4 billion to that total if you include the next highest 4% (annual incomes from $330,000-$468,000 -- they aren't hurting either).
The total cost of all those cuts including interest amounts to $2,603 billion. Without sunsets, over the 10 years we will actually lose $2,209 billion.
But what's gone is gone. Let's just look at the future losses, from 2006-2010. The Bush tax cuts enacted through June 2005 will cost us for these next years (with sunsets) $1301 billion in revenue. Without sunsets, we'll lose $1685 billion. (Source: Citizens for Tax Justice, July 2005)
In fact, for all Bush's posturing and alarmism about Social Security, "the share of the tax cuts going to the top one percent of the income spectrum (about 0.5 percent of GDP) is of the same magnitude as the Social Security deficit."
The numbers are staggering. And these are real dollars not flowing into government coffers, thanks to the Bush/Cheney/Norquist ideology. The tax cuts haven't stimulated a "rising tide lifts all boats" kind of economy as promised, with real wages for Americans sinking instead.
"A decline in real earnings of this depth and duration has never before been recorded by the Bureau of Labor Statistics." (Source
THIS is the reality, and the results, of the Bush administration's "don't-tax-but-spend-anyway" policies.
So no one could have predicted that terrorists would strike on 9/11? Who was it, exactly, who chose to fight a costly war against a nation that had nothing to do with that terrible day? And nothing could have prevented Hurricane Katrina? Sure, but who was it that defunded renovation of the levees protecting New Orleans
, thus costing billions more in reconstruction costs than the paltry millions the original project would have required? And finally, WHO had the bright idea to push for tax cut after tax cut, primarily benefitting the uber-wealthy, engineered billions in tax relief for bloated-with-profits energy companies,
and promoted a transportation bill that includes tens of billions more in pork projects
, thus denuding the federal government of the very revenue that would have kept us solvent and fiscally stable while providing the very dollars so badly needed to fund the president's own pet projects?
George W. Bush, THAT'S WHO.
It is imperative that Democrats, and all Americans, organize to defeat Bush's proposal to extend his tax cuts. "Making permanent the tax cuts enacted in 2001 and 2003 would have a direct cost of $1.8 trillion through fiscal year 2015
, based on Congressional Budget Office estimates." We simply cannot afford to continue to spend like drunken cowboys after roundup (the analogy may be more apt than we know), accumulating the most massive deficits in our history
, unless we want the U.S. economy to resemble that of a third-world country
Wake up, America. Gamble any more on Bush, and you've deliberately thrown away your children's future.
UPDATE: Moderate Fareed Zakaria says Bush will go down in history as the most fiscally irresponsible chief executive in American history."...if Congress did not make permanent just one of its tax cuts, the repeal of estate taxes, it would generate $290 billion over the next decade. That itself pays for most of Katrina and Iraq.