Sunday, December 16, 2007

Like Cold Water Cast on a Dawning Drowse

All of those promises we are hearing from the campaign trail about the benefits of making the Bush tax cuts permanent are not only hallow, but dangerous for the next generation:
Simply to extend the Bush tax cuts indefinitely into the future and, as both Republicans and Democrats have vowed, prevent the alternative minimum tax from imposing an increasingly heavy burden on tens of millions of middle-class and upper middle-class taxpayers would cost the government, over the next decade, roughly $2.5 trillion in revenues now expected under current law. And that’s just the beginning.

Even without taking on any additional tasks, merely meeting the government’s existing obligations — mostly to pay for the military and to keep up with the health care and retirement needs of the elderly — would send the budget deficit soaring, pushing overall federal debt held by the public from under 50 percent of the size of the nation’s economy today to over 300 percent by 2050.
That alternative minimum tax was the one originally meant to tax the market investments of the wealthy rather than the middle and working classes. The Reagan Administration kept it and stipulated that it extend to family investments like homes.

So, ironically, making the tax cuts permanent will merely make the tax burden on middle and working class families heavier. That's going to foment even more resentment toward funding services that people demand the government provide. It's exactly the first principal of the Bush Model of Home Rule: make government so onerous that it matches every bad thing that conservatives say about it. It happened with the FEMA breakdown after Katrina, it happened with the failures of government to regulate unsafe toys out of the marketplace, and its going to happen with any future president who follows George W. Bush's tax cuts.

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