Saturday, July 16, 2011

Demagogues & Doom's Day.

Divisiveness has turned Congress into a morass . The debt -Ceiling  is America's run-away monster . It may not be Obama's  fault , but he inherited it , and  Obama dragged his feet with it . While pressure was mounting for two years , the signs of a bad economy finally put debt talks on the table. Reading about Washington's debt-limit shenanigans does a good enough job raising any  blood pressure. But some fleshing out in the latest edition of the Washington Spectator has me in a rage. We already know that the US went from a surplus to the mess we're in largely because George Bush created two wars and a prescription drug plan and cut taxes rather than raising them to pay the bills. In his Spectator article "Debt, Demagogues, and Deficits," editor Lou Debose adds these tidbits:

  • Bush's first tax cut resulted in $1.3 trillion in revenue losses over 10 years.
  • During the Bush years, Congress - run by Republicans - raised the debt limit eight times, one of them by nearly $1 trillion - "the largest increase ever requested," writes Dubose. The reason the limit needed to be raised? The Bush tax cuts and the unfunded drug plan.

Dubose cites a story told by Bush's first Treasury Secretary, Paul O'Neill, who was fired two years into his job. According to O'Neill, when the Bush administration decided it would seek a second tax cut, he warned that it would have a serious effect on the budget deficit. Vice President Dick Cheney, writes Dubose, "cut him off." Cheney's words: "You know, Paul, Reagan proved deficits don't matter. We won the mid-terms. This is our due."And by the way, as Dubose and others have noted, if Congress were to just let all of the tax cuts expire, the debt crisis would evaporate.Few people in Congress, of course, are willing to propose letting those cuts expire - not even for wealthy individuals. And not even for corporations who are using loopholes (perfectly legal, as writer David Cay Johnston reminds us) to avoid paying their fair share of taxes.  August 2nd  is sure to come , and soon we might be surprised on who is going to sit down and get this mess cleaned up . What a country.!

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