Monday, September 19, 2005

Skewed Priorities

It seems like a simple answer to a very complex problem. One feels that, both fiscally and logistically, it just makes sense. When there is a problem and the government is in need of more revenue, what is to be done? The traditional solution has always been, “Raise taxes.”
This was the avenue advocated by former President Bill Clinton (whose economic record was sterling) while being interviewed on ABC’s “This Week,” by George Stephanopoulos. “They [the Democrats] should continue to oppose it,” Clinton said, referring to the hundreds of billions of dollars in Bush tax cuts going to the wealthiest 1% of Americans that continue to burden the foundering U.S. economy and national budget. “And they should make it an issue in the 2006 election, and they should make it an issue in the 2008 election.”
Indeed, it seems that they certainly will. With thousands dead in the Gulf, another hurricane on the way, a federal government blatantly incapable of responding to any major crisis, an unpopular war in Iraq that is draining billions of dollars from relief efforts, and a President whose approval rating has hit a stunningly low 40%, the Democrats are faced with a nearly ideal situation, if only from a political standpoint. The fact that Mr. Bush has declared his tax cuts “off the table” in terms of paying for Hurricane Katrina’s aftermath has enforced the view among many ordinary Americans that he is an elitist who cares for the whims of the upper class above everyone else. Even the typically smooth and refined Bill Clinton was flustered by what is largely perceived a callous and irrational stance.
“Tax cuts are always popular, but about half of these tax cuts since 2001 have gone to my income group. I’ve gotten four tax cuts. They’re responsible for this big structural deficit, and they’re not going away, the deficits aren’t.”
Clinton went on the vehemently criticise the Administration for borrowing foreign money to finance the Iraq war rather than looking practically to things that could be adjusted at home, saying that such a policy had “never in our history,” been implemented before. “We’re pressing the Chinese now, a country not nearly as rich as America per-capita, to keep loaning us money with low interest to cover [the] tax cut.”
Is it worth it? That is a question that has been on many Americans’ minds. Are these breaks for the wealthy worth sacrificing our national integrity, worth cutting funding to programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and inner city institutions that essentially give the poor the hope they need to live from day to day?


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9:10 AM  
Blogger RightDemocrat said...

I agree. We should rescind tax cuts for the wealthy and keep the estate tax in effect. To do otherwise, would require either draconian cuts in basic services or a much higher deficit. If we are to remain a civilized nation, what is left of our social safety net must be maintained. It is insanity to continue to borrow and run up the national debt.

7:41 PM  

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