Budget 2002

The Bush Ethic of Responsibility
Budget 2002

It would appear that George W. Bush is rapidly gaining intellectual and moral ground. He gives talks on the "new ethic of responsibility," delivers radio addresses on morality in business, and according to dutiful press reports, Bush has taken to discussing Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics in his free time. But just what would Aristotle make of Bush? And how would the Nicomachean Ethics, the classic roadmap to a more just society, stack up with Bush's proposed FY 2003 budget? On the surface, there are connections. Aristotle's passion was education, and Bush has called it his "top priority." Aristotle advocated equitable distribution of wealth, and Bush has repeatedly stated that America's poor "deserve better from this country." But that's where the similarities end - in words. The following are quotes from Aristotle, followed by the Bush budgetary response.

Early Warning: New Bush Tax Cut Proposals Aimed at Wall Street Only Benefit Wealthy...Again!
Budget 2002

Paul Krugman writes: "Summer 2000:...Bush assures voters that his tax cut is affordable...He pledges, without qualification, not to dip into the Social Security surplus. Spring 2001: the Bush administration pushes its tax cut through Congress... Mr. Bush also claims that his budget includes a trillion-dollar reserve, enough to deal with any contingency... October 2001: 'Lucky me: I hit the trifecta.' So remarks Mr. Bush, claiming that recession, national emergency and war have let him off the hook...This $7 trillion reversal of fiscal fortune has received remarkably little public attention; it has been crowded off the front page by talk of war. Early indications are that the administration will propose another round of tax cuts, all...aimed at stock market investors. It's important to notice that such measures as increased deductions for capital losses provide no benefit to those whose investment takes place through 401(k) plans; so these tax breaks are mainly for the very affluent..."

CBO: Federal Budget in Red Unless Bush Tax Cuts Expire
Budget 2002

ABCNews reports: "The federal budget will be in deficit for the next four years and will only see substantial movement into the black in later years if the tax cuts enacted last year expire in 2010 as scheduled, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said...The return of deficit spending this year, the first since 1997 and after a $127 billion surplus in fiscal 2001, is generally attributed to the fragile economy, the shaky stock market and....Sept. 11...Democrats also blame the 10-year, $1.35 trillion tax cut that...Bush pushed through last year. The budget numbers (will be) a factor in this fall's midterm elections, with the parties blaming each other for frittering away a budget surplus that only 18 months ago was estimated at $5.6 trillion through 2011 if Social Security money is included. It now appears inevitable that the government will have to dip into Social Security surpluses to pay for other programs, an action both parties have pledged to avoid doing."

The Federal Budget is a Bush Scandal That Would Make WorldCom Blush
Budget 2002

Washington commentators are missing a bigger Bush scandal: "It's called the federal budget. The Harken Energy and Halliburton debacles... allowed Bush and Cheney to walk away with healthy personal profits before the public got wise. The budget scam works a similar way but on a vastly grander scale. First, Bush and his cronies used deceptive accounting to make it look like the federal government could afford a massive tax cut and still pay off the national debt. It couldn't. Now they're using the same dishonest accounting methods to argue that our current budget deficit will be short-lived. It almost certainly won't. When Bush first put forward his tax cut early last year, opponents warned over and over that the surpluses with which he proposed to fund it might not materialize... (the primary exceptions being those employed by, or shilling for, Bush)... the Bushies blithely disregarded such warnings [and are] using the same Pollyannaish forecasting today." So writes Jonathan Chait.

House Republicans Add $450 BILLION to OUR National Debt
Budget 2002

One central issue in the 1994 Republican Revolution led by Newt Gingrich was reducing the national debt. President Clinton ended the massive borrowing of the Reagan-Bush years and created a surplus. But George W. Bush and the Republicans enacted a $1.35 TRILLION tax giveaway for the rich that immediately returned the US to deficit spending, despite adamant insistence by Republicans that it would not create red ink. Finally, House Republicans had to pay the piper by authorizing a $450 BILLION increase in our national debt - and that is just for this year. The nearly party-line vote was 215-214, so just one vote could have changed the outcome. Defeat ALL Republicans!

Bush Uses 'Fuzzy Math' To Run Up the Largest Deficit in US History
Budget 2002

"Everyone agrees that with federal revenues dipping and annual budget deficits returning, Congress must soon raise the current $5.95 trillion cap on borrowing. President [sic] Bush wants that amount increased to a record $6.7 trillion, and administration officials say it must be done by late June or the government will face an unprecedented default. Democrats want to make a campaign-season argument that last year's GOP-written tax cut has revived federal red ink and forced the first debt limit increase since 1997, when Bill Clinton was president. That's an embarrassing turn of events for Republicans, who often advocate the wisdom of fiscal prudence." Whose math is "fuzzy" now? Is it fiscally responsible to give tax cuts disproportionately benefiting the wealthiest (who also exploit tax havens) while driving up the federal deficit?

Bu$h Runs Deficits But Threatens to Veto Congressional Budgetary Appropriations
Budget 2002

In a closed-door White House meeting, Mr. Bu$h told GOP leaders that he would 'enforce fiscal discipline' by 'vetoing appropriations bills if I have to.' The statutory deadline for Congress to approve a budget resolution is April 15. Senate Democratic Policy Committee Chairman Byron Dorgan (N.D.). 'We haven't even begun the appropriations process and to be threatening to veto bills that haven't even begun to be written at this point is hardly a way to extend a hand to work together with Congress.' Sen. Robert Torricelli (D-NJ) noted it was ironic that Mr. Bu$h is talking about fiscal discipline when he inherited a budget that had been balanced for years and is now submitting a budget that 'establishes a deficit.'

Bush's Budget Means America Will Get 'Enroned'
Budget 2002

"Bush's reaction to the dwindling surplus is kind of a 'What, me worry?' strategy. Sure, we can keep cutting taxes, heap on the spending for the military and homeland defense, pay off the debt and save Social Security all at the same time. It just defies arithmetic and at least one strand of the party's heritage. And as his pal Ken Lay should have taught Mr. Bush, the fat lady eventually sings. We should not kid ourselves that the lessons of Enron apply solely to business. The vanishing $4 trillion and continued precariousness of Social Security and Medicare should set off alarms. Otherwise, the taxpayers may be the ones getting Enroned." So writes CBSNews.com's Dick Meyer.

Bush's Stimulus Plan Is One More Giveaway to Corporations and the Rich
Budget 2002

According to the NY Times, Bush's economic stimulus plan relies "on ineffective, irresponsible and regressive tax cuts. He gave short shrift to Democratic demands that the stimulus contain government spending designed to boost the economy as well." Bush's outrageous plan includes "permanent abolition of the corporate alternative minimum tax, which forces companies that can mask their profits with lots of deductions to pay at least some taxes." It also includes "acceleration of the huge package of income tax reductions" - just a BIGGER giveaway to the rich. "Congress should reject permanent tax cuts out of hand, and consider rolling back — not speeding up — the regressive parts of the president's 10-year tax plan." As the children of poor and working class Americans risk their lives in Afghanistan, Bush's plan is obscene.

2002 Surplus Vanishes
Budget 2002

When Republicans pushed through their $1.35 trillion tax giveaway to the rich in the Spring, the Congressional Budget Office predicted a surplus of $304 billion for fiscal year 2002, which begins on October 1. As recently as August, they predicted a surplus of $176 billion. Now their projected surplus is down to $36-$56 billion, which includes the Social Security surplus. But Rep. John Spratt, top Democrat on the House Budget Committee, issued a report Wednesday that stated next year's DEFICIT could be as large as $75 billion. It's time for Congress to reconsider the tax giveaway.