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One House Down, and Now the Senate To Go
By Maren L. Hickton

Bush won his reported $958 billion across-the-board tax cut package today in the House, with the Senate up next for a vote. The vote in the House was won by Republicans along party lines, 230 to 198. 45% of the cuts go to the wealthiest 1% of Americans, while the Bush plan distorts the percentage at only 22%. What Bush fails to report to Americans is that he has removed the estate tax and cuts after 2006 in his calculations, among other things.

What the President is doing is frightening. While the White House contends that Bush is simply "talking to the American people" as he touts his tax proposal, his "movement" across America is like that of a Fascist dictator. He is exalting his one-party controlling government above citizens, above a contrary economic forecast, above the diverse and complex social needs of our people, and most disturbing, revealing a determined suppression of his opposition party: high ranking Democrats.

According to a recent Washington Post-ABC News Poll, 35% of Americans want increased domestic spending - while only 22% want tax cuts. In fact, in most polls, Americans are far more interested in other programs, therefore Bush has no mandate for his budget. Yet, he presses forward like an autocrat, exercising muscle and stomping on Democratic senators, on their own turf, who have won their seats by narrow margins, letting them know that he will gladly unseat them in 2002 if they lean against him for any reason. He tells Americans, who do not have the complete facts, "If you like what you hear today, maybe e-mail some of the good folks in the United States Senate from your state.'' And, of course, many Americans like what they are told because he intentionally leaves out all of the bad news.

Besides being unfair, putting the financial interests of a few above the interests of the many which, in summary, amounts to class warfare, Bush's tiered "tax relief" program threatens Social Security and all domestic programs. It threatens Social Security by creating personal retirement accounts without any means for paying for them. This will lead to tax increases or benefit reductions, whichever comes first, down the road. It threatens Medicare by payments to the doctors, not just the hospitals. And it does not provide for prescription medication to seniors, a promise that Bush made at his recent joint session in Congress, among nearly an hour of other unlikely fulfilled promises.

Bush unconscionably continues to misrepresent the cost of his tax cuts. The reported $1.6 trillion giveaway, would actually cost $2 trillion dollars, including interest. And at a time when the stock market is in steady decline, the surplus, which is largely the result of more cash flow from FICA taxes (Social Security), will vanish as job layoffs continue. The Bush tax cuts, if passed "as is," will land us exactly where we were during the Reagan-Bush years, when debt increased from $1 trillion to $5 trillion. The money people are saving now in interest rates on homes, cars and credit card purchases, far exceed any projected "refund" that they will get with these cuts.

When the expected recession does hit, and it will, it will hit us hard. Future deficits will cause runaway inflation and higher interest rates. There will be no money to help people who have lost their jobs or to stimulate the economy with public spending. The Bush budget will have already squandered all the money promised to small businesses and corporations in their "Tax Relief Coalition" effort; the Army Corps of Engineers -- who just released a study concerning the unsafe condition of our nation's buildings, highways and bridges; and most importantly, our nation's failing public school system, which Bush said was his top priority. Resurrecting Reagan's costly missile defense system, Star Wars, will also not be affordable, even with Bush's push to close more military bases, already a betrayal to many of those in the armed services who voted for him.

Wake up: there is a war going on in our homeland. Our continued freedom and protections are at stake here.

The Senate should not allow the President to run roughshod over Americans fearing "One house down, and now the Senate to go (down next)." It is time NOW to protect Americans from unilateral governing which may require an enormous amount of energy, tenacity, and offensive posturing to gain ground, but it possible with determined collective activism.