Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Bush's Middle Class Tax Hike


Bush's Middle Class Tax Hike

A closer look at the administration's 2006 budget
shows an economic agenda promoting the wrong choices and wrong priorities.
Rolling back massive tax cuts for millionaires is off the table, but
the Bush administration has no qualms about raising taxes on average
Americans. The budget President Bush submitted to Congress yesterday
imposes $5.3 billion in new, regressive taxes. (They are conveniently listed
in table 18-3 on page 305 of the Analytic Perspectives supplement
to the budget.) The administration's budget contains new taxes that
will increase the price of a six pack of beer, an airline ticket
( and prescription
drugs for veterans
. Meanwhile, the budget cuts funding for education, public health and
environmental protection and includes $1.4 trillion in new tax cuts for
the wealthy ( . Welcome to
Bushonomics. (Sound off on the president's middle-class tax hike on ( .)

THE SHELL GAME: No matter which way you slice it, the administration's
budget is egregiously fiscally irresponsible -- by its own estimates,
it will result in a $390 billion deficit in 2006
( .
Worse, that figure is only arrived at through trickery. The budget
includes over a billion dollars in revenue from drilling in the Arctic
National Wildlife Refuge
( (ANWR), even
though Congress hasn't authorized such drilling and has rejected
President Bush's proposal to open ANWR to oil exploration for the last four
years. Budget Director Josh Bolten defended the move, claiming, "the
budget is the right place to present the entirety of the president's
policies, so all of his proposals are reflected in there." Really? The Bush
budget excludes all funding for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan
( and the administration's $2
trillion Social Security package ( .

administration, more and more Americans are struggling. The Center for Budget and
Policy Priorities sums it up: " The number of poor went up for the third
straight year in 2003 ( , the share
of total income that goes to the bottom two-fifths of households has
fallen to one of its lowest levels since the end of World War II, and the
number of people lacking health insurance rose to 45 million in 2003,
the highest level on record." Yet the Bush administration is cutting
programs that help people get back on their feet. For example, the
administration's budget proposes "a five-year freeze on child care funding
that...will result in cutting the number of low-income children receiving
child care assistance by 300,000 in 2009." The Bush budget also cuts
$45 billion from Medicaid, the program that provides basic health
coverage to the poor.