The Four Corners

Tuesday, July 01, 2003

George W. Bush raised your taxes, part deux Remember when I stated this, but was unable to support it with concrete numbers and was poo-pooed by my colleagues as an abstract argument? Well some one did my work for me.

You'll never guess who. Paul Weinstein, a senior fellow at PPI and ex-White House advisor who now teaches part time at John Hopkins. "In Ohio, for example, a family with an income of $66,000 and two children attending public universities paid $864 more in taxes and fees in 2002 than it did before Bush's 2001 tax cuts," Weinstein writes. $864? That isn't much money you say. But it is if you are promising a tax cut for everyone. By the way, this is just the 2001 tax cuts, just wait until the 2003 edition exacerbates the problem.

Why did he take state and local taxes into consideration? Because that is the grand sum of what individual taxpayers pay. But you say, "Bush isn't responsible for state and local taxes." Au Contraire mon frere! What about the lack of support for Homeland Security measures (which adds up to billions of dollars), the lack of help with exploding Medicaid payments (either through gasp reform or double gasp a one time hit of money), the lack of help with Special Education (the feds are supposed to pay for 40%, but of course Bush is no where near that) or the President's new education bill (a few more billion short for new testing and other federal mandates)? The $80 billion or so that the states are collectively short by could be alleviated by the federal government, if it held up its end of the bargain.

In fact, PPI's senior economist, Jeff Lemieux, says "these tax changes are part of a longer-term strategy to shift the tax burden toward labor income, personal consumption, and the middle class. Therefore, the Bush tax cuts are better described as 'tax shifts,' from current to future taxpayers, and from businesses and high-income investors to middle-class taxpayers." Don't believe them? Try out the Washington Post, who did articles on this a month or so ago.

The ultimate goal? Not to stimulate the economy, which it wouldn't do anyway, but to kill the government and all its "communist" programs like Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, Head Start, TANF, food stamps, HUD loans, AmeriCorps, etc. How? By "starving the beast" -- bankrupting the government through repeated, enormously irresponsible tax cuts and forcing the government and congress to cut things they wouldn't to pay for absolute necessities like the military. Who is behind all this? Super-lobbyist and Bush ally Grover Norquist.

As DLC Policy Director and New Dem Daily writer Ed Kilgore writes, "It's clear the 'starve the beast' theory offers Republicans the political equivalent of a bottomless crack pipe." Now that is something Bush really can relate to.