liberal ["liberalis" L - suitable for a freeman, generous; "eleutheros" Gk - free] (adj) generous, open-minded, not subjugated to authoritarian domination; (n) one who believes in liberty, universal suffrage and the free exchange of ideas. elite ["eslire" Fr -- to choose fr.L "eligere" -- choose] (n) the choice part; best of a class; the socially superior part of society.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Budget 2006

Today the Bush Administration released the new budget. It's going to take a bulldozer to sort out all the garbage in here.

Let's just start by saying that if the claims of the Office of Management and Budget are true, this is the rosiest time in our history.

On first glance, it's slick, but I noticed that in the EPA section, there is no mention of global warming whatsoever. That's strange because yesterday, the Independent had a whole series of articles on urgent warnings issued by 200 leading scientists meeting in Exeter, England to discuss climate change.


The Budget Director, Mr. Bolton, published an opinion piece in USA Today. The lies start in the second paragraph:
Early in the president's first term, the American economy suffered major shocks: a collapsing stock market, recession, terrorist attack, revelation of corporate scandals. These shocks sent revenues into a tailspin and produced budget deficits.
Mr. Bolton forgets to mention that government revenues were greatly decreased by huge tax cuts. He tries to say that the tax cuts were a response to economic difficulties, but everybody knows that Bush ran on a promise of "tax relief" before he ever got into office.

Jesselee at Stakeholder posted this yesterday:
WaPo's Dan Froomkin collects all the puzzle pieces and poses a hypothetical:

One Scenario
Okay, read that Bolten excerpt carefully, and tell me if this is a plausible scenario: Bush cuts Social Security benefits dramatically. As a result, the government never has to pay the Social Security trust fund back for all the Treasury bonds it has bought over the years with excess payroll taxes. That indeed reduces deficit pressures significantly, allowing the Bush tax cuts to become permanent.

As you may recall, the payroll tax is incredibly regressive -- because it's capped, the poor pay a much larger percentage of their income than the rich. As long as the money stays in the Social Security system, with its progressive payment formulas, they get paid back in their retirement with a better return. But in this scenario, a regressive tax on the poor would retroactively be subsidizing a tax cut that goes primarily to the wealthy.


The Bush plan for Social Security reform should be Dead on Arrival in Congress. Why?

Defaulting on the Trust Fund

Kevin Drum has figured it out. Bush has no intention of planning to pay the people back for the Treasury Notes in the Trust Fund.


The debate on privatization is over, or should be, on kos.


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