Tax Cuts for the Rich are Still a Bad Idea

As President Bush continues to lobby for his tax cuts, more and more conservatives are making their opinions known. The Senate has offered to cut Bush's $760 billion tax cut proposal in half to $350 billion, while House Republicans have approved a $550 billion cut that would benefit the wealthy even more disproportionately than Bush's plan. Bush had this to say in defense of his proposed amount:

"Some in Congress say the plan is too big. Well, it seems like to me they might have some explaining to do. If they agree that tax relief creates jobs, then why are they for a little bitty tax relief package?"

Bush raises a good question. If "they" - meaning House and Senate Republicans who support a tax cut but differ on the amount - agree that tax relief creates jobs, then why wouldn't they support a larger tax cut? The answer is simple: they know better. These tax cuts aren't designed to stimulate the economy, but rather to get more money into the hands of the people who helped put Bush in the White House.

Let's not forget that the federal income tax system was created to get Americans back to work and lift the nation out of the Great Depression. The system was designed to be progressive, i.e the more you make, the more you pay. This may sound unfair, but what it does is put a premium on earnings, so that those individuals who gain the most from the system, which we're all a part of, also contribute the most. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that millionaires and billionaires owe a lot to the government, the political system and the American people for their wealth. (Dick Cheney and George Bush certainly do.)

Tax cuts for the wealthy, which are what have been proposed, won't create jobs. This explains why Bush proposed cuts when the government had a $5.6 trillion surplus and didn't need to create jobs, and now proposes cuts when the deficit is projected to be over $500 billion and he is compelled to at least talk about jobs. Tax cuts have nothing to do with economic stimulus, at least not as the Republicans have presented them. If the cuts targeted middle- and lower-income taxpayers, they would help. The rich won't spend their checks, they'll just pocket them.

Senator George Voinovich, (R-Ohio), who has been publicly criticized by Bush for supporting the smaller Senate package, put it mildly when he pointed out that someone will have to shoulder the burden of these tax cuts, regardless of their amount:

"Three hundred and fifty billion dollars is a responsible package, and if the president wants to do more than that, and some of my colleagues in Congress, let¡¯s pay for it. Let¡¯s offset it. Let¡¯s not just borrow that money, and put the jacket on the backs of my children and grandchildren and your children and your grandchildren."

In a Friday speech at United Defense, the Santa Clara, California developer of the Bradley fighting vehicle, Bush continued to pitch his cuts and even went so far as to blame the recession on the war:
"We've got a deficit because we went through a recession. . . . We got a recession because we went to war. ... And I said to our troops, if we're going to commit you into harm's way, you deserve the best equipment, the best training, the best possible pay. It doesn't matter what it costs, we're going to pay what it costs in order to win the war. ... As a result of the recession -- which was official in January of 2001 -- we've got a deficit."

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, (D-San Francisco), criticized Bush's comments:
"It's really a disservice to the debate to say that we're in a recession because we went to war. We had a recession before we went to war, and the president's remedy -- massive tax cuts for the wealthy -- did not take us out of it then and will not improve the economy now."