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Fiscal Shenanigans

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A friend of mine posted a link to this great post by Howard Gleckman at the Tax Policy Center.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is leading his party in fighting to extend  the Bush tax cuts for the rich.  

He’s also shooting down all proposals by the Obama Administration to staunch the growth of Medicare.

Here’s a partial summation of the problem:

[Congressional Budget Office] CBO figures Pentagon spending in 2020 will be about $900 billion. Medicare will spend another $900 billion. Since I don’t imagine the senator would let the nation default on its debt, there goes another $900 billion or so (CBO figures current law interest payments of about $775 billion, plus another $100 billion on the debt run up by those ongoing tax cuts). Finally, the senator hasn’t said, but I’m assuming he’d protect programs such as military retirement and veterans benefits—that’s another $150 billion off the table. Thus, of total projected outlays of $5.5 trillion in 2020, McConnell would leave roughly $3 trillion unscathed.

So, in the face of a growing deficit, the Republicans are staying away from cuts or reforms to the big programs that are the major contributors.

And of course, the GOP has no real answers. They just want to say “NO”:

McConnell himself won’t say how he’d pay for these ongoing tax cuts. He does back a freeze in domestic discretionary spending—an idea that would leave him about 93 percent short of his balanced budget goal. As to the rest, he says he’ll await Obama’s deficit reduction commission that will report, conveniently enough, after the election.

I share author’s concerns:

I understand that with the tea partiers breathing down his neck, the Senate GOP leader thinks he can say nothing less than tax cuts uber alles. But I fear the rest of us will be saddled with the consequences of McConnell’s irresponsible pandering.

It’s time to stop dicking around. We need to let the tax cuts for the wealthy expire and take serious, adult looks at the other programs and how to bring them in line.


September 17, 2010 - Posted by | Deficit, Democrats, Politics, Republicans, Tax Debate | , , , , , , , ,

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