Posted by: toddzilla | February 5, 2007

Bush’s Budget…Save the Taxcuts!

Bear with me guys as I am going to get ultra-political…Well Bush has announced his plan for the next budget.  It incidentally includes increasing military spending including that in Iraq and keeping $1.6 trillion dollars in tax cuts while seeking to cut $78 billion from government healthcare plans while, at the same time…pushing for universal healthcare.  Something is not adding up.  I’m still on the fence about universal healthcare myself, granted I don’t want any American to go without healthcare and apprently there are 47 million of them, but at the same time, I don’t want our healthcare to be shoddy at best.  I was speaking to a gentleman from Ontario Canada as he told about their wonderful healthcare system that requireed a gentleman to wait 6 months before getting a cancer screening.  So I don’t want the quality of my healthcare to suffer and I’m not so sure that forcing more of the bill onto employers is going to help the U.S. domestic jobs outlook.

My biggest gripe is Bush’s insistence on keeping his taxcuts!  This type of push is feeding into their demonization of the Democrats as taxing “liberals” so the Republicans can get re-elected.  One must step back from it all and look at the situation as a whole.  Bush gained office with an unheard of surplus given him by the aformentioned “liberals”, then within months was able to transform it into a Reagan-esque multi-trillion dollar deficit.  Sure it’s a taxcut and that’s good to get the Republican’s elected, but it’s hard on the ol’ deficit.  What do I, the common man, see of these tax cuts?  A slightly lower tax rate and a $300 check in my pocket…$300!  Education funding falls off the cliff, all children get “left behind”, and inner-city kids can’t get a shot at a college degree (the main way to compete with globalization of the workforce) unless they can play football or basketball…all for $300 in my pocket.  Now taxpayers are pushed to spend that $300 to “stimulate” the faltering economy, so they end up racking up debt.

Now add in the dividend tax cuts.  I know that poverty stricken families will thoroughly enjoy the pocket money generated when their stock portfolios dividends are not taxed!  What kinda poor family would you be if you didn’t have stock portfolios…ones that pay dividends!  Once, again the common man really gets the best of these cuts.  Now Bush is planning on cutting Mecicaid and Medicare.  Now all the senior citizens on fixed income will see their benefits decrease even more and those wealthy few with multi-million dollar estates will not have to pay a dime of inheritance tax.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not the type that promotes sharing the wealth to the point that it successful people are punished for being successful, but it makes no sense to give them a break and take from the Medicare set.

Something has to give.  Someone has to see that the Emperor has no clothes.  you cannot increase spending and decreasing income and expect to balance a budget.  How many companies and baseball teams has Bush run into the ground?  Why would he do any differently with the country?

FDR created the entitlements system to help the country out of the Great Depression.  I’m not sure if he intended them to be permanent, but they are and they are abused.  The first step ot a balanced budget should be more oversight of spending, including entitlement reform so that they are not being abused.  Control your spending and trim the fat, then start adjusting your income.  If certain taxes aren’t needed, then eliminate them, but slim down your spending first.  decreasing taxes and increasing spending is not a winning formula…well, I gues sit works to win elections and afterall, isn’t that what really matters?

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Responses

  1. Oh you know I’m jumping into this one.

    The problem with the taxcuts are not the taxcuts. One of the biggest taxcuts in American history was not by a Republican but by John Kennedy when he first took office in 1961, when he drastically cut the rates on the top rates.

    The problem is on the spending side. You can’t cut taxes and have out-of-control domestic spending. A large problem is earmarks, which are abused by both parties. Earmarks need to be removed from consideration, and when it happens Sen. Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va., will be unhappy. As will many in Congress. That is how they get their soft jobs by getting earmarks approved, send the press release, and get a photo cutting the ribbon on the new building.

    I only looked at the education side of the budget today in depth, since it’s my job, and was not too happy. I can buy the increases in Pell Grants, but the continuation to fund No Child Left Behind confuses me. It is a wasted program that only continues to throw money on the problem, without offering real solutions. I spent Thursday and Friday at a conference talking about education problems in the country and everyone continued to point at K-12 issues. NCLB funding is not going to fix those problems.

  2. Shannon-I put this one up just for you. You’re right, the spending is a big issue and taxcuts aren’t bad…Tax cuts are good…except for the ones that help the rich at the expense of others. I think Bush instituted the cuts with just enough for the common man ($300 refund and a slightly lower rate) to make it an issue upon which he could get elected and at the same time demonize those who pointed out flaws in the plans by saying that the Dems want to “raise taxes”. This type of rhetoric resonates with the voter, who, as you and me both know, doesn’t take the time to research or keep up with politics. We all want lower taxes, but we need enough to fund government programs. Education, Rescue services, Police, Libraries, etc. aren’t free.

    I’m with you on the earmark bit. It’s getting petty and almost to the point of extortion! One party will add an earmark to a bill and it’s so egregious that the other party won’t vote for it, then the first party can campaign on the fact the the second party voted against it. You’re right spending should be examined and reformed.

    The U.S. should seriously consider some sort of subsidization or compensation for higher education as well as K-12. Skilled U.S. workers are still competitive with global workers, but the difference is U.S. students must be rich or go into serious debt to get a degree where other countries subsidize their education to stay competitive. The K-12 problem is definitely not one that money alone will solve. It’s an attitude thing as well and that starts in the home.

  3. To improve K-12 we have to start with the parents. Ja Song, former education minister in South Korea, spoke in Raleigh this week where he talked about the financial and emotional investment parents make in their children to receive a quality education. In the United States, both of those aspects are absent in most families. When we have an ownership in something, we take more care of it than if we were being given the money from someone we don’t know, i.e. the government.

    For instance, I will take more care with my seminary education because – not only I’m accountable to God – but because of the vested interest people have in my education because of the financial contributions that made to provide a scholarship.

    When we subsidize higher education to the point where everyone can go scott free, we eliminate the ownership aspect, which ultimately – I believe affects quality.

    Where true reform in the costs of higher education will come is in four policy reforms:

    1) K-12 education must be reformed so that students are prepared for college when they enter the halls of the ivory tower. Too often students are ill-prepared and are not up to par with the basic requirements and cannot perform at grade level. This adds an increase burden upon taxpayers and families who must then pay for remedial education courses. When this area is improved, and we can reduce the number of remedial courses, both the quality of higher education graduates and tuition will be improved.

    2) Financial Aid must be reformed so that it no longer provides an incentive for schools to increase tuition. The way the current system works if a schools knows there is going to be more financial aid money awarded, school officials will rise the cost of tuition because the financial aid money goes straight to the schools. That incentive must be eliminated and we must put financial aid money in the hands of the students and not to the schools and let students have purchasing power.

    3) Community colleges must play a more important role in higher education. There are people who don’t need to go to college or university that desire a higher education who are better off in a community college. These courses are typically more affordable and are often times no different than what you receive at say UNC-Wilmington or, in some cases, UNC. Even a student from an economic poor region could go to a community college for two years, take the basic courses, and transfer to a UNC school at a cheaper rate, saving not only himself, but the taxpayer money.

    4) Eliminate the need for bricks and mortar. This is something that Erskine Bowles has talked a lot about and that is the elimination of the need to build and build. By building, it raises the costs on students and taxpayers. Online education and full utilization of buildings must be a priority for schools. When those occur, tuition should stabilize.


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