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Old 05-29-2003, 08:12 AM   #1
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What the Bush Tax Cut Could Have Bought

(This is from Salon, but I didn't want to just link it because I thought it might be Premium content.)

What the Bush tax cut could have bought

That $330 billion could have covered every uninsured person in the country and paid for millions of teachers and child-care workers. Instead it's going to the richest Americans.

- - - - - - - - - - - -
By Laura McClure and Mark Follman



May 29, 2003 | This has been a trying week for those with math anxiety, not to mention anyone who, owing either to their fear of numbers or their lack of millions of dollars of disposable income, may be struggling to understand the impact of the tax-cut bill that President Bush signed into law Wednesday. White House press secretary Ari Fleischer, for instance, said the new measure, which includes $330 billion in tax breaks over the next 10 years, would create "more than a million jobs." Many economists dispute Fleischer's analysis, but even if it turned out to be true, given the overall job loss during Bush's administration -- 2.7 million jobs in the private sector alone -- it would still leave us in the red, job-wise.

In fact, it is in the red where the really impressive numbers reside. The day before the East Room signing ceremony, in a move unembellished by ceremony, Bush signed a bill that allows the federal government to borrow up to $7.4 trillion -- a $984 billion increase in the federal debt limit -- to cover the tab for the tax cuts. This year's deficit, after surpluses during the last four years of the Clinton administration, already is expected to exceed a whopping $300 billion.

According to Bush, the tax cuts will give tax relief to 136 million American taxpayers -- another impressive figure, but especially if you are the kind of American taxpayer who seeks relief from taxes on capital gains and corporate dividends. Some of the less advantaged -- especially those who have children, are married, or own small businesses - will also get tidy sums. But universal relief, or even respite, is not part of this deal.

Meanwhile, every dollar sent back to an American taxpayer, however deserving, is one less dollar that can be spent to meet the nation's ever-growing needs. To facilitate a better understanding of what kind of relief, other than tax relief, this kind of money could buy, we have listed the price tags for some of the programs and projects that comprise the nation's basic domestic wish list. With that $330 billion, for instance, the president could have funded health insurance for all uninsured Americans, erased all state budget deficits, completed Superfund cleanup at the nation's worst toxic waste sites, and funded Head Start for all eligible children -- and still had almost $40 billion left over for a rainy day.

Here's an itemized list of things the tax cut might have paid for. They are diverse, pressing, some would say essential -- not just to low-income Americans, but to many citizens who, having had a choice, might have directed their billions elsewhere.

Tax-cut total: $330 billion

Amount needed to provide health insurance for all 9.2 million currently uninsured children for one year: $13 billion

Amount needed to provide health insurance for all 41.2 million uninsured Americans, including children, for one year: $98 billion

Amount needed to close state budget gaps across the country: $78 billion

Amount needed to hire an additional 100,000 teachers to reduce class size, provide grants to repair 6,000 schools and assist with new-school construction, and provide additional math and reading help for over 9 million eligible low-income students: $300 billion

Amount needed to end homelessness for chronically homeless people within 10 years: $1.3 billion per year to create and sustain 150,000 units of permanent supportive housing

Amount needed by the Environmental Protection Agency to complete cleanups at high-priority toxic waste sites through the Superfund program: $92 million

Cost of Head Start for all 1.8 million children, up to 5 years old, who currently need but don't receive it: $25 billion

Cost of continuing to provide grants to potentially jeopardized regional poison control centers and maintain a toll-free poison information phone number between 2005 and 2009: $142 million

Cost of USDA testing of 12,500 cattle samples for mad cow disease, in addition to homeland security measures such as physical security upgrades at lab facilities and background investigation of workers: $21.7 million

Budgeted cost of continuing to enable states to meet energy emergencies due to extremes in temperature, either during severe cold weather in the winter or sustained heat waves in the summer: $1.7 billion

Cost of measures to improve food safety in 2003, including hiring additional FDA inspectors, and developing new ways for federal inspectors to detect food-borne illnesses in meat and poultry and determine the source of contamination: $101 million

Estimated homeland security costs for full support of state and local emergency personnel in their efforts to prevent and respond to acts of terrorism for three years: $12 billion

Cost of providing housing assistance nationwide for victims of domestic violence from 2004 through 2008: $100 million

Cost of hiring 100 new public-school teachers: $3.125 million

Cost of hiring 100 state child-care workers: $2.08 million

Cost of fully immunizing 100 children against preventable diseases: $64,433

Price of 250,000 new fire trucks: $56.2 billion

Identified funding needs for community-based services in the care and treatment of HIV/AIDS in 2002: $2 billion

Identified funding needs for HIV prevention and surveillance prevention programs at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: $1 billion

Identified funding needs for HIV/AIDS research at the National Institutes of Health: $2.9 billion

Estimated cost of funding Older Americans Act programs for seniors -- such as transportation, delivered meals and elder abuse prevention -- for 10 years: $39 billion

Cost of providing needed assistive technology and durable medical equipment for 1 million individuals with disabilities for 10 years: $39 billion

Cost of compensating federal employees called to active duty in the uniformed services or National Guard for the difference between their civilian and military pay: $89 million over the 2004-2008 period

Yearly cost of direct treatment for mental illness in both the private and public sectors in the U.S.: $92 billion

Estimated cost of spending for countermeasures against smallpox, anthrax, botulinum toxin, plague and Ebola under Project BioShield: $5.6 billion between 2004 and 2013

Cost of 60 million doses of an improved smallpox vaccine: $900 million

Annual cost of providing services to foster children, including educational assistance, job placement, health services and room and board: $200 million

Amount needed to establish a National Housing Trust to provide communities with funds to build, rehabilitate and preserve 1.5 million units of affordable housing over the next 10 years: $5 billion

Cost, per recipient, of Job Corps, an education and training program benefiting disadvantaged youth and young adults: $17,000

Federal funding requested in 2004 to maintain the National Domestic Violence Hotline: $3 million

Federal funding requested in 2004 for the national Abandoned Infants Assistance program: $45 million

Cost of assisting states in covering the excess costs of providing special education services to children with disabilities: $8.9 billion

Annual cost of providing funding to public libraries through state formula grants so that libraries can promote wider access to learning and information: $1.6 billion between 2004 and 2009

Cost of providing grants for treatment, counseling and referral for runaway and homeless youth subjected to sexual abuse in 2003: $15 million

Annual cost of funding the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children: $20 million




Sources:

Children's Defense Fund
Physicians for a National Health Program
National Conference of State Legislatures
Fair Taxes For All, National Education Association
National Alliance to End Homelessness
Natural Resources Defense Council
Children's Defense Fund
Congressional Budget Office
United States Department of Agriculture
Administration for Children and Families
Food and Drug Administration
Fair Taxes For All
Congressional Budget Office
Children's Defense Fund
Children's Defense Fund
Children's Defense Fund
The National Priorities Project
Human Rights Campaign
Human Rights Campaign
Human Rights Campaign
Alliance for Retired Americans
Fair Taxes For All
Congressional Budget Office
National Mental Health Association
Congressional Budget Office
Congressional Budget Office
Administration for Children and Families
National Low Income Housing Coalition
Brookings Institution
Administration for Children and Families
Administration for Children and Families
Administration for Children and Families
Congressional Budget Office
Congressional Budget Office
Congressional Budget Office

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Now the arguments are that some of these programs will be funded anyway, or that the money really belongs to the taxpayers from which it came. Both of those are good arguments. But just a quick look at this list and most people will know that a lot of these programs are already underfunded--or will be underfunded very soon.

The question remains: WHY a tax cut now, when we surely cannot afford it?
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Old 05-29-2003, 08:25 AM   #2
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Thanks for the read.

This article is a great summary of everything that is wrong with this administrations priorities. Never has a payback for corporate funding been so blazen. It's a disgrace.
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Old 05-29-2003, 09:25 AM   #3
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Re: What the Bush Tax Cut Could Have Bought

Quote:
Originally posted by paxetaurora

Amount needed to hire an additional 100,000 teachers to reduce class size, provide grants to repair 6,000 schools and assist with new-school construction, and provide additional math and reading help for over 9 million eligible low-income students: $300 billion


This would've bought me. My price is low.


Sidenote: I was planning on spending mine, like a good and dutiful American, on new speakers. But I don't get a check because I don't have kids.


I really can't stand our president. I hope he gets his ass kicked in the next election.
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Old 05-29-2003, 09:43 AM   #4
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That just seems to outline all that I dislike in this administration: instead of doing so much to help those people in society who really need it, they prefer to help the people who need it least.

Note how Republicans often claim to be the party of "fiscal responsibility" and yet Republican presidents frequently run up huge budget defecits. It'll be interesting to see the impact that such a massive national debt will have on the US economy in the long term.

*Fizz.
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Old 05-29-2003, 01:20 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by FizzingWhizzbees


Note how Republicans often claim to be the party of "fiscal responsibility" and yet Republican presidents frequently run up huge budget defecits. It'll be interesting to see the impact that such a massive national debt will have on the US economy in the long term.

It'll also be fun hearing them try to backpedal on this when the fiscal shit hits the fan in several years.
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Old 05-29-2003, 02:44 PM   #6
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In case you're as confused as I was about the tax cut, here are a couple of things that might help.



Q&A: The Tax Cuts
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

WASHINGTON -- The tax cut that President Bush signed into law reduces income taxes, gives tax breaks to parents and married couples, and lowers taxes that investors pay on capital gains and dividends.

``We have passed a bold package of tax relief for America's families and businesses, which will help turn our recovery into a lasting expansion that reaches every single corner of America,'' the president said during a White House signing ceremony Wednesday.

Taxpayers will start to feel the effects of the tax cut in July. The changes will show up in paychecks, and some parents will get a check worth $400 per child this summer.

Answers to some common questions about the tax cut:

Q: Will I see more money in my paycheck?

A: Everyone except single taxpayers who make less than $6,000 and married couples who make less than $12,000 will see at least a little more money in their paychecks. Other workers will benefit from an expansion of the 10 percent bracket. Single taxpayers will pay 10 percent tax on the first $7,000 in income, up from $6,000. Married taxpayers will pay 10 percent tax on the first $14,000 in income, up from $12,000.

Q: What are the new income tax rates?

A: The two lowest rates remain unchanged at 10 percent and 15 percent. Middle-income workers will see their income tax rates drop 2 percentage points. The 27 percent rate falls to 25 percent, the 30 percent rate to 28 percent and the 35 percent rate to 33 percent. Those in the highest bracket will see their income tax rate fall from 38.6 percent to 35 percent.

Q: When will I start seeing more money in my paycheck?

A: The Treasury Department has begun instructing employers to withhold less taxes from their employees' paychecks starting no later than July 1. You should see a change in your paycheck in July.

Q: If the tax cuts reach back to Jan. 1, will I have paid more taxes than I owe from January through June?

A: Yes. That money will be returned to you when you file your 2003 tax return next year.

Q: Will I get a check in the mail?

A: If you are a parent who qualified for the $600 child tax credit last year and your child was born after 1986, you will qualify for the increased $1,000 child credit this year. The Internal Revenue Service will send you a check as an advance refund worth up to $400 per child.

Q: Do I need to apply for the refund?

A: No, the IRS will mail a check based on your 2002 tax return. You don't have to call or fill out any forms.

Q: When will I get my check?

A: The checks will go out over three weeks according to Social Security numbers, and parents will get a letter a few days before the check. The checks will be sent on July 25 (Social Security numbers ending in 00-33), Aug. 1 (Social Security numbers ending in 34-66) and Aug. 8 (Social Security numbers ending in 67-99).

Q: My first child was born in 2003. Will I get a check?

A: No, but you can claim the refund when you file your 2003 tax return next year.
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Old 05-29-2003, 02:48 PM   #7
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$$
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Old 05-29-2003, 03:22 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader
$$
lol, is that $$ used for tax cuts or $$ used to provide health insurance to people who would otherwise go without healthcare?

Or is just a $$ are intrinsically good kind of statement?
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Old 05-29-2003, 05:17 PM   #9
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I don't like the tax cuts either. It's weird who the recent Presidents are who've given us massive deficits--Reagan and now Bush. Republicans and deficits! Who'd have thunk it? This is the kind of thing I don't like about this administration.
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Old 05-29-2003, 06:03 PM   #10
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Hmmm...

"Amount needed to provide health insurance for all 9.2 million currently uninsured children for one year: $13 billion

Amount needed to provide health insurance for all 41.2 million uninsured Americans, including children, for one year: $98 billion"

How can that be when the cost to provide insurance for just one state, Oregon, would be $19 billion?

from the Detriot Free Press...

Oregon eyes universal health care

Generous, costly plan going to voters Nov. 5 has strong opposition
October 9, 2002

BY BRAD CAIN
ASSOCIATED PRESS

SALEM, Ore. -- Every man, woman and child in Oregon would receive full medical insurance -- no co-payments or deductibles -- under a measure on the Nov. 5 ballot that would create the first universal health care plan in the nation.

The question is whether Oregonians are willing to pay higher taxes for a plan so generous it would cover even acupuncture.

"What we are proposing is ambitious and audacious, but we believe the health care system now is in a crisis," said Mark Lindgren, spokesman for the Health Care for All Oregon campaign, sponsor of Measure 23.

Under the existing system, he said, an estimated 423,000 of Oregon's 3.3 million residents -- about 70,000 of them children -- have no health insurance.

The Oregon plan would be financed by a new payroll tax of up to 11.5 percent on businesses and an increase in personal income taxes. The top tax rate would rise from its current 9 percent to as high as 17 percent.

No independent polls have been released on the measure, but it is facing strong opposition from business, insurance and health care industry groups, who fear it will lead to runaway spending and ruin the state's economy.

"It's the richest benefits package known to man," said J.L. Wilson, head of the Oregon chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business. "Under this bill, you would have to pay for people to go to a massage therapist four days a week because it's deemed medically necessary."

Lindgren put the cost at $19 billion a year -- more than the entire current state budget of about $16 billion. About $7 billion of the cost would be covered by the payroll tax, and $4.9 billion by higher income taxes. The rest would come from shifting state and federal health care dollars to the new universal system.

People in Oregon would not be required to get rid of their private or group insurance, but most would probably do so since they would be paying for the universal system, Lindgren said.

He said that while many people would pay higher taxes, much of that would be offset because they would no longer have to pay premiums, co-payments, deductibles and other out-of-pocket health costs.

Opponents say the residency requirement is so loose that seriously ill people without insurance would move to Oregon just to take advantage of the program.

Opponents also warn that it would cover all treatment deemed medically necessary by any state-licensed, certified or registered health care practitioner. Also, the measure does not contain any limits on coverage and does not spell out whether there would be any exclusions for experimental procedures or devices.

Lindgren said those points were deliberately left vague so that a 15-member state board that would be created to oversee the program could make those decisions later.

He disputed warnings of runaway costs. Among other things, he said, people who lack insurance are a drain on the system because they often leave minor conditions untreated until they become major problems requiring expensive emergency room treatment.
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Old 05-29-2003, 06:11 PM   #11
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Here's a good article on National health Care:

http://www.cato.org/pubs/pas/pa184.html
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Old 05-29-2003, 07:09 PM   #12
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Sting,

I seem to remember you advocating for working-class families.

I would be interested in hearing your views about their exclusion.

Quote:
Tax Law Omits Child Credit in Low-Income Brackets
By DAVID FIRESTONE


WASHINGTON, May 28 A last-minute revision by House and Senate leaders in the tax bill that President Bush signed today will prevent millions of minimum-wage families from receiving the increased child credit that is in the measure, say Congressional officials and outside groups.

Most taxpayers will receive a $400-a-child check in the mail this summer as a result of the law, which raises the child tax credit, to $1,000 from $600. It had been clear from the beginning that the wealthiest families would not receive the credit, which is intended to phase out at high incomes.

But after studying the bill approved on Friday, liberal and child advocacy groups discovered that a different group of families would also not benefit from the $400 increase families who make just above the minimum wage.


Because of the formula for calculating the credit, most families with incomes from $10,500 to $26,625 will not benefit. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a liberal group, says those families include 11.9 million children, or one of every six children under 17.

"I don't know why they would cut that out of the bill," said Senator Blanche Lincoln, the Arkansas Democrat who persuaded the full Senate to send the credit to many more low income families before the provision was dropped in conference. "These are the people who need it the most and who will spend it the most. These are the people who buy the blue jeans and the detergent and who will stimulate the economy with their spending."


Ms. Lincoln noted that nearly half of all taxpayers in her state had adjusted gross incomes that were less than $20,000.

Families with incomes lower than $10,500 will also not receive the refund checks. But under the 2001 tax revision, they would not have been eligible for either the $600 or the $1,000 credits because they do not pay federal taxes. Proposals to give them the credits failed on the House and Senate floors on party-line votes.

The Senate provision that did pass was intended to help those families making $10,500 to $26,625 who do pay federal taxes and could have taken all or part of the $600 credit. The provision, which would have cost $3.5 billion, would have allowed those families to receive some or all of the extra $400 in the new law.

Most families with children who make about $30,000 or less are also eligible for the earned income credit, which the law does not not change. In addition, the law has a few other benefits for low income earners, like expanding the lowest tax bracket and a temporary reduction in the penalty on two-income couples.


Several centrist senators worked hard to make the child credit fully refundable for all low income families, and the full Senate voted this month to include a provision that would have included the minimum-wage families. But the provision was dropped in the House-Senate conference, where tax writers spent days trying to cram many tax cuts most prominently, cuts in the taxes on stock dividends and capital gains
into a bill that the Senate said could not be larger than $350 billion.

House Republicans, who acknowledged the gap on the child credit, blamed the Senate for insisting on its $350 billion cap, saying the low-income families could have been covered had the Senate been more flexible.

A spokeswoman for the Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee, Christin Tinsworth, noted that the provision was included in an agreement reached last week by Representative Bill Thomas, Republican of California, the committee chairman, and Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.

That agreement would have cost $380 billion, but it fell apart when an important swing senator, George V. Voinovich, Republican of Ohio, said he could not approve any bill that exceeded $350 billion. To satisfy him and the Senate, Ms. Tinsworth said, the child credit provision was dropped, along with other costs.

"The Senate preferred to have $20 billion in state aid," she said. "But when we had to squeeze it all to $350 billion, they weren't talking about the child credits. This bill does a lot to help people who need help. But its primary purpose was to generate jobs. Apparently, whatever we do is not going to be enough for some segments of the population."


But Democrats and children's advocacy groups said the Republican demand for large cuts in the dividend tax, which they said benefits primarily wealthy taxpayers, pushed away the credit from low income families.

"If we were going to have a tax cut to give $1,000 to all these other kids, there's no reason not to include these kids, too," said David Harris, president of the Children's Research and Education Institute. "Their families are working and playing by the rules and are left out, though it would not have cost too much to include them."


A spokeswoman for Mr. Voinovich said the senator would have been happy to extend the child credits, but believed that the entire package should not pass $350 billion. The tax writers were free to reduce the dividend tax cut, noted the spokeswoman, Marcie Ridgway.

The gap in the number of families who receive the child credit occurs because of how the formula was arranged in 2001. Congress decided then to give refunds of the credit to low income families, but just to a maximum of 10 percent of the amount they made over $10,000, or a refund of $600, whichever was lower. The $10,000 amount was indexed to inflation and is now $10,500.

When the credit was raised to $1,000, many families could not qualify for the extra amount, because the 10 percent maximum still limited them. Ms. Lincoln proposed raising the formula to 15 percent, which would have covered the increase in the credit for most of those families. Her proposal made it through the Senate Finance Committee, but later she voted against the full cut.

Because her vote and those of other supporters were not necessary for final passage, Republicans knew they could drop the provision without hurting the bill's chances in the Senate.

"I guess this shows us what our priorities are," Ms. Lincoln said. "I think this tax bill is very irresponsible in the way it treats families."
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Old 05-29-2003, 08:19 PM   #13
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*is still waiting for the Republicans here to fully explain why this tax cut is a good thing for our country*
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Old 05-29-2003, 08:21 PM   #14
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Deep,

I agree in principle with the idea that taxes need to be cut. Thats what Economics 101 says should be done in order to stimulate the economy at a time of very slow growth, no growth, or recession.

What the Bush Tax cut should be doing is giving a considerable sum of money back to those who are in the 10,000 dollar to 30,000 dollar catagory. Of course they pay the least in taxes to begin with so even a drastic cut will not be a very large sum of money.

But it is obvious that the people that are most likely to go out and spend extra money from a tax cut or those that make 10,000 to 30,000 dollars a year. So I would have to agree that Bush's tax cut is targeted at the wrong income brackets.

I think there should be a tax cut for those making between 30,000 to 50,000 and a smaller one for those making 50,000 to 100,000. If your making over 100,000 , I don't think a tax cut is really going to help and I seriously doubt it would change ones spending habits. So I'd say keep the taxes for those making over 100,000 in place.

Of course the arguement to this is that people making over 100,000 run businesses, buy expensive items, all things that help the economy and so if you cut their taxes, it will spur economic growth. I'm not really convinced its to that degree though. Its obvious though that someone who is making 20,000 dollars is more likely to spend a money recieved from a tax cut than someone making over 100,000.

I don't have the numbers with me, but the targets of the tax cuts should be reversed. Of course, not to the degree that people in the lowest income bracket do not pay any taxes, but to the degree that they recieve money in an amount that will help to increase overall consumer spending which will help the economy.
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Old 05-29-2003, 08:24 PM   #15
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Oh my goodness...

Mark this day...

I think Sting and I agree on something!
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