Thursday, March 10, 2005


The headline:

G.O.P. Senators Balk at Tax Cuts in Bush's Budget

At last! Pangs of remorse! Finally they understand -- we're at war, there are ballooning deficits, and the baby boomers are about to retire, so we simply have to stop cutting taxes!

Well, not exactly:

...the Senate Republicans called for $70.2 billion in tax cuts over the next five years, as opposed to the estimated $100 billion the White House is seeking.

OK -- well, surely they're going to limit cuts that are going to benefit people who already have all that they need ... right?

...Senator Judd Gregg, the New Hampshire Republican who is chairman of the Budget Committee, said his intent was to extend reductions on capital gains and dividend taxes, which are set to expire in 2008.

So, er, what does Congress hope to cut?

Both the House and Senate would reduce spending on so-called entitlement programs, including Medicaid, the insurance plan for the poor, marking the first time since 1997 that Congress has sought to curb the growth of entitlements.

Could you be more specific?

The House budget ... instructs other House committees to pare $68.6 billion from entitlement programs, in which spending is determined by eligibility, over the next five years. According to estimates by the Congressional Budget Office, Mr. Bush's budget proposed only $51 billion, or about $18 billion less, in cuts to those programs.

So the headline says that GOP senators want there to be less tax-cutting (although they want to save the precious deductions used by the investor class). What the headline doesn't say, then, is that House Republicans want to lower the deficit by cutting more from social programs than even Bush wants to cut.

And what about tax cuts on the House side?

The House budget calls for $106 billion in tax cuts over the next five years. The Congressional Budget Office estimates Mr. Bush's proposed tax cuts would total $100 billion.

Oh, so the headline is "G.O.P. Senators Balk at Tax Cuts in Bush's Budget," but their House colleagues not only aren't balking, they're saying, "Cut taxes more! And then cut social spending more!"

Got it.

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