Cutting Taxes To Fix The Budget? Really?

The Republican congressman who chairs the House Budget Committee, Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan,  unveiled the Republican budget proposal for the next fiscal year. I thought it was a little confusing. In the last election the Tea Party had a big influence. Supposedly this was based on the idea that we needed fiscal responsibility. The deficit is too large, the debt is out of control and we have to do something about it. The Republican party seized this message and said they were the ones to fix it. They won many elections and gained control of the House. They now have the opportunity to prove to their base that they are serious about fiscal matters. So I was a little confused about the fact that the proposal won’t balance the budget.  It calls for trillions of dollars in spending cuts over the next decade, but still doesn’t get us back to even, How is that possible? That’s a good question. The answer is that Congressman Ryan’s proposal would also lower the highest tax rate to 25%. That’s %10 less than now.

Why aren’t we seriously concerned with balancing the budget? Republicans have taken Tea Party enthusiasm and used it to propose a radical government limiting agenda without attempting to solve the issue the Tea Party is supposed to be all about. Cutting government spending may have some merit. Balancing the budget and reducing the national debt makes sense. To accomplish that goal with a one-sided approach that assumes government programs are just to expensive isn’t the answer. Why don’t we examine the fact that tax revenues are down. As soon as President Bush cut income taxes in 2001 we went from surplus to deficit. That trend has continued. All the while Republicans have opposed tax increases on anyone, and measures to enforce tax collection on corporations. They proposed cutting the IRS budget for tax enforcement by $600 million, which could lower tax revenues $4-6 billion, and now they want to lower the top tax rate 10%.

Congressman Ryan’s proposal put forth ideas about changing Medicare and Medicaid. While I don’t necessarily agree with them, at least this can start a debate, and a debate is a good thing.d I’ve said we need to look at 4 things: Medicare and Medicaid, Social Security, Defense spending, and tax rates. Working with those things is how we are going to balance the budget. So far Republicans want to cut non-defense discretionary spending by at least $33 billion, probably more. That won’t do any good. Democrats have refused to join the debate over entitlement programs. A lack of involvement won’t do any good. Republicans have refused to discuss defense spending, and now they are proposing lowering tax rates by a huge margin. This isn’t the Bush tax cuts. This proposal cuts over $4 trillion of government spending in the next decade and won’t balance the budget?

We need to address the budget issue, but we can’t do that by intentionally cutting government revenue. The wealthiest Americans might benefit from this proposal but the majority of Americans will suffer.


4 responses to “Cutting Taxes To Fix The Budget? Really?

  1. For any agreement to be possible there needs to be the assumption that both parties are rational. If one of the parties is not rational there is no dialogue just a monologue with an ideologue. The tea party wing of the republican party feels the religious fervor that moves groups to acts of maldirected martyrdom.
    When Bush cut income taxes yet didn’t include the costs of the Iraq war into his budget (he put them into emergency funding requests year after year after year…) he deceived the electorate into thinking that it was a free war. If you wanted the new Escalade there was always a home equity loan that was a no-brainer because no one ever lost any money in real estate (duh).
    Not remembering that Bill Clinton left a surplus for Bush and Bush left a recession for Obama it’s clear to see that the country is in the throws of mass hysteria comparable only to the mass hysterias of the middle ages.
    As with mass hysteria it will run its course. Let’s hope there are still people to teach in the schools, a safety net for seniors, and we have not been returned to a state of nature we had not anticipated.

  2. More tax cuts for the rich (lowering the top marginal rate to it’s lowest level since 1931) on the backs of the poor. From the The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities’ report on the plan: “Actual program cuts produce net savings of $4.322 trillion [in the next decade]. Cuts in low-income programs appear likely to account for at least $2.9 trillion—or about two-thirds—of this amount.”

  3. “[W]e need to look at 4 things: Medicare and Medicaid, Social Security, Defense spending, and tax rates.”

    I agree. These programs account for an overwhelming majority of the federal budget each year, yet they always go untouched. Federal spending for any fiscal year will total over $1 trillion. The $30 billion or $60 billion that Dems and Reps are arguing now are 3% and 6% if you assume spending to be $1 trillion; it will be more, only lowering the percentages of the cuts. It would be nice if we had people in charge who were more analytical than passionate.

  4. Have you ever heard of “Starve the Beast?” It’s an interesting strategy for forcing smaller government while raising debt.

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