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US budget Crises
 
By Jamal Kanj*

July 15, 2011

I remember back when in a June day in 2001 Bush signed the 10 year $1.6 trillion tax cut for rich individuals and wealthy corporations. At the time, Bush argued that the U.S. budget’s surplus “is the people’s money, and we ought to trust them with their own money." Bush’s mouth fed words were: we have large budget surplus, therefore, we can afford a large tax cut [for the rich.]

Ever since, the US economy took a nose dive, and the largest surplus in recent history has turned into the largest deficit.

Today, Republicans who inertly stood on the sideline watching their president, Bush, “undeclared” war cost, and economic shortfall from the ill-advised tax cuts for the rich, suddenly have come out of their holes blaming Obama for the uncontrolled government deficit. When in fact, most of today’s deficit is attributed to Bush’s wars of choice, tax cuts or from economic stimulant spending programs enacted under Obama to fix the US economy from Bush’ wild deficit and undeclared war spending.

One of America’s problems is the Republican Party’s hypocrisy. During the president's health care discussions, Republicans were crying wolf and scarring off senior citizens under the false pretense that Obama’s proposed health care will eat away from their Medicare.  Today, they refuse to discuss tax increase on the rich without cutting from the same program they claimed to defend months earlier, Medicare.

Republicans continue to present a bankrupt argument: that we cannot afford to increase taxes during tough economic times for money in the hands of [rich] taxpayers is needed to fuel the economy.

Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. For this self defeated argument was presented once before over 10 years ago when Bush justified his [rich] tax cuts and removed $1.6 trillion from government’s coffers. Since then, the US economy lost its resilience and the government surplus vanished like a mirage.  If Bush’s [rich] tax cut philosophy failed to stimulate the economy in 2001, why will it succeed under John Boehner and Eric Cantor today?

Democrats should draw a line in the sand: a fair tax system for individuals who make over $250,000 should not be discussed in tandem with cuts in social programs like Social Security or Medicare. 

Obama made a mistake in agreeing last December to extend Bush’s tax cuts for the rich for two more years. Today, he is hovering to repeat the same mistake when accepting to discuss cuts in Social Security and Medicare to fix Bush’s fiscal mismanagement.

Let’s hope he doesn’t make the same blunder!


*Jamal Kanj writes frequently on Arab World issues and the author of “Children of Catastrophe, Journey from a Palestinian Refugee Camp to America”, Garnet Publishing, UK . Jamal’s articles can be read at www.jamalkanj.com, his email address is jkanj@yahoo.com