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Brandon: Tax cuts and deficit spending

If you have an income of $1 million (hey, the public thinks everyone

in farming is a millionaire from Uncle Sam’s crop program payments), your friends in Washington want to give you a tax cut of $42,000.

Won’t exactly buy a big Mercedes, but maybe a lesser model for tooling around the farm and running to the parts store.

If your income is a paltry $50,000 (we’re speaking hypothetically, of course, since everyone in farming is a millionaire, and $50k is chump change), those selfsame D.C. buddies want to slash your taxes by — are you ready for this? — $46. Which might buy a tank of gas for your pickup.

Following last week’s House passage of a $70-billion, five-year tax cut package, Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va., declared that the administration’s previous tax cuts “have spurred spectacular economic growth,” and other GOP members yammered about creation of “millions of new jobs,” increased tax revenues, and a growing economy.

Perhaps the ne plus ultra in silly sound bites was Rep. David Drier, R-Calif., exulting for the TV cameras, “We’re Republicans, and by virtue of being Republicans we were born to cut taxes.”

Uh, yeah, and isn’t it also supposed to be encoded in their DNA to be fiscally responsible?

This administration has piled up the greatest debt in this nation’s history, standing at $8,362,599,516,599.94 as of May 11, and increasing at the rate of almost $2 billion per day. It comes to about $28,000 for every man, woman, and child in the United States. When President Bush took office, the debt was $5.6 trillion; a $2.7 trillion budget plan now before Congress would raise the debt ceiling to $10 trillion. If this spending pattern holds, when he leaves office the debt will have more than doubled in his eight-year watch.

Federal revenue has fallen from 21 percent of Gross Domestic Product in 2000 to 17.5 percent today; at the same time, federal spending has risen from 18.4 percent to 20.8 percent. The difference, of course, is made up by federal borrowing — Congress recently raised the debt ceiling for the fifth time since 2002.

It is estimated that the tax cut will result in a net loss to the treasury of $69 billion over the five-year period. And says the organization United for a Fair Economy, “There is no evidence that massive tax cuts create jobs, but there is considerable evidence that they contribute to economy-choking deficits.”

Congress “has once again chosen the wrong priorities for our country, worsening our already serious fiscal problems and further widening the gaping disparities between the most well-off citizens and those of modest means,” said Robert Greenstein, executive director of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Unless this trend is reversed, says House Ways and Means Committee member John Tanner, D-Tenn., there will be major consequences for the economy. “It is clear that the nation’s current fiscal path is unsustainable and that tough choices will be necessary to address the growing imbalance.”

Or we can just let our children and grandchildren cope with the mess.

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