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Thursday, February 06, 2003

Bush's dirty little budget secret: $10 in new spending
for every dollar in tax cuts

WASHINGTON, DC -- If you think President Bush's tax cuts will save you
money, guess again, Libertarians say, because the long-term spending
increases in his new budget outnumber tax cuts by a ratio of 10 to 1.

"Showing gratitude for Bush's tax cuts is like thanking a pickpocket
for returning $10 of the $100 he just stole," said Libertarian Party
Chair Geoffrey Neale. "This budget proves that Bush and his Republican
colleagues are nothing more than political pickpockets – and that the
American people are their unwitting victims."

Bush presented Congress on Monday with a $2.23 trillion budget for
fiscal 2004 that boosts federal spending by 4.2 percent overall while
setting a record deficit and providing targeted tax cuts.

But Libertarians are warning Americans not to be distracted by Bush's
tiny tax cuts – because they will be dwarfed by a massive increase in
government spending over the next several years.

According to a budget analysis by the Cato Institute, Bush plans to
increase federal outlays by $89 billion in 2004, $114 billion in 2005,
and more than $100 billion in succeeding years, Neale noted.

"The bottom line is that federal spending would be $571 billion per
year higher in 2008 than in 2003," he said. "By that point, Bush's tax
cuts would be reducing federal revenue by just $50 billion annually –
meaning long-term spending increases outnumber tax cuts 10 to 1.

"In plain English, something that is 'cut' is supposed to get smaller.
But in Republicanese, 'tax cut' really means 'spending increase.'
While some Americans will indeed get a small tax reduction now, they're
going to pay for Bush's big-government agenda tomorrow, either through
future tax hikes, more government borrowing, or both."

In fact, Bush's spending plans are so extravagant that he makes former
President Bill Clinton look frugal by comparison, Neale noted.

"Clinton's 2000 budget called for spending $335 billion in fiscal 2004
on non-defense discretionary programs (excluding "entitlement"
programs such as Medicare and Social Security)," he said. "But Bush is
now calling for nearly $100 billion more than that: $429 billion."

The comparison gets even more stark when Bush's first three years in
office are compared to Clinton's first three years, Neale pointed out.

"According to the Cato study, Bush has already expanded such domestic
programs more than twice as much as Clinton did: 18 percent vs. 8.2
percent," he said. "It seems there really is a difference between
Democrats and Republicans: Democrats brag about their big-government
instincts, while Republicans lie about theirs."

But the budget trickery doesn't end with tax-cut shenanigans,
Libertarians note.

"Remember how the president promised to 'save money' by consolidating
dozens of federal agencies into one new, streamlined Department of
Homeland Security?" Neale asked. "Bush's new budget provides a
whopping $36.2 billion for the new bureaucracy, which is 7 percent more
than had been spent on the agencies that were combined to create it."

Unfortunately for taxpayers, that's not all.

"Bush's projected budget deficit excludes hundreds of billions of
dollars in unfunded liabilities, such as Social Security payments," he
said. "The military budget is scheduled to grow by $15.3 billion – but
mysteriously excludes money for the impending war on Iraq. And Bush's
'solution' to runaway Medicare spending involves squandering another
$400 billion on it."

Maybe it's time for the American people to deliver their own budget
message, Neale suggested: "Mr. President, please stop saving us so
much money. We just can't afford it."

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