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February 18, 2006
Budget Magic

Today's (well, tomorrow's) David Broder column is worth reading.

Trillion-Dollar Gimmick

Extending Bush's Tax Cuts Through Sleight of Hand

Remember when the Bush Administration shoved through tax cuts and they were going to be paid for over the long term or whatever?

Well, turns out they're expensive, those tax cuts, but the Bush Administration wants to make them permanent anyhow. But they have enough problems with out a lot of bad press about how they're bankrupting the country and behaving in a fiscally highly irresponsible fashion.

This year, however, the budget the president submitted on Feb. 6 simply assumes that the tax cuts have been made permanent -- and thus includes them in the "baseline" for all future years.

The effect, according to the center's analysis, is that "legislation to make these tax cuts permanent will be scored as having no cost whatsoever."

In fact, this analysis says, "The administration's proposal, by changing the rules after the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts were enacted but before they are extended, would ensure that the cost of continuing the tax cuts in the years after the current sunset dates would never be counted. The costs in those years were not counted when the tax cuts were first enacted. . . . Now, the administration is proposing that the tax cuts for those years also be ignored when the tax cuts are extended. To fail ever to count the cost of the tax cuts in the years after the sunset dates . . . would represent one of the largest and most flagrant budget gimmicks in recent memory."

Broder has a lot more to say.

Posted by AnneZook at 12:10 PM