Friday, January 18, 2008

It's Mardi Gras in Washington

President George w. Bush has just the cure to avert America's looming recession - borrow money. It's the same answer he uses when he wants to wage war without end or let the very richest people in America slip their fair share of taxes - borrow money (just make sure you put it on the little guy's tab). Oh sure it causes big deficits and enormous long-term debt but, hey, that's for the kids to worry about 20 years from now, huh?

So here's the deal. Bush wants to borrow America's way out of recession to the tune of about $145-billion. That would be doled out in the guise of tax "rebates" although the idiocy of purporting to rebate money you don't have isn't being mentioned in the White House or in Congress for that matter. From the New York Times:

“Letting Americans keep more of their own money should increase consumer spending,” the president said, repeating a theme he has embraced time and again during his presidency, although perhaps never when, in the opinion of many analysts, the economy was teetering on the brink of recession.
There was speculation beforehand that the relief package would amount to $800 rebates for individual taxpayers and $1,600 for households. Based on the $140 billion to $145 billion range of the entire package, it appeared that the rebates would not exceed $800 and $1,600.

The president called again for Congress to make permanent the tax cuts that were enacted several years ago and are to expire in the next three years. Otherwise, he said, there will be such uncertainty that jobs and economic growth will be jeopardized. But the president did not insist on getting his way as a condition of negotiations on short-term relief.

Letting Americans keep more of their own money? No, chum, you're doling out money you're borrowing in their name, loans a lot of them couldn't get right now. All you're giving them is some cash and an equivalent in interest-bearing debt - leaving aside the question of how the working and middle class are going to repay that faux largesse to be sorted out by another government at another time. Meanwhile, let's enshrine those tax cuts for the rich. They deserve them after all, they're rich aren't they?

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