George W. Bush's transition team and House Minority Whip Tom DeLay may have had an unacknowledged motive to delay passage of the 2001 budget: An idea going around in December was to put off the budget bill until February so that it could be combined with repeal of the federal estate tax. Because budget reconciliation bills are virtually filibuster-proof in the Senate, that would probably ensure quick passage of the repeal.
Remember how George W. Bush regaled the voters last year with his criticism of Al Gore's "targeted" tax cuts? "You only get a tax break if you do exactly what the government tells you to do," Bush frequently carped. Well, Bush has now revealed the fine print of his own tax proposals--and lo and behold, those new details look remarkably like what Gore proposed.
Alan Greenspan has blessed a tax cut, the budget surpluses are said
to be bigger than ever, and Republicans control all branches of the
federal government. Are we ready to rumble with George W. Bush's
gigantic tax cuts? Can we cut taxes even more?
Why is it that when Republicans in Congress try to address a real problem--whether it be an inadequate minimum wage, the tax code's marriage penalty, or whatever else happens to catch their attention--they so often end up calling for big tax cuts for the rich? The latest example comes from Senator Orrin Hatch, the Republican from Utah, who says he wants to simplify the income tax.
Suppose you're the chief economic adviser to George W. Bush. For the past five months, you've been telling the public and your boss that his tax cut plan will cost $1.3 trillion over 10 years. How do you deal with the fact that your figure is arithmetically impossible? And more important, how do you counter Al Gore's widely reported claim that the Bush tax plan will cost more than $2 trillion over 10 years?