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Ronald Brownstein Lets W Have It


DR readers should point their browsers toward Ron Brownstein’s latest Los Angeles Times column and enjoy. While the intro of the piece is about W crying "Uncle" in Iraq (or should we say "Jacques and Gerhard"), the bulk of it is a devastating recounting how Bush has blown the budget sky-high, leaving no money for an array of highly necessary investments that Bush himself has said we need to make. From improving the military to beefing up homeland security to providing prescription drugs to helping the uninsured to spending on schools, there’s just no money there to do it. (Unless, of course, you jack up the deficit even more. But the deficit is already projected to hit $480 billion next year without any new spending.)


And all this for what? To provide "middle class tax relief". Two big problems: (1) the Bush tax cuts overwhelmingly benefitted the rich, not the middle class; and (2) the need for new middle class tax relief was far from clear. According to a just-released CBO study cited by Brownstein, middle income families were already paying one-third less in taxes in the year 2000 (before the Bush tax cuts) than they were in 1979.


Brownstein recommends that Bush acknowledge that his tax cut agenda–as he just did with his Iraq policy–has serious problems and is in need of a course correction. That would be nice. But DR is definitely not holding his breath on this one.