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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Bush's New Economic Plan: Wish Real Hard

When President Bush gives his State of the Union address, Virginia Sen. Jim Webb will give the democratic response. That ought to go down real well with the White House; those two fellas get along so well.

Webb should have a lot to respond to. A key point in the SOTU is expected to be Bush's call for a balanced budget. That's right, the president who so far has spent money like a drunken sailor on shore leave will now demand a shiny new congress embrace the cause of fiscal discipline. Way to get right out in front of that, George.

Some people have called Bush's move "calling Democrats' bluff." Of course, that's BS. The president is just jumping to the front of the parade and pretending he's the drum major. Basically, he thinks if he follows from the front, it'll look like he's leading.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., Tuesday dismissed GOP efforts to shift the burden of the issue of the federal deficit to the newly empowered congressional Democrats.

"They have no burden to shift," Hoyer said. "They [Republicans] have never in the last six years taken responsibility for balancing the budget."

In fact, Bush's grand plan for balancing the federal budget by 2012 seems to involve changing absolutely nothing. He'll call on congress to leave his top-heavy tax cuts alone and he's already announced he wants to spend more money in Iraq. What's he going to cut? He wants to have his cake and eat it too.

The Bush administration used to argue that we'd 'grow ourselves' out of deficits, that tax cuts would increase tax revenues. That's been BS, that's always been BS. Demand side tax cuts spur consumer spending, which increases tax revenues -- Bush's cuts have been supply side. It's really very simple; if people who need money have more money, they're guaranteed to spend it and the economy grows. If people with plenty of money have more money, it tends to stay up at the top of the economic ladder -- money flows up, not down. If your tax cuts are bottom-weighted, the economy flourishes. If the cuts are top heavy -- like Bush's -- they don't do anything but run up deficits.

So, after six years of failure, Bush will finally admit that his ideology-driven supply side economic scheme hasn't worked. But he's also going to ask congress to keep the scheme in place by preserving tax cuts. Does that make a lot of sense to you? Like Iraq, Bush apparently has no plan here other than making it look like he didn't screw everything up -- 'cover your ass' isn't really a plan.

Neither is wishing your screwy economic beliefs actually worked.


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