Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
President Bush came into office in 2000 with an unprecedented budget surplus and a solemn pledge to refrain from raising taxes. Yet, together with Congress, he recklessly squandered the surplus on extravagant tax cuts that went mostly to the rich, blissfully sauntering toward what has been projected to become a monstrous $700 billion deficit.
Strangely enough, while the Bush administration's tax cuts have fueled the federal deficit, the president has repeatedly refused to consider repealing the tax cuts or implementing other tax increases.
Apparently, Bush has finally been made aware that he must increase revenues, but he's doing so without technically increasing taxes, and all too often at the expense of the wrong populations.
First, the Bush administration declined to improve the Pell Grant program, even going so far as to force students to claim scholarship income on their taxes.
Now a special tax commission appointed by the president has proposed a number of methods to reform tax policy, the most significant of which is eliminating or reducing the mortgage tax exemption (a huge benefit to family homeowners).
For example, if a family pays $1,000 per month in mortgage interest (a typical figure for a Tucson family), they can deduct that payment from their income on their income tax statement.
Taking this $1,000 off income at, say, a 25 percent tax bracket means the value of the deduction is $250 per month for that family. Taken over the entire U.S., this is indeed a jump in revenue, but compared to income taxes, the burden falls disproportionately on lower classes.
For too long now, Bush and Congress have pandered to the tax-hating faction of their conservative base, one that seems sadistically content to punish average Americans so long as the affluent are placated with perpetually declining tax rates.
Fortunately, the nomination of Ben Bernanke to the Federal Reserve post affords an excellent opportunity to indict what has come to be a broken fiscal policy. Though Bernanke has pledged to fight inflation, he should be pressed by Democrats and Republicans alike to renounce the irresponsible Bush tax cuts that Alan Greenspan championed.
It is time to reverse course, to ensure that a sense of balance (and not avarice) is what drives our nation's fiscal policies. The estate tax should remain unmolested, the Bush tax cuts should not be made permanent, and average Americans should be made confident that their interests will not be trounced by those with deep pockets and the right connections.
Opinions are determined by the Wildcat opinions board and written by one of its members. They are Lori Foley, Ryan Johnson, Damion LeeNatali, Aaron Mackey, Mike Morefield, Katie Paulson and Tim Runestad.