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Friday Face-Off

Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday September 27, 2002

With the stock market continuing to slide and economic indicators at a standstill, would it be appropriate to repeal President Bush's $1.35 trillion tax cut of last year?

Photo
Kendrick Wilson

Time the Republicans admit tax cut was a huge mistake

I'll try not to say, "We told you so," but, well, we told you so!

When President Bush first proposed the tax cut, the liberals came out en masse opposing it. We had a surplus, and the question seemed to be what to do with the money. Stabilizing Social Security and eliminating the need for people to choose between paying for prescription drugs or food seemed far too altruistic. This money belonged to the people at least at some point and the president was determined to give it back to them (a little more back to the wealthiest echelons of our society than to the rest of us, but never mind that.)

Then the world changed on Sept. 11, not to mention the fact that our economy was on the decline even before that. All of a sudden, we found ourselves fighting a War on Terrorism with lower tax revenues as the economy continued to spiral downward. Might a surplus have come in handy? Leave it to Rush Limbaugh to tell us why not.

So, deep into debt we went and deeper we continue to plough. I suppose the solution is to leave the debt as a problem for the next president. The possibility of the government spending itself out of an economic recession is hard for many conservatives to contemplate. I, on the other hand, think President Franklin D. Roosevelt proved it could be done. A modern New Deal program could have greatly helped the economy, repaired our country's ailing infrastructure and aided our still-impoverished lower social classes.

When asked if the president's tax cut should be repealed, psychology junior Ann VerSteeg had little doubt. "Our public schools are crumbling and need more federal aid, the national debt is worse than it's ever been, and we're fighting a War on Terrorism that continues to expand," she pointed out. "The tax cut definitely needs to be repealed."

If the wealthy Americans who received the largest tax cuts were supposed to spend their money to pull the economy up from down, they haven't. The economy did not improve as a result of the huge tax cut, and the need for government spending has risen greatly. It's time for the Republicans to admit their mistakes and repeal the tax cut.

Photo
Jason Baran

Bush's tax relief MiracleGro for students and our economy

Economic indicators are not as rosy as we would like. The Dow has wilted. The nation's once robust, flowering economy finds itself suffering from an infestation of insidious aphids named Anderson, WorldCom, Enron and Adelphia. We face deficits in both the national and state budgets. The state of affairs seems ambivalent at best.

A key step to recovery is eliminating the pests that stymie investor confidence and throw us into economic tumult. The active prosecution of illegal activity in the corporate world is as imperative as stimulating growth.

But to be certain, tax relief signed by the president did not cause the nation's economic downturn. It didn't break the bank and cause our deficit. The bubble burst and the economy slowed. Companies earned less, people lost jobs and government revenues dropped. Note that the market didn't waste away because people were allowed to keep their hard earned money.

Before we go sticking it to tax payers by dangling relief in front of their noses and yanking it away just as it comes into their grasp, we should recall just what opportunities this tax relief package affords the nation.

Besides general economic stimulus, there are a number of provisions in the tax relief act that help people get better, higher paying jobs. A number of tax relief programs help people educate themselves. Among them are a four-fold increase in contribution limits to educational IRAs, exemptions on employer-provided educational assistance, student loan interest deductions and relief from taxation on scholarships from health-care-related education. These programs help people save for college, get promotions and raises, and learn to provide much-needed health services to our communities. The repeal of President Bush's tax relief efforts will hurt the students who are the very foundation of tomorrow's economic success.

By increasing the tax burden, we devalue the individuals from whom the government gains its power. The theft of their income to offset government overspending merely avoids making decisions about what programs are actually needed. If we resort to taxes whenever a problem arises, when will it stop?

Now is the time to cut wasteful spending and let the people keep their money. Let them spend it as they choose and let them educate themselves to success. Let's get people back to work and back to business.

Then we'll enjoy the sweet smell of a blooming economy.

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