What’s wrong with the Bush Inc. Fairy Tale? Three strikes and you’re out!

March 9, 2001

By Jock Gill for Democrats.com


Are we really going to permit President Bush and his GOP henchmen to rob a secure future from the rest of us in order to give the superrich a treat? And worse, are we going to let them establish a power elite based upon inheritance rather than on merit?

Strike One: Bush Inc. say the government has a “surplus.” Do we? A very important element of that “surplus” is the accumulated reserves in the Social Security and Medicare accounts. We require these reserves to cover known future obligations. The workers of America were promised a secure retirement and the elderly were promised relief from medical expenses beyond their ability to pay. We must keep these promises. Only with these reserves will our contract with our fellow citizens be honored.

Think of it this way: it is as if we going to allow the family reserves for college and retirement to be used today for a trip to the slot machines at Vegas. Reckless and dastardly. Just ask a wife who has discovered that her husband has raided their college and retirement accounts to pay for his philandering and may now, as a consequence, lose her house.

Before we recklessly pass tax cuts before we know what our budget is, let’s make sure we even have a surplus! As Representative Michael Capuano wrote in a Boston Globe op-ed on March 7th,

“if you do the simple math and total up our existing obligations and ad in the increase in interest payments the Bush tax cut would create, there is NO surplus!”

With a zero surplus, what programs will the President cut to fund his proposal? Will it be worth the trade off?

Strike Two: D. Allan Bromley, science & technology advisor to president George H. W. Bush from 1989 – 1993, tells us in today’s New YorkTimes, the Bush, Inc. budget will have to cut the budgets of the National Science Foundation by 2.6%, NASA by 3.6% and department of Energy by “an alarming” 7.1%. Apparently Bush Inc. believes that faith based solutions to our addiction to oil, a national energy crisis, are better than solutions based on solid science and technology. As Bromley writes:

“The proposed cuts to scientific research are a self-defeating policy…. No science, no surplus. It’s that simple.”

Why is Bush Inc. attacking the very foundations of our prosperity?

So now we know that there is no surplus today and that the Bush Inc. budget cuts will mean no surplus tomorrow. The Bush Inc. tax cut is not a fairy tale, it is a nightmare.

Strike Three: A very undemocratic element of the Bush Inc. tax strategy is a stealth attack on what has always before correctly been called the “estate tax.” The GOP is trying to get people to call it the “death tax” and is having a great deal of success. The estate tax was put in place to curb some of the worst excesses of the Robber Baron age at the turn of the last century. The goal was to prevent a class of the permanently wealthy, a plutocracy to rule the country and use their financial power to fight against democracy and democratic institutions.

If we do not sound the alarm Bush Inc. will take $28 billion in future tax revenues and hand it over to the richest 4,500 families in America. Just these 4,500 families would benefit as much as the 81 million families, about 142 million citizens, would benefit from all of the other provisions in the Bush tax rollback.

Think of this way. There are two $28 billion dollar pies. One pie gets sliced just 4,500 ways so each slice is worth about $6,222,222. The other pie gets sliced 81 million ways and each slice is only worth about $346.00. Now, which pie would you rather be served from? Is this a fair and equitable diving up of the pies? Preserving our democratic traditions is certainly worth more than $346.

It's gotten to the point that the superrich like Bill Gates Sr. and Warren Buffet have to lobby against tax cuts for billionaires.

Clearly, President Bush, Inc. and the GOP want to take us back to the period of the unregulated robber barons and trusts, 1890 to 1915. They are looking backwards when the country needs to be looking to the future. Do we really want to have to re-do all of the work of the muckrakers and trust busters all over again? If we value our future, the answer is no!

We must call the President on his plan to abuse our reserves, destroy the foundations of our economy, and create a class of the permanently wealthy. We must hold him accountable for his fuzzy math, sloppy English and unfair politics. We must make him keep the faith and honor our democratic traditions.

Tell your elected officials today that you want our reserve accounts managed wisely for the coming day when they will be sorely needed. Tell your elected officials that you expect them to keep their word, to honor their promise of secure and safe retirement for all. Tell them to insure the economy for the rest of us by investing wisely in science and technology. Tell them we want a country which is led by people elected for their merit, not an unelected crew of self-interested individuals out to protect their inherited wealth.

So let lets restore plain speaking and honest math to the American language. No to Reserve Abuse, No to science cuts, and No to the Bush Inc. plutocracy. We need to look forward and embrace the future.