“I’m so bored. I hate my life.” - Britney Spears

Das Langweilige ist interessant geworden, weil das Interessante angefangen hat langweilig zu werden. – Thomas Mann

"Never for money/always for love" - The Talking Heads

Friday, October 08, 2004


Say, how much is the interest on that debt?

LI won’t watch tonight’s debate. Our last non-watching of the debate was an outstanding success – our candidate romped. We aren’t going to jinx Kerry now.

However, we have been succumbing to a bad case of ISD – Internal Speechmaking Disorder. This is a disease that strikes thousands of talk radio listeners and bloggers every year. Tragically, there is little that can be done about it. Symptoms are uncontrollable daydreams about speaking oneself on the podium, or having one’s candidate speak on the podium saying terribly clever and devastating things that one makes up oneself. Usually, the opposing guy in the daydream is struck dumb. He’s shown up. He’s ashamed forever and ever.

Under our ISD compulsion, we’d recommend that Kerry’s people look at the stark article about Bush’s fiscal policy in the WP this morning. It really just recaps what we know: that the surplus, which was estimated at a trillion dollars when Bush came into office, and that was still estimated at 300 billion dollars after his first year in office, when he pushed through the first rounds of tax cuts, have turned into a 450 billion dollar deficit. One figure, though, was striking:

“When Bush took office in January 2001, the government was forecasting a $5.6 trillion budget surplus between then and 2011. Instead, it is now expecting to accumulate an extra $3 trillion in debt -- including a record $415 billion in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30. The government has to borrow an average of more than $1.1 billion a day to pay its bills, and it spends more on interest payments on the federal debt each year -- about $159 billion -- than it does on education, homeland security, justice and law enforcement, veterans, international aid, and space exploration combined.”

We hope one of Kerry’s handlers clipped that graf. What does it mean? It means this. The lion’s share of the tax cuts, as we know, went to the top ten percent income bracket. Those are tax cuts on income, on dividends, etc. Estimate that as at around 500 billion to a trillion dollars. The other tax cuts went to the below 200 thou a year crowd – bottoming out at the ones who made 20 thou or so. The poorest, of course, got next to nothing.

What this means is that, of the taxes that remain, the middle class is paying about 2 to 3 percent of its tax dollars on nothing but interest. And who owns those government bonds? The wealthiest ten percent. So, in one of history’s sweeter deals, the same people who got the largest tax cuts used some of that money to loan to the government, which went into debt to make the tax cuts, in order to gain even more money now that the government can’t afford to pay for its operations on interest. Is this the exacta or what?

And what operations that same Government, manned by a Republican executive and a Republican legislature, has bequeathed to us:
“The four tax cuts account for about 30 percent of the change. The remaining 20 percent was spending, including the cost of the war in Afghanistan and the preemptive invasion of Iraq. Since 2001, government spending has risen 23 percent, from $1.86 trillion to $2.29 trillion this year. Defense spending increased 48 percent, while non-defense spending went from $343 billion in 2001 to $436 billion, a 27 percent increase.
Congress has allocated $174 billion so far for the Iraq war alone, with another emergency spending request expected early next year. Among the larger non-defense items Bush signed were a multiyear extension of agriculture subsidies and a prescription drug benefit for Medicare, the largest expansion of an entitlement program since the 1960s.”

Enron had a few good years when it was doing this kind of thing – but it all unravels sooner or later.

In the last debate, Bush said that Homeland Security would just cost too darn much. In the WP story, they confirm that, in the belt tightening measures the Bush people are planning for 2005, Homeland security will get a cut.

Remember, though, the world is safer now than it was three years ago!

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