Cuts Like a Knife

Congress is set to approve the third-largest tax cut in history … yet another political victory for the Legion of Doom that is the Bush administration and its collaborators in Congress. Everything that was bad about the second-largest tax cut in history, also engineered by this administration just two years ago, still applies to this one: deficit spending, disproportionate benefits for the rich, deferral of fiscal responsibility to the next generation of tax payers, and a general absence of plausible logic.

Sunrises Are Not Pretty

If anything, the motivations and methods have gotten worse: The New York Times discusses the concept of “sunrises,” a kind of accounting trick in which voter-pleasing tax breaks are enacted today with built-in short-term expiration dates. Technically, the relatively brief shelf-lives reduce the cost of the breaks over the long-term. But what the Republicans and irresponsible Democrats are counting on is that, when their expiry dates arrive, political pressures will force their renewal — future Congressmen and Congresswomen will be brow-beaten into renewing those breaks, or risk being branded as advocates of tax hikes.

A Leadership Vacuum

This is a cynical kind of skullduggery that seems to fly on Capitol Hill as just sharp polticking. But it’s really reckless budgeteering designed to maintain the conservatives’ strangle-like hold on public policy and discourse. Consider this new budget cut in conjunction with the unknown actual and residual costs of waging an unjustified war on Iraq, the continued war on terror, an ever more fragile economy and the worsening jobless rate, and it’s not hard to argue that this is possibly the worst leadership that the country has seen in a century, and, as Helen Thomas asserted, George W. Bush is the worst President ever, in history.