After Bush’s re-election this year, the country will be subject to a punishing round of tax increases and spending cuts.
It has to happen. Recently, the International Monetary Fund warned that U.S. deficits are unsustainable, regardless of the short term effects of the improving economy. A report co-authored by former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin made the same point.
There are two ways to get the deficit down to more manageable size: Cut spending or raise taxes. Or both.
As economist Doug Henwood has pointed out, it’s simply not possible to cut spending sufficiently unless the government “get [s] out of the business of education and environmental spending.” That, of course, is politically impossible.
The other way to reduce spending is to cut the obscenely bloated U.S. military. That’s not going to happen either. In fact, because the current force structure of the military is not sustainable, defense spending will rise.
Therefore, Bush is going to raise taxes.
Of course, Democrats would raise taxes if elected, and are saying so. The difference is that the White House is lying about it to get re-elected. Bush will say he’s not going to raise taxes, and will attack Democrats for wanting to raise taxes. Then he will raise taxes.
Conservative economics commentator Amity Shlaes made this prediction in the January 5, 2004, issue of the Financial Times of London. As she pointed out in her column, the Congressional Budget Office has also made this prediction.
And now I’m making the prediction.
The Bush tax increase of 2005. To paraphrase Schales, you heard it here third.Powered by Sidelines