News Release

Budget Debate: Big Picture

FRANCES FOX PIVEN
Author of the book The War at Home: The Domestic Costs of Bush’s Militarism, Piven said today: “Americans are beginning to recognize the recklessness and incompetence of this administration in launching an invasion of Iraq. We saw recklessness and incompetence again in the failure to prepare for Katrina, or to mobilize to rescue the victims afterwards. The casualties of war and of disaster pay dearly for these mistakes. And so do the rest of us, as deficits caused by war and unpreparedness mount. The Congress seems poised to solve this problem by asking us to pay again, by slashing the programs that help shore up our eroding infrastructure, and also cutting the programs that provide some economic security for the worst off among us.” Piven is distinguished professor of political science and sociology at the Graduate School and University Center of the City University of New York. Her past books include The Breaking of the American Social Compact.
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JOHN MILLER
Professor of economics at Wheaton College in Massachusetts and contributing editor to Dollars & Sense Magazine, Miller said today: “So how will the Bush administration deal with the victims of Katrina and Rita? Cut taxes for the wealthy. Little more than a moment of silence later, tax cuts are back on the Congressional agenda. Instead of borrowing the money necessary to pay for the one-time expenditures to rebuild the Gulf Coast — which would make perfect sense — the Bush administration will slash social spending, while it goes about making permanent its tax cuts that have gone overwhelmingly to the richest 1 percent of taxpayers, with average incomes of nearly $1 million. Costing far more than hurricane relief, the Bush team will press to make permanent: the 15 percent tax rate on long-term capital gains and dividends, repeal of the estate tax in the near term and in the long term reform of the Alternative Minimum Tax and broader tax reform.”
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MAX SAWICKY
An economist with the Economic Policy Institute, Sawicky wrote the recent piece “Red Ink Rising.” He said today: “Not withstanding the rhetoric of ‘limited government,’ from the Republican-controlled White House and Congress, they have increased all kinds of spending rapidly. This of course includes the military budget going from $295 billion in 2000 to $495 billion for 2005, but also includes other programs as well, though debates should be had about whether that money could be spent better. … Both the Democrats and Republicans posture about the effect of their various proposals, some of which are substantial, some symbolic. Some cuts would cause harm, but spending already committed to and projected revenues will require an historic change. Both sides fiddle with the little things and ignore the big picture on the future of the budget.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167