An essay on Bush's budget...click here to read the rest...
Five years ago, when President Bush submitted his first budget, I wrote a column that began: "We are fortunate, after years of budget deficits, to finally enjoy a projected budget surplus, a real surplus separate and apart from the Social Security surplus. While this new 'on budget' surplus provides us with innumerable possibilities, it also requires us to balance how best to use our resources within a framework of fiscal responsibility. If we choose the wrong path we could return to the days of big federal deficits and all the damage they did to our economy."
Today, it is overwhelmingly clear that the President and Congress took the wrong path. The projected surpluses in 2001 would have eliminated our national debt entirely in 10 years. Instead, the President's new budget projects a debt of $11.5 trillion in five years -- a dramatic reversal and an enormous burden to pass on to our children and grandchildren. Where did the money go? An overwhelming amount went to pay for tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. For example, the top 1 percent of households, whose incomes average nearly $1.2 million each year, received an average of $35,000 in 2004 from the Bush tax cuts.
Carl Levin is the senior U.S. senator from Michigan.
Originally published February 23, 2006