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Bush Refuses To Increase Taxes To Pay For Hurricane Relief

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This is completely expected, and completely sad.

Simply put, if the man and his advisors won’t even CONSIDER raising taxes (even for a brief time) so that important federal programs won’t get hit hard, then I’ve lost even more respect for this Administration.

One day after pledging to undertake one of history’s largest reconstruction efforts, President Bush served notice yesterday that rebuilding the hurricane-ravaged Gulf Coast will require spending cuts elsewhere in the federal budget.

Amid growing concern among congressional Republicans about the huge cost of the planned reconstruction effort, Bush said the federal government can foot the bill without resorting to a tax increase. “You bet it’s going to cost money. But I’m confident we can handle it,” Bush said. “It’s going to mean that we’re going to have to cut unnecessary spending.”

And this one about still being able to cut the deficit in half by 2009 is a beauty.

Bush pledged to find some spending cuts. But he offered no specifics, and his chief economic aide, Allan B. Hubbard, dismissed the rebuilding effort’s impact on the longer-term effort to reduce the budget deficit. “This in no way will adversely impact his commitment to cut the deficit in half by 2009,” he said.

Okay, so let’s see. We could be paying upwards of $200 billion for this relief effort, we’re going to have to cut federal spending to pay for it, we won’t raise taxes, we’re going to be giving the people of the Gulf region even MORE tax incentives (a good thing) and this will “in no way will adversely impact his commitment to cut the deficit in half by 2009.”

Forgive me if I’m a bit leary of a statement like that.

Now, should we raise taxes? I don’t know. But I certainly think the option should AT LEAST be on the table and discussed with the American people, in much the same way that Bush tried to sell Social Security reform, only this time it’s actually a discussion.

But as we’ve seen, Bush would never be able to handle a situation like that. His events are highly scripted, and he’s not very quick on his feet when faced with difficult questions that challenge his ideology.

I’m not surprised that Bill Clinton agrees with me.

Say what you will about the man, but his presidency was marked by a moderate, common sense approach to our world and politics.

I wish we would see more of that now.