Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Bush's Budget Moves Have Made the Future a Voiceless Victim

    Bush's Budget Moves Have Made the Future a Voiceless Victim
    By Ronald Brownstein
    The Los Angeles Times
    Monday 10 January 2005
    It may be difficult to believe, but as the debate on Social Security begins, what Washington needs most is another lobbying group. This one would advocate for the interests of Americans not yet born.
    Concern for future generations has been scarce in the capital's recent fiscal decisions. First, President Bush muscled through Congress a series of massive tax cuts that showered benefits on today's taxpayers but left future taxpayers the prospect of unending federal budget deficits. Then, after a bidding war between the two parties, Congress approved and Bush signed an expensive new prescription drug benefit for seniors.
    Over the next 75 years, the best estimate is that Bush's tax cuts will cost from $10 trillion to $12 trillion. The prescription drug bill will cost about $8 trillion. All this comes while bills mount for the global war against terrorism. In essence, we've voted ourselves more services and lower taxes and billed both to our children through a higher national debt that is soaring again after shrinking in the late 1990s.
    The combined cost of the tax cut and prescription drug benefit is about five times larger than the projected gap between Social Security's revenue and its promised benefits over the next 75 years. Yet Washington has decided that the Social Security shortfall is the real crisis. So the administration is discussing changes that would sharply reduce guaranteed Social Security benefits for young workers while protecting benefits for those at or near retirement today....