Reasonably Ascertainable Reality

Thoughts and musings on current events and other random occurrences.

Location: South Jersey, United States

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Interesting Budget Analysis

How's that for a post title? Reasonably Ascertainable Reality -- sponsoring naps everywhere!

Check out this article by Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone regarding some interesting 2008 Bush Administration budget analysis done by the office of Congressmen Bernie Sanders.

A teaser:

Sanders's office came up with some interesting numbers here. If the Estate Tax were to be repealed completely, the estimated savings to just one family -- the Walton family, the heirs to the Wal-Mart fortune -- would be about $32.7 billion dollars over the next ten years.

The proposed reductions to Medicaid over the same time frame? $28 billion.

Some other notable estimate estate tax breaks, versus corresponding cuts:

  • Cox family (Cox cable TV) receives $9.7 billion tax break while education would get $1.5 billion in cuts
  • Nordstrom family (Nordstrom dept. stores) receives $826.5 million tax break while Community Service Block Grants would be eliminated, a $630 million cut
  • Ernest Gallo family (shitty wines) receives a $468.4 million cut while LIHEAP (heating oil to poor) would get a $420 million cut

And so on and so on. Sanders additionally pointed out that the family of former Exxon/Mobil CEO Lee Raymond, who received a $400 million retirement package, would receive about $164 million in tax breaks. Compare that to the Commodity Supplemental Food Program, which Bush proposes be completely eliminated, at a savings of $108 million over ten years. The program sent one bag of groceries per month to 480,000 seniors, mothers and newborn children.

Listen, I can understand arguments regarding capitalistic tendancies and "making and keeping" your own money. But budget development is a series of choices. Choices regarding the good of the country and society. ALL OF SOCIETY. Is repealing the estate tax, which affects approximately the top 2/10ths of the top 1% of the people in this country, really as important as cutting funding for Medicaid, which provided health care services to approximately 40 million people in 2002 -- 18.4 million of them children?

h/t: Pandagon

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