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Sunday, April 9, 2006

It's the economy, stupid

We can foam at the mouth over the shredding of the Constitution, the hypocritical leaks, the torture of innocents, or the criminal activity in Iraq, but at the end of the day, elections will be won or lost on the economy.

While polls may show Iraq on top as a voter concern today, always clustered near the top are: economy, jobs, social security, budget deficits, energy costs and health care. These are the economic issues. Yes, even health care. It will be sold on its economics, not its value as a social program. Business, government and consumers are going to go broke without a comprehensive fix.

The GOP is driving us down the road to ruin.

If you like charts, check out the Center on Budget & Policy Priorities slideshow on the current fiscal debacle going on in DC.

When he took office, George Bush was presented with projections of $5.6 trillion in surpluses over a 10-year period. He and his compliant Congress have turned that into $3.4 trillion in deficits. That's $9 trillion in losses. Or $900 billion per year. This is through 2011. The longer term is bleaker.

Where did the money go?

Tax cuts ate one-half, Defense increases ate one-third, Entitlement increases ate one-tenth.

In their latest budget excercise, Bush & Co cut Medicaid, foster care, student loans, child support enforcement, K-12 education, energy, environment, transportation, veterans medical care, and shifting costs to states in massive amounts, Bush & Co. and at the same time increased the deficit by $168 billion. Tax cuts.

Up until now, GOP tax cuts have meant $500,000 per year for people making $10 million or more according to the New York Times. CBPP estimates millionaires averaged $110,000, the top 1% got $40,000, the top 20% got $5,400, and the family in the middle got $748 -- hardly enough to sink an economy for.

The tax cuts that went into effect on January 1 were worth one dollar if you made between $75,000 and $100,000 per year. Below that, zilch. Above that, you're in the money. $20,000 if you made $1 million or more.

My favorite politician is Chris Gregoire. It used to be Senator John Kerry, but he didn't play the Economy card like he should have, being focused on Iraq. If he'd played it, it would be President Kerry. Same thing with Al Gore. His issue was Character.

But as Bill Clinton used to say, It's the economy, stupid.