October 22, 2001 04:22 PM | | Bookmark and Share

Special-interest zeal to co-opt the national crisis as an excuse for huge new upper-income tax breaks continues unabated in Washington, D.C.

As I write this, the House is on the verge of approving a bloated “stimulus” tax-cut bill that makes a mockery of the previous bipartisan agreement between congressional leaders and the administration that additional stimulus measures should be temporary and limited to a total of $50-75 billion. Instead, House Republicans have put forward a laundry list of new tax breaks, some explicitly permanent, that are officially expected to cost a staggering $212 billion over the next three fiscal years— and who knows how much thereafter.

With typical dishonesty, the bill’s backers are characterizing it as a $99 billion measure, by referring only to its first-year cost. Sadly, the press is going along with this charade.

Two-thirds of this latest round of GOP tax cuts would go to corporations. The individual tax changes, which include a 10 percent drop in capital gains taxes, are also sharply tilted towards the wealthy. Overall, almost three-quarters of the total tax reductions next year (including the benefits to capital owners from the corporate breaks) would go to the top tenth of all taxpayers. That includes the 41 percent that would go the bestoff one percent, whose average tax cut in 2002 would be almost $27,000 each.

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