Cultural Revolutions

An Insulting Budget

President Clinton's $1.77 trillion budget proposal is an insult, and not just to the GOP-dominated Congress that will not pass it; It is an insult to the intelligence of the American people.

Predictably, Sen. Pete Domenici, Republican point-man on budget, and new Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert both condemned the plan to raise taxes by cutting corporate loopholes and imposing new taxes on tobacco. While the Republicans were noisily pointing out that any budget surplus belongs to the taxpayers, they were quietly agreeing with the President that as much as two thirds of future surpluses should be used to bail out Social Security. Allan Greenspan, however, has told both the President and Congress that such surpluses fall short of what is required to fix Social Security (that is, to pay this baby-boomer off). To make the system solvent, says Greenspan, we need to raise taxes, cut benefits, or both.

Someone (or nearly everyone) is lying. Either Mr. Greenspan is telling the truth—and both the Democrats and Republicans are lying to us about the surplus—or the Federal Reserve Board chairman is a liar who has to be removed from office. The dirty secret that every talk-radio listener knows is that there is no budget surplus: The national debt went up in 1998, not down, but we are continuing to spend Social Security money on the boondoggle projects demanded by those who contribute to the political campaigns of...

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