Dooh Nibor Economics

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Editor:

Recently, the Washington Post got hold of an Office of Management and Budget memo that directed federal agencies to prepare for post-election cuts in programs that George Bush has been touting on the campaign trail. These include nutrition for women, infants and children; Head Start; and homeland security. The numbers match those on a computer printout leaked earlier this year -- the one that administration officials loudly claimed did not reflect policy.

It has long been clear that the Bush administration's claim that it can simultaneously pursue war, large tax cuts and a "compassionate" agenda doesn't add up. Now we have direct confirmation that the White House is engaged in bait and switch -- that it intends to pursue a not-at-all-compassionate agenda after this year's election.

That agenda is to impose Dooh Nibor economics -- Robin Hood in reverse.

The end result of current policies will be a large-scale transfer of income from the middle class to the very affluent, in which about 80 percent of the population will lose and the bulk of the gains will go to people with incomes of more than $200,000 per year. In fact, the 257,000 taxpayers with incomes of more than $1 million received a bigger combined tax cut than the 85 million taxpayers who make up the bottom 60 percent of the population.

Still, won't most of us gain something? No -- because the tax cuts must eventually be offset with spending cuts.

The modest tax cuts received by the great majority of Americans are, in a fundamental sense, fraudulent. It's as if someone expected gratitude for giving you a gift, when he actually bought it using your credit card.

Of course, we voters would never support this agenda if we understood it. That's why dishonesty -- as illustrated by the administration's consistent reliance on phony accounting, and now by the business with the budget cut memo -- is such a central feature of the White House political strategy.

Right now, it seems that the 2004 election will be a referendum on Mr. Bush's calamitous foreign policy. But something else is at stake: whether we and his party can lock in the unassailable political position they need to proceed with their pro-rich, anti-middle-class economic strategy.

And, no, I'm not engaging in class warfare. They are.

Larry Brophy, Payson

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