Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Tax Breaks for the Rich v. Budget Cuts for the Poor, Illustrated

From the Center for American Progress:

House leaders are unfortunately restricting their proposed budget cuts for the remainder of fiscal year 2011 to nonsecurity discretionary spending in an attempt to tame a $1.3 trillion deficit. This approach is especially shortsighted since the Federal Treasury loses twice as much revenue due to tax breaks than Congress appropriates on all nonsecurity discretionary spending.
The chart below compares the 10 safety-net programs slated for deep cuts with the cost of the tax breaks that should also be considered for reduction or elimination to bring the budget into balance. The column on the left is a list of safety-net programs that have already been targets of the House leadership’s budget ax. The column on the right is the cost to specified tax breaks.

I wish Congress would look at tax breaks and tax cuts as spending increases, because from an economic and accounting point of view, tax breaks and tax cuts are the exact same as spending increases. In this way Congress has for decades (and perhaps since the birth of this country) chosen to "spend" far more on the rich than on the poor, who of course need the spending far more than the rich.

I guess Jesus was right: "For to all those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away" (Matthew 25:29). Sigh ....

Note: No, I don't think that's what Jesus actually meant. I, along with liberation theologians everywhere, think that Jesus meant the Parable of the Talents as a critique of social/class inequality, not as some pedantic exhortation to work hard.


  1. This is so shameful . . . I know that it is the wealthy that develops companies and run the world; but at the expense of those who really need these services?? This side by side comparison of programs at risk vs. tax breaks for the wealthy will cause me a lot of thinking and a loss of sleep.

  2. I'm glad to hear that this post made you think, though I'm sorry about the sleep part ....