Posts Tagged: deficit hawks

Will fiscal hawks devour unemployment benefits?

The U.S. Dept. of Labor estimates that 124,000 people in Illinois, 2 million nationally, would be impacted by Congress not passing an extension of unemployment insurance benefits. The benefits expire Nov. 30. Yet as Sean F. Driscoll of the Rockford Register Star reports, there is a very good chance that the lame duck Congress will not get around to this.

Driscoll contextualizes how remarkable it would be if benefits were not extended. (more…)

If You’re Rich, 2010 Will Be a Great Year to Die

So explains the New York Times’ Carl Hulse: the estate tax on assets passed on to heirs will expire completely starting Jan. 1. Then, it will return at a 55 percent rate in 2011 for those with more than one million worth of assets. The estate or “death tax,” as its Republican detractors call it, is currently set at a 45 percent rate and it only kicks in if you have assets of at least $3.5 million.

Hulse ably answers questions of “huh?” and “What’s going on here?” The very short answer is that the one-year death of the death tax is a quirk of George W. Bush’s tax cuts for the rich. The estate tax generates $25 billion a year in revenue for the federal government, which is trillions in debt. Annual revenues from the tax are more than what the Agricultural Dept. is spending on recession-based increases in food stamps. Yet I’ve not heard a single deficit hawk taking to the Senate floor protesting the tax’s one-year demise. Maybe it’s just impolite for politicians to discuss the ailing rich.

2010 Appropriations and the “Deficit Hawks”

There is a lot going on in an article by the Washington Post’s Paul Kane about Congress’s last-minute efforts to fund the federal government in 2010. Embedded within the piece is a demonstration of the hypocrisy of so-called deficit hawks, who publicly say reducing the national debt is an urgent national priority.

Kane introduces the concept of a “debt limit” which is Congressional appropriator’s answer to the 24-second shot clock in the NBA.  It’s pretty arbitrary but it’s also for the overall good. Right now, this debt limit — an aggregation of federal deficit spending accumulated through the years — is $12.1 trillion. (more…)