Wellstone Expresses Concern Over Shrinking Surplus Unbalanced Bush Tax Cuts Paint Bleak Fiscal Future, Crowd Out Investments in Education, Medicare Prescription Drugs
St. Paul, MN -- 08.22.01 | U.S. Senator Paul Wellstone (D-MN) expressed concern today over new budget figures released by the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) showing that the previously projected non-Medicare, non-Social Security surplus for 2001 of $90 billion is gone. OMB's new revised surplus figures also show that for the longer term, only $575 billion of non-Social Security surpluses are projected over the next 10 years. In April, those estimates were $2.745 trillion.
The two major reasons for the dramatic decline in budget surplus estimates are a slowing economy and the Bush taxcuts. Wellstone described the Bush tax cuts as fiscally irresponsible, and said they will harshly affect future investments in national priorities such as education and establishment of a Medicare prescription drug benefit.
"Today's headlines are ominous for the fiscal health of our nation. But they are merely harbingers of the economic disaster that lurks in out future if we don't change course. It is 2002 and future fiscal years where we really need to worry about the massive drain of the Bush cuts on the treasury. This year the cost of the tax cuts is relatively modest and yet we are already being forced to tighten our belts and talk about forgoing important new investments in education, and healthcare," Wellstone said. "The new budget surplus estimates released today by OMB are a glimpse of what's to come: the surpluses celebrated at the beginning of this year have all but been eroded by a combination of the slowing economy and the Bush tax cuts."
"The President's reckless tax cuts were a Robin Hood-in-reverse raid on the federal Treasury with 40% of the benefit going to richest 1% of Americans. They also leave very little surplus left for education, for reforming Social Security, for a prescription drug benefit, or for environmental conservation. I supported the economic stimulus portion of the tax cuts - the rebate checks that many Americans have already begun to receive - to address the slowing economy. In fact, it was Congressional Democrats who insisted on including a stimulus this year in the first place - it wasn't in the President's proposal," Wellstone said.
Wellstone said a successful amendment he offered earlier this year with Senator Harkin (D-IA) to assure full funding of special education (IDEA) programs - bringing approximately $169 million per year in additional funding for special education students in Minnesota -- would now be endangered by the Bush management of the economy.