DEMOCRAT 2009 BUDGET WOULD HIKE TAXES BY $683 BILLION
Democrats' fiscal year 2009 budget resolution may have passed the Senate late Thursday, but it did not pass muster with Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and other fiscal conservatives.
Hatch voted against the Democrats' $3 trillion Senate Budget Resolution (S. Con. Res. 70), which he said would saddle Americans with the largest tax increase in U.S. history - a whopping $683 billion over five years.
"This budget would hike taxes by an unprecedented amount, unleash ruinous spending and do dire harm to our economy," Hatch said following the Senate's vote. "What's more, the resolution does not address looming problems that represent a very real danger to our nation's fiscal health and future."
While the Democrats' nonbinding budget blueprint doesn't specifically call for a tax increase, it does not prevent Bush's 2001 and 2003 tax cuts from expiring in 2010, which means taxes will skyrocket. Once the resulting sticker shock sets in, Hatch said, taxpayers will receive quite a jolt.
As for Democratic leaders' contention that allowing tax cuts to expire isn't the same as raising taxes, the Utah senator had some advice: Try selling that one to 43 million American families who will owe, on average, $2,300 more, or to the 18 million seniors - many on fixed incomes -- who will have to dig deeper to pay an average of $2,200 more. Then there are the 27 million small businesses that will be laden with another $4,100 apiece in taxes.
Contrary to Democrats' assurances the tax hikes will only affect rich and affluent citizens, the Democrats' budget will impose tax hikes on Americans earning as little as $31,850 and married couples making $63,700, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
While short on tax relief, Sen. Con. Res. 70 is long on spending. Hatch said it provides for $1.085 trillion in discretionary spending, $22 billion more than the president's request. This year's resolution calls for $210 billion (over five years) more in spending than last year's budget - a total that promises to balloon to even more enormous amounts.
If that isn't enough for the Senate to start feeling Americans' pain, Hatch said, maybe the coming fiscal crisis with entitlement programs will be. He noted the Government Accountability Office predicts spending on Medicare and Medicaid alone will grow about 230 percent between now and 2032. The nation's gross domestic product (GDP) will increase about 70 percent over that same period.
"The sad truth is that we are nearly bankrupt as a nation," Hatch said. "Within a few years, we will be unless something is done. This budget not only ignores those problems, but exacerbates them to an alarming degree. We can't afford to let that continue."