Harry Brown: “Can someone explain how there can be a surplus when we have a national debt? It’s like saying you have an extra $100 in your savings account while owing your $1,000 on your credit card.”
The surplus refers to this year’s budget — like a guy who manages to have $3,000 left over after paying all his bills. The debt is the sum of all our accumulated deficits from years past — like a guy who’s racked up a ton of credit card debt, car loans, and a mortgage. (Remember that year he earned $43,000 after taxes and spent $140,000 to buy a house? It was not necessarily imprudent to do it, but that was a particularly deep deficit year.)
The question on today’s political table is how much of the hoped-for future annual surpluses to put in each of four main pots: (a) debt reduction (like paying down your credit card balances when times are good); (b) tax cuts and credits for low- and middle-income folks; (c) tax cuts for those best off; (d) other extra spending, like beefing up the military.
The fundamental difference between the two candidates is that Governor Bush uses a big chunk of the hoped-for surplus for (c), leaving that much less for (a), (b), and (d). Vice President Gore uses none for (c), leaving that much more.
Which approach is fairest and/or best for the economy? That’s what we’re all being called upon to decide next Tuesday.
Quote of the Day
The teacher affects eternity. He can never tell where his influence stops.~Henry Adams
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