What Else Would $60 Billion Buy?
If you don’t read the New York Timeseconomics section, you may not be familiar with economics journalist David Leonhardt’s striking analysis of the cost of those millionaires’ tax cuts that the Republicans are intent upon preserving. Kinda makes a person think, doesn’t it?
By DAVID LEONHARDT
Published: December 4, 2010
$60 Billion: The approximate amount that extending the Bush tax cuts on income above $250,000 a year — which Congress seems on the verge of doing — will cost a year, in inflation-adjusted terms. On average, the affluent households that benefit from these cuts will save $25,000 annually. What else might that $60 billion a year buy?
•As much deficit reduction as the elimination of earmarks, President Obama’s proposed federal pay freeze, a 10 percent cut in the federal work force and a 50 percent cut in foreign aid — combined.
•A tripling of federal funding for medical research.
•Universal preschool for 3- and 4-year-olds, with relatively small class sizes.
•A much larger troop surge in Afghanistan, raising spending by 60 percent from current levels.
•A national infrastructure program to repair and upgrade roads, bridges, mass transit, water systems and levees.
•A 15 percent cut in corporate taxes.
•Twice as much money for clean-energy research as suggested by a recent bipartisan plan.
•Free college, including room and board, for about half of all full-time students, at both four- and two-year colleges.
•A $500 tax cut for all households.