Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Excuse Us While We Fall Through This Rabbit Hole

OK, full disclosure. We never liked economics. Just don't get it. So you got your supply and your demand, but when you've got someone "supplying" us with something we really don't want or need then they have to create the demand which means the supplier controls the demand, so the whole equation gets skewed. So is that the relationship we should be studying instead of how slick the supplier is at getting us to want something we wouldn't ordinarily want. You see our dilemma.

Which is why we're going to need someone to explain this to us.

President Bush touted new deficit figures Tuesday showing considerable improvement upon earlier administration predictions, saying it shows the wisdom of his tax cuts. Bush said the improvement is due to tax cuts he pushed in 2001 and 2003. Impressive profits and big income gains by the wealthy are largely responsible for the surge in revenues and, in turn, the deficit drop.

So, the deficit went down because the president cut taxes leading to an increase in taxes paid to the government. All together now...Whaaaa?

"Economic growth fueled by tax relief has sent our tax revenues soaring," Bush said. "But that's nothing compared to how much more money my corporate friends are making. Heck they're raking in so much they aren't even bothering to shelter it from the government anymore. Now is that economic growth or what?"

When asked if he felt his tax policy had improved economic conditions for groups in America other than corporations and the wealthy, Bush replied that he wasn't aware that there were other groups. "You aren't talking about immigrants are you? You mean the guest workers?"

"Any statistic you look at recognizes the rich in America are getting richer, the poor are getting poorer and the middle class is getting squeezed." said Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Imafeistyguy.

"Oh, you mean democrats," Bush replied. "Yeah. Whatever."

However, the results are less impressive when compared to the $318 billion deficit posted last fall for fiscal 2005. Despite strong revenues, the high costs of the Iraq war and Gulf Coast hurricane relief have weighed on the deficit — as have higher interest payments paid on the national debt. "Look, this whole 'put it in context' thing is beginning to annoy me," the president said. "The American people don't want the big picture. Heck, they don't even want the little picture. Why do you think they elected me twice? OK, once, but it was the second time. More people voted for American Idol than for me. You really think they want me to take this stuff seriously?"

"Bold pro-growth tax policies enacted by a sycophant Congress and the clueless president have sparked unprecedented economic growth," said Senate Budget Committee Chairman Judd Gregg, R-Smoochisbutt, "Uhh...unless you're one of those people who has to work for a living."

"We've had extraordinarily good profit growth, and when you have better profit growth than wage growth you tend to have windfall tax revenues because taxes on profits are higher than taxes on wages," said Diane Swonk, chief economist for Mesirow Financial, a Chicago-based financial services firm. "Or, to look at it another way, people who are two paychecks from living in poverty don't tend to pay a lot of taxes. But we're working on that."

Some budget experts say the steep rise in tax receipts looks more impressive than it really is since revenues are bouncing back from a three-year decline during Bush's first term, drops not seen since the Great Depression. "There's that 'context' thing again." Bush said. I told you guys to quit doing that. Don't make me get the vice president down here."

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