Senate chooses to be fiscally irresponsible

first_imgCategories: Editorial, Opinion Congress would cut tax rates – particularly for corporations, which face a relatively high nominal rate – but would recoup the revenue by closing tax loopholes and ending big tax breaks.Both sides of this plan would help the economy.Lowering corporate rates would make the United States a more attractive place to do business.Ending tax breaks would fight tax gaming by the wealthy and cut unneeded government interference in private decisions about where to invest money.The result would be a fairer and more efficient tax code, without adding a penny to the debt.Republicans and Democrats should be able to agree on such a policy.But as the plan has developed, Republicans have balked at doing the hard stuff – that is, raising revenue. Instead of clipping their ambitions to reduce tax rates so that it continued to line up with their willingness to offset them, Republicans have steadily gravitated toward simply not paying for them.The Senate on Thursday put a number on its fiscal recklessness, giving itself permission to leave $1.5 trillion in tax cuts unpaid-for.Republicans respond that the way these numbers have to be officially counted makes them look worse than reality.The reasoning is complex, but the bottom line is simple: They want to use a budgeting gimmick that previous congresses have properly declined to exploit.The tax plan’s backers also argue that the cut will spur economic growth, which will eventually return more money to the Treasury than traditional budget calculations would suggest.The myth that tax cuts pay for themselves has been debunked by both economic theory and practical experience.While some “dynamic” effects are possible, they are hard to predict and certainly not as large as tax-cut enthusiasts claim. The Senate late Thursday narrowly approved a budget plan that could cost the nation dearly.The goal is a massive tax cut with uncertain benefits for most Americans, in an economy that does not require the sort of short-term jolt that deficit-financed tax cuts are good for.The price tag is $1.5 trillion in new debt over 10 years.The bad news is that several Republicans who previously expressed deep concern about the country’s shaky finances voted for the budget outline, clearing the way for this foolish plan.The good news is that they still have a chance to show that they are not irresponsible hypocrites.Thursday’s vote was just the first step in a long process of hashing out exactly what the tax cut would look like – and, therefore, how damaging it would be.This policy push began with a much better idea: real tax reform. There is still time for reason to prevail.Before the Senate voted for fiscal irresponsibility, the House passed a budget plan calling for revenue-neutral tax reform.This concept must be revived as the action turns to congressional committees, which will fill in the crucial details – which taxes will be cut, by how much, with which offsets.At the end of this process, the chambers must vote again on the whole package.The senators who surrendered to fiscal cowardice on Thursday will have one last chance to prove themselves responsible.Several Republicans who previously expressed deep concern about the country’s shaky finances voted for the budget outline, clearing the way for this foolish plan.More from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristslast_img read more

Room service?

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Demanding times

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Lend Lease hit by A$60m writedowns

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Salisbury

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Japanese renew investment in the City

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Local knowledge

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Brains behind Bluewater

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Head of hospital dies in coronavirus epicenter; global economic impact spreads

first_imgAsian shares fell and Wall Street was poised to retreat from record highs on Tuesday after the news.South Korean President Moon Jae-in said the economy was in an emergency situation and required stimulus as the epidemic had disrupted demand for South Korean goods.Singapore announced a US$4.5-billion financial package to help contain the outbreak in the city-state and weather its economic impact.In Hong Kong, leader Carrie Lam said the government would increase handouts to tackle the outbreak to HK$28 billion ($3.60 billion) from HK$25 billion, as it strives to ease the impact on the Chinese-ruled city’s protest-battered economy.Singapore Airlines Ltd said it would temporarily cut flights in the three months to May, as the epidemic hits demand for services touching and transiting the key travel hub.As global businesses sought to limit exposure to the virus, health authorities around the world searched for medical weapons.The president of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China, Joerg Wuttke, said the world’s pharmacies may face a shortage of antibiotics and other drugs if the outbreak cannot be resolved soon, and accused Beijing of making supply-chain problems worse.Japan announced plans to use HIV drugs to combat the virus as a growing number of cases posed an increasing threat to the world’s third-largest economy, as well as public health. With 520, Japan has the most cases outside China.With Japan’s economy contracting, raising the risk of a recession, the spread of the virus has prompted Tokyo to put limits on public crowds while some companies are telling employees to work from home.The number of new daily infections in mainland China had not been below 2,000 since Jan. 30, while the daily death toll had not fallen below 100 since Feb. 11.Outside China, there are 827 cases in 26 countries and regions and five deaths, according to a Reuters count based on official statements.Chinese authorities say the stabilization in the number of new cases is a sign that measures they have taken to halt the spread of the disease are having an effect.Global health authorities had to keep on guard against a wider outbreak, said Jimmy Whitworth, a professor of international public health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.”We can hope that the reports of falling numbers of new cases in China do show that the epidemic has peaked in Hubei province, but it is still too early to be sure,” he said, referring to the central province where the outbreak began.World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Chinese data “appear to show a decline in new cases” but any apparent trend “must be interpreted very cautiously”.Topics : The head of a leading hospital in China’s central city of Wuhan, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, died of the disease on Tuesday as Apple Inc warned its sales would suffer because of the epidemic, casting a chill on global stock markets.Chinese state television said Liu Zhiming, the director of Wuhan Wuchang Hospital, died at 10:30 a.m, the seventh health worker to fall victim. The hospital was designated to solely treat virus-infected patients.The number of new coronavirus cases in mainland China fell below 2,000 for the first time since January but the virus remains far from contained. The total death toll in China has climbed to 1,868, the National Health Commission said. There were 1,886 new confirmed infections, for a total of 72,436.China’s lockdown of cities and tough curbs on travel and movement have limited the spread of the virus outside the epicenter, but at great cost to the economy and global business.More than two dozen trade fairs and industry conferences have been postponed because of travel curbs and concerns about the spread of the virus, potentially disrupting deals worth billions of dollars.Apple became the latest company to warn of trouble, saying it would not meet its guidance for March-quarter revenue because of slower iPhone production and weaker demand in China.last_img read more

At least eight killed in shootings in Germany: Police

first_imgAt least eight people were killed in two shootings late Wednesday near the German city of Frankfurt, with an unknown number of attackers still at large, police said.The shootings targeted shisha bars in Hanau, about 20 kilometres (12 miles) from Frankfurt, according to local media, and police launched a huge manhunt in the town of around 90,000 people.The first attack occurred at a bar in the centre of the city around 10pm (2100 GMT), police and reports said. Witnesses reported hearing a dozen shots, local media said. The attacker, or attackers, then fled the scene by car, according to police. There was then a second shooting.According to local media reports, three people were killed in front of the first bar and five in front of the second.Germany has been targeted in recent years by several extremist attacks, one of which killed 12 people in the heart of Berlin in December 2016. Topics :last_img read more