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

Lewandowski ‘fitter than ever’ for Bundesliga restart

first_imgBayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski says he feels “better than ever” following groin surgery in December.Berlin, Germany | AFP |  Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski says he is fitter than ever ahead of Sunday’s Bundesliga clash at FC Union Berlin and taking advice from World Cup record-holder Miroslav Klose.The 41-year-old Klose, who holds the record of 16 goals scored at World Cup finals, has joined Bayern’s staff and will be next to head coach Hansi Flick on the bench on Sunday.Lewandowski, 31, is enjoying the best season of his career, netting 25 goals in 23 league games and on course to better his 30-goal haul in both 2015/16 and 2016/17.The league’s top-scorer has used the time since the Bundesliga halted in mid-March, to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, to improve his fitness.“I feel better than ever before because I was able to work hard on my physical fitness for the last two months,” said Lewandowski, who underwent groin surgery in December.The Bundesliga will become the first top European league to return this weekend during the pandemic with games behind closed doors.Bayern head to Berlin with a four-point lead at the top of the table.Mid-table Union have beaten previous league leaders Dortmund and Moenchengladbach this season, but the terraces at their compact east Berlin stadium will this time be empty.Poland captain Lewandowski sent records tumbling by scoring in each of the first 11 league games this season.He is now learning from ex-Germany striker Klose, who scored 53 goals in 150 games for Bayern during his career and last week signed a year-long contract to join the coaching staff.“He was a great player and I know that he can help us with his experience and skills,” added Lewandowski.“You can learn something new from any coach to become a better player.”Union’s Swiss coach Urs Fischer will not be in charge of the hosts for Sunday’s game having broken the team’s quarantine following a family bereavement.Nevertheless, Bayern head coach Hansi Flick expects a tough match in Berlin. “They’re a team with a great mentality. We will face an aggressive team that takes the direct route to goal,” Flick said of Union.“We need to stand up and be counted. We can’t get a result just through the quality of our football.“We have to show our mentality and take on challenges.”Flick has plenty of selection options with only Philippe Coutinho, Corentin Tolisso and Niklas Suele still sidelined by long-term injuries.The Bayern boss admitted he is unsure whether the squad has the match fitness for the 90 minutes.“We had an internal friendly with three 20-minutes games on Sunday. The intensity was very high,” he said.“But we don’t know whether the whole squad will be able to hold out over 90 minutes.”Due to the German league’s hygiene guidelines, players on the Bayern bench will wear protective masks, while those on the pitch have been told to avoid handshakes or celebration hugs.Flick said his stars are briefed on what to expect.“Not much will change except for the wearing of masks in the dressing room,” he said.“We discussed with the players what they can expect.“More than 200 countries will be watching, we have an enormously large audience so we want to deliver a top performance.”Share on: WhatsApplast_img read more