Now let me say that the chances of this bill passing the Senate are slim, and even if it were approved it is certain that President Clinton would veto the bill. So this discussion is hypothetical at best. Nevertheless, there are some key issues that should be debated.
Congressman Bill Archer argues that there will be a $1.6 trillion budget surplus over the next ten years. His bill set aside 90 percent to save Social Security and used 10 percent of the surplus to reduce the tax burden on working families. His argument is that it's our money, and we deserve a tax break.
Opponents argue that the surplus is an illusion since the surplus only comes from the continued borrowing against Social Security. While that is certainly correct, I'm amazed at how many politicians and people in the media are suddenly worried about borrowing from the Social Security trust fund. Democratic and Republican Congresses have been doing that for years. But all of a sudden we hear a fuss about it when we want to cut taxes. Why wasn't that an argument for cutting federal spending?
The bill would eliminate the marriage penalty by raising the standard deduction for 48 million couples. It would encourage savings by making the first $200-400 in interest/dividend income tax-exempt. It also has lots of provisions to help senior citizens, farmers, and families. But it won't see the light of day.
It's a pretty sad commentary that the first time we see a federal surplus, critics charge that it isn't really a surplus and that's why you don't deserve a tax cut. And let me ask you, if we don't get a tax cut during an election year, what do you think the chances are we will see a tax cut in a non-election year?
I'm Kerby Anderson of Probe Ministries, and that's my opinion.
© 1998 Probe Ministries International