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Paul O'Neill on Tax Reform


Tax cuts coming just when the economy needs it

The first installment of the tax cuts took effect July 1, but only for an estimated 35 million middle- and upper-income taxpayers, [and only for] a few dollars a week. The reduction does not affect the 15% bracket, which includes an estimated 95 million taxpayers; [they will have to wait for refund checks beginning in late July]. Most economists say the combined impact will be about 1/2% on the nation’s GDP. “Cutting income tax rates is the strongest fiscal policy stimulus for our economy,” said Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill. “And it is happening exactly when the economy needs it.”

Democratic critics of the tax cut say that’s a meager economic return for a measure that costs an estimated $1.35 trillion over 10 years. Sen. Kent Conrad (D, ND) said the tax cut will eventually force “raids” on the Social Security and Medicare trust funds to make good on commitments like national defense and education spending. “I fear we are facing a real problem,” said Conrad.

Source: CNN.com Jul 2, 2001

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