Actually, it’s really a cool trillion over five years. Eyeball the graph Philip Klein posted this afternoon and admire the left’s sleight of hand. They’re using a 10-year timeline to create the illusion that the program costs $100 billion a year or so. In fact, it’ll be more than $200 billion once it gets going, which won’t happen until 2014, and that’s assuming that the cost projections aren’t wildly over-optimistic the way every other projection they’ve made this year has turned out to be. In fact, the trillion-dollar figure doesn’t even account for all expenses; as MKH notes, the CBO has yet to compute “administrative costs” of implementing the program or the effect it’ll have on other areas of federal spending. Still, give The One credit for consistency: Whether it’s borrowing from future generations to pay for the stimulus or hiding the costs of his health-care boondoggle by backloading them, he’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.
Or, more precisely, the rich will pay. For now.
To help pay for the estimated $1 trillion bill, lawmakers have decided to tax the wealthy. A married couple making more than $350,000 and less than $500,000 would be hit with a 1 percent tax, those making between $500,000 and $1 million would be assessed a 1.5 percent tax and those making more than $1 million would see a 5.4 percent surtax added to their tax bill. Some of the rates could climb if anticipated savings from elsewhere in the bill did not materialize.
Factor in the likelihood of cost overruns and the dismal prospects for an economic recovery anytime soon and you’ve got a massive program that’s growing being paid for by a tax base that’s shrinking. And if you can’t shrink the program, you necessarily have to expand the tax base. Memo to Axelrod and Emanuel, who are now threatening to cram this crap sandwich down America’s throat on a pure party-line vote if the GOP doesn’t play ball: Go for it.