14 April, 2004

Okay, this is old hat by now (circa January), but still well worth reading: the IMF released an occassional paper on Bush fiscal policy. Or, rather, on Bush fiscal irresponsibility. They give light praise for efforts to switch from a personal- and corporate-incom-based tax system to a consumption-based tax system (i.e. sales taxes) but then come down hard on runaway debt. This is a killer:
The United States is on course to increase its net external liabilities to around 40 percent of GDP within the next few years—an unprecedented level of external debt for a large industrial country
It degenerates from there: their recommendations on how to deal with the resulting Social Security/Medicare crisis range from raising taxes (which they reject as damaging) to fucking over old people (which they don't seem to mind at all) to privatizing the whole mess (which, commendably, they admit will leave old people twisting in the fierce winds of market fluctuations).

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