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What else would $60 billion buy?

I thought it was worth a cut and paste of this article from David Leonhardt, author of the Economix blog for the New York Times.

One doesn't have to choose political sides in the ongoing debate about the 'Bush tax cuts' to see that by extending the tax cuts for those whose incomes are above what one might call a middle class income will create an even larger deficit. An additional $600 billion over ten years. Here's Leonhardt's list of what $60 billion could buy us each year if we didn't give it away to the rich. It appears to be a no-brainer that we could put people to work and help the economy:

$60 Billion: The approximate amount that extending the Bush tax cuts on income above $250,000 a year — which Congress seems on the verge of doing — will cost a year, in inflation-adjusted terms. On average, the affluent households that benefit from these cuts will save $25,000 annually. What else might that $60 billion a year buy?

Economix Blog: More on the Numbers

• As much deficit reduction as the elimination of earmarks, President Obama’s proposed federal pay freeze, a 10 percent cut in the federal work force and a 50 percent cut in foreign aid — combined.

• A tripling of federal funding for medical research.

• Universal preschool for 3- and 4-year-olds, with relatively small class sizes.

• A much larger troop surge in Afghanistan, raising spending by 60 percent from current levels.

• A national infrastructure program to repair and upgrade roads, bridges, mass transit, water systems and levees.

• A 15 percent cut in corporate taxes.

• Twice as much money for clean-energy research as suggested by a recent bipartisan plan.

• Free college, including room and board, for about half of all full-time students, at both four- and two-year colleges.

• A $500 tax cut for all households.

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