Today marks the 10th anniversary of former President George W. Bush signing into law his 2001 tax cuts (he passed a second round in 2003). While doing so, Bush promised prosperity and growth, but the nation got neither.
The cost of these budget-busting 2001 and 2003 tax cuts was, as estimated by Citizens for Tax Justice, roughly $2.5 trillion through 2010. But America didn’t have to go down this route of cutting taxes and hoping for growth to miraculously appear. There were other policy options available to policymakers.
ThinkProgress, using data on various social spending projects from the National Priorities Project — which does these calculations for the cost of the Iraq and Afghan wars — has estimated ten other possible policies we could’ve paid for at the same $2.5 trillion price of the Bush tax cuts.
While not all of these policies are currently performed by the federal government, they do represent an accurate calculation of the monetary tradeoffs, and each one individually would cost the same as the Bush tax cuts. Here are ten alternatives we could’ve pursued instead:
- Give 122.7 Million Children Low-Income Health Care Every Year For Ten Years
- Give 49.2 Million People Access To Low-Income Healthcare Every Year For Ten Years
- Provide 43.1 Million Students With Pell Grants Worth $5,500 Every Year For Ten Years