President Bush unveils his $674 billion economic plan today in Chicago.
The centerpiece of the plan is the elimination of all taxes on corporate dividends paid to shareholders. That could cost $300 billion over the next ten years.
Bush stunned lawmakers in both parties with the plan. It is twice as expensive as most had been expecting and overwhelmingly favors the wealthy.
The Tax Policy Center calculates the wealthiest 1 percent of all taxpayers will receive 42 percent of the savings from making dividends to shareholders tax-free.
Bush’s announcement comes on the heels of reports that he is seeking to freeze all domestic spending programs except for Homeland Security. White House officials say the spending cap on welfare, the environment, job creation and other government programs is needed to put the budget on a war footing.
Democrats attacked the plan, saying it is for the wealthiest people in the country. Yesterday they unveiled a much smaller, alternative plan that would provide $136 billion through tax rebates, aid to state governments and expanded unemployment benefits.
Also today, the 108th Congress commences with Republicans in control of the Senate and the House. Senator Bill Frist of Tennessee is the new Senate Majority leader. Trent Lott was forced to resign from his Senate leadership position after he said the US would be better off if Strom Thurmond had been elected president in 1948 when he ran behind the slogan "Segregation Forever." But according to an article buried in the back of the A-section of The New York Times, Senator Lott will be offered the chairmanship of the Senate Rules and Administration Committee this week.
- Ralph Nader, 2000 Green Presidential candidate.