by Lindsay Sobel
The American Prospect magazine, April 2001
George W. Bush has crisscrossed the country touting his top
political priority-a giant tax cut. While consistently exaggerating
the benefit to the middle class, he has unfailingly neglected
to mention that he would give the wealthiest 1 percent of families
43 percent of the tax cuts. The tax break for the top 1 percent
amounts to $774 billion over 10 years. Here is a look at what
else the country could do with that whopping lump of cash over
the next decade (mostly based on year 2000 expenditures). Shop
* New Teachers. Pay almost two million teachers' salaries
for 10 years.
* Student Aid. Increase the federal Pell Grant budget 88-fold
or multiply federal student loans 18 times.
* Class-Size Reductions. Multiply federal spending for smaller
classes in the nation's schools 193 times.
* Preschool. Fund preschool for all of the nation's four-year-olds
almost eight times over (based on a cost estimate by the Brookings
Institution's Isabel Sawhill).
* Crumbling Schools. Multiply federal contributions to school
renovation by a factor of 59 (compared with the estimated expenditure
* Police Officers. Pay two million police officers' salaries
for 10 years.
* Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services. Multiply federal
spending on substance abuse and mental health services 29 times.
* National Health Research. Quadruple the National Institutes
of Health's budget or increase funding for the National Cancer
* Prescription Drugs. Fully fund a comprehensive Medicare
prescription drug benefit for senior citizens (see "Bush's
Prescriptions" on facing page).
* Family Support. Nearly quadruple the federal outlays, for
welfare, child care, and child support enforcement. ,
* Housing Assistance. More than quadruple federal, housing
* Domestic Food Aid. Multiply spending on the supple- ,. mental
food program Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) 19 times or almost
quadruple the federal Food Stamp budget. ~
* International Food Aid. Increase food assistance to j foreign
* Transportation Spending. Double the amount that Washington
spends to support mass transit, highways, and aviation.
* Natural Resources and the Environment. Triple the total
expenditures on natural resources, pollution control, and Superfund
* Farm Support. Quadruple what the nation pays to stabilize
* Family Tax Credits. Triple-fund the Earned Income Tax Credit
for the working poor and the child tax credit.
* Middle-Class Tax Cuts. More than double Bush's tax cut for
the bottom 80 percent of Americans.