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Bush who? What the 2003 tax cuts mean for your 2011 job outlook

Restoring Normalcy

Mike Yavorsky

Issue date: 9/3/10 Section: Opinion
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Bush tax cuts are set to expire soon, but if Republicans choose to extend them, much-needed unemployment benefits will be at stake.
Bush tax cuts are set to expire soon, but if Republicans choose to extend them, much-needed unemployment benefits will be at stake.
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I spent the summer in limbo, waiting to see if a job would come through. Three months later, when it finally did, I was faced with another problem. Some Case Western Reserve University students chose to stay in school over the summer, while, often, others went home and sought employment. And some of those that couldn't find a job decided to take a break. But those who couldn't find a job and refused to take a break started to act a little funny. When they heard about my job, they started to glare. And more than a few beneficent bystanders suggested I get someone to check my food, and that I sleep with a trusty cardboard tube to defend myself.

Over the summer, there's been increasing chatter about a double-dip recession. Far from a tasty treat, this brings up the looming possibility of a steady 10 percent unemployment rate. Job creation is fluctuating. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has calculated unemployment at 9 percent or higher from May 2009 through June 2010. The Gallup Organization recently announced that job creation had decreased to 7 percent nationwide. And Wells Fargo found that a plurality of small businesses plan to reduce jobs over the next 12 months.

What does this mean for you and me? It means facing more competition. It means we're generally less likely to find a job fresh out of school. It means the possibility of having to settle for unpaid internships instead of entry-level jobs. And at the highest unemployment rate in 20 years, some of us will end up collecting unemployment.

Democrats in Congress fought for months to pass a bill restoring up to 99 weeks of unemployment benefits to people who have been out of work for more than six months. It passed the Senate along partisan lines, but only after the appointment of West Virginia's Democratic interim senator Carte Goodwin. However, Republicans will almost certainly seek to curtail benefits again after the midterm elections in November.

The rallying cry for the GOP was that these unemployment benefits would add $34 billion to the deficit. What if there were a solution to that?

The Bush tax cuts are set to expire this year. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has estimated that the cost of extending the tax cuts over the next decade would be $4.4 trillion. This translates to an estimated $440 billion each year, over 10 times the amount we need for an extension of unemployment benefits.

This is not a difficult decision. The Bureau of Economic Analysis reported that federal, state, and local taxes consumed 9.2 percent of all personal income in 2009. This is the lowest percentage of personal income consumed since 1959, and the single most striking argument for putting the Bush tax cuts back in the cereal box they came from.

Why should you care? Even if you aren't graduating (and aren't as concerned about the sliver of peace of mind delivered by unemployment benefits), this issue strikes very close to home. Or school. One of Ohio's two Senate seats is currently up for reelection. In Ohio, Republican senate nominee Rob Portman has been a fierce supporter of Bush economic policy over the past decade. In 2001 and 2003, then-Representative Portman voted for the original Bush tax cuts, and it is safe to assume that he would vote to renew them if elected in November. Voting against Rob Portman should be a priority for anyone entering the job market in the next six years. This means you, CWRU.



Mike Yavorsky third-year computer engineering major with a political science minor. He also serves on the executive board of Case Medical United Nations.
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Opinion

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  • Editorial: Permanent solutions necessary to protect student safety
  • Letter to the Editor: Proud to be Greek
  • Letter to the Editor: Stronger SEC commitment to accountability, their constitution needed before they take away Greek Life's money
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