Democrats pushed for and got their beloved tax increases on the rich, saying it was necessary for a “balanced” approach to closing the budget deficit. Not that it would have come anywhere close to closing the deficit. The new tax hikes raise so little revenue that the Sandy relief bill poised to finally pass is going to eat up all of that new revenue.
The spending bill for storm recovery costs $50 billion and, coupled with an additional $9.7 billion in flood insurance money Congress passed this month, brings the total tab for Sandy to $60 billion.
Sen. Mike Lee, Utah Republican, will offer an amendment in the Senate on Monday to try to offset the $50 billion by an across-the-board half-percent cut, but it is expected to fail, meaning almost the entire $60 billion will have been tacked onto the deficit — more than eating up the money gained from the additional taxes.
“The Sandy aid packages swallowed more than the tax increases,” said Matt A. Mayer, a visiting fellow at the Heritage Foundation who has been tracking Sandy spending. “Washington just doesn’t get the severity of our fiscal condition.”