Barring Double-Dip Recession, Bush Won't Get Tax Cuts

By John S. McClenahen It's tough for Congress to just say no to voter-appealing tax cuts in an election year. But that's exactly what the House and Senate are likely to do to some White House proposals between Sept. 3, when the lawmakers return from their summer recess and election day, Nov. 5. The major reasons: the so-far lackluster U.S. recovery from last year's recession and the deepening federal deficit. To revive the economy, President George W. Bush is championing, among other things, reducing capital gains tax rates and raising the ceiling on contributions to 401(k) plans and Individual Retirement Accounts. But Congress is concerned about the tens of billions of dollars in tax revenue would cost the Treasury, particularly at a time when the costs of anti-terrorism actions could dramatically escalate. Maury Harris, chief U.S. economist at UBS Warburg LLC, New York, has it right: Absent a U.S. return to recession, "we doubt Congress will approve such changes."

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