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Dec 6 / Jonathan

Tax cuts in perspective

The tax-cut extension for incomes over $250K would cost $60 billion a year. Is that a lot? Here’s David Leonhardt’s list of alternatives.

  • As much deficit reduction as the elimination of earmarks, President Obama’s proposed federal pay freeze, a 10 percent cut in the federal work force and a 50 percent cut in foreign aid — combined.
  • A tripling of federal funding for medical research.
  • Universal preschool for 3- and 4-year-olds, with relatively small class sizes.
  • A much larger troop surge in Afghanistan, raising spending by 60 percent from current levels.
  • A national infrastructure program to repair and upgrade roads, bridges, mass transit, water systems and levees.
  • A 15 percent cut in corporate taxes.
  • Twice as much money for clean-energy research as suggested by a recent bipartisan plan.
  • Free college, including room and board, for about half of all full-time students, at both four- and two-year colleges.
  • A $500 tax cut for all households.
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