H.C.R. NO.












WHEREAS, in February 2004, President Bush's federal budget forecast projected a deficit of more than $500 billion, the nation's largest ever in dollar terms; and

WHEREAS, in contrast, in September 2000, President Clinton announced a federal budget surplus for fiscal year 2000 that amounted to at least $230 billion, the largest in United States history at that time; and

WHEREAS, under the Clinton administration, the three years of federal budget surplus for fiscal years 1998, 1999, and 2000, resulted in three consecutive years of federal debt reduction for the first time since 1949; and

WHEREAS, in January 2001, the Congressional Budget Office projected a budget surplus of $281 billion in 2001; and

WHEREAS, numerous economists and other respected members of government, including Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan, recommended that this surplus be used to bring fiscal stability to our nation's Social Security system; and

WHEREAS, under the Bush administration, however, the first budget deficit since 1997 was posted in 2002; and

WHEREAS, in just three years, a record $237 billion budget surplus under President Clinton in 2000 was transformed into a $375 billion deficit under President Bush in 2003 and a current projected deficit of more than $500 billion; and

WHEREAS, President Bush's tax cuts that favor the wealthy have drained the federal treasury; and

WHEREAS, in February 2004, Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan told the United States House of Representatives Budget Committee that the federal deficit is so grave that it threatened the future payment of Social Security benefits to retirees; and

WHEREAS, after briefly acknowledging the contribution to the deficit caused by the Bush administration's tax cuts, one of Chairman Greenspan's suggested solutions to the budget deficit was not to repeal tax cuts for the wealthy, but to reduce Social Security benefits for future retirees, by raising the retirement age and changing the index used to calculate annual cost-of-living adjustments; and

WHEREAS, a recent International Monetary Fund report warned that the United States budget deficit will pose "significant risks" for the United States and world economy if not curbed; and

WHEREAS, Congressional Budget Office data indicates that in 2003 and 2004, the cost of enacted tax cuts is almost three times as great as the cost of the war in Iraq, even when the cost of increases in homeland security expenditures, the rebuilding after September 11, and other costs of the war on terrorism are factored in, including the action in Afghanistan -- along with the costs of reconstructing Iraq; and

WHEREAS, President Bush has proposed to make permanent his tax cuts for the wealthy; and

WHEREAS, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities recently examined making the Bush administration tax cuts permanent and concluded that to do so poses long-term economic dangers that would:

(1) Add substantially to the federal budget deficit, costing approximately $2.5 trillion over the first decade of 2005-2014 and more than twice that amount over the second decade;

(2) Likely weaken long-term economic growth;

(3) Likely create more uncertainty in financial markets; and

(4) Overwhelmingly favor very-high-income households; and

WHEREAS, although it is impossible to the calculate future military costs related to the United States' wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Congressional Budget Office found that: defense spending in the United States amounted to $306 billion in the 2001 budget year and $404.9 billion in the 2003 budget year; the federal government budget for the 2005 fiscal year includes a defense budget of $421 billion, but the President is expected to request a substantial additional sum to fund the continuing United States presence in Afghanistan and Iraq; and the Department of Homeland Security will require additional spending of about another $25 billion; now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the House of Representatives of the Twenty-second Legislature of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 2004, the Senate concurring, that members of the Hawaii State Legislature request that President Bush and Congress work together to restore fiscal responsibility to our budget; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that President Bush is urged to act in a more fiscally responsible manner and reconsider his proposal to make permanent tax cuts that favor the wealthy and, instead, work to encourage stability and confidence in the United States economy by reducing the federal budget deficit and thereby ensure that future retirees will receive the Social Security benefit payments to which they are entitled; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this Concurrent Resolution be transmitted to the President of the United States, the President of the United States Senate, the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, the members of Hawaii's congressional delegation, and the Governor.






Report Title:

Social Security Cuts; Budget Deficit