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From Social Security to Taxes – A Shift in Priority

 Oct. 7, 2006 (MA). Overhauling the Social Security has been the primary concern of the Bush Administration, yet efforts to do the same have been shadowed by the brewing clamor in rewriting the Tax Code. Bush said that there is a “diminished appetite” for changing the way Social Security is funded, the first time he has conceded congressional action on the subject is unlikely this year.

      A shift in priority to overhauling the tax code gives the White House an opportunity to regain direction on its domestic agenda. The President created a panel and ordered it to propose ways in simplifying the tax code in such a way that it would be made to promote economic growth without adding to budget deficit.  However, economists state that continuing pressure from the international community threatens to expand the deficit, which is viewed as the biggest dent for Bush to push through changes to the tax code.

      The Congressional Budget Office estimated the deficit for this fiscal year to be at least $331 billion. This number is perceived to rise if Congress does not cut spending or raise taxes in offsetting recovery costs, according to CBO.

       Although priority has now shifted to reforming the tax code, White House has not officially given up Social Security and Bush continued to remind people that there is a long-term issue that must be solved. Even if some Bush loyalists say that a Social Security overhaul would not pass through Congress this year.

      Social Security was made as the top domestic priority of Bush’s second term. Administration officials were even deployed to promote the same devoting a 60-day, 60-city tour in promoting the plan. But this overhaul proposal has lost its ground because of the priority shift.

      The findings of the tax panel were due on the 31st of July, but said deadline was moved to September 30 to avoid the brewing debate on judicial nominations and attention on Social Security. The deadline was further extended to November 1.

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