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Bush's budget plan

April 9, 2001
Web posted at: 7:30 PM EDT (2330 GMT)

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Curriculum connections: Economics


Students will be able to:
Identify components of Bush's budget proposal. Evaluate the impact of the budget's components on the American people. Analyze if the "average" person benefits from Bush's budget proposal.


National Council on Economic Education Standard 17, grades nine-12 High school students should understand that the costs of government policies sometimes exceed benefits. This may occur because of incentives facing voters, government officials and government employees; because of actions by special interest groups that can impose costs on the general public; or because social goals other than economic efficiency are being pursued.

Materials article, "$1.96 trillion, all in the details" Internet access Chart paper, colored pens and pencils

Suggested time

One class period


1. Invite students to share with the class specific statements about President Bush's tax proposal they have heard. List all of these statements on the board.

2. Have students read the article, "$1.96 trillion, all in the details," and ask the following:

  • What is the amount of President Bush's budget? How do you think the four-inch thick document details the budget plan?
  • What did Bush focus on at the Cabinet meeting? Why do you think he focused on programs he would boost instead of on cuts? What are some examples of programs that would get increased funding? How would Bush's budget plan impact the Department of Education? How do you think this strengthens his campaign pledge to be the "education president"?
  • How will the proposed budget impact the Environmental Protection Agency? What are some other programs that will experience a decrease in funding? What president initiated these programs?
  • What will happen to the budget now? What do you think is the significance of Vice President Dick Cheney's statement, "Bush is eager to veto spending bills passed by Congress that include amounts the administration considers excessive"? How do you think the threat of line-item veto will impact the negotiations on a compromise budget resolution?

3. Divide the class into small groups. Assign each group one of the statements about the tax plan. Direct each group to research the tax proposal and determine if the statement is accurate. Also have each group research the effects and impact of the increase or decrease in spending on the American people. Students may use charts and graphs to illustrate their information. Each group may present their information to the class.

4. Generate a class discussion about differences in Bush's 2002 budget versus Clinton's 2001 budget. Ask: Do you think that, in general, budgets proposed by a Republican president differ from those proposed by one who is a Democrat?

5. Refer to CNN NEWSROOM guide from February 27, 2001, President Bush's tax cut plan is becoming a test of his leadership ability and Wednesday, February 28, 2001, President Bush presents his first budget to Congress for additional classroom discussion questions and activities.


Have each student create a flow chart of Bush's proposed tax bill identifying components of the budget. Ask them to argue in favor of or against his proposals. They can also recommend changes to the budget proposal as if they were Congressional members and defend their amendments.


Students can create a list of components of Bush's tax plan.


In "The President's Agenda for Tax Relief," Bush says, "My tax cut plan is not just about productivity, it is about people. Economics is more than narrow interests or organized envy. A tax plan must apply market principles to the public interests. And my plan sets out to make life better for average men, women and children." Students can evaluate how the tax plan affects the "average" person and determine if the tax relief plan does, in fact, help the average person.

Bush tax proposal
February 27, 2001
Leading the Nation
Discussion/activity: Analyzing Bush's tax cut plan
February 5, 2001

US Tax Averages: Taxes - MSN MoneyCentral
Personal Income Taxes
Congressional Budget Office Home Page

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