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Jewish World Review Jan. 10, 2001 / 15 Teves, 5761

David Limbaugh

David Limbaugh
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Consumer Reports

Returning to the supply side -- THE SUCCESS of George Bush’s first term may hinge on the expeditious implementation of his tax cut package. As such, it is important that he devote sufficient political capital to its speedy passage.

Because Bush’s re-election in 2004 may depend on the ultimate form and timing of his tax cut bill, he can expect vigorous opposition from congressional Democrats, who have a vested interest in delaying and diluting his proposal.

Since Democrats appear to remain in the Clintonian mode of political warfare, Bush will have his work cut out for him. No matter how formidable his executive skills, he will need help from certain congressional Republicans. Note that I didn’t say "from the congressional Republican leadership." Speaker Denny Hastert has already made clear his preference for the politically "safer" incremental phasing in of the tax package. And Sen. Lott has given us a pretty good idea about his current mindset regarding "bipartisanship."

In short, Bush needs a Jack Kemp -- someone in Congress who is willing to assume the laboring oar in driving his tax plan, unadulterated, through Congress. This was a no-brainer for Kemp, who was a supply-side enthusiast perhaps even before Reagan was.

It is time for Republicans to quit deluding themselves into thinking that they will benefit themselves (or the nation) by unilateral appeasement. When the other side is gunning for you, such policies never work. They don’t work in the Middle East, and they are not going to work with congressional Democrats.

Besides, the Bush tax cut proposal is not substantial enough to have the desired beneficial effects on the economy unless it is passed without much dilution. Cutting the proposal in half, say to $700 billion, would barely make a ripple in the economy. Democrats characterize Bush’s proposed cut as monumental and risky, but I believe they would say that no matter what size it was and no matter what the projections for future surpluses.

In fact, recently revised budget projections forecast surpluses to be some $1 trillion greater than previously expected. If so, shouldn’t Bush’s $1.3 trillion package not only be whisked through Congress -- but substantially increased?

Bush and his congressional allies must recapture the enthusiasm for the tax cutting philosophy and then sell it. Obviously, it won’t be easy. Because we’ve enjoyed a robust economy for all but a few short quarters of the past eighteen years, many have come dangerously close to assuming that good times are guaranteed in perpetuity. The recent downturn may have jolted us back into reality. While we’re thinking clearly we ought to remind ourselves that monetary and fiscal policy do have an impact on our prosperity (or lack of it).

Yes, we need to keep hammering the point that people’s hard earned money belongs to them and not the government and that surpluses are presumptively the people’s money. But we mustn’t lose sight of the economic ramifications of tax policy.

We can’t continually overtax ourselves without eventually dragging down the economy. Presently, our income taxes as a percentage of GDP are the highest in our nation’s history.

Since legislative successes are often a function of convincing the public, Bush needs to continue to make his case to the American people for his tax cut, just like Reagan did. Bush should emphasize the following points:

  • He ran, and was elected, promising a $1.3 trillion, not a $300 or even $700 billion, tax cut. It was to be implemented all at once, not gradually.

  • Surpluses belong to the people, and government will spend them unless they are returned to the people. Indeed, after doing a masterful job in reducing spending as a percentage of GDP, Congress has allowed spending to creep back up in gluttonous anticipation of the surpluses.

  • As wasn’t yet known during the presidential campaign, the economy has slowed and needs a "shot in the arm."

  • To the extent that people are hyperventilating about "squandering" the surplus, we must remember that marginal income tax cuts are not revenue neutral; they will generate productivity and revenue, as in the '80s. Plus, there is nothing sacred about surpluses -- they are but a sign of overtaxation.

Republicans need to get fired up and get behind George Bush -- and soak up some of his optimism and good cheer. They must show that they can handle prosperity -- and perpetuate it.

JWR contributor David Limbaugh is an attorney practicing in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, and a political analyst and commentator. Send your comments to him by clicking here.


01/08/01: Reasons for optimism
01/03/01: Bush's daunting challenges
12/28/00: Ashcroft: A triumph for the rule of law
12/26/00: A tinge of revenge?
12/20/00: GOP: Breaking the race barrier
12/18/00: Civility doesn't require surrender
12/13/00: Al Gore: Innocent victimizer
12/11/00: Judicial restraint and ordered liberty
12/06/00: The four years war
12/04/00: Debunking Gore myths
11/29/00: Defending the smaller principles
11/27/00: Albert O'Gore and the little people
11/22/00: Doing 'anything to win'
11/15/00: Enough is enough, Mr. Gore
11/13/00: Al Gore: Thy country or thyself?
11/08/00: Bill and Al: Your time is up
11/06/00:The impending Bush mandate
11/01/00: Can't stop thinkin' 'bout tomorrow
10/30/00: George: Give Gore the ball back
10/25/00: Mr. Gore: A few more questions
10/23/00: It's the big government, stupid
10/18/00: Gore's down, so will he panic?
10/16/00: We're fresh out of new Al Gores
10/11/00: Gore: Fuzzy math = dirty politics
10/10/00:Gore: Renaissance man or unbalanced?
10/04/00: Where have you been, Albert Jr.?
10/02/00: Clinton’s fragmented presidency
09/27/00: Liberal media doth protest too much
09/25/00: AlGore: Turning dreams into nightmares
09/20/00: Something fishy's going on
09/18/00: It's the liberalism, stupid
09/13/00: An open letter to open-minded cynics
09/11/00: The virtues of going negative
09/06/00: On a mission for marriage
09/04/00: Al Gore's 'Trivial Pursuits'
08/30/00: Lieberman and the paradox of liberal 'tolerance'
08/28/00: A campaign divided against itself
08/23/00: Al Gore's trickle-down populism
08/21/00: Prosperity without a clue
08/16/00: AlGore can run but he can't hide
08/14/00: When hate speech is OK
08/09/00: Bush: The pundits' enigma
08/07/00: GOP convention: Live or Memorex?
08/02/00: The first attack dog
07/31/00: The Cheney taint?
07/26/00: The anti-gun bogeyman
07/24/00: The raging culture war
07/19/00: Is Hillary 'Good for the Jews'?
07/17/00: How dare you, George?
07/12/00: Jacoby's raw deal
07/10/00: The perplexities of liberalism
07/05/00: Big Al and big oil
07/03/00: Partial-birth and total death
06/28/00: Some questions for you, Mr. Gore
06/26/00: Supreme Court assaults religious freedom
06/21/00: Waco: We are the jury
06/19/00: "Outrage" just doesn't quite cut it anymore!
06/14/00: Al Gore: Government's best friend
06/12/00: Say goodbye to medical privacy
06/07/00: Elian: Whose hands were tied?
06/05/00: Who, which, what is the real Al Gore?
06/01/00: Legacy-building idea for Clinton
05/30/00: Clinton: Above the law or not?
05/24/00: Not so fast, Hillary
05/22/00: Gore's risky, fear-mongering schemes
05/17/00: Can Bush risk pro-choice running mate?
05/15/00: Right to privacy, Clinton-style
05/10/00: Patrick Kennedy and his suit-happy fiddlers
05/08/00: Don't shoot Eddie Eagle
05/03/00: Congress caves to Clinton, again?
05/01/00: The resurrection of outrage
04/28/00: A picture of Bill Clinton's America
04/19/00: President Clinton: Teaching children responsibility
04/17/00: Elian, Marx and parental rights
04/12/00: Elian, freedom deserve a hearing
04/10/00:The fraying of America
04/05/00: Noonan: End Clintonism now
04/03/00: Bush: On going for the gold
03/29/00: Phantasma-Gore-ia
03/27/00: Treaties, triggers, tobacco and tyrants
03/22/00: Media to Bush: Go left, young man
03/20/00: Stop the insanity
03/15/00: OK Al Gore: Let's go negative
03/13/00: Deifying of the center
03/08/00: The media, the establishment and the people
03/01/00: McCain's coalition-busting daggers in GOP's heart
02/28/00: Bush's silver lining in McMichigan
02/24/00: A conservative firewall, after all
02/22/00: Bush or four more of Clinton-Gore?
02/16/00: Substance trumps process
02/14/00: The campaign finance reform mirage
02/09/00: President McCain: End of the GOP as we know it?
02/07/00: From New Hampshire to South Carolina
02/02/00: SDI must fly
01/31/00: Veep gores Bradley
01/26/00: The issues gap
01/24/00: GOP: Exit, stage left
01/20/00: Nationalizing congressional elections
01/18/00: Do voters really prefer straight talk?
01/12/00: Media's McCain efforts may backfire
01/10/00: Conservative racism myth
01/05/00: Just one more year of Clintonian politics
01/03/00: McMedia?
12/27/99: Al Gore: Bullish on government
12/22/99: Bradley's full-court press
12/20/99: Bush: Rendering unto Caesar
12/15/99: Beltway media bias
12/13/99: White House ambulance chasing
12/08/99: Clinton's labor pains
12/06/99:The lust for power
12/01/99: In defense of liberty
11/29/99: Are Republicans obsolete?
11/24/99: Say you're sorry, Mr. President
11/22/99: Architects of victory
11/17/99: Trump's tax on freedom
11/15/99: GOP caves again
11/10/99: Triangulation and 'The Third Way'
11/08/99: Sticks and stones
11/03/99: Keyes vs. media lapdogs
11/01/99: Signs of the times
10/27/99: The false charge of isolationism
10/25/99: A matter of freedom
10/20/99: Clinton's mini-meltdown
10/18/99: Senate GOP shows statesmanship
10/13/99: Senate must reject nuclear treaty
10/11/99: Bush bites feeding hand
10/06/99: Jesse accidentally opens door for Pat
10/04/99: Clinton and his media enablers
09/29/99: Reagan: Big-tent conservatism
09/27/99: The Clinton/Gore taint?
09/22/99: Have gun (tragedy), will travel
09/20/99: Hillary's blunders and bloopers
09/15/99: GOP must remain conservative
09/13/99:Time for Bush to take charge, please
09/10/99: Bush's education plan: Dubya confounds again
09/07/99: Pat, savior or spoiler?
09/02/99: Character doesn't matter?
08/30/99: Should we judge?
08/25/99: Dubyah's drug question: Not a hill to die on
08/23/99: Should Dubyah start buying soap ... for all that mud?
08/16/99: 'W' stands for 'winner'
08/11/99: The truth about tax cuts
08/09/99: Hillary: Threading the needle
08/04/99: What would you do?
08/02/99: No appeasement for China
07/30/99: Hate Crimes Bill: Cynical Symbolism
07/26/99: It’s the 'moderates', stupid
07/21/99: JFK Jr. and Diana: the pain of privilege
07/19/99: Smith, Bush and the GOP
07/14/99: GOP must be a party of ideas
07/12/99: Gore's gender gap
07/08/99: Clinton’s faustian bargain: our justice
07/06/99: The key to Bush's $36 million
06/30/99: Gore: a soda in every fountain
06/28/99: 'Sacred wall' or religious barrier?
06/23/99: GOP must lead in foreign policy
06/21/99: Crumbs of compassion
06/16/99: Compassionate conservatism: face-lift or body transplant?
06/10/99: Victory in Kosovo? Now What?