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Jewish World Review Feb. 12, 2001 / 19 Shevat, 5761

David Limbaugh

David Limbaugh
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Consumer Reports


Bush's tax cut challenge: A historical view


http://www.jewishworldreview.com -- ONE OF MY favorite economists, Larry Kudlow, writing for National Review Online, suggested that President Bush "is essentially governing under Ronald Reagan's policy agenda." I agree, but Kudlow got me to thinking about the different dynamics operating today and Bush's prospects for implementing his agenda, particularly his tax cut.

When Reagan took over, we were in the throes of the Carter malaise. Today, although the economy is definitely declining, most people have yet to feel the full effects of the slowdown (and President Bush fervently hopes they won't have to.)

Today, Republicans control both houses of Congress, albeit narrowly. On the other hand, Democrats have elevated class warfare to an art form, using luxury vehicles as envy props and the like.

Today, Democrats are in full-fledged war-mode. In a stunning exhibition of the extent to which even recent history can be distorted if you repeat lies often enough, they are portraying themselves as the victims of Republican election-larceny following their failed coup attempt in Florida. They are using this canard to fuel opposition to Bush's agenda. This was made quite clear by the war cries of newly elected DNC Chairman, Terry McAuliffe. Can't we just "move on," Terry?

It's not just McAuliffe. Here's what House Democratic Whip David Bonior said about Bush's tax plan: "There is going to be one hell of a fight over this, and there should be." Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones added, "George W. Bush is not going to be able to charm himself into a big tax cut." Speaking of charm.

Beyond class (and race) warfare, Democrats have another weapon in their arsenal -- never mind that it, too, involves a flagrant misrepresentation of the facts. History, they say, demonstrates that across-the-board tax cuts result in astronomical deficits. I pray that someday that myth will be put to bed.

Reagan's tax cuts did not result in higher deficits. Revenues nearly doubled in the '80s. It was the profligate spending of these latter day deficit hawks in Congress that rocketed the budgets into record imbalance.

Which brings me to a very important point. I believe it is George Bush, not the Democrats, who has learned from history. Hardly noticed is his quiet, but firm commitment to regain control over the spending side of the equation.

Columnist Donald Lambro reports that John Cogan, a budget analyst at the Hoover Institution, is helping President Bush prepare his budget plan. You should know that Cogan helped draft Bush's tax plan. This is significant because it shows that Bush is using an integrated approach to fiscal policy, giving equal weight to taxing and spending concerns.

As further evidence of his emphasis on spending, Bush is trying to rein in pork-barrel spending, admittedly a bipartisan sin. He is also making some conservatives nervous by temporarily delaying fulfillment of his promise to rebuild the military. (Fear not; he's not going to break his promise. Help is still on the way. He just wants to thoroughly study the issue before injudiciously hurling federal dollars.)

Bush, as history student, knows that we didn't tax ourselves out of the deficits; we grew out of them with an assist from the Republican Congress finally retarding the rate of spending increases. Bush understands that the recession of the early '80s was either caused or greatly exacerbated by Democrats reducing (from 30 percent to 25 percent) and delaying the implementation of Reagan's tax cut.

This directly led to major Republican losses in the 1982-midterm congressional elections. Bush grasps that a sluggish economy could cause a similar loss of GOP control in 2002.

Though the tax and budget battles will be taking place in Congress, the real battle will be for the hearts and minds of the people. For Democrats, this isn't about the middle class and the so-called working people. It's about regaining power, period. Since they've already taken the gloves off publicly, Republicans don't need more lectures from them on bipartisanship.

Bush's father fell for the Democrats' "bipartisan" overture in 1990. In reliance on their promise to cap spending he broke his no-new taxes pledge. Then they, and Clinton, had the audacity to use his broken promise against him in the 1992 presidential election.

How much do you want to bet that George W. is aware of this history lesson, too? You can be sure that he'll stick to his guns. As long as congressional Republicans follow suit, Republicans can pass the Bush agenda and prevent a repeat of 1982 and 1992.



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.

Up

02/07/01: Democrats' Dubya dilemma
02/05/01: Dubya is confounding the media
01/29/01: The Teamsters, the DNC and the reformers
01/29/01: The Old Limey
01/25/01: Clintonís disgraceful departure
01/22/01: Ashcroft: Principle above self
01/17/01: Justice for Riady?
01/15/01: Ashcroft: A hill to die on
01/10/01: Returning to the supply side
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: Clintonís 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: Itís 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: Clintonís 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?

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