November 16, 2002
WHY ZELL IS ONE OF US:Our Party Needs To Embrace Tax Cuts. . . (ZELL MILLER, 11/15/02, Wall Street Journal)
America is the most tax-averse country on earth. Our own revolution started with people tossing tea off boats in Boston Harbor . . . because of high
taxes! Being a party that opposes tax cuts is not good politics, anywhere, any time. Like it or not, that's what we've become.
Instead of arguing that Mr. Bush's tax cut goes too far, we Democrats should be arguing that it doesn't go far enough. Middle-class families need more tax relief now as America faces an economic threat we haven't seen since the 1930s -- the threat of deflation. The Federal Reserve has already cut interest rates to the lowest levels in
40 years, and there's not much more it can do. This country needs a massive economic stimulus now, before we head down the road of falling prices, falling wages and falling home values. There is a way out and it works.
Let's cut taxes for individuals and business even more, right now.
The problem with Mr. Miller's argument is that tax cuts defund government programs and the Democrats are unwilling to see any aspect of government spending reduced. From a purely Democrat perspective the great tragedy of the Clinton years was the lost opportunity to rationalize post-Cold War government in 1993-94. If, instead of trying to hammer through a massive new entitlement, the Democrats had eliminated a bunch of big GOP boondoggles--the Department of Commerce, agriculture subsidies, etc.--and imposed things like privatization and means-testing for social programs, they might well have been able to offer both middle class tax cuts and continued protection for their own favorite programs. But now, when someone like Mr. Miller proposes tax cuts, Democrats face either the untenable prospect of offsetting them with cuts in programs that their own constituencies make a litmus test of the Party's worth or of declaring effective class warfare and proposing that the cuts be paid for entirely from programs in which middle and upper income Americans have a vested interest There may be a way out of this box, but it doesn't seem likely to be as easy as Mr. Miller suggests. Posted by Orrin Judd at November 16, 2002 7:00 AM