September 28, 2004


Bush's latest tax cuts seal legacy: His annual 'relief' puts Bush in the pantheon of big tax cutters. (Gail Russell Chaddock, 9/29/04, CS Monitor)

As pure politics, the Bush tax cuts are a textbook study in how to muscle bills through Congress. "It's unprecedented, the amount of tax-cutting Bush has done: Four tax cuts, four years in a row," says Chris Edwards of the Cato Institute.

A key to the Bush success: Close coordination with business and conservative groups and allies on the Hill. In addition to controlling both the House and Senate, the Bush team and conservative activists rallied the business community around annual tax cuts, even in years when business tax breaks were not included. Some business groups opposed the 1981 Reagan tax cuts, because cuts for them were not included. It's a pattern that conservatives scrambled to avoid in the Bush years.

"The goal in the first year was pro-family tax cuts and rate reduction. Business said, 'There's nothing in it for us.' We said, 'Wait until next year... Don't ever think you have to push someone off the train to make place for yourself, because there is another coming down the track," says Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. He organized a business working group, including major trade associations, to lobby for the Bush tax cuts.

If Republicans pick up two Senate seats, "We will be able to make the death tax cut permanent," he adds, referring to the elimination of estate taxes. Other conservative goals in a second Bush term include reducing the capital gains tax, ending "double taxation" of dividend income, and moving toward a flat tax. Another big priority in the second term: cutting government spending. "It's a huge issue for us."

The grand slam.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 28, 2004 8:07 PM

Oct. 30: Bush displays Osama bin Laden's frozen head (he's "on ice," remember) on stick at press conference.

Nov. 2: Bush re-elected in banana-republic level landslide. Remains of Paul Krugman's exploded cranium gathered up and placed in Al Gore's private lockbox. Millions of liberals queue up for nice, quiet spot at local nuthouse, but New York Times editorial page already full.

Nov. 3: Bush announces abolition of IRS. America nukes Teheran and Paris. With filibuster no longer Dem option, Bush announces positive side effect of cloning: nine Antonin Scalias waiting for SCOTUS confirmation. In response, Bob Graham writes "9:30 p.m.: Have heart attack" in personal diary before expiring.

Nov. 4: Tom Daschle announces plans to spend his new free time touring the country, prompting a friendly call from the president informing him his citizenship has been revoked. Ramsey Clark returns to attorney general's office -- wearing an orange jumpsuit, and cleaning John Ashcroft's toilets. Frightened John Kerry joins French Foreign Legion, where he learns you can only eat so many snails at a time. Dark night of fascism descends on America, with citizens facing specter of being approached by black-garbed government agents and having their taxes cut. Do-gooders everywhere shriek: "Who will be next?" Everyone else says: "Speak up, please -- we can't hear you over the ka-ching." Ronald Reagan's ghost smiles. He was often doing that.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at September 28, 2004 11:01 PM

I don't know, Matt. Seems awfully far-fetched.

Well, except that nuking Paris part...

Posted by: jsmith at September 28, 2004 11:08 PM

Hate to complain, but of taxes to cut, the 'death tax' would be low on my list. Any tax will distort and harm the economy, but one on dead people would seem to do so less than most others, surely?

Posted by: mike earl at September 29, 2004 10:22 AM


except that it can make it hard for folks to hand on family enterprises.

Posted by: oj at September 29, 2004 10:28 AM