Monday, January 14, 2002

"I have not heard one Democrat say he or she wants to raise taxes."
That was Dick Gephardt, as quoted by Robert Kuttner, in the Boston Globe. Gephardt knows that saying "I want to raise taxes," in so many words, in this climate, would be just as good as saying "I didn't really want to go back to Congress anyway."

What they say is that the newly-achieved tax cuts should be eliminated before they actually take effect. Thus is honor maintained -- if you're the kind of person who can spin the word "is", or if you're the kind of person who can, with a straight face, describe a tax cut as a "government expenditure". (The assumption is that All Your Money Are Belong To Us, and if we let you keep it, you'll just spend it on all the wrong things.)

Reversing a tax cut is by definition a tax hike. Is it that hard to understand?

Anyway, Kuttner goes on to name a few Democrats who "have suggested that the 10-year tax giveaway should be repealed or deferred as a whole or in part." Inherent in his phrasing is that this is the same thing as raising taxes.

(Heh. "Giveaway." All your money are belong to us, indeed.)

But I must thank Mr Kuttner for codifying, better than I could have done, what makes a Democrat a Democrat:

Let's recall for a moment why there is a Democratic Party. In the big picture, Democrats have one big thing to offer the electorate that most Republicans reject:

The Democrats are willing to use government to give ordinary citizens things that private markets can't deliver - secure health care, safe airways, consumer protections, clean environment, educational opportunities.

There it is, right there in the middle of the second sentence, the defining statement for Democrats: The assumption that the marketplace is, always and irrevocably, hostile to the individual citizen, that we are in bigger trouble than we could possibly understand and only the Government can save us.

I have yet to see any proof of that.

[LATER: Private markets can, and have, delivered all those things. One big thing private markets cannot do is wage war.]

[LATER YET: Let me apologize here to my friend Jerry Lawson for stealing "All your money are belong to us", which he said in his comment to this post. Credit where credit is due. It perfectly illustrates the absurdity of Congress' apparent belief that they control all money regardless of whose pocket it's in at the moment (after all, it's only there temporarily).]

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