The political campaign for the next election and control of the Congress has officially begun. When the National Bureau of Economic Research announced that the American economy is indeed in a recession, Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle could not wait to get in front of a television camera to gloat and crow.
He was downright bubbly. He was so happy that it would not have been a surprise to see him dance a jig. Grinning, as we say in the trade, from ear to ear, he said, “I’d love to be able to say, ‘I told you so.'”
What he would like to have told us, and actually did, is that tax cuts were the primary cause of the recession and the projected budget shortfalls over the next few years. It mattered little to him that the NBER said the extra blow of Sept. 11 had deepened the economic downturn. He was undaunted that the NBER said the recession actually began in March 2001, only two months after Bush took office.
This tawdry attempt to hang responsibility for the recession and budget deficits on President Bush requires fabrications much more malicious and preposterous than the routine lying we have come to expect from political hacks. One wonders how Democrats can mouth these accusations when history informs us that it is they who are addictively drawn to every expansion of government power, every new tax, every piece of pork, every boondoggle, every new program, every old program and every pay raise and new amenity for themselves, their clients and their cronies.
Notwithstanding reality and logic, the Democrats were ready to pounce. When Mitchell Daniels, the administration’s budget director, blamed his forecast of deficits on the recession and the war on terrorism, he was attacked by Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad, who proclaimed: “He left out the biggest cause – the tax cut this administration pushed and got passed.”
The official announcement of a recession was the trigger to begin the assault on President Bush’s popularity. The Democrat strategy is simple: Give patriotic praise to Bush for his handling of the war and clobber him for ruining the economy with a tax cut. The TV ads attacking the “Bush Recession” are already being scripted and taped.
It is almost frightening to believe that a political party would stake its future on the idea that a majority of voters can be duped to believe that in good times and bad, raising taxes and increasing spending is the smart thing to do. Perhaps it is true after all, as some have alleged, that government schools are being used to dumb down the American mind to make it more vulnerable to liberal dupery and more compatible with the liberal agenda.
Let me issue a warning at this point. I am about to say something that might do actual physical damage to practicing Democrats. If you are a liberal-type person, you may wish to stop reading this column and go to the comics. If you proceed, you are doing so at your own risk.
What I was about to say is this: Deficits may be eliminated by reducing spending, and revenues may be increased by cutting taxes.
Despite my warning, I am fearful there are Democrats, who, according to their custom, did not listen and are now in a state of slack-jawed, transfixed shock. The explanation is this: Recent studies of the brains of deceased liberal zealots reveal certain malformations. Liberal lobes, by virtue of some sort of genetic miscoding, are not designed to deal with information about reducing spending and cutting taxes. Indeed, trying to force this information upon an unwary liberal Democrat may cause an overload of neural circuitry, with attendant blackouts.
This malformation explains much. It explains why, in good times and bad times, in war and in peace, the government grows. Liberals are constitutionally unable to understand that every tax represents a transfer of power and freedom from the people to the government.
One of the greatest social inventions in all of recorded history is the patent. This simple concept that the fruit of a man’s labor and creativity belongs to him, and may not be stolen by others, is the cornerstone of the capitalistic idea. Its impact is to encourage productivity, investment and entrepreneurship, thereby creating jobs and enriching society as a whole. It is a brilliant example of the alignment of individual self interest with societal self interest.
Essayist Susan Sontag explained it this way: “The ideology of capitalism makes us all into connoisseurs of liberty – of the indefinite expansion of possibility.”