Monday :: Jun 23, 2003

Bush Readies His Attack on Democratic Plans to Repeal Tax Cuts-By Distortion Of Course


by Steve

This story is so bad it qualifies as both a Bush Administration Lie and a Bush/GOP Outrage. According to today’s Washington Post, the White House has rolled out its strategy for next year on how to respond to Democratic proposals to roll back Bush tax cuts. Karl Rove’s grand idea is to respond to such suggestions by telling voters what such Democratic proposals will cost families in terms of tax increases. This, coming from the party that lied about the benefits of the cuts in the first place.

The Bush administration yesterday released a highly selective analysis of the cost to families of rolling back scheduled tax cuts, an early sign of the White House's plan to brand Democrats as tax raisers throughout their race for the presidential nomination.

In addition to using the issue to inject himself into the Democratic campaign, President Bush plans to make the extension and preservation of tax cuts a centerpiece of his general election campaign, senior Republican officials said.

The seven-page analysis, by the Treasury Department's Office of Tax Analysis, asserts that repealing the tax cuts enacted in 2001 and last month would mean a tax hike of $1,933 for a married couple with two children and an income of $40,000. Their taxes would go from $45 to $1,978, for an increase of 4,296 percent, the study said.

Of course, since we are talking about a Bush Administration report, it is factually faulty and a lie.

The analysis does not include single people or lower-income couples, two groups that benefit little from Bush's cuts. Four of the examples involve married couples with one or two children making $40,000 to $75,000 a year, and the other two concern spouses who are both age 65.

Peter R. Orszag, a senior fellow in economics at the Brookings Institution, said the document "gives a misleading impression of the overall effect of the tax cuts." Just 27 million of the nation's roughly 140 million households consist of married couples with children, he said. Brookings figures show that under the most recent law, 81 percent of households would save $1,000 or less.

Yet instead of going at this issue and the Bush deception head on and calling Bush a liar in such an argument, the Democrats are trying to stay away from being labeled for doing so.

Strategists for several of the Democratic candidates said they will try to avoid such a label by calling for changes only in the tax cuts that benefit the wealthiest Americans.

First, I would have no trouble arguing with Rove and Bush when hit with a charge like this. My exchange with Bush would go something like this:

Bush: My opponent wants to increase your taxes and has advocated repealing my tax cuts so that Washington can keep your money. I want to give it back to you to grow this economy and create jobs.

Democrat: Mr. Bush is a liar. First, he lied to you when he sold us on the tax cuts, telling you that you would get a tax cut that many of you will never see. Then he tells you with a straight face that repealing the tax cuts will harm the economy and job growth. Since Mr. Bush came into office, we have lost three million jobs and his tax cuts have done nothing to create jobs but have done much to give more money to the wealthy. How many of you out there believe that Mr. Bush’s tax cuts have led to a better economy or more jobs than we had before Mr. Bush’s tax cuts?

Bush: My opponent is just another tax and spend liberal who wants to spend your money growing the government instead of creating jobs. My opponent is engaging in class warfare.

Democrat: Mr. Bush is the one declaring war on the middle class. Mr. Bush tells you that repealing his tax cuts will cost a family of four almost $2000 a year. Again this is a lie, since that family never got that tax cut in the first place. Second, even if it were true, are you willing to take that $2000 cut knowing that it means you and your children will be saddled with the interest on the deficits Mr. Bush has created for years to come? Are you willing to take that $2000 cut knowing that it means no real homeland security, no fully-funded Medicare and Social Security for you and your parents, deteriorating roads and bridges, crumbling schools, millions of uninsured families, thousands of veterans without healthcare or retirements, and dirtier air and water for you and your children? Under Mr. Bush, the rich get more and more tax cuts while your share of the tax burden goes up to pay for those tax cuts for the wealthy.

You see, the issue can be turned against Bush and Rove, if only the Democrats had the guts to make the argument and lay out the true costs of his tax cuts.

Secondly, you will see from the Washington Post story that it was NBC News and Meet the Press that requested the analysis of the cost of repealing the Bush tax cuts.

The research was prepared at the request of "Meet the Press," NBC and Bush officials said.

Howard Dean, a Democratic presidential candidate and former Vermont governor, was confronted with the Treasury Department figures on NBC's "Meet the Press" yesterday. He said they do not account for increases in property taxes because of cuts in federal services and shortfalls in federal aid to education.

"The real effect of the Bush tax cuts has actually been to raise taxes on most middle-class people and to cut their services," Dean said.

So the Treasury Department did the analysis at NBC's request, so that Russert can hit Dean with it cold during yesterday’s show? Is this what really happened? Since when was NBC News an official agent for the White House? How come that question is not being addressed?

Update: Feel free to tell Tim Russert what you think about his whoring for the GOP, and ask him as my friend Jim Kimbler suggests how much money he himself saves from Bush’s tax cuts. You can contact Russert at either mtp@msnbc.com or mtp@nbc.com.

Steve :: 3:05 PM :: Comments (10) :: Spotlight :: Digg It!