Tuesday, July 20, 2004


If At Frist You Don't Succeed

Novak Article Reveals Frustration with Majority Leader

An otherwise quiet Capitol Hill was buzzing Monday about conservative columnist Robert Novak’s latest scathing column, in which he denounced Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) as an inexperienced and ineffective leader and implied that GOP Senators are unhappy with Frist.


It's not the other Senators that should worry the GOP leaders, it's the exasperated voter who can't point to any serious policy accomplishment in the last four years save the massive tax cuts.

Let's not dispariage the tax-cuts, OK?

It's precisely those tax cut policies that kept the economy plugging along at a VERY high rate even though the business sector was in a significant slump.

President Bush was able to do something that not even President Reagan was able to do. Normally, tax cuts take YEARS to effect the economy, and that makes them tough to point to as the "cause" of economic growth, but President Bush's direct infusion of approximately $300 to $600 per household (most of 'em), provided a direct stimulus to the consumer portion of the economy. We didn't have to wait for the consumer to get a boost next April and then notice a little less burden on each paycheck.

This past economic downturn could have been massive, but wasn't because the consumers refused to participate, and, in all fairness, President Bush's policies deserve (and therefore President Bush himself deserves) much of the credit for keeping us from sinking into a deep depression.

Maybe Frist hasn't been a great Senatorial leader, and I suspect that there are a fair number of senators who could have been more effective at leveraging their personal charisma to accomplish more, but whatever you do, don't dispair of the tax cuts.
I'm not disaraging the tax cuts at all. I'm saying that with a republican super majority (both house of Congress and the Administration) there should be more accomplishments to point to over the last four years.

Sadly there aren't any. No engery bill or tort reform (both victims of republican infighting), exploding deficits, a huge and wasteful drugs for seniors program and bloated farm subsidies. The tax cuts, sadly are the only conservative program enacted in the last four years.
Oh, and the $300 and $600 direct payments as part of the tax cuts were a Democratic proposal that was originally opposed by the GOP.
I see...

Do you remember that President Bush originally proposed and implemented the direct rebate in 2001? That the Democrats proposed it because they thought it wouldn't actually fix anything with the economy so that they would be able to run on a bad economy this year is beside the point.

President Bush's policies originally implemented the direct mid-year rebates. The opposition to the 2003 rebates proposed by the Dems was not an opposition to the rebates but to the use of rebates instead of other, more long-term structurally-oriented fixes in the tax code.

I firmly believe that if the Dems realized how substantial the direct rebates had been in keeping the economy going, they never would have suggested using them again and would have opposed them more forcefully in 2001.

As for the other policy initiatives...
I'm in favor of "Tort reform" too, but the fact that we can't get a majority to settle on a plan to accomplish it might mean that our society isn't ready for it. I have my own theories that involve re-vamping the jury system. I like the jury system but a "jury of your peers" had a different meaning when the most technical person in a community was a black-smith or type-setter than it has today.

Likewise with the energy issue. It's a crying shame, but a majority (or even a plurality) of the American populace has not coalesced around a single theory of how the problems should be addressed. We probably have a majority who agree that this (and tort reform) is an issue that needs to be addressed, but not what to do about it. We are experiencing the inherent systemic-lag that is always found in a consensus based system as opposed to a directed system.
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