Tom Friedman: The World Would Be a Better Place If Bush Had Raised Taxes on 9/12
America was in a post-stock market bubble bursting recession, had just suffered its worst mainland attack in its history, and New York Times columnist Tom Friedman believes ten years later all would have been made right if the President of the United States on September 12, 2001, had raised taxes.
This is what Friedman, in his most recent blame all the troubles of the world on George W. Bush rant, called "The Whole Truth and Nothing But" Wednesday:
He used 9/11 as an excuse to lower taxes, to start two wars that — for the first time in our history — were not paid for by tax increases, and to create a costly new entitlement in Medicare prescription drugs. Imagine where we’d be today if on the morning of 9/12 Bush had announced (as some of us advocated) a “Patriot Tax” of $1 per gallon of gas to pay for education, infrastructure and government research, to help finance our wars and to slash our dependence on Middle East oil. Gasoline in the U.S. on Sept. 11, 2001, averaged $1.66 a gallon.
Actually, let's back up a second. The first Bush tax cuts were enacted in July 2001 before the attacks. The second round in 2003 were implemented because the recovery that the first cuts precipitated - the National Bureau of Economic Research lists November 2001 as the end of that period's recession - was still not producing jobs.
As such, The Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003 was enacted on May 28 of that year. Unemployment peaked at 6.3 percent in June. One year later, unemployment was down to 5.6 percent. A year after that 5.1 percent. A year after that 4.6 percent.
Most people would call that successful fiscal policy - but not liberals when it's implemented by a Republican.
As for Medicare Part D, isn't it hysterical when the entitlement loving class complains about the expansion of an entitlement program? It's to be taken as seriously as a junkie complaining when you give him free drugs.
This is especially hypocritical as Medicare Part D so far has cost the taxpayer less than originally projected, and folks like Friedman are asking the current President to increase deficit spending to help the economy today.
As for raising taxes on gasoline, why don't supposedly intelligent folks like Friedman understand that this is tremendously regressive, meaning that it impacts people at the lower end of the income chain far more than those at the top?
As we were still in a recession on 9/11, and unemployment was actually going to continue to rise for almost another two years, would increasing gas prices 60 percent have improved the situation or made it worse?
How would the already damaged transportation, airline, and tourism industries have been impacted by such a massive increase in their costs?
But such critical thinking is beyond this supposedly critical thinker, especially when Bush is once again being used as a foil:
But rather than use 9/11 to summon us to nation-building at home, Bush used it as an excuse to party — to double down on a radical tax-cutting agenda for the rich that not only did not spur rising living standards for most Americans but has now left us with a huge ball and chain around our ankle.
Yeah, tax cuts for the rich. It appears Friedman is another liberal genius that missed the marvelous assessment by the similarly liberal Brookings Institution last year finding 82 percent of the Bush tax cuts benefited those making under $250,000.
For our liberal readers - and for Friedman assuming he knows how to read - that means only 18 percent went to the top income earners.
Are such facts important to people like Friedman? This is a man revered by the Left as one of our nation's critical thinkers. Is ignoring and distorting facts part of such critical thinking for liberals in the modern era?
It certainly appears so in a piece ironically titled "The Whole Truth and Nothing But."