In a little half-hour online chat Friday at Washingtonpost.com, WashPost columnist/reporter David Broder complained about the "fiscal profligacy" of the federal government, but specifically against the Bush tax cuts. He sounded the familiar refrain that Americans should be having to "sacrifice" more for the war, even as his questioners pointed out tax cuts are popular.
Ontario, Calif.: David, A recent NBC poll disclosed that nearly 60 percent of the American people "strongly" or "somewhat strongly" support "making the President's tax cuts of the past few years permanent." Do you think that in the face of this much popular support, the Democrats will be able to stand on principle and display the political will and unity necessary to defeat this questionable plan?
Thanks for you thoughts. [sic]
David S. Broder:
The Democrats have not been unified or principled in their position on tax cuts up to this point, and I do not assume that they will be either this year. The fiscal profligacy of this government is stunning to me.
Liberals of late are fond of proclaiming that the war's costs are the cause of profligacy, citing the recent estimate the war in Iraq costs almost $6 billion a month. (Let's just ignore that say, Social Security costs the taxpayer almost $50 billion a month.) Broder recycles (or regurgitates like a mother robin) the conventional wisdom that we really ought to be raising taxes to offer "sacrifice" for the war effort:
Anonymous: Republicans are in favor of fiscal discipline, even a balanced budget, right? They seldom if ever mention the $6 monthly cost of the Iraq war in such discussions. One may be in favor of the war, oppose it, or be in between, but surely the staggering sums being spent there affect our economy. I've not heard the president say, "We're spending a huge sum there, but it's important, so we're going to have to tighten our belts to pay for it. Everyone will need to sacrifice." Sacrifice personal liberties, okay. But sacrifice money, as in fewer tax cuts? Wouldn't that be political suicide?
David S. Broder: I am not an authority on political suicide. But this is the first war in American history fought without any call on the American people for sacrifice--even in the form of taxes. I think we are paying a high price for this failure--and our children and grandchildren will pay a higher price as the bills come due.
Washington Post liberals would like President Bush to be more like his dad: raise taxes, go along, get along. (That worked out so well for him in 1992, right?) Sally Quinn, Post columnist and wife of former Post executive editor Ben Bradlee, wrote a piece yesterday urging Laura Bush to let out her inner Nancy Reagan and drag her "Bushie" to the left to save his second term. Their desire to see Bush repudiate conservatives and show his "open-mindedness" became clear in one Quinn answer on her Friday chat:
I am baffled as to why he doesn't take his father's advise [sic] more or listen to his father's advisors more. George Bush (Sr.)was a man very much liked and admired in Washington for his conciliatory manner, his willingness to reach out and his pragmatic approach to problems that didn't necessarily fall in line with the conservative base.
One more note from the Post chat pages on Friday: did you see they laid out the oracle mat for hard-left guru Noam Chomsky? One typical exchange:
Wellfleet, Mass.: Mr. Chomsky:
Many fear the country is moving towards a "police state" where the Executive acts according to its desires, without constraint. What possibilities do you see, if any, for the trend towards consolidation of power in the Executive to be thwarted?
Noam Chomsky: The concerns are justified. Thus in this morning's press it was reported that after signing the new version of the Patriot Act with grandiose flourishes, President Bush quietly issued a "signing statement" that exempted him from its requirement to notify Congress of FBI actions that go beyond court authorizaton. That is yet another brazen affirmation of executive power. There are many others. There is little doubt that this administration is at an extreme in seeking to establish a powerful state executive, free from interference by Congress or public awareness of its actions. The justification is the "war on terror," but that can hardly be taken seriously. Terror is doubtless a very serious threat, but it is all to easy to demonstrate that it does not rank high in administration priorities.
Though the concerns are valid, we should not exqggerate. The public is not likely to give up the achievements of centuries of struggle easily.
The last part is a joke, right? Chomsky thinks America is land of liberty? Brent Bozell laid out Chomsky's America-hating views on a previous occasion when the WashPost celebrated him.