Friday, May 23, 2003

Tax Cut: This is clearly a mixed bag. I've never met a tax cut I didn't like, but some are obviously better than others. First, the upside: This bill is a step toward fair taxation of profit. It's not my ideal (the elimination of the corporate tax entirely, along with corporate welfare), but it's the right direction. Marginal tax rates go down. Not very far, but, again, the right direction. The downside? It's a lot of sound and fury, simplifying nothing. Most of it goes away in 2008. It provides a bailout to state budgets, which have grown ridiculously in the past 10 years.

I don't think this is the total win for Bush that the GOP is claiming. Sure, he had the Dems crushed. What the hell did Tom Daschle have to say about this issue other than "Please don't hurt me"? But then Bush lost to his own party on this bill. Coming off a popular and successful war, with sizable job approval boosts and an apparent sackful of political capital, Bush's own party said no to him. He still gets to brag that he got a tax cut, and it will still play well in the campaign since the Dems generally opposed any tax cut that affected actual taxpayers. But having the votes to walk all over the opposition and having your own party hold you back? That's gotta sting.

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