Saturday, August 14, 2004

Washington Post Editorial Round-Up

The Tax Cuts Re-Examined

THE DEBATE OVER the Bush administration's fiscal policy has been grinding on for three years, producing few concessions or apologies. Critics, including this page, say the tax cuts are not affordable; defenders retort that the president has a five-year plan to halve the deficit and that a combination of economic growth and entitlement reform can shore up the government's finances in the longer term.

To break out of this stalemate, we have taken a fresh look at these hopes for long-term salvation. We have assumed, for the sake of argument, that a second-term Bush administration could overcome the political obstacles to entitlement reform and pro-growth policies such as tort reform, and we have sought estimates for the impact of such reforms on government finances. For example, a jump in labor productivity like the one experienced in the 1990s would likely eliminate the deficit in 2014, which is otherwise projected to clock in at around 3.5 percent of gross domestic product, according to calculations by Alan J. Auerbach of the University of California at Berkeley and Peter R. Orszag and William G. Gale of the Brookings Institution. Or, to take another example, Medicare reform could theoretically cut the system's costs by 30 percent, according to Elliott S. Fisher of Dartmouth Medical School.

Volcanic Absurdity

WITH ALL THE heightened concerns about terrorism, you might think the Department of Homeland Security has something better to do with its time and energy than throw victims of natural disasters out of the United States. But that's because, like most Americans, you probably missed a recent notice in the Federal Register informing victims of a massive volcanic eruption on the Carribean island of Montserrat that they had to leave this country by February.

Bush's Two Albatrosses
By David S. Broder

The factors that make President Bush a vulnerable incumbent have almost nothing to do with his opponent, John F. Kerry. They stem directly from two closely linked, high-stakes policy gambles that Bush chose on his own. Neither has worked out as he hoped.

The first gamble was the decision to attack Iraq; the second, to avoid paying for the war. The rationale for the first decision was to remove the threat of a hostile dictator armed with weapons of mass destruction. The weapons were never found. The rationale for the second decision -- the determination to keep cutting taxes in the face of far higher spending for Iraq and the war on terrorism -- was to stimulate the American economy and end the drought of jobs. The deficits have accumulated, but the jobs have still not come back.

If Bush can win reelection despite the failure of his two most consequential -- and truly radical -- decisions, he will truly be a political miracle man. But as his own nominating convention approaches, the odds are against him.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Times said it quite well. I would concur in every one of their points. JK is probably going to win the election.

There is I percieve a sense of angst in the majority of the country about the topics Broder (from teh Post) does a good job of describing.

But that so far is a Bush loss not a Kerry win. If JK can answer the above questions then he might get a Kerry win.

Robert G. Oler

5:28 AM  
Blogger Pamela Leavey said...

Greetings Robert

I tend to not agree with a Kerry win hinges on the war vote or explanation there of.

There are so many issues at stake in this election. Kerryoffers hope on so many more of the issues than Bush does. The American people are seeing this. Witness the crowd of 60,000 in Oregon the other day.

People want change and they will vote for Kerry on the merit of the better policies he is offering.

10:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I hope your right. It could turn out that way; it kind of did in 80. Reagan (who I voted for then and in 84) did not so much win as Carter lost. The people just lost confidence in his ability to handle some of the issues of the era...Reagan's debate closing line said it all 'Are you better off then you were four years ago".

That might happen again. IF this were an election solely about economics with an overseas issue that defied solutions (the hostage crisis was that) then I would agree with you without reservation. The economy has "stalled" and is more or less I think starting to slide back. We have spent enormous fortune on a recovery with little or no steam (ironies are that the oil prices took the steam out).

The wild card is both the war on Terror (which I think is a phoney war) and the situation in Iraq. this is what has me concerned and where I think both Kerry adn Shrub are vunerable. My prediction is that 58-61 percent of Americans by election day will think IRaq was a miSTake. They are going to want to know how to get out of it...and to make sure we dont repeat any more of these. Thats where right now both campaigns are going.

I hope that you are more right than I am. The large crowds on the JK rallys are interesting. So far I cannot figure out what we are seeing there. If its a lot of folks outside the base coming thats great. If its the base that is fired up well thats a litle different.

Robert G. Oler

8:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

John Kerry voted to give the President the authority to use force in Iraq. This was a good decision after 9/11. George Bush abused the authority. He prohibited the weapons inspectors from completing their job and claimed Iraq was an imminent threat to everyday Americans.

4:50 PM  
Blogger Pamela Leavey said...

Hi Robert,

From all reports I have heard about the Portland crowd and other large rallies, the base is well fired up!

I have a lot of faith in Kerry's ability to win this on his own merits and always have.

As for Kerry fixing what Bush broke in Iraq, I simply feel that he is better qualified to do so. It's a sticky situation and the closer it gets to election day, the more timely the solutions will be.

I also feel it is best for Kerry not to feed Bush too much information about what he plans to do to fix the iraq situation, to far in advance of the election. Bush has taken Kerry's ideas quite a few times already. Let's continue to let Bush screw up and have JK hit him hard when it counts, right before the election (which Kerry has a proven history of doing)!

5:12 PM  

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