pageok
pageok
pageok
Looking Forward to a Republican Defeat?:

I don't blog about partisan politics that much, mostly because it doesn't interest me that much. I must say, however, that I'm not sorry the Republicans are poised to lose the House to the Democrats. The Republicans came in under a reformist platform in '94, and gradually lost their zeal for anything but reelection. By now, I can't think of a better advertisement for term limits than the Republican majority in the House, and I don't think I'll ever forgive Anthony Kennedy for his vote in U.S. Term Limits v. Thornton (declaring state-imposed term limits for federal office-holders unconstitutional), which was not only completely wrong on the merits, but allowed the culture of corruption (K Street, earmarks, etc.) and reelection-at-all-costs to transfer itself so quickly from the Democratic majority to the Republican majority, except that, by all indications, it has gotten worse. Twelve years of Republican control of the presidency from 1981 to 1993 led to a generation of lazy Republican sycophants who were more concerned about keeping their sinecures than in achieving any principled goals they had once believed in. The shock of defeat in '92 led directly to the Gingrich revolution, undone unfortunately because Gingrich was a much better revolutionary than leader (I still can't believe how he whined to the press about the seating arrangements on the airplane on the way back from Rabin's funeral, and I've never understood how he let Clinton get away with accusing the Republicans of "shutting down the government" when the Republicans actually passed a budget that Clinton vetoed!) Defeat for the Republicans in 2006 is even more richly deserved than in '92, and hopefully, if it does come, it will lead to a the emergence of a Repbulican presidential candidate in '08 and Congressional leaders who will restore some of the reformist fervor of the early Reagan and Gingrich years.

UPDATE: I should mention that I'm very disappointed that the Democrats haven't taken the opportunity to even remotely hint that they'll behave any better than the Republicans.

FantasiaWHT:
I'm a Republican and I heartily agree. I think a Republican loss would (will?) be good for both the party and the country as a whole. That said, am I voting for Herb Kohl? Probably, because nobody else is running against him, heh. That said as well, why the hell is he bothering to run commercials??
10.19.2006 6:01pm
Constantin:
Twelve years after Democrats were banished to the wildnerness its leaders are Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, with Hillary Clinton the presumptive presidential nominee. So I'm not sure sharp intellectual reinvigoration necessarily follows exile.

Newt &Co. may have been the exception, not the rule.
10.19.2006 6:03pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
Con, fair point! But here's hoping.
10.19.2006 6:04pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
BTW, I think if the Dems had done some real soul-searching in '94, they would have had Congress back in '98, and won the presidency in '00.
10.19.2006 6:05pm
Constantin:
Twelve years after Democrats were banished to the wildnerness its their leaders are Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid

Always nice to include an error in grammar while accusing Pelosi and Reid of being morons...
10.19.2006 6:07pm
Colin (mail):
Would you mind explaining why you think Thornton was wrongly decided? I have no memory of the case from con law, and you've sparked my curiosity.
10.19.2006 6:07pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
Colin, you'd have to read Thomas's dissent to get the whole argument, as he does a great job, but at the most basic level, the majority argues that the states clearly had no right to impose additional conditions on federal officeholders, yet they ignore the fact that until the 17th Amendment was passed, state legislatures were absolutely free to impose any conditions they wanted on Senators. Also, Stevens' opinion relies heavily on the idea that allowing "the people" to choose their representatives is fundamental to American democracy, but he ignores (1) the way the Senate was elected until the 17th Amendment; (2) the Electoral College, which was meant to serve as a barrier to the people; and (3) the fact that presidents are term-limited, and American democracy has somehow survived. There's more, but those are my most vociferous objections.
10.19.2006 6:12pm
EricH (mail):
Well, one of the "problems" (if you will) is that we'll have a deadlock or stalemate in government. Bush will vetoe much of what the Democrats pass and the Democrats will prevent Bush from enacting anything (if he's got anything to enact at this state; I guess extending the tax cuts). I can't imagine the Democrats winning enough seats to overcome vetoes.

Some folks may like that - a stalemate - since the less damage (i.e., legislation) the better, I suppose.

But in such a situation the pressure from the more doctrinaire liberals on the Democrats to "get Bush" will increase. Since the liberal agenda has been stopped through Bush's vetoes or Republican opposition, the only alternative would be to harass the White House. The Democrats will need to do this to keep their base alive in hopes of maintaining or improving their majority (or majorities).

If one thinks that the White House should be investigated and that they have been corrupt, I guess this is not really a "problem" but a necessity or is warranted.

I wonder how the radical Islamists would view such an election and events?

In any case, it'll be a interesting couple of years.
10.19.2006 6:17pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
I honestly cannot make heads or tails out of what Bernstein is saying his post other than for someone who says that he has little interest in "partisan politics," he's awfully eager for Republicans to lose without providing any substantive reasons why.

One question though -- what is the evidence that the 1992 defeat of Bush 41 lead to the 1994 GOP electoral victories? Do you have any basis for this claim or are you just assuming that since one followed the other it was caused by the other?

IMO it seems to me that if the more conservative (liberal) party loses the election to the more liberal (conservative) party, that they would see this as evidence that they need to move further to the left (right) to capture the middle who decides the outcome of elections. That was afterall what led to Bush 43 becoming the GOP nominee in 2000 with a platform of "compassionate conservatism." In which case should Republicans lose this election -- particularly in the House which has been the more conservative of the two Houses of Congress -- they may move even further to the left on issues of spending, immigration, and entitles to take votes away from House Democrats.

In which case, it only makes sense to hope for an electoral victory for Democrats if you actually support their platform and ideas because that is what they will be emboldened by their victory to try to implement and that is what Republicans will assume that voters want.
10.19.2006 6:18pm
Justice Fuller:
Yeah, I'm a Republican and I would love for the GOP to lose the House. We need a serious House cleaning (so to speak), as the current leaders care only about ensuring their own reelection. Thay have no principle at all that is in any way related to the GOP. The only way to get them out is to have them lose, and to hope that the loss triggers some reform.
10.19.2006 6:18pm
Daniel Chapman (mail):
Fantasia: I wondered that as well... especially on "price gouging gas companies" after gas prices have dropped by over a buck since last year this time.
10.19.2006 6:22pm
josh:
I take issue with a couple of statements in this post: (1) that Gingrich "let Clinton get away with accusing the Republicans of "shutting down the government" when the Republicans actually passed a budget that Clinton vetoed!" This statement is missing the necessary component of WHY Clinton vetoed the GOP budget. The two sides differed over the size of tax cuts (Clinton wanted them, but just not as large as the GOP did) and resulting cust in Medicare, Medicaid, etc. (for timeline of news stories on the 96 budget battle SEE www.cnn.com/US/9512/budget/budget_battle/index.html) Now, it was a GOP controlled Congress on orders from Bush that enacted the largest entitlement of our generation (Medicare drug plan) and lied about its cost.

Which leads us to the second problem: "the Democrats haven't taken the opportunity to even remotely hint that they'll behave any better than the Republicans." Sure they have. Theyb have roundly criticized the wayward spending and irresponsible tax cuts of the GOP since the "revolution." Unless the "starve the beast" method is all that's acceptable, of course.

Fact is, the meme of a tax-and-spend Dem Party is unsuporrted by the facts of the last 12 years. The party out of power has not had the opportunity to pass the fiscally responsible legislation that was commonplace during the Clinton years (and to avoid argument, let's give all the credit to the revolution for getting the ball rolling on that, although I think the facts are a little more nuanced)

The Dems have stated how they'll be better than the GOP. All voters are entitled not to believe them. But the campaign pledges have been there all along.
10.19.2006 6:25pm
Eli Rabett (www):
Strikes me that term limits was a government regulation designed from letting the voters do what the voters wanted, and are you guys not against government regulations?
10.19.2006 6:27pm
Lanthanist:
Any bets on how long it will be between when Pelosi is sworn in as Speaker and when the House impeaches Bush?
10.19.2006 6:27pm
Colin (mail):
Thank you, I will look up that dissent (and the rest of the case) when I get a chance.
10.19.2006 6:27pm
Mike BUSL07 (mail) (www):
David, do you think the widespead and vocal dissatisfaction among Republicans with their (our) leadership, has done the job enough so that we don't "need" to lose the House in order to get the point across?
10.19.2006 6:27pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
Josh:
(1) whenever I see Democratic leaders on t.v., they accuse Bush of spending too little
(2) the Republicans passed a budget. Clinton vetoed it. Clinton shut down the government.
10.19.2006 6:28pm
josh:
PS

I've never exactly understood how one can support the stated principles of conservatism and claim to be liberterian. This question usually applies to Instapundit, but works here with this post too.
10.19.2006 6:29pm
Daniel Chapman (mail):
Consider the advantages an incumbant has over a challenger (money, name recognition, etc...) and ask why voters might want a way to limit those advantages.

Just a thought.
10.19.2006 6:29pm
Kate1999 (mail):
Prof. bernstein,

Doesn't your point (2) assume that the budget was a good one? Imagine Congress passes a completely ridiculous budget knowing the President will veto it, and he does. Who shut down the Govt. then? Or in your view, does the President have a duty to sign all budgetary legislation?
10.19.2006 6:32pm
Don Miller (mail):
The Republican House has its share of problems. I am not happy about Government spending. I am not happy about Washington corruption. I am not convinced that there is any new corruption, just the money changing to a different set of hands. I have generally been happy with the legislation that Congress has passed.

Most of my anger about the lack of action on issues important to me, has been by the Republican Senators however. The Republican House Leadership does not seem to have a problem passing legislation that makes Democrats unhappy, but the Senate seems to cave at the slightest hint of a frown.
10.19.2006 6:35pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
Well, one of the "problems" (if you will) is that we'll have a deadlock or stalemate in government. Bush will vetoe much of what the Democrats pass and the Democrats will prevent Bush from enacting anything (if he's got anything to enact at this state; I guess extending the tax cuts). I can't imagine the Democrats winning enough seats to overcome vetoes.


Considering that we had an explosion in non-defense/homeland security discretionary spending rather than gridlock and vetoes when Bush 43 had a Democrat-controlled Senate, I doubt that this "problem" would manifest itself.

What we will have though is the more fiscally conservative House of Congress being controlled by a Party that is campaigning on spending even more than Republicans. In which case spending would probably explode as it did when Daschle became Senate Majority leader.
10.19.2006 6:37pm
Seamus (mail):

I still can't believe how he whined to the press about the seating arrangements on the airplane on the way back from Rabin's funeral, and I've never understood how he let Clinton get away with accusing the Republicans of "shutting down the government" when the Republicans actually passed a budget that Clinton vetoed!



I always wondered how that happened, given that when the positions were exactly reversed, and Reagan vetoed the budget sent him by the Democratic Congress, it was *Reagan* who was held to have "shut down the government."
10.19.2006 6:38pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
Most of my anger about the lack of action on issues important to me, has been by the Republican Senators however. The Republican House Leadership does not seem to have a problem passing legislation that makes Democrats unhappy, but the Senate seems to cave at the slightest hint of a frown.


Agreed, on issues like immigration, entitlement reform, and health care reform (as well as generally in favor of at least lower increases in spending) the House has generally been the better body. But I guess that's only important to people who actually follow issues.
10.19.2006 6:39pm
CJColucci:
What in any of this is, or should have been, the least bit surprising? What basis could anyone possibly have for being disappointed that things turned out this way? Disappointment presupposes some half-way reasonable expectation of something better, and what basis was there, even at the time, for such an expectation? I'm not trying to be snarky here, folks. I'm dead serious. Really, why did you expect anything different?
10.19.2006 6:45pm
Wombat:
I've said it before, there is no upside.
If the Dems win the Senate there is a decent chance of Impeachapalooza, especially once they get around to realizing their razor thin majority won't get them much beyond committee control. However, I have secretly wished for a 50/50 split in the Senate just for the spectacle of Cheney essentially running the place (oh, how the left-leaning blogs will howl), and at the moment that could well turn out to be the case.

And when the Dems take the House, yeesh. Again, many of those horrible big spending bills were signed by Bush because he a)thought they were the least worst option he'd see, and B)because he saw the writing on the wall and figured he might as well get gratitude votes out of the deal (can we officially declare that concept dead now?), with the House being the real brake on spending. With less Repubs around? Forget it. No, it's not like spending will suddenly go up by an order of magnitude, but it will go up.

Face it: your theoretical upside is that the Repubs will suddenly see the error of their ways and go back to being "good" small government types. In reality, it means they will move to the middle, just like the Dems did in the early 90s.

Oh wait, my left-leaning friends above inform me that moving to the middle wasn't the case, the Dems have always been the fiscally responsible party and will continue to do so in the future. Pardon my guffaws. Mind pointing out any examples in the last half decade where the Dem version of a bill had a lower price tag than the Rep version?

Not that I really care, I have no dog in the fight this election, as as a Milwaukee, Wisconsinite my Federal races are essentially unchallenged. Although I too am surprised by the lack of Kohl challenges - as a "closeted" Millionare Democrat (though the vast majority of his "wealth" is not real, it is based on what he would get for the Milwaukee Bucks if he sold to someone) you think he would get "just another Kerry" attacks left and right. Weird.
10.19.2006 6:56pm
steveh2:
So, is it just assumed that spending=bad?

Wombat, several Dem versions of Iraq spending bills have had a lower price tag, because they included raising taxes enough to pay for the spending.

Heck, the Dem "version" of the Iraq war would probably be no war at all, which almost certainly would have had a lower price tag than what we got.
10.19.2006 7:20pm
josh:
DB

"whenever I see Democratic leaders on t.v., they accuse Bush of spending too little." The fact that you base your opinions for a post (or even your voting) on tv campaign ads makes me very, very worried. I think proposing getting out of a war that costs $2 billion a week literally defines criticism of spending too much, particularly in the wake of irresponsible tax cuts.

" the Republicans passed a budget. Clinton vetoed it. Clinton shut down the government." Is your point that a presidential veto of an opposing party's budget is the sole cause of a government shut down? That any time a president vetos a budget the government shuts down. Um, sadly no. Gotta go to a pro bono dinner, but will come back with cites of prior such vetos and how government remained in business.
10.19.2006 7:34pm
Charlie (Colorado) (mail):
David, you're being a fool. You shouldn't wish for a Republican defeat unless you really believe that a Democrat-controlled Congress will be better. This isn't a game.
10.19.2006 7:36pm
Pete Freans (mail):
And what exactly is the Democratic agenda that deserves their majority presence in either House? That they are not Republicans? That they don't support Bush? That its time for a change? A change to what? This is even more sinister than our ineffective majority. We have he likes of Schumer, Clinton, Kennedy (Is he still alive?), Reid, Pelosi, Conyers...These are the people we are empowering to impose a mystery agenda on America?

I'm a Republican but I have an open mind and I'm anxious to hear a substantive counter-argument. I'm not holding my breath.
10.19.2006 7:37pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
Josh, I'm not talking about campaign ads, I'm talking about interviews with leading Democrats on, e.g., Meet the Press or NPR. I half-grimace, half-chuckle, every time I heard a Democrat first attack Bush for deficit spending and being fiscally irresponsible, and then in the next breath attack Bush for not spending enough on [you name it].
10.19.2006 7:56pm
A.S.:
Seamus wrote:



I still can't believe how he whined to the press about the seating arrangements on the airplane on the way back from Rabin's funeral, and I've never understood how he let Clinton get away with accusing the Republicans of "shutting down the government" when the Republicans actually passed a budget that Clinton vetoed!



I always wondered how that happened, given that when the positions were exactly reversed, and Reagan vetoed the budget sent him by the Democratic Congress, it was *Reagan* who was held to have "shut down the government."


No, no, no. You can't figure out who shut down the government by looking at the branches of government. The rule is that Republicans shut down the government, whether they control the executive branch or the legislative branch.

Reagan shut the government down because he's a Republican. Gingrich shut the government down because he's a Republican too. If the government gets shut down, Republicans are always at fault, and Democrats are blameless.

Accordingly, if the Democrats take power in Congress and the Government is shut down in the next two years, Bush will be at fault, because Bush is the Republican.
10.19.2006 7:56pm
Public_Defender (mail):
Spin this how you want, but it's better to be in power than to complain about the other party in power.
10.19.2006 8:15pm
RainerK:
Let me assure everybody that I'm neither Rep nor Dem, but firmly Lib.
That said, I must be missing something. Where are the Dem campaign pledges to spend more and tax less, i.e yet more deficit?
I just love the rather sad irony of the old Rep demagoguery calling Dems "tax and spend". Though some don't seem to think it is sadly ironic.

EricH:
I can't imagine the Democrats winning enough seats to overcome vetoes.

I hope you're right. The Reps have done their share of damage in last minute legislation (gambling ban, habeas, torture). We need a break. All the power in one hand for too long is like fish after a week.
They can surely find something bipartisan, such as some more criminal laws or tightening the screws some more on sex offenders. That always looks good.
10.19.2006 8:15pm
Tom Jefferson (mail):
For someone who does not take an interest in partisan politics, it is fairly clear that Bernstein wants a return of the Republicans and really dislikes the Democrats. The VC blog and its readers are on the right/libertarian side of things, so this is expected.

But for me, as a Democrat, I hope the Republicans stay in power. It is my opinion that the results of Republican leadership today are the richly deserved and eagerly sought fruits of the labor from "the reformist fervor of the early Reagan and Gingrich years" that Bernstein wants to return in 2008. The results from years of Republican leadership in Congress and the Executive branches are not some aberration due to corruption, failed Gingrich leadership, or attempts to hold on to power. The Republican party's sycophants and failed leaders seem to be the same people that took the wheel during the Reagan and Gingrich years (and Bush 43 years). They ran the store, collected the checks, pushed reforms and spent the money their way. They earned these lousy results that seem to have pushed the People to express their dissatisfaction. It remains to be seen whether the party will even lose the House in November. But their constituents do not seem to be pleased even if they (and many of your readers) do not want to vote for Democrats.

For me, that the Republican leadership, both elected and appointed, have succeeded in running the country's fiscal, domestic and foreign policy into a metaphorical ditch cannot be easily dismissed as simply a time for house cleaning. Perhpas instead, it is a time for the party to revisit failed policies. Had term limits been in place, the House and current White House would yield the same bitter fruit that I assume you and your blog readers want to purge by a midterm election loss. I hope that you enjoy your feast for a few more years. You guys and gals can give your crackerjack leadership team a chance to right their wrongs, if indeed they even know how to do so.

BTW, I am not sure it was just Pres. Clinton's marketing that led the public to blame Gingrich's party for the Government's shutdown. I recall it was Gingrich's decision to stick to his position despite the public's insistence that Congress seek a compromise.
10.19.2006 8:15pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
Seamus is right; when Reagan vetoed a Democratic budget, he shut down the gov't. When Clinton vetoed a Republican budget, THEY shut down the gov't. I remember following this at the time, and noticing that not a single Republican spokesman had the perspicacity to simply tell the media: "we passed a budget; Clinton vetoed it; he thus shut down the government." If the questioner then added "but didn't the president want a and b, and you refused it?" Simple answer: "Clinton can always request additional funds later; right now, he's shut down the government."
10.19.2006 8:35pm
Stephen Clark (mail) (www):
David: I should mention that I'm very disappointed that the Democrats haven't taken the opportunity to even remotely hint that they'll behave any better than the Republicans.

See Nancy Pelosi's proposal for action in the first 100 hours of the next Congress, which includes stronger ethics restrictions and guaranteeing the GOP minority greater participation in the process than the GOP majority ever allowed the Democratic minority. Whether these things ultimately come about, I think that qualifies as more than "even remotely hint[ing]."

As for U.S. Term Limits, David is conflating Justice Stevens majority opinion with Justice Kennedy's separate concurrence. Kennedy's view, with a fair basis in history, was that matters of federalism are more complicated than either the majority or Thomas' dissent imagined. The core of Thomas' opinion was that the Constitution was little more than an international treaty among independent states, a simplistic view of the founding, to say the least.

The relevance of the power of States to appoint Senators before the 17th Amendment is obscure at best, since the 17th Amendment eliminated that power and subjected Senators to essentially the same rules that had always governed election of Representatives.

It sounds to me as though David objects to the decision mainly because the result doesn't conform to his personal political preferences. Indeed, he fails to note that the position of Thomas and the conservative bloc in U.S. Term Limits was absolutely inconsistent with their position in Bush v. Gore, where they insisted that the Federal Constitution forbade Florida from subjecting its presidential election process to additional requirements under its state constitution or longstanding election law.

The proper response to David's objection is to observe that he is free to ask the GOP majority in Congress to adhere to their 1994 promise and submit a term-limits amendment to the states for ratification--if they are not too busy with gay-bashing and flag-burning amendments, that is.
10.19.2006 8:36pm
plunge (mail):
I agree. Democrats have at least promised that they undo the dismantling of the Congressional ethics system and majority/minority balances that the Republicans oversaw. That's at least something, if they actually go through with (and hence somewhat undermine their own newfound power).

If you are in favor of the effects of government gridlock, then it's perfectly sensible for a libertarian to support playing one party against the other.
10.19.2006 8:45pm
Fran (mail) (www):
Face it when the circumstantial evidence pokes everyone in the eye.
I don't have the #'s at hand but just guess at the # of House investigations against the Clinton admin...for sex, Bosnia and various sundry corruptions; vs the #'s of House investigations against the Bush admin for...Iraq, Katrina, Medicare Plan D, Iraq again, incompetence.

I would suggest that Tom DeLay and Bush had a deal going in...you keep out of my house and I'll keep out of yours.

The conservatives who would drown the govt in a bathtub sure had a good bath. Given by such GOP manipulators as Norquist, Abramoff and Reed.

How nice for both camps.

Bush got his tax cuts,war, plan D, no child, with no interference by the GOP 'conservative' controlled House of Reps, and he signed all those Pork/Abramoff influenced bills.

DeLay had massive influence of member voting, provided of course by Abramoff money. Think of the night of Plan D. The size of the congressional trough grew exponentially. A conservative might consider this to be against their values.

Everyone in govt got what they wanted...
...and we, the people, got what we deserved. A wastrel congress and an incompetent admin based on divisive politics. Welcome to 1984, ala 2001.
10.19.2006 9:24pm
Elliot Reed:
I've never understood how he let Clinton get away with accusing the Republicans of "shutting down the government" when the Republicans actually passed a budget that Clinton vetoed!
Both Clinton and the congressional Republicans were the but-for cause of the government shut down; it was easily within the R's power to not have the government shut down by passing a budget Clinton liked. The fact that Clinton's act came last doesn't make a difference from a causal perspective.

The issue of responsibility is different. Ultimately, who you think was responsible is going to depend on who you think is behaving unreasonably and who you think is behaving reasonably. If you think the Republican budget was A-OK, Clinton shut down the government; if you think the Republican budget was absurd, the Republicans shut down the overnment. Clinton (rightly or wrongly) convinced the American people that his position was reasonable and the Republicans were being unreasonable.
10.19.2006 9:50pm
Michael B (mail):
"Bush got his tax cuts,war, plan D, no child ..."

The budget deficit is now down to $250b and continues to shrink, largely fueled by those tax cuts. Two years ago the Pres. promised the budget deficit, when it was over $600b, would be cut in half within five years. It's taken two years, rather than five, and it's been more than cut in half.

This reduction took place due to huge tax receipts, mostly from corporations, and also despite a $50b outlay as a result of hurricane Katrina and war costs in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere.

(And speaking of hurricanes, what happened to the dire predictions of class 4 and 5 hurricanes this season?)
10.19.2006 9:56pm
JRL:
Prof. Bernstein just wants the Democrats to win to depress real estate values.
10.19.2006 10:16pm
Mark Field (mail):

The budget deficit is now down to $250b and continues to shrink, largely fueled by those tax cuts. Two years ago the Pres. promised the budget deficit, when it was over $600b, would be cut in half within five years. It's taken two years, rather than five, and it's been more than cut in half.


Wow, and that's to say nothing of the huge deficit he inherited from Clinton. What an accomplishment for Bush's historical resume! We should all be proud.
10.19.2006 10:29pm
Michael B (mail):
Mark Field,

Obviously there was no deficit, your sarcasm is noted. Of course there was no 9/11, 3/11, 7/7, Bali, Istanbul, Casablanca, Theo van Gogh, etc., etc., either, during Clinton's presidency. Though there was WTC '93 (one month into his presidency, treated as a legal issue, and Clinton didn't so much as visit the site), the Khobar Towers, the Cole, etc., etc. Mere trifles however when a "peace dividend" is to be exploited.

Too, Clinton's "peace dividend" was achieved as a result of the end of the Cold War, decidedly a Reagan accomplishment, obviously among many others players as well, from Truman forward, but a decided Reagan accomplishment nonetheless in its final phase and denouement. The other way Clinton managed the "peace dividend" was to cut "government spending," remember that? Problem is 93% of what was cut (an early Clinton/Gore initiative) was directly or indirectly (civilian support of the military) related to the military - yet additional evidence of the head-in-the-sand "logic" applied to the budget and the post-Cold War realignments of the military during that era.

We should all be proud of such "achievements".
10.19.2006 11:05pm
Mark Field (mail):

Of course there was no 9/11, 3/11, 7/7, Bali, Istanbul, Casablanca, Theo van Gogh, etc., etc., either, during Clinton's presidency.


Is this supposed to be a criticism of Clinton? Seems more like a list of accomplishments to me.


Though there was WTC '93


Yep. And Clinton actually caught the perp. Bush just wants to play Waldo with Osama.


the end of the Cold War, decidedly a Reagan accomplishment, obviously among many others players as well, from Truman forward, but a decided Reagan accomplishment nonetheless in its final phase and denouement.


Bush 41 was President during the "final phase and denouement" of the Cold War.

Reagan gets just as much credit, and no more, than Truman, Eisenhower, Kennnedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, and Bush 41 for the success of US containment policy.


Clinton's "peace dividend" was achieved as a result of the end of the Cold War


No dispute there. Clinton did, however, manage it extraordinarily well. He gets credit for good management. Bush, well, doesn't.
10.19.2006 11:26pm
Michael B (mail):
"Bush got his tax cuts,war, plan D, no child ..."

As to "the war," it is of course not "the war" but rather the considerable problems, challenges and all too real tragedies in Iraq more recently. Of course there were considerable problems and tragedies during other wars as well, e.g., Iwo Jima, Guadalcanal, etc., etc., etc., but that occurred during a different era entirely, politically, ideologically, strategically, etc., etc., etc. Too, when Pres. Bush recently noted there is an apt analogy vis-a-vis Tet, early '68, essentially he was referring to Cronkite's and others' reportorial incompetence and mendacity - promulgated via the MSM, obviously with plenty of help from the Western Left - awarding the North Vietnamese a PR/propaganda victory despite the considerable, and indeed decisive, military/strategic defeat the North Vietnamese had actually suffered.

Doubly ironic, Tet occurred virtually at the same time Creighton Abrams took over from Westmoreland and did an "about face" strategically (vis-a-vis Westmoreland strategies and tactics), in terms of continued military victories, turning the war effort over to the South Vietnamese and even more importantly winning the popular war among the South Vietnamese themselves. E.g., tens of thousands of Vietcong, post-1968, realigned themselves with the South, turning their backs on Hanoi. An additional example which caused more and more among the South Vietnamese population to align themselves practically/politically and ideologically with the regime in the South was the decided change from tenant farmers to granting titles to the land, and doing so en masse (by '72 more than 400,000 farmers had been granted titles via the "Land to the Tiller" program initiated by the govt. in the South, a program which essentially eliminated tenancy).

Despite all this progress, despite the fact the war effort itself had been turned over to the South Vietnamese, the 1973 Democratic congress, by 1975, had cut formally promised funds and armaments - even the budget for medical supplies for the South Vietnamese.

In large part thank Uncle Walter (Cronkite) for that mendacity and treachery, along with others in the MSM and the American Left and Left/Dems, Edward Kennedy leading the way in that '73 Congress.

Too, of Iraq, there are also stories like this which should not be discounted in terms of what they reflect more generally, and obviously for their own sake as well.
10.19.2006 11:46pm
mockmook:
Probably not a very popular person with the commenters here, but Rush has two compelling arguments why "throw them out" is abad idea:

1. The result: Reid, Pelosi, etc. Who, contrary to (implied) arguments here, have no interest in restraining government expansion (ex: no more "limited powers" judges). So, you aren't punishing the Republicans, you will be punishing yourselves.

2. If any party needs punishing, it is the Dems: Undermining a war effort that many Dems voted for (then claiming Bush lied), supporting amnesty for illegals, supporting higher taxes when the current rates have increased revenue (and record stock market), etc.
10.20.2006 12:59am
TruthInAdvertising:
"Two years ago the Pres. promised the budget deficit, when it was over $600b, would be cut in half within five years. It's taken two years, rather than five, and it's been more than cut in half."

It's been well documented that the Administration has deliberately and consistently monkeyed with the deficit numbers by overstating projections so that they can claim they've "cut" the deficit when it was likely that the deficit number was never as high as they initially projected. What hasn't changed is that Bush inherited a surplus, quickly turned that into a deficit (pre 9/11 so you'll have to find another excuse) and has still failed to eliminate the deficit. As the costs of his entitlement programs and tax cuts are fully realized, the deficits will likely explode.
10.20.2006 1:02am
Ship Erect (mail) (www):
1. The result: Reid, Pelosi, etc. Who, contrary to (implied) arguments here, have no interest in restraining government expansion (ex: no more "limited powers" judges). So, you aren't punishing the Republicans, you will be punishing yourselves.

And on the other hand, Republicans have shown every interest in restraining govenrment expansion, haven't they? Legalizing torture, destroying habeas corpus, a midnight bill to keep Terry Schiavo alive, gay marriage amendment--in what world are these the actions of a limited government?

2. If any party needs punishing, it is the Dems

Hmm, has there been a time when Rush did not believe this?
10.20.2006 1:08am
Walt61:
I can't think of a better advertisement for term limits than the Republican majority in the House,...

Wait until you see the Democrat majority that might take their place.
10.20.2006 1:15am
Mark Field (mail):

Hmm, has there been a time when Rush did not believe this?


1868?
10.20.2006 1:15am
Michael B (mail):
"It's been well documented ..." TruthInAdvertising

Then provide the links; assertions do not an argument make.
10.20.2006 1:23am
Walt61:
What hasn't changed is that Bush inherited a surplus, quickly turned that into a deficit (pre 9/11 so you'll have to find another excuse)

Bush also inherited a recession that started ten months before he took office. Tax collections for the past fiscal year were much larger than any previous year. Of course this is Bush's fault.
10.20.2006 1:25am
TruthInAdvertising:
"Bush also inherited a recession that started ten months before he took office."

So what? Did he cut spending to offset declines in revenue? That would have been the logical course of action to avoid deficit spending.

Michael B: I have my links ready. I'll post them right after I get your links to your trumped up numbers. (I thought the Bush Administration overinflated the deficit numbers but you managed to beat even their phony numbers).
10.20.2006 2:07am
Michael B (mail):
10.20.2006 2:14am
Mitchell Freedman (mail) (www):
Um, David, ever hear of the Virginia Plan during the Constitutional debates of 1787?

The term limits decision strikes me as one of the few instances where original intent can be expressly found--and yet, the right wing judges like Thomas and Scalia couldn't be bothered to uphold original intent.

And if you live in a state with term limits for state politicians, you would know how much we see musical chairs among the politicians and the appalling decline in institutional knowledge among members. The lobbyists write more legislation than ever, too.
10.20.2006 2:15am
TruthInAdvertising:
As for Bush's accomplishment at reducing the deficit, I'll steal a quote from the New Republic:

"Halving a deficit you inherited would be something to brag about. Halving a deficit you created, not so much."
10.20.2006 2:18am
TruthInAdvertising:
Let's see, this document you provided states that the deficit in the 2006 budget is $602 million and in the 2007 budget will be $543 million dollars. Since when is 543 one-half of 602?

"Two years ago the Pres. promised the budget deficit, when it was over $600b, would be cut in half within five years. It's taken two years, rather than five, and it's been more than cut in half."
10.20.2006 2:23am
Michael B (mail):
Good grief, what pettiness, provide your links already. And you call yourself "truth" in advertising?

1) It's billions, not millions.

2) The graph is obviously dated. If you could read the graph you'd note the doc reflects a projected 2006 deficit of 602b, but it has now been reported at 250b. That's less than one-half.

3) Here's another view, from the CBO's more recent March 2006 projections (small pdf) where they note the 2005 actuals at 318b and project the 2006 number to rise to 371b. Again, that was not the WH's projections, but the CBO's projections as recently as seven (7) months ago. Instead the actuals for 2006 have now been reported: 250b, a difference for the better of 121b.
10.20.2006 2:52am
Cornellian (mail):
I've never understood why people seem just to assume that term limits will make politicians less beholden to lobbyists. It seems to me that you'd have the reverse effect. Since the politician knows he can't make a career out of his current job, he's going to feel even more pressure too hand out favors to the lobbying firm that can give him a job as a lobbyist once his term limit comes up. At a minimum, I would at least expect some empirical evidence to be put forward for term limits, but I've never seen any. It's an illogical reaction to the real problem, which is gerrymandering and a lack of transparency in donations to government and in government spending.
10.20.2006 3:19am
Lou:
I am a conservative, although I am not a registered republican. I have voted republican since 1984. In 1980, I ran in junior high (14) as the republican candidate against a fellow student who ran as the democratic candidate. I happened to win. I would consider myself a product of the Reagan era. Reagan helped me care for my country as well as fight for what was right, no matter how tough the fight. However, I did not always stay true to his example, and weakened in the face of adversity, especially from within the party, because I could not stand Bush 41s presidency.

By 1992, I had become upset with the republicans and did not vote until 2000, voting for Bush, as well as in 2004.

The only person(s) I punished by not voting for the republican candidate was myself and my country. I helped elect Clinton, who enabled terrorists to get stronger and stronger and eventually attack us on our own soil, as well as legitamized immoral and illegal behavior in the highest office of our governemnt, making Nixon seem like a pantywaste.

I will never again sit out an election. a none-vote is a vote for the other side, and the other side is much worse than the republicans. Why should people like Blackwell, Santorum, Steele, or Allen suffer out of punishing the republican party? all anyone does by not voting for good candidates is to let the party get more and more liberal, whether militarally, socially or fiscally.

What is the point in that? That seems like a total lack of common sense.

The party doesnt need to be punished. Our country has been suffering the punishment of having the immoral and lazy Clinton as president since 1992, the open ended immigration Act of 1965 promoted by Ted Kennedy, and the limp foreign policy of Jimmy Carter since 1979. To put more of this same democratic party in public office is detrimental to the safety and well being of our country, if not the world.

By not voting, I went against everything Reagan stood for: not quiting in the face of adversity. Reagan was a persistant politician who kept hanging in there until he got it right, and until he convinced enough of his fellow citizens to vote for him because he got it right. Reagan was constantly active in politics, and when you look at the development of his political philosophy, it was the product of a person who never quit, never punished anyone, but soley looked out for what was good, right and true for our country &citizens.

If Reagan had despaired when he saw communism infiltrate Hollywood, or become even more of a liberal, or when he lost those presidential elections, to candidates not nearly as good as he was, where would he, as well as our country, have been? can anyone image Carter as president until 1984? can anyone image that the Iron Curtain would have fallen in 1989 if not for Reagan? and now we have the islamoterrorists, those who showed up because Carter was weak, and Clinton even weaker.

heh, everyone has freedom of choice, but to choose not to vote will cast a vote....for the democracts, and that is the wrong vote for this time in our country's history...

....Just like to vote for Reagan was the right vote for our country back in 1980.

History proves Reagan was right, as well as we were right in voting for him... although even he wasnt perfect either.

History has also already proven that those of us who sat out the elections of 1992 and 1996 were wrong.

I will never forget, never again. to paraphrase the old saying by Burke, evil triumphs when good people do nothing.

to all those who sit out this election, enjoy the years of misery a none-vote action will cause our country. History does repeat itself when people do not learn from the mistakes of earlier generations, such as mine. Please please dont make the same mistakes as I did in 1992 and 1996.

I am also a new yorker so I have alot of remnders of my past political errors. My vote doesnt cant for much at the state of federal level but I vote republican or conservative or pro-life, depending on the race. At the federal level its always republican. Although its been years since my vote counted to help NY go republican for the presidnetial candidate, I am in full solidariaty with those states that do...especially since the democrats may even try to get rid of the electoral college process.

Every vote counts in times like these. please dont waste it.
10.20.2006 3:41am
Lev:
"Federal budget forecasts are only good until lunch tomorrow," said Stan E. Collender, a federal budget expert at Fleishman-Hillard Inc. "Anything after that is just a guess."
10.20.2006 3:42am
AST (mail):
If I remember, a lot of that 1994 class of Republicans ran on term limits and the honorable ones kept their promise and left again. The ones that remain are probably due to be replaced. The problem is that the system isn't conducive to replacing incumbents with members of the same party unless they get caught flirting with pages. In the case of Democrats, even having sex with a page or an intern isn't enough to pry them out.

I heard one candidate say today that the television ads have become so frequent and nasty that they can't be counted on any more and grass roots work is what's really working. Maybe it will catch on.
10.20.2006 4:14am
Angus:

Bush also inherited a recession that started ten months before he took office. Tax collections for the past fiscal year were much larger than any previous year. Of course this is Bush's fault.


The problem with this type of thinking is that it has a false premise: that tax cuts *cause* revenue to go up.

Since 1950, there have been only 4 years in which the federal government tax revenues went down: in 1983, and in 2001-2003 (both the result of tax cuts and economic downturns). What we can conclude from that pattern is:

Raise taxes: tax revenues go up
Keep taxes the same: tax revenues go up
Cut taxes: tax revenues drop in short term, then go up again

Eventually, rational people reach the conclusion there is no causal effect between tax policy and the fact that revenues increase over time.
10.20.2006 6:54am
Medis:
Either inadvertently or intentionally, some commentators seem to be misrepresenting how a Democratic takeover of the House would lead to a slowdown in spending growth. The idea is not that the Democrats would be the anti-spending party. Rather, the idea is that once the Democrats take control of the spending agenda (which is constitutionally allocated to the House, in fact), the GOP might regain the will to oppose spending increases. And with the Presidency and enough of a minority in the House to prevent a veto override, the GOP would in fact have the power to in fact limit spending.

And if the idea is that the GOP is not going to have the will to limit spending even when they no longer control the spending agenda, then we are just completely screwed when it comes to spending. But that strikes me as pretty implausible--I would be willing to bet, in fact, that the rate of increase in government spending as a percentage of the economy that we have seen during the last six years will in fact slow, or even halt, following a Democratic takeover of the House.

By the way, I don't think the evidence provided by the brief period in which the Democrats controlled the Senate during the Bush Administration proves otherwise. First, that really was a brief period. But more importantly, when it comes to spending it is the House, not the Senate, which sets the agenda. And again, if the theory is that even with the Democrats setting the spending agenda the GOP will go along with arbitrarily high increases in spending, then we are screwed anyway, so we might as well try.
10.20.2006 8:17am
Fran (mail) (www):
The evidence shows that R's are good at restraining the D's, spending and otherwise.

The evidence also shows that the R's can't restrain themselves nor can the D's.

A good compromise would be for divided govt with the R's as permanent minority party.
10.20.2006 9:54am
pireader (mail):
In response to David's historical aside--"I've never understood how he [Gingrich] let Clinton get away with accusing the Republicans of 'shutting down the government'."

I suspect the explanation's pretty simple. Most Americans agree with your starting-point: partisan politics doesn't interest them very much either. They just expect their politicians to make the government work, somehow. (How? That's your job ... get it done, or we'll find somebody else.)

When the budget impasse arose, the rhetoric from Gingrich et al. almost relished the idea of a shutdown. At the time, it came across (to me anyway) as dorm-room bull-session talk about who'd miss the government anyway, if it were closed.

They even threatened to trigger a default on the government's debt as a lever in the negotiations.

In contrast, Clinton et al. focused on the real-life practical problems that a shutdown (not to mention a default) would create for millions of Americans who count on the government to do its job, from Social Security recipients to Treasury bondholders.

Guess who sounded adult/concerned/on-task and who sounded juvenile/irresponsible/goofing-around. At that point, the details of bills passed and vetos threatened got lost in the broad impressions.

And, by the way, I suspect that some similar logic is operating today. A lot of people who don't care much about partisan politics believe the government just isn't working. So, in next month's election, they're going to let somebody else try.
10.20.2006 10:06am
Justin (mail):
Yea, Lou, letting Clinton win the election in 1992 and 1996, that was just horrible.

I mean, without Clinton, we wouldn't have George W. Bush. And without Bush, we wouldn't have a trampled Constitution, an illegitimate war, torture as US policy, a lost war, suspension of habeus corpus, a tattered Fourth Amendment, declining wages for the middle class. Without Bush, we might have been able to stop 9/11, and we certainly wouldn't have suffered the travesty of Katrina at such a pathetic level.

So in that sense, you are right, Clinton was a huuuuuge mistake. But I'm not sure your solution follows . . .
10.20.2006 11:05am
TDPerkins (mail):
Cornellian,

I've wondered if requiring non-consecutive terms would have a good effect. No one can make legislating a career, but if they want to do it more than once, they have to leave a good impression on the electorate.

Combine that with transparency in legislating laws, and I think things begin to look up.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, &pfpp
10.20.2006 11:28am
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
Either inadvertently or intentionally, some commentators seem to be misrepresenting how a Democratic takeover of the House would lead to a slowdown in spending growth. The idea is not that the Democrats would be the anti-spending party. Rather, the idea is that once the Democrats take control of the spending agenda (which is constitutionally allocated to the House, in fact), the GOP might regain the will to oppose spending increases. And with the Presidency and enough of a minority in the House to prevent a veto override, the GOP would in fact have the power to in fact limit spending.


And if you had bothered to read the previous posts, you would note that this argument was already debunked by the fact that the explosion in spending occurred when we had a Democrat-controlled Senate (which was already the least fiscally conservative House of Congress). Turning over the more fiscally conservative House to Democrats would only exacerbate this problem.
10.20.2006 11:32am
Houston Lawyer:
Yes, things are horrible all over. Unemployment at 4.6%, 6% interest rates on 30-year mortgages, DOW above 12,000, inflation below 3%, and GDP growth above 3%.

If Bill Clinton gets the credit for the good things that happened during his tenure, then there is no reason for Bush and the Congressional leadership not to get credit for the foregoing statistics.

Promises of more ethical behavior from Ried &Co. are laughable. Now a promise from the New York Times not to investigate or report unethical behavior from Democrats, that I can believe.
10.20.2006 11:49am
Justin (mail):
Thorley,

The DOW's growth, indexed to inflation, has been negative for the whole of Bush's term.

GDP growth has been high, but wages have stagnated or fell relative to inflation, even as hours worked has increased.
10.20.2006 12:07pm
Justin (mail):
Sorry, that was for Houston, not Thorley
10.20.2006 12:07pm
SG:
Justin:

My understanding is that total worker compensation has risen markedly, but the rise has all been in benefits (read: health insurance) and not in wages.

Of course, that raises a completely different discussion.
10.20.2006 12:40pm
Chumund:
Thorley,

Medis replied to that point (about what happened when the Democrats controlled the Senate) at the end of the post from which you quoted. You might not be satisfied with that reply, but it seems to me you cannot fairly accuse Medis of failing to read the arguments that you have made.

By the way, my own two cents is that the Republican-controlled House of Representatives hasn't been fiscally conservative ever since a Republican became President. But maybe the House Republicans would in fact return to their fiscally conservative ways if they were considering spending bills initiated by Democrats and approved by Democrat-controlled committees. In contrast, I think the episode in which the Democrats controlled the Senate just shows that the Democrats were not, at least at the time, much use when it came to opposing spending bills initiated by Republicans. But again, this time the situation would be reversed (it would, hopefully, be Republicans opposing Democrat's spending bills, not the other way around).
10.20.2006 12:43pm
josh:
I agree with alot of the comments here. DB's portrayal of the 96 budget shutdown here is rather unfortunate and dishonest. Any president's reaction to a political opponent seeking a desired outcome would not be described as such. i keep forgetting how DB is a liberterian. Plus, he continues to parrot the GOP talking point about Dem tax and spend, even though the DEms have made clear (yes, on Meet the Press and all those other shows DB says he watches) that leaving Iraq would reduce spending by trillions. Funny how DB seems unwilling to address that spending reduction in his balance of the two parties" fiscal responsibility. (Liberterian! I keep forgetting!)

I have to stop being surprised by his intellectual dishonesty. He can take solace in at least one thing: the russians kicked out those horrible groups, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, from Chechnya yesterday!
10.20.2006 12:54pm
Lou:
Justin, thanks for proving my point. a liberal like you wouldnt be so upset with what I said, if it wasnt because you dont like how good republicans are doing.

If its so dangerous living in the US under Bush then why dont you go to a country where their constitution isnt trampled on? Why dont you leave if things are so bad?

you talk about abuse of the constitution, prove it? what about the abuse by Clintion and his staff? what were the classified national security files that Sandy berger destroyed? liberals are perfect at covering up and manipulating the truth.

Clinton has ruined this country and now all of us will have to pay for his 8 yrs of mistakes and dereliction of duty. Clinton's legacy is in the sewer and he and the democrats are helping to bring down the rest of the country.

I will not reward them by not voting republican.
10.20.2006 1:13pm
Christopher Cooke (mail):
Lou, I think you are a bit partisan, perhaps a die-hard. Nothing wrong with that, it is your right to hold such views, but don't expect non-partisans to be persuaded by you.

I agree with the premise of DB's post--that the Republicans deserve a spanking by the electorate-- even if not his historical revisionisms and reasons. I also agree that the Republicans became more obessessed with retaining power than in reforming the government, a few years after they attained power (not immediately, but later). The examples of this concern with power, rather than ethics and reform, are legion--e.g., Hastert removing the chair of the house ethics committee because he was too independent, changing the House rules regarding whether a felony indictment disqualifies someone from a leadership position. Many of these problems, I would attribute to Tom Delay, and Hastert's decision to go along with Delay on these matters. I think this power corrupted them, pure and simple. Hastert should go, regardless of the outcome of this election. By the way, it wouldn't be the first time that a party in power was corrupted by it. Nor do I think that corruption is a partisan issue--rather it affects all who have unchecked power.

I do disagree with Prof. Bernstein on the effects of the government shutdown in 1996. The lesson Gingrich drew from this was that some of the more radical ideas in the Republican agenda focused on shrinking the size of US government in a multitude of areas, were not that popular. Most citizens like the national parks system, Social Security, and Medicare. When the government stopped providing them, they were upset and blamed the party that was seen as advocating for their curtailment.

As for the future, I am looking forward to a few years of stalemate. I think our government has hurt, not helped, our current situation by some of the recent legislative it has passed, so I am looking forward to very little getting accomplished in Congress.
10.20.2006 2:08pm
Chumund:
As an aside, it strikes me as quite obvious that corruption is not inherently Republican or Democrat, conservative or liberal, and so on. But corruption does seem to grow as a problem the longer the same folks are in power, which is an argument for periodic change. And if one is not wedded to a single party, that can be an easy argument to accept.
10.20.2006 2:17pm
Michael B (mail):
"The problem with this type of thinking is that it has a false premise: that tax cuts *cause* revenue to go up." Angus

It's known as the Laffer curve; argue with Art Laffer and argue with the historical record that supports the Laffer curve. Too, your foray avoids an item known as the rise in GDP over the years. Finally, declaring or labeling something "rational" does not, perforce, make it rational. Rational is as rational does. Asserting something, then labeling it "rational," does not make it rational; indeed, any person who falsely applies the label is, perforce, delusional.

This phenonmenon however is much worse, much more systemic, in Europe.
10.20.2006 2:22pm
Christopher Cooke (mail):
The Laffer curve is true at the extreme, but not in the middle: i.e., obviously, cutting taxes from 100 % of income to some lesser percentage, increases gov't revenue. But, no one really knows where the point is for which further tax cuts will decrease government revenues. I would say that the empircal evidence supports the view that Clinton's tax increases in 1992-93, increased government revenue.

Dick Armey, former House Majority leader and lifelong Repubican, apparently, agrees. Here is what he is quoted as saying in the NY Times today:

"Economic conservatives," he argued, were emerging as the swing voters in need of attention, in part because they had become more likely to vote Democratic in the years since President Bill Clinton was in office. "A lot of people believe he brought us from deficits to surpluses, and there is a certain empirical evidence there," Mr. Armey acknowledged.

The question now is where are we on Mr. Laffer's curve: i.e, will further tax cuts (without spending cuts) merely increase the deficit, or reduce it?


10.20.2006 2:47pm
Elliot Reed:
It's known as the Laffer curve; argue with Art Laffer and argue with the historical record that supports the Laffer curve.
Problem is, there is no such record. The overwhelming consensus of reputable economists is that the data don't support the theory that cutting taxes raises revenue (it increases GDP growth, but not government revenue). Note that economists employed by partisan thinktanks don't count as "reputable."
10.20.2006 2:48pm
Chumund:
Michael B,

The Laffer curve does not imply that tax rate cuts will always increase revenue. That is true only if you are on the "right side" of the Laffer curve. If you are instead on the "left side" of the Laffer curve, the only implication of this theory is that a tax rate cut will not lead to a directly proportional reduction in tax revenues (e.g., a 10% cut in rates may lead to only an 8% revenue cut, as opposed to a 10% revenue cut).

And, of course, it is important to compare revenues at the same point in time. So, for example, if you are considering two possible tax rates, T1 (the current rate) and T2 (an alternative rate), and you want to compare the revenue effects of each, you shouldn't compare the actual revenue under T1 now to some future expected revenue under T2 at some later point. Rather, you should compare the future expected revenue under T2 to the future expected revenue under T1 at the same later point.

This may seem obvious, but I see people violate this simple rule all the time. For example, they will look at revenues under one tax rate right before a change, and then compare them with revenues at some later point after the change. That, of course, is the wrong comparison, because of course revenues would not necessarily have stayed the same during that period without a tax rate change. Rather, one has to project what revenues would have been without the change, and then make the comparison.

This, of course, cuts both ways. In other words, tax revenues have gone up in absolute terms both after tax rate cuts and after tax rate raises. But that is simply a product of the fact that over time, the tax base usually grows regardless of how tax rates are changing.
10.20.2006 2:52pm
Kazinski:
I might think about voting Democratic, or at least sitting on my hands except for the issue of expiring tax cuts. Not extending the tax cuts will result in about a 1.8 trillion tax increase 2011 thru 2016. Here is the link. Keep in mind the article is written to argue against extenting the tax cuts, so every time the article says in will cost the federal government x to extend the tax cuts, just remember it will cost you and yours a coresponding amount not to extend. Also keep in mind that the Bush tax cuts were very progressive, so not extending the cuts will cost middle and lower middle income tax payers a much higher percentage of their income than it will cost the wealthy.
10.20.2006 3:00pm
Michael B (mail):
"... there is no such record."

It's an economic model and while its record can be debated, given all the factors which enter into assessing the economy, fiscal policy, etc., it can in fact be supported via the historical record. The most recent instance of the Laffer curve in effect is the instance we are currently experiencing. Agreed, where it "takes effect," where it's optimal, etc., are all questions which have no absolute or definitive answer.
10.20.2006 3:00pm
Elliot Reed:
Michael B, the point is that to tell which side of the curve we're on you need an econometric model, and reputable econometricians (including but not limited: not employed by partisan thinktanks) have rejected the conclusion that tax cuts in the U.S. increased government revenue.
10.20.2006 3:06pm
Chumund:
Kazinski,

I have long since resigned myself to the fact that my taxes will have to go up in order to pay for the future entitlements of the baby boomers. And unfortunately, those entitlements have been increased by the Republicans. My only hope is that once Democrats are proposing entitlement increases, the Republicans will start opposing them again.

Michael B,

What would tax revenues have been today if not for the Bush tax cuts?
10.20.2006 3:09pm
Arbusto Spectrum (mail):

Not extending the tax cuts will result in about a 1.8 trillion tax increase 2011 thru 2016.

And extending them will require a greater amount of tax increases in years beyond 2016 (as there are financing costs). There is no free lunch. Cut spending, or pay for it. If you aren't willing to pay for it now through higher taxes, then you're just giving the bill to your kids.
10.20.2006 3:20pm
Michael B (mail):
You may be misunderstanding my emphasis. Again, it's an economic model applied to the real world, not an abstract mathematical formula subjected merely to an abstract mathematical proof. As already noted, I'm aware of the debate. I'm not saying I know in some type of absolute, undeniable and undebateable sense.

If not for the Bush tax cuts I believe, in line with Laffer, revenues would have been far less. But yet again, I'm aware it's informed by the model, by a level of belief, though also by the corresponding historical record, the empirical evidence. The OMB's account. Also, as noted above, these recent tax cuts have in fact been progressive cuts, it's largely been corporate tax revenues which have been spurred.
10.20.2006 3:23pm
Chumund:
Michael B,

Can you point to where the OMB says revenue would have been less at this time if not for the tax cuts? Note that claiming the tax cuts stimulated some additional economic growth is not sufficient. Indeed, that is consistent with the hypothetical I gave (a 10% cut in rates leading to only an 8% cut in revenues).

Rather, the claim would have to be that the lower tax rates applied to the supposedly higher tax base actually netted more revenue than would have the higher tax rates applied to the supposedly lower tax base. So, that is the sort of claim you are looking for.

Incidentally, I don't mean to hound you. But I do want to make sure you are not making the common mistake I identified (comparing tax revenues now to tax revenues in the past, as opposed to comparing tax revenues now to what they would have been in the present without the tax cut).

By the way, you might find the CBO's 2005 publication "Analyzing the Economic and Budgetary Effects of a 10 Percent Cut in Income Tax Rates" interesting.
10.20.2006 3:35pm
Houston Lawyer:
There have been several instances where the tax revenues have far exceeded projected tax receipts following a tax cut. This has been most dramatic with the capital gains tax cuts and the dividend tax cuts.

OMB still works in the static revenue analysis world where every tax rate cut generates a dollar-for-dollar reduction in tax revenues.

I believe that Democrats would vote for increases in tax rates even if you could empirically show that the revenues generated by those rates would be lower than revenues generated at a lower rate. For some reason it physically pains them to allow people to keep 2/3rds of the money they make.
10.20.2006 3:49pm
Colin (mail):
I believe that Democrats would vote for increases in tax rates even if you could empirically show that the revenues generated by those rates would be lower than revenues generated at a lower rate. For some reason it physically pains them to allow people to keep 2/3rds of the money they make.

Do you really believe that? I sincerely hope that's hyperbole on your part.
10.20.2006 3:56pm
Michael B (mail):
"Note that claiming the tax cuts stimulated some additional economic growth is not sufficient." Chumond

Please read my prior comment. Again, I'm supporting my belief with a combination of the empirical evidence (the historical record) and the economic model represented in Laffer. I'm not claiming absolute knowledge. Are you claiming absolute, albeit contrary, knowledge? Or are you acknowledging the belief/assumption factor in your own reasoning. I'm aware of the debate and I don't wish to quibble or engage in a tit-for-tat type of debate, I'll leave that to the real economists.

In terms of the CBO's projections, see an earlier comment immediately upthread. Projections, whether by the OMB, the CBO or some other group are, in the end, projections only, to be taken with a grain of salt. In the end it's not projections which count, it's the actuals, the empirical evidence, the real world results - and that's what we have recently experiecned which, despite Katrina and despite Afghanistan and Iraq, etc., the deficit is now down to $250b when it previously had been projected to be much more.
10.20.2006 4:00pm
Arbusto Spectrum (mail):
Micahel B - could you explain in simple terms what the Laffer curve implies?
10.20.2006 4:02pm
Michael B (mail):
Correction, this is the link I had intended (see item #3).
10.20.2006 4:03pm
Chumund:
Houston Lawyer,

That raises a slightly more subtle problem. One not only has to compare revenues at the same time, but also use estimated revenues calculated at the same time. So, for example, predicting economic growth is always an uncertain project, and most government offices err on the side of caution. As a result, estimates of future revenues tend to end up below actual revenues.

Anyway, because we gain new information over time, one has to compare revenues now not with what people in the past estimated revenues would be by now, but rather with what people would estimate revenues would have been by now under a different tax rate in light of what we now know.

Incidentally, all of this probably sounds quite complicated, but it is an inherent problem: these questions require one to answer counterfactual hypotheticals (e.g., what would revenues have been today if not for some past even that did in fact occur?), and such answers are going to be no better than our economic models will allow.
10.20.2006 4:06pm
Michael B (mail):
Arbusto, I already have, via links and otherwise.
10.20.2006 4:06pm
Chumund:
Michael B,

I'm actually just trying to help clarify this discussion, not propose a particular thesis.

On the theoretical side, I think it is important to note that the Laffer curve does not imply that tax cuts always increase tax revenues. Rather, it all depends on where we fall on the Laffer curve.

On the empirical side, I think it is important to keep in mind that when making revenue comparisons, we have to do so for the same time and given the same information.

As an aside, I will note that to my knowledge, most economists believe that given current tax rates, we are well onto the "left side" of the Laffer curve. Further, I believe that most economists believe as an empirical matters, the Bush tax cuts may have stimulated economic growth, but nonetheless did reduce revenues. But I am not trying to advocate those positions, and indeed I am not an economist and so would not be qualified to do so. Rather, I am just trying to make sure we all have our theories and terms straight.
10.20.2006 4:17pm
Arbusto Spectrum (mail):
Michael B - I know that you posted the links, and I know the premise on which the Laffer curve is based. I was just wondering if you could, in simple terms, explain it without reference to outside links.
10.20.2006 4:22pm
Justin (mail):
I should point out that time is an important factor in the whole laffer curve bs. Tax revenues can increase when there is a tax cut as people who were holding off on executing an income-making event take the event for tax purposes even as no real income was produced, or people take now an event they would otherwise save for later in the worries that the tax cut becomes scaled back.

Also, conservatives like to talk about the "2003 tax cuts" as if the big tax cuts all came in 2003. That's hardly the case. What happened in 2003 was the bottoming out of the recession - and that's ALL that is being measured by that invocation.
10.20.2006 4:23pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):


I believe that Democrats would vote for increases in tax rates even if you could empirically show that the revenues generated by those rates would be lower than revenues generated at a lower rate. For some reason it physically pains them to allow people to keep 2/3rds of the money they make.

Do you really believe that? I sincerely hope that's hyperbole on your part.
What's wrong, don't you know some Democrats? I know plenty, and very high tax rates are a fundamental part of their program, not because the government necessarily needs the money, but because it makes an effective way to appeal to envy from some of their constitutent groups.

Oddly enough, while Democrats have historically supported high marginal tax rates, in practice, these rates are largely mitigated by a variety of incentives that encourage particular "good things" (such as tax credits for alternative energy programs). In practice, they create opportunities for very wealthy people (the ones with net worths above $10 million) to pay little or no income tax. Why do you think that America's wealthiest people (such as George Soros and Peter Lewis) overwhelmingly provide so much funding the Democratic Party?

Over the years, I've worked with perhaps 30 people who are now multimillionaires and above. One of them was a moderate Republican. A couple were Greens. (There's nothing quite as funny as listening to someone pontificate about how brilliant Noam Chomsky is, and the then tell you about wrecking his Ferrari on a race track over the weekend.) The rest were overwhelmingly Democrats, and heavy contributors.
10.20.2006 4:29pm
Arbusto Spectrum:

Over the years, I've worked with perhaps 30 people who are now multimillionaires and above. One of them was a moderate Republican. A couple were Greens. (There's nothing quite as funny as listening to someone pontificate about how brilliant Noam Chomsky is, and the then tell you about wrecking his Ferrari on a race track over the weekend.) The rest were overwhelmingly Democrats, and heavy contributors.

Clayton, it sounds like your Democrat friends are more savvy financially than your Republican friends; perhaps you could learn something from them ;-0
10.20.2006 4:41pm
Chumund:
Clayton's comments remind me of some of my rules of thumb:

People (at least those who are being honest) are usually pretty helpful when it comes to describing what they themselves believe.

People can be somewhat helpful when describing the beliefs of people with whom they agree, although one must be cautious in such cases.

Finally, people tend to be rather unhelpful when describing the beliefs of people with whom they disagree. I find that it is almost always impossible for people to do so neutrally (and I include myself).

I find these rules of thumb help me cut through an awful lot of noise on the internet--basically, absent unusual circumstances, I tend to just ignore people who claim to be describing the beliefs of those with whom they disagree.
10.20.2006 4:42pm
SG:
Arbusto Spectrum:

In simple terms, the "Laffer curve" says that if taxes were 0% or 100%, the government would collect no revenue, yet tax rates in between the extremes do collect revenue. Therefore, there must be (at least) one point where raising the tax rate reduces the tax receipts.

It says nothing about where that point is, only that such a point must exist.
10.20.2006 4:42pm
Michael B (mail):
Good grief, no Arbusto, I said via links and otherwise (it can be easily and readily deduced from what I've already posted).

But cut to the chase and be out with it yourself. Why are you exempting yourself from your own request, your own repeated query? What is your conception? Has anything I've indicated to this point contradicted your conception? To what extent does your conception, in your opinion, correspond with the economic realities, the historical record, etc.? Again, cut to the chase, be out with it. Require of yourself what you presume to repeatedly require of others.
10.20.2006 4:46pm
Arbusto Spectrum:
Micahel B - as Chumund so eloquently phrased it above, the theory underlying the Laffer curve suggests that if tax rates are above some level, a cut in tax rates will lead to an increase in tax revenue while an increase in rates will lead to a fall in revenue. It also suggests that if tax rates start out below that hypothetical level, the effects will be opposite, i.e. a decrease in tax rates will lead to a decrease in tax revenues.

As Chumund also noted, most economists who have run econometric analyses believe that we are on the left hand side of that curve.

I am sorry if you took offense at my question, but given your posts I could not tell whether you believe (a) that there is empirical evidence that contradicts the many economists who believe we are on the left side of the curve, and that we are in fact on the right hand side of the curve, or (b) the bastardization of the Laffer curve promulgated by some, which is that a cut in tax rates always results in increase revenue.
10.20.2006 4:59pm
Angus:
As several people have pointed out, the Laffer curve is not the same as "tax cuts always bring in more revenue." I would argue that the most recent experience shows that we are indeed on the left side of the curve, and that tax cuts reduce revenue.

Revenues:
2000: 2025.5
2001: 1991.4
2002: 1853.4
2003: 1782.5
2004: 1880.3
2005: 2153.9

Since 1946, there has not been anything even remotely like this 4 year decline in federal revenue. It cannot be attributed to the recent recession since that recession was extraordinarily shallow and short (began March 2001 and ended in November 2001).
10.20.2006 5:28pm
Colin (mail):
Chumund,

Fine rules. I'll remember them, and hope they help ease my exasperation with the rising tide of radical hyperpartisanship that's been setting my eyes a-rolling lately.
10.20.2006 5:41pm
David W Drake (mail):
Truth in Advertising said:

"Bush also inherited a recession that started ten months before he took office."

Truth in Advertising said:

"So what? Did he cut spending to offset declines in revenue? That would have been the logical course of action to avoid deficit spending."

And a logical way to turn a shallow and short recession (Per Angus) into a major recession.

Truth in Advertising flunks macroeconomics.
10.20.2006 5:57pm
JohnO (mail):
David:

I completely agree with you on U.S. Term Limits. Justice Thomas's dissent in that case is probably my favorite opinion by one or more members of the Court in my adult life. Too bad it wasn't a majority opinion.
10.20.2006 6:48pm
Michael B (mail):
Arbusto,

No offense taken, only frustration. If you had two questions - your (a) and (b) - simply ask them. I've essentially already answered (b), but no I don't believe reducing taxes, progressively or otherwise, will always result in more revenue, it strikes me that that would be a silly opinion.

As to (a), being on the right or left side of the curve, I have no absolute or very studied opinion; in this thread I simply noted that actuals (for the budget deficit), for 2006, have now been reported to be $250b when previously they had been projected, variously, to be vastly higher; and the fact is this coincided with the tax cuts taking effect. Whether purely causal or purely unrelated or somewhere in between (I suspect the latter but more causal than not), I leave for others to debate and perhaps I'll be influenced in one direction or the other. Still and again, the OMB, in it's review of the President's 2007 budget, provides some reflections on past performance which appear to be indicative, a brief snippet, emphases added:

"... dramatic increases in household wealth. U.S. equity markets have added more than three trillion dollars in value, and the net worth of Americans has risen by 28 percent since early 2001."
10.20.2006 7:03pm
Elliot Reed:
Michael B,

I presume you're referring to government projections. In that case, I would wonder why a government controlled by Republicans would fail to take account of potential Laffer Curve effects. I would also note that government projections of this kind are inherently suspect because they are politicized; politicians always want to be able to say they beat the projections, so the incentive is to overestimate deficits and underestimate revenue. It would be much better to rely on projected budget numbers from a third party like Brookings or RAND Corp. that at least tries to be objective. In any case the weight of econometric opinion is that we are well off on the left of the Laffer Curve and have been since the beginning of the Reagan administration.
10.20.2006 7:34pm
Lou:
To Christopher Cooke:

Yes, I am partisan in my politics when a political party, that supports most of what I believe in, is not treated fairly by the opposing party, as well as by the media. And you are not partisan Mr. Cooke? I would support the Republican Party any day of the week compared to the Democrats.

You mention the supposed corruption by Hastert but you ignore the stealing and destruction of constitutional and congressional power perpetrated by so many Democrats.

Yes, I do not expect to convince those who hold the opposite partisan political viewpoint. My whole reason for dialoging with Justin and you is to point out how Liberals are not open to showing why we are where we are today in American politics. And if you are a Conservative who is against the Republicans in this election, than you are no Conservative that I want to know.

The mess of American politics is because of 8 yrs of the Clinton Travesty of holding the highest US Government office that an individual can hold, and letting the country go to ruin. It's because of Ted Kennedy's support and promotion of the open ended Immigration act of 1965. It is also because of the support, by both Clinton and Kennedy, for a limp and impotent foreign policy of appeasement, begun by Jimmy Carter in 1979. I can't wait for N. Korea to once more prove how terrific Carter and Clinton's political legacy will be. I just can't wait.

The Liberal side seems to say it's against corruption but they don't enforce what they preach. At least Republicans do.

Clinton's henchman, Sandy Berger, destroyed top secret, classified national security documents. The Liberals and the Liberal media do not say a word. Including you Mr. Cooke. Why? Why don't any of you investigate it? You are all act like accessories to his crime because you all choose to cover it up, and let the crime go uninvestigated and unreported to the general public.

The Liberal side makes accusations of corruption but doesn't back them up with facts. You mention Hastert's "corruption" but what is it really? I know that Berger committed a crime. Nobody seems to be charging Hastert with what you're saying. And this Foley case is ludicrous. At least with the Republicans, they deal with the guilty parties. The Republicans tell their corrupt officials to resign or go to jail, but the Liberals tell them to stay in office, and even applaud them when caught doing something wrong. The Liberals' standards are to have NO standards.

Unfortunately, the Liberals allow Liberal and Democratic congressmen to keep illegally obtained money in their refrigerators, as well as congressman who have sexual relations with underage pages, as well as running prostitution rings, such as those crimes committed by Jefferson, Studds and Franks. Oh…and how about that younger Kennedy congressman and how he wrecked his car while driving under the influence of drugs and drink? How about the Democrat Liberal who slugged the Capital security guard? All criminals, who go unchallenged by the Democratic Party machine or the Liberal media. Can you imagine if this was a Conservative or Republican who did these crimes?? Where is Pelosi in all this???!!

Pelosi is far from being an honest politician, when she won't even testify under oath about when and what she and the Democrats knew about the Foley scandal. And there is the land deal of Reid's. The sex scandal of Strickland, and it goes on and on and on.

If these were Republican politicians, the Liberals would be calling for their heads and you would hear about these scandals all the way until voting day.

Oh, BTW Mr. Cooke, what do the Liberals stand for on all the hot issues of the day? What? Nobody seems to know. Pelosi is in hiding. The MSM controls everything, yet they don't say a word about any Liberal scandals or what the liberal Democratic Party stands for on these issues.

To quote, and also to answer Justin, who offered no Liberal solution for the following supposed "problems":

Justin said: "an illegitimate war"
Response: how so? The UN resolution on Iraq and Saddam called for the use of force if not complied with. Saddam never provided conclusive proof that he destroyed his WMDs. Destructive weapons were found and John Kerry even admitted it when he criticized Bush for not preventing the removal of these destructive weapons from storage areas because Bush had the military moving "too slowly." Also, not one country that backed up the Niger yellow cake sales report, has pulled its support from those facts. NOT ONE. Furthermore, evidence from Saddam's government documents shows that Iraq supported terrorism against the US, as well as hiding its WMD program.

Justin said: "torture as US policy."
Response: Prove where torture was used? It seems like the standard and meaning of the word "torture" changes each time the Liberal media analyzes this issue. You can't even play loud music or deprive them of sleep anymore to get a terrorist to talk. Read about what Egypt, Pakistan and the Iran does to get people to talk, and then tell me about the US torture policy.

Justin said: "a lost war"
Response: Again, how so? A million Iraqi Shia Muslims just visited their holiest shrine and not one incident. This has been 10x better than years past when only violence against pilgrims happened from the fellow Muslim terrorists in Iraq. Also, elections have been held and the Iraq army is increasing every day to fight the terrorists. How can a war be lost be when it isn't even over? Typical cowardly Liberal defeatist policy.

Justin said: "suspension of habeus corpus"
Response: for whom? A terrorist? Terrorists are not even covered by the Geneva Convention, so how does the US constitution cover a non-American citizen? Where do liberals get such reasoning?

Justin said: "a tattered Fourth Amendment"
Response: again, how so? How is a terrorist protected by the 4th amendment? I hear about Dems and Libs using their 4th amendment rights all the time. Who is stopping them? What country can you show that is better than the US? And if there is a better country then the US, why don't Libs and you go there to live and enjoy so much more freedom?

Justin said: "declining wages for the middle class"
Response: please! prove that one! I am middle class, and my salary has increased every year since 2000. I have been purchasing without any problems. I also see other people doing the same thing. Go to a mall or any store in middle class America and you will see people all over the place spending their money. Look at unemployment, lowest it's been in years. The Dow is breaking records every day. Tax cuts leaving more money in middle class America's pockets. As far as the deficit...that proves that America is sharing its wealth with the rest of the world. Isn't that what liberals want us to do? And when did liberals ever become fiscal Conservatives? Its unbelievable how teenagers today are spending allot more money than I ever did growing up.

Justin said: "Without Bush, we might have been able to stop 9/11"
Response: Wow, that comment shows such lack of sanity and common sense, if not proving the strategy of lies promoted by the Democrats. I don't know if it even deserves a response. Clinton had many times to stop Bin Laden and he did nothing. If Clinton and the Liberals had the strength to stop Bin Laden before 9/11, then why didn't they? Are you saying the opportunity to stop 9/11 only happened after Bush got into office? Clinton and the Liberals had 8 yrs to do it, what happened? One word: NOTHING. And nothing is what the Democrats and Liberals stand for...nothing but lies and innuendos.

Justin said: "and we certainly wouldn't have suffered the travesty of Katrina at such a pathetic level."
Response: How about the liberal democratic mayor and governor of Louisiana? How about their horrible lack of helping their own residents with all the buses in New Orleans? How many days did they have to move people and they did NOTHING??!! I don't hear any Liberal mention that travesty of authority &justice, and yet both politicians have, or will be, re-elected. And yet, Justin and the Liberal Democrats think they can throw Katrina at the Republicans? What a farce. Yet again, the Democratic Party and their Liberal media surrogates cover it all up.

The Democratic Party, the party of the honest...oi vey that hurts.

PS To Mr. Cooke and Justin and any other Liberal who decides to comment on my post: before criticising so-called "Republican corruption," please gaze at your own corrupt navel. What is the navel of a Liberal Democrat called? Its called a "Sandy Berger," and Liberal Democrats can not stand the proof of their own corruption that a "Sandy Berger" gives witness to. Tough break that "Sandy Berger" navel. It would be nice if one Liberal asked what was Sandy Berger stealing and destroying from the National Archives, wouldnt it? Nah, the Libs and Dems dont care what the truth is, as long as they throw lies and false accusations against Republicans and Conservatives, and distract everyone from their own criminal scandals.
10.20.2006 7:47pm
Angus:
Michael,

Net worth and equity markets are niether a good judge of the economy's everyday impact on average Americans, nor of tax revenues for the federal government. The past 4 years have seen a rapid rise in real estate prices, and in 401(k) and retirement accounts. Gains (and taxes) in those areas are on paper only until someone sells their house or retires and starts accessing their retirment money. A more interesting figure would be net income per wage earner.

Turning to federal revenues: a few historical comparisons, namely, the increase in revenues over 1st 5 years of decades since 1970. The question today isn't if revenues have gone above the level they were at in 2000 (they finally did in 2005), but if they are up over the levels they would have been without the GOP's tax cuts.

1970-1975: revenues up 45%
1980-1985: revenues up 42%
1990-1995: revenues up 31%
2000-2005: revenues up 6%

In terms of the Laffer curve, it seems to suggest that we have hit the left side and are moving ever downward.

I don't mind a debate about whether federal revenues should be reduced, but I can't take seriously claims that further tax cuts today will cause higher revenues. One last interesting note: in 2005, overall income tax receipts (individual + corporate) still were below 2000 levels. The main increase during the period was in social security taxes.
10.20.2006 7:50pm
Greg D (mail):
I don't think I'll ever forgive Anthony Kennedy for his vote in U.S. Term Limits v. Thornton

If that's really true, you should be rooting for a Republican victory.

Kennedy got on the Supreme Court because the Democrats took over the Senate in 1986, and Borked Bork. A Republican Senate would have approved Bork, and Bork would have approved Term Limits.

Re-elect a Republican Senate Majority, get one more leftist SC member to leave, and we could end up with a Supreme Court with 5 worthwhile members.

Give the Democrats the Senate, and we end up with another Kennedy or Souter (who also voted against Term Limits).

What's more important to you, giving the Democrats chances to be bigger crooks? Or maybe getting Term Limits back, and, at a minimum, not getting more utterly garbage SC decisions?
10.20.2006 10:10pm
Christopher Cooke (mail):
Lou: I guess I am having trouble envisioning Sandy Berger as the pinnacle of evil and source of all of our present day troubles. If he was, why hasn't the Republican-controlled Congress or President done anything?

I agree with you that the Democrats have had their share of corruption issues; I said that I don't think corruption has anything to do with one's party, it has to do with power.

As for suspension of habeas corpus, I think that is a gross abuse of power. Your argument--that the US Constitution doesn't apply to terrorists--presumes the very issue that our legal system says you can't presume: that someone is guilty before it has been proven that he or she is guilty, and therefore is entitled to no legal protections. How do you know if someone is a terrorist? Because Bush or Rummy says so? They said alot of things that turned out not to be true, and that is why the electorate is positioned to give the Republicans a slap. And, I say this as someone who registerd Republican in order to vote for McCain in the 2000 Republican primaries and plans to vote for Arnold Schwarzenegger for Gov.

I have no problems with the US military attacking someone in Iraq or Afghanistan who is attacking or may be attacking them, and the US military, in such situations, doesn't need to hold a trial to decide who the bad guys are whom they should shoot. But that is a far cry from snatching people off of the streets of Europe, or grabbing someone who is peacefully sitting in a their mud hut in Afghanistan, drugging them, stripping their clothes off and putting them in diapers for their secret flight to some secret Eastern European prison or similar rathole for a few years of "water-boarding" or other "coercive" interrogation practices, simply because someone else says, anonymously, that they may be a terrorist, and then deciding (as was the case with a german citizen, Al Masri, to whom this happened), "Oops, our mistake" and dropping them off in Macedonia in the middle of the night.

Do you or anyone else think this is the way to go? How many allies vs. enemies in the global war on terror do you think snatching up people on rumor or worse, for years of "coercive" interrogation, creates? I would hope we all have some shred of humanity, or at least common sense, left so that we can see clearly that the downside of this type of approach far outweighs its upside.
10.21.2006 1:06am
Arbusto Spectrum:
Michael B - The runup in net worth is largely attributable to the increase in real estate values, which in turn was driven by (i) the extremely low interest rate environment and (ii) extremely lax credit standards in the mortgage industry. I don't have a crystal ball, but I suspect that those numbers may come under pressure as ARMs reset at higher rates, many people have difficulty making their payments and default rates increase.
Remember, plenty of people were told they were gazillionaires in the dot-com bubble -- at least based on their net worth. It sucks when gravity sets in.

Second, keep in mind that government accounting practices make enron look clean. This is not new, it has always been the case. But this year, the government took some extreme measures -- for example, deciding not to make any medicare payments for the last 9 days of the fiscal year -- those hospitals and doctors didn't really need the money til October, anyway....
I won't even broach the topic of the unified budget.... Thank God for social security -- otherwise that budget deficit would be a lot bigger!

Angus - it is easy to debate whether federal revenues should be reduced; the hard part is on the spending side.
10.21.2006 1:38am
Lou:
Mr. Cooke,

You and the Democratic Party are awfully dishonest. I see you continue to follow their Party line. You ignore all the good the Republican party has done for our country, as well as ignore all the bad the Democrats have done to our country. You simply sweep it under the rug and ignore it.

Yes, Sandy Berger and the Clinton Presidency of Corruption, Cowardness, and Inaction, have thrown our country and the rest of the world into chaos.

Why would Clinton defend Berger for such illegal acts? Would the Democrats let Republicans get away with such crimes? I repeat the question Mr. Cooke...would the Democrats let Republicans get away with such crimes? Would you, Mr Cooke, vote for a party that tolerates and encourages acts of espionage against their own country? You seem scared to answer. I am not surprised in the least.

I know I could never vote for for such politicians or for such a party. And I will not this November.

Mr Cooke, to use your own words, "I think you are a bit partisan, perhaps a die-hard. Nothing wrong with that, it is your right to hold such views, but don't expect non-partisans to be persuaded by you. "

For you to ignore the actions of Sandy Berger and say you are concerned about the consitutional rights of terrorists, is the epitome of hypocriticy and cowardness. Terrorists are not protected by the US Constitution nor the Geneva Convention. You &the Democrats have absolutely no solution on how to deal with, and defeat, terrorism.

So Mr Cooke, your idea is to let the terrorists run free, and only inspect containers at Baltimore Harbor. Yes, lets give terrorists all kinds of rights and let them plan in foreign lands their acts of terrorism against us here, in the mainland US. Lets let them simply visit the US and do what they want. Hey, lets even give terrorists a "terror line of credit" once they get to the US. Its what the Dems started 14 yrs ago and its what they, and their sympathizers, are doing now.

It was the Liberal Democratic party who got us in this mess in the first place. Corruption, cowardnice, as well as cutting &running in the 1960s and1990s. Just like the Democrats did with the Tet Offensive. The US won during Tet, and yet the Democrats and the Liberals hampered the proper fighting of the war, they promoted cowardnice and allowed the enemy to get stronger. This led to the Communists taking over Southest Asia and slaughtering millions. All because of their cowardnice.

Mr. Cooke, you and the Libs dont care about anything but protecting the Liberal and Democratic Party way of life, which since 1965 has been to weak on illegal immigration, since 1979 has been to be weak on rogue governments, and since 1992 has been weak on corruption and immorality in its government officials, as well as tolerant of attacks by enemies of the US.

For you not to inquire or ask Democratic Party leaders about what top secret and classified government documents, from the National Archives, were stolen and destroyed, in order to protect the Corrupt Clinton presidency is revolting. This inaction on your part and your disregard of the truth, proves your political philosophy cares more for covering up party corruption, than the safety of the American people and our way of life.

At least Republicans ask their corrupt members to resign or have them arrested. The Democrats have no conscience about any of the corruption that runs their Party and will end up getting our country attacked again. Mr Cooke, you talk about protecting people's constitutional rights, the rights of terrorists, while they are in foreign countries? Well, what about the civil &constitutional rights of American citizens, that Dems are repeatedly trampling on here in the good ol US? The Democrat Party has stooped to bigotry, racism, and discrimination against American Jews, Blacks, Gays, &the Elderly, who do not tow the Democratic Party mantra. Really really disgusting. And I dont hear any Democrat Party officials asking those bigoted Democrat politicians to resign. Not one.

How you and the Dems can continue tolerating the destruction of National Archive documents, involving National Security, is beyond me.

What has Clinton and the Democrats done that they would break such laws, and endanger are country? Why would the Democrats and ex-Clinton advisors carry out espionage against their own country?

The Democract Party is like the House of Dark Shadows and Clinton is like Barnabas Collins, a big vampire of a politician...oh and Berger is like Igor..."Yes master, anything you want, I will do for you."

And you, Mr. Cooke, are just like Igor. Just like him.
10.21.2006 3:23am
Jim Carlile (mail):
Lou, just what are you talking about? A number of things at once, I guess. This partisan demonization has got to stop. Besides, it's off topic.

In regards to the general issue of taxation, you know, George Bernard Shaw said that taxes are your best investment. He was right, of course, because only a progressive tax policy can overcome the very real-world obstacles that would quickly make the luxury of self-interest ideologies impossible.

Notions like keeping your money to yourself and the glories of limited government are all well and good, but they're a dream-world fantasy. The historical record shows that a society based upon such thinking doesn't last for long, especially when someone else's economic self-interest begins to impinge on that of your own, and others.

One thing I've noticed about younger conservatives is their abject lack of knowledge about how much we have gained through a strongly progressive income tax system. I don't think they know what things were like in this country years ago, or how much they would lose if their economic theories were suddenly put into play.

Something I don't understand: how can younger people be so rigidly conservative? Isn't 'youth' a time of dreaming and hope, the desire to actually do things, en masse? Or is this all about protecting the family money? Since these tax issues and personal ideologies have come up in this thread, please explain. I don't get it from people so young.
10.21.2006 8:17am
Lou:
Mr. Carlie,

My dialogue has been with Mr Cooke. It you cant follow my posts thats your problem, not mine. Me and Mr. Cooke have gone back and forth for a few posts now. Again, your problem not mine if you dont have the sense or intelligence to follow it.

And your not partisan? oh please...get real. If you dont support a particular party, then you support yourself. Your a classic example of a Liberal, who when he doesnt have the guts to answer the truth tries to ignore it or distract from it. Read my posts, they are very easy to follow. Then read Mr. Christopher Cook's. Got it? Good.

Liberals, whether in the Republican or Democratic Party, are such judgemental elitist hacks when they ignore the real issues. You are no different Mr. Carlie. No different at all. So what about the espionage carried out by Sandy Berger, and supported by Clinton, who excused the whole incident, against the United States? You know the incident Mr. Carlie dont you? Berger's stealing and destoying of National Security documents from the National Archives? You know the crime reported from coast to coast by all the big liberal newspapers? No answer I guess Mr. Carlie?

Your such a typical Liberal.
10.21.2006 1:11pm
Christopher Cooke (mail):
Lou: I am not familiar with what Mr. Berger is alleged to have done. If you have a link to an article about it on the Internet, I would be happy to look at it and give you my thoughts on whether it is serious.

In terms of "terrorists," I do not favor giving them access to the US or only using the legal process to combat them. I think you are misreading my posts.

The US' ineffective history of combatting terrorism shows that blame is a non-partisan affair. From Reagan, who simply pulled out all US troops from Lebanon when 242 Marines were killed by Hezbollah at the airport and who personally vetoed an airstrike against Hezbollah in the Bekka Valley that was already to go (George Schultz argued in favor of it, by the way), to Clinton's ineffective strikes against Al Qaeda, to this President's botched efforts in Afghanistan, I think all could have done much better.

In terms of whether I am a partisan, I have voted for Republicans before and will vote for some of them in the future. Can you say that?
10.21.2006 2:14pm
Angus:
Lou's claims about Berger are typical partisan crap. Christopher, you can read a balanced account here.
10.21.2006 5:13pm
die fledermaus:
Lou is either a reincarnation of the junkyard dog or in serious need of therapy.
10.21.2006 5:34pm
Michael B (mail):
"I don't mind a debate about whether federal revenues should be reduced ..." Angus

No, receipts have been at an all time high this year, not reduced.

In general, what was noted, was that the actuals for fy 2006 have now been reported and the budget deficit has dropped to $250b. This despite an earlier projection from 12+ months ago of a $602b deficit and a projection from the bi-partisan CBO just seven (7) months ago of $371b. So, instead of $602b or $371b, the deficit is presently $250b. Essentially, those are the real world facts which were presented.

Additionally this fact occurred in the wake of the notably progressive tax cuts. That too is a fact.

Upon these basic facts some speculation was presented vis-a-vis the Laffer curve. In summary, that's the gist of what was presented. No one has countered those facts, the only thing which has been done is several commentators have slighted the effect which the Laffer curve has played.

Regardless, the facts, both in terms of the earlier projections and the now reported actuals for 2006 remain. As does the additional fact that such occurred following the tax cuts.
10.21.2006 6:00pm
Angus:
Michael,

These are also facts.

1. With only a few exceptions over the last 60 years, federal revenue goes up from year to year as the GDP increases.

2. Federal tax revenues utterly tanked from 2001-2004 after the tax cuts. That type of negative revenue performance is unparalleled in the last 60 years.
10.21.2006 10:26pm
Lou:
Mr. Cooke, Angus, &die fladermouth,

thanks for proving you are all liars, like I have said all along about the Democratic Party and its Liberal surrogates. Do a google or yahoo search, or even a lexus nexus search, and you will find some data on Berger's crimes.

Sadly, you all prove my point how the Liberal News Media &the Democratic Party does not report on, and simply ignores, the crimes of the Democratic Party. On the other hand, the same Liberal News Media throws the book at the Republicans and those values they stand for. The Liberal Media is simply a propaganda machine for the Democratic Party and the enemies of the United States. Its so plain &simple to see.

again, I ask the questions Mr Cooke, and again you will prove me right by not answering them, but here goes AGAIN, so dont forget to hide like all Liberal cowards do, such as Angus and die fladermouth,

"Why would Clinton defend Berger for such illegal acts? Would the Democrats let Republicans get away with such crimes?" (NEW QUESTION:Would they Mr Cooke...? Lets say you downgrade what Berger did, would Democrats let Republicans get away with it during the election or at any other time?)

To continue the quotes of my earlier questions to you Mr Cooke, " I repeat the question Mr. Cooke...would the Democrats let Republicans get away with such crimes? Would you, Mr Cooke, vote for a party that tolerates and encourages acts of espionage against their own country such as what Sandy Berger did? You seem scared to answer. I am not surprised in the least."

for all i care you can go on being a political coward and partisan hack who stands by the criminal actions of your Liberal &Democratic Party. You guys will continue to help Republicans gain political power. You are a Conservative's best secret weapon...he heh...

BTW, I would like to know which Republicans you voted for, if you can remember, of course...wink wink. As far as me being partisan, I reside in NY State. If a Democrat would promote the same values and politics that i stand for, then they would get my vote. If a Zell Miller or Joe Libermann were running in this state, they would DEFINITELY get my vote. But Dems havent been conservative since before I was born...soooo...the Dems will not get my vote this November and the Republicans will. go figure...their fault not mine.

PS Mr Cooke, in regards to Angus and die fladermouth, please let those two Liberal attack dogs out for a walk. They are full of alot of crap-ola. a whoooole lotta...
10.21.2006 11:34pm
Lou:
NEWS FLASH: ABC REPORTS: CHENEY AND RICE STEAL NATIONAL SECURITY GOVERNMENT DOCUMENTS AND DESTROYS THEM!

Do people really think that if Republicans had been caught commiting espionage against the United States like Sandy Berger did for the Dems and Libs, that this would have been ignored by the Liberal news media, especially during an election year news cycle? Please read the below article of Bergers crimes, and just image if a Republican, like say...Condi Rice or Cheney, did what Berger did. Just image..yeah the Libs would have said "forgive and forget" o boy...

Just picture a Republican doing the SAME THING. I am sure if a high-ranking Republican committed the same crimes as Berger, the Dems and Libs would break out into a chorus of "Imagine" by John Lennon, and tell the perpe-traitor and the Republican party, to forgive and forget it. "Let bygone be bygones."

The Dems would say "whats a little destruction of Classified National Security documents among friends anyway," and then conclude their pardoning of the perp with the following lines,

"You may say that I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one"

"Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world"

"You may say that I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one "

what a bunch of pathetic Liberal Democratic clowns... If it wasnt so serious, it would be laughable.

Berger stole the documents.

Berger destroyed the documents.

Berger than lied about it. (what is it with Dems and Libs that seem to be all manly man for breaking the law when noone is looking, but then, when the Dems get caught, they end up being all pollyanna about it, as well as weakbacked to even admit to the criminal acts.)

BergerGate

...or read it here:

Berger to pay $50,000 for taking classified material
WASHINGTON (AP) — A judge on Thursday ordered Sandy Berger, President Clinton's national security adviser, to pay a $50,000 fine for illegally taking classified documents from the National Archives.
The punishment handed down by U.S. Magistrate Judge Deborah Robinson exceeded the $10,000 fine recommended by government lawyers. Under the deal, Berger avoids prison time but he must surrender access to classified government materials for three years.

"The court finds the fine is inadequate because it doesn't reflect the seriousness of the offense," Robinson said, as a grim-faced Berger stood silently.

Earlier in the hearing, Berger expressed remorse for his crime, which he described as a lapse of judgment that came while he was preparing to testify before the Sept. 11 commission.

"I let considerations of personal convenience override clear rules of handling classified material," Berger said. "I believe this lapse, serious as it is, does not reflect the character of myself."

"In this case, I failed. I will not again," he said.

The sentencing capped a bizarre sequence of events in which Berger admitted to sneaking classified documents out of the Archives in his suit, later destroying some of them in his office and then lying about it.

After initially saying it was an "honest mistake," Berger pleaded guilty in April to a misdemeanor of unauthorized removal and retention of classified material, which contained information relating to terror threats in the United States during the 2000 millennium celebration.
10.22.2006 4:02am
die fledermaus:
Lou - you really do need therapy. If you want to play with song lyrics, here's some Kinks for you:


Dr. dr. help me please, I know youll understand
Theres a time device inside of me, Im a self-destructin man
Theres a red, under my bed
And theres a little green man in my head
And he said, youre not goin crazy, youre just a bit sad
cause theres a man in ya, knawin ya, tearin ya into two.

Silly boy ya self-destroyer.
Paranoia, the destroyer

Self-destroyer, wreck your health
Destroy friends, destroy yourself
The time device of self-destruction
Light the fuse and start eruption
10.22.2006 10:15am
Michael B (mail):
Angus,

Your observation serves to support what I presented.

Firstly, the (notably progressive) tax cuts were not finalized until 2003. Too, while I wouldn't say receipts "tanked," they did drop from 2001 to 2003, picked up again in 2004 (after full implementation of the cuts) and then dramatically picked up in 2005 and this FY as well. For perspective, total receipts from 2000 to 2005 are noted below:

2000 - 2,025,457
2001 - 1,991,426
2002 - 1,853,395
2003 - 1,782,532
2004 - 1,880,279 (a 5.5% increase after the cuts)
2005 - 2,153,859 (a 14.5% increase after the cuts)

Then, again, in FY 2006 the deficit has been reduced to $250b instead of the other, much more dire projections, even by the bi-partisan CBO, seven (7) months ago, of $371b. And this despite the $50b+ outlay needed in the aftermath of Katrina and additionally despite Afghanistan, Iraq and the war against Islamo-bloshevism more generally. Then too, despite and even because of the tax cuts themselves.

Regardless of the reason and however subject to your or my speculation and debate, those facts remain.
10.22.2006 7:48pm
Michael B (mail):
(Perhaps obviously, but the total receipts - on and off budget - noted immediately above are in millions of dollars.)
10.22.2006 10:20pm
Angus:
Just for the record, as this thread is rapidly disappearing down the main page.

The main tax cuts took effect in 2001, not 2003.

2001 tax cut, estimated $1.35 trillion over 10 years.

2003 tax cut, estimated $330 billion over 10 years.
10.23.2006 11:05am
Lou:
If it isnt the Lib Democrat attack dog die fladermouth...oh! please excuse me. I mean "die fladermaus" ie "the flying rat." hah.

I guess you need to go for a crap again rat. you seem like you arent getting your fiber. you also seem a little uptight this time. I noticeed you are writing a little more than just one wise-mouth comment. be my guest. I will play you for all your worth rat. all your worth. I also see you respond to die fladermouth as well as the rat. figures. how cute dearie.

also, I see you again have ignored the crimes of Libs and Dems. you again show how you are a typically Liberal coward. At least my paranoia is supported by the facts. What is your reason for being do asinine rat? die fladermouth prove me wrong if I am so paranoid?

Unfortunately, I proved that I have factual evidence to back up my accusations. How about you die fladermouth? Show some facts to back up your political or moral position? Also what are the Libs and Dems ideas for any of the issues our country faces? You know, the country that Sandy Berger stole and destroyed National Security documents from.

die fladermouth, I see you are want to persist in being a moral and philosophical coward who doesnt answer questions. You take after your leader the High Grand Mufte Clinton: "whats the meaning of sex?" or is it "what is the meaning of the word 'is' " this time? Your political party is ridiculous die fladermouth. The Dem Party doesnt stand for anything except lies &innuendo. Your party doesnt even know how to take responsibility for the crimes it commits. At least Repubs resign or go to jail. Dems and Libs stay in office because they are scared to admit when they are wrong, they have no moral backbone whatsoever. Just like you die fladermouth. Just like you.

Rat, you and the Libs dont care about anything but protecting the Liberal and Democratic Party way of life, which since 1965 has been to weak on illegal immigration thanks to Ted Kennedy, since 1979 has been to be weak on rogue governments thanks to Jimmy Carter, and since 1992 has been weak on corruption and immorality in its government officials thanks to Bill Clinton, as well as tolerant of attacks by enemies of the US.

I also heard from some other posters that you were named after the flying rat from "the Tick" cartoon. You know, the one described as "Die Fladermaus, who talked big but was really a coward." http://members.tripod.com/TheTick_2/maus.html

I'll just have to post my paranoid rant again for your cowardly benefit. toodle loo dearie. your cute when you ignore reality and try to run for cover. However, we know where to find a good Liberal Democrat dont we? running for cover so that some else can fix their mistakes. Here lets read the criminal charges against Berger agin, trying to vocer up Bill Clinton's failed legacy as President:

http://volokh.com/posts/1161291239.shtml

Berger to pay $50,000 for taking classified material
WASHINGTON (AP) — A judge on Thursday ordered Sandy Berger, President Clinton's national security adviser, to pay a $50,000 fine for illegally taking classified documents from the National Archives.
The punishment handed down by U.S. Magistrate Judge Deborah Robinson exceeded the $10,000 fine recommended by government lawyers. Under the deal, Berger avoids prison time but he must surrender access to classified government materials for three years.

"The court finds the fine is inadequate because it doesn't reflect the seriousness of the offense," Robinson said, as a grim-faced Berger stood silently.

Earlier in the hearing, Berger expressed remorse for his crime, which he described as a lapse of judgment that came while he was preparing to testify before the Sept. 11 commission.

"I let considerations of personal convenience override clear rules of handling classified material," Berger said. "I believe this lapse, serious as it is, does not reflect the character of myself."

"In this case, I failed. I will not again," he said.

The sentencing capped a bizarre sequence of events in which Berger admitted to sneaking classified documents out of the Archives in his suit, later destroying some of them in his office and then lying about it.

After initially saying it was an "honest mistake," Berger pleaded guilty in April to a misdemeanor of unauthorized removal and retention of classified material, which contained information relating to terror threats in the United States during the 2000 millennium celebration.


PS: oh! I couldnt resist you picking the Kinks die fladermouth dearie. They describe you and the Liberal Democrat Party so well, so very well, especially since the Dems think they are the people's party, and in their typical contradictory flip flop fashion, the Dems ALSO think they are the elites and "above" everybody. The Dems think they are "so cutting edge," and the only ones fit to rule the Conservative and Moderate "sheep." But I repeat the question der flatermouth, "what do the Dems stand for?" Maybe this will give you a clue dearie:

prince of the punks

A well known groover, rock 'n' roll user,
Wanted to be a star.
But he failed the blues, and he's back to loser,
Playing folk in a country bar.

Reggae music didn't seem to satisfy his needs.
He couldn't handle modern jazz,
'Cause they play it in difficult keys.
But now he's found a music he can call his own,
Some people call it junk, but he don't care,
He's found a home.

He's the prince of the punks and he's finally made it,
Thinks he looks cool but his act is dated.
He acts working class but it's all bologna,
He's really middle class and he's just a phony.
He acts tough but it's just a front,
He's the prince of the punks.

He's the prince of the punks and he's finally made it,
Thinks he looks cool but his act is dated.

He tried to be gay, but it didn't pay,
So he bought a motorbike instead.
He failed at funk, so he became a punk,
'Cause he thought he'd make a little more bread.

He's been through all of the changes,
From rock opera to Mantovani.
Now he wears a swastika band
And leather boots up past his knees.

He's much too old for twenty-eight,
But he thinks he's seventeen,
He thinks he's a stud,
But I think he looks more like a queen.

He's the prince of the punks and he's finally made it,
Thinks he looks cool but his act is dated.
He talks like a Cockney but it's all bologna,
He's really middle class and he's just a phony.
He acts tough but it's just a front.
He's the prince of the punks.
10.24.2006 2:14am
die fledermaus:
Lou -
the only thing I have said in this thread is that you are either (a) the reincarnation of a former poster who tried to get peopls gander, or (b) in need of therapy. Having ruled out the former, I was left with the latter. As for factual support for it, I think your postings offer sufficient proof.
If I was to take the time to post more song lyrics for you, I would choose Pink Floyd's "Raving and Drooling."
10.24.2006 2:54pm