More tax cuts -- what?
One of the biggest strengths of the Conservatives -- something I often envy -- is their ability to stay on the message and repeat it over and over and over again in the media. (Progressive media must do that more often -- we spend limited resources on stellar investigative reports that rarely get reprinted or discussed for greater critical mass and social impact.)
Staying on message works brilliantly most of the time, except in emergency situations like Katrina. And this is the weakness of Conservatives. They are not good at adjusting their messages in crisis situations.
On September 16th, President Bush again rejected Democratic pleas to reconsider his proposal to extend tax cuts. Bush's position is that to reverse the tax cuts would amount to a tax increase.
Maybe I'm too optimistic, but I don't see how on earth President Bush is going to be able to make a continued case for permanent tax cuts without seriously hurting his party in the 2006 congressional elections. And it's a shame that it's taking Dems so long to bring this issue to the forefront of the public consciousness. President Clinton -- a fiscally conservative Democrat -- already made a case against tax cuts in the mainstream media for them. All they need to do is repeat, repeat, repeat ...
This is a great issue to illustrate the weaknesses of conservative ideologies when it comes to governing. If we don't have a rainy day fund during Katrina -- the rainiest day of them all -- further tax cuts are irresponsible, even criminal. Our top decision-makers are not fit to govern. It's a simple message that should be repeated over and over and over again.
A quick refresher: President Bush has enacted tax cuts for the past four years, including a $1.35 trillion cut over 10 years signed in 2001. He wants Congress to make this cut permanent. For the majority of Americans, the tax cuts meant very little. The Center for American Progress reports that "By next year, for instance, 88% of all Americans will receive $100 or less from the Administration's latest tax cuts." Meanwhile, next year's budget deficit will be around whopping $567 billion.