Meta-Blog

SEARCH QandO

Email:
Jon Henke
Bruce "McQ" McQuain
Dale Franks
Bryan Pick
Billy Hollis
Lance Paddock
MichaelW

BLOGROLL QandO

 
 
Recent Posts
The Ayers Resurrection Tour
Special Friends Get Special Breaks
One Hour
The Hope and Change Express - stalled in the slow lane
Michael Steele New RNC Chairman
Things that make you go "hmmmm"...
Oh yeah, that "rule of law" thing ...
Putting Dollar Signs in Front Of The AGW Hoax
Moving toward a 60 vote majority?
Do As I Say ....
 
 
QandO Newsroom

Newsroom Home Page

US News

US National News
Politics
Business
Science
Technology
Health
Entertainment
Sports
Opinion/Editorial

International News

Top World New
Iraq News
Mideast Conflict

Blogging

Blogpulse Daily Highlights
Daypop Top 40 Links

Regional

Regional News

Publications

News Publications

 
Seeking a legacy for "Compassionate Conservatism"
Posted by: McQ on Friday, December 22, 2006

James Pinkerton sees signs that George W. Bush is getting ready to cave in on tax increases. Because of Pinkerton's past service with Bush 41, he says he recognizes the warning signs:
President Bush is willing to raise taxes. That reality was a big surprise to me 16 years ago, in 1990, when I was working in the White House. It's less of a surprise to me in 2006, when I am on the outside - because, after a while, you learn to identify the warning signs.

In 1990, President George H.W. Bush broke his word on taxes, and he broke his own presidency. In 2006, his son, President George W. Bush, seems poised to destroy what little remains of his presidency.

In both cases, both Bushes have been willing to talk about "process" and "common ground." But, when it comes to taxes, the opposing Democrats know two things: First, the Republicans have a winning issue on taxes - specifically, when they promise not to raise taxes. Second, if taxes are indeed to be raised, the Democrats want the Republicans to go first and say that taxes are "on the table." In other words, Democrats want Republicans to take the blame.
Again recall the 1990 tax increases. Democrats successfully dropped that little bomb right in the lap of Bush 41. Tax increases, eventually, are the responsibility of the President. Congress can pass whatever it wishes, but the President has to sign it into law. When he signs the bill, it's his. If he vetoes it, Congress can override the veto, but when they do, it's theirs. The president then has cover.

What Pinkerton is saying is Bush is willing not only to talk about tax increases with Democrats, but to sign them into law. He decodes the language which has been circulating between Bush and Democratic leaders:
So here's the "on the table" language, right on the front page of yesterday's Washington Post: "Signaling a new flexibility on issues in the wake of the Democrats' wins, Bush said he is willing to discuss Democratic ideas for solving the Social Security problem, including tax increases." The president is quoted as adding, "I don't see how you can move forward without people feeling comfortable about putting ideas on the table."

Those are the magic words the Democrats were waiting to hear. As Post reporter Michael Fletcher explains, Bush's "new flexibility" is "part of a larger White House plan to renew the effort to tame the rising costs of government entitlement programs as the nation's population ages." And so, the Post reporter added, the administration is willing to consider "higher payroll taxes."

The Post, of course, has never met a tax increase it didn't like, and the Powertown paper is not above trying to cajole Republicans into generating more revenue for its Beltway readership. But a look at the transcript confirms the Post's interpretation. Asked whether tax increases are on the table, Bush answered that the Democrats "can come to the table and talk about them."

In D.C., that's code for opening up a discussion that leads, inevitably, to a tax increase. I know, because I was there the last time this happened.
Bush is busy looking for a legacy, especially since it is looking like Iraq isn't going to work out in that regard. "Saving Social Security" by throwing more money at it is about all that's left (that can be done relatively quickly). And that means upping taxes. Of course, depending on the level of the new taxation, all that will happen is further delaying the inevitable. Social Security is structurally broken and a bit more money isn't going to change that. But that won't prevent a legacy seeking president from claiming it will. And, if Democrats get their way, they can claim the same thing - political gold - while pointing to Bush when the tax increases are questioned - more political gold.

As Pinkerton notes:
Advisers are telling Bush that such bargaining will result in a solid domestic-policy legacy, as well as the shoring up of congressional support for the Iraq war. But history tells me that, if he raises taxes, he will demolish - as did his father before him - what little remains of his presidency.
Pinkerton is right.
 
TrackBacks
Return to Main Blog Page
 
 

Previous Comments to this Post 

Comments
Well, since he appears to have a bunch of his father’s advisers now advising him, why the big surprise?
 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
Instead of trying to make nice with the cretins who will shortly control congress, he should be gearing up to pick some battles and put the Dems on the spot. Is he that cowed by the empty threat of impeachment?

It’s not like he’ll be able to get anything done with the Dems anyway.

He should’ve re-submitted Bolton for the UN post, and gone from there.

 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Social Security is structurally broken

As K.Drum has been pointing out for some time now, that’s simply false. The claim is predicated on an unprecedent collapse in the growth of productivity over a 70-year timeline. More generally, while libertarians may not like them, public pensions can tremendously reduce elder poverty, encourage risk-taking and encourage the mobility of labor.

On the more general issue of taxes, SS is lending money to the general Treasury, not withdrawing it. It’s the exploding war costs, an ongoing collapse of the healthcare system, and an utter reluctance of the Republicans to match any of the tax cuts from the last six years with spending cuts that are driving the deficit.

Keeping in mind that the Republican Party wants to win the White House in ’08, what spending cuts should the President propose as an alternative to tax increases?
 
Written By: Francis
URL: http://
It would almost be worth paying the higher taxes just to hear you guys complain "Bush Lied".

 
Written By: cindyb
URL: http://
"what spending cuts should the President propose as an alternative to tax increases?"

No Department of Education. No PBS. No NPR. No sugar subsidies. No HUD. Tell the UN to pay its own way and get the hell out of the US.

There - six quick cuts off the top of my head without blinking an eye. Not that they stand a chance in hell of being enacted, since most of the country is swilling from the government trough like corpulent pigs. But it’s fun to imagine.

And cindy, I won’t complain that Bush lied - I’ll just believe he really is as stupid as you moonbats like to think.
 
Written By: Christopher
URL: http://
It would almost be worth paying the higher taxes just to hear you guys complain "Bush Lied".
"Bush lied, tax breaks died" ???

How’s life under the rock cindyb?
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
As K.Drum has been pointing out for some time now, that’s simply false.
Uhh, sure. That’s why SS has taken the same percentage of wages since inception, right?
On the more general issue of taxes, SS is lending money to the general Treasury, not withdrawing it.
So? The never-ending budget deficit includes the cash "borrowed" from the SS "trust fund". And if you bother to check the Social Security web site, you’ll find out that SS funds are used for all sorts of things with little-to-nothing to do with retirement.

 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
And if you bother to check the Social Security web site, you’ll find out that SS funds are used for all sorts of things with little-to-nothing to do with retirement.
Which is why Social Security is not, and was never intended, to be a retirement program. It was designed to be, and always has been, a safety net. A fallback to provide minimal assistance in case the elderly become destitute, or a young family loses a primary wage earner.

Which goes a long way to explain why you despise it so. You haven’t a clue what it’s all about.
 
Written By: Davebo
URL: http://
I got a legacy for em, how about "total Failure"
 
Written By: kyle N
URL: http://impudent.blognation.us/blog
This is the "gridlock" so many were eager for. COngratulations, you got your wish. There was only one step left for "compassionate conservativsm" to become big government liberalism: Raise taxes.

Hopefully this will be the end of "compassionate conservatism". If you want big government nanny statism why not just vote for the party that invented it?
Which is why Social Security is not, and was never intended, to be a retirement program. It was designed to be, and always has been, a safety net. A fallback to provide minimal assistance in case the elderly become destitute, or a young family loses a primary wage earner.
Why do Bill Gates and Warren Buffet need a safety net? They will collect a lot more in Social Security than I ever will. Of course if you stop the gravy train for the richest demographic in the country, the one with the highest voter participation, you are likely to lose a lot of votes. Which is why neither party has the guts to end this Ponzi Scheme.

If anybody wants to make Social Security a "safety net" that is only paid to the destitute, elderly poor I’d be fine with that. It would cost a fraction of what Social Security costs today and in the future.

Or, how about everybody just support their own parents in their old age, like they supported you when you were young? That’s how it worked for thousands of years.

But that would make way too much sense....
 
Written By: DS
URL: http://
This is the "gridlock" so many were eager for.
Uh, no. You need to look up the term if you think "caving in" is synonymous with "gridlock".
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Uh, no. You need to look up the term if you think "caving in" is synonymous with "gridlock".

I’m not sure this is tue, the whole Raise Taxes for my Legacy thing...Dubya can look at his FATHER’S Legacy in that regard and see what it’s going to get him...

But McQ this IS one of the things folks kept pointing out to you and others intent on Teaching a Lesson or, Voting for Pelosi because Hastert isn’t Badnarik...that Republicans might just agree to some fo the bad ideas that the Democrats advance. So if it happens whatcha gonna say, "I wanted a Democratic House, but a Republican Senate"-response WHO CARES WHAT YOU WANTED OR WHAT YOU PLANNED? Or is it going to be, "I never intended for THAT to happen" which is what so many folks involved in bad accidents usually say?

Bottom-Line: I’m not sure this is actually going down but if it does well I hope everyone learned their lessons...whatever they were.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
But McQ this IS one of the things folks kept pointing out to you and others intent on Teaching a Lesson or, Voting for Pelosi because Hastert isn’t Badnarik...
Which, of course, were none of the reasons I gave, but nice try, Joe.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
"Congress can pass whatever it wishes, but the President has to sign it into law."

Once again, I beg to differ. I believe you are misreading Article I, Section 7. Perhaps you are thinking of the "pocket veto, but that only occurs when congress adjourns.
http://www.c-span.org/guide/congress/glossary/pktveto.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pocket_veto

************************

"On the more general issue of taxes, SS is lending money to the general Treasury, not withdrawing it."

And this will go on forever, right? By the way, who is saying that SS is withdrawing money now?

***************************
"Which is why Social Security is not, and was never intended, to be a retirement program. It was designed to be, and always has been, a safety net. A fallback to provide minimal assistance in case the elderly become destitute, or a young family loses a primary wage earner."

Why is that relevant? Whatever it was designed to do 70 years ago, it is what it is today. And what does any of that have to do with taxes and cash flow?
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Uh, no. You need to look up the term if you think "caving in" is synonymous with "gridlock".
I didn’t know "caving in" was a term to be looked up, but whatever. You can call it whatever you want, a divided government does not look to be any kind of restraint on spending, probably just the opposite.

The fact is that several people who post on this site predicted that the result of a divided government would NOT be less spending and smaller government. Many predicted that the actual result, given the make-up and character of the politicians invloved, would actually be some sort of corrupt bargain which would allow the Democrats to raise taxes and the Republicans to keep spending. That looks to be in the works.

It is always possible that this could end differently, but it isn’t looking that way. You can redefine terms and wiggle out on technicalities if you like, but the vision of a 1990’s style gridlock that would result in a marginal and temporary reduction in the rate of growth of government was not based on sound theory or knowledge of the situation. And it was a pretty modest ambition to begin with, so the disappointment of being wrong should be slight.



 
Written By: DS
URL: http://
Why do Bill Gates and Warren Buffet need a safety net? They will collect a lot more in Social Security than I ever will.
Are you planning on dying young?

But for what it’s worth, I’d be willing to means test social security benefits if it came to that. It’s unfair, but if we had to do it I’d be willing to.

But for now we don’t have to do it so there’s really no reason to be unfair.

Remember, we "fixed" Social Security once before under Reagan. Largest tax increase in US history and all.

What "fixing" Social Security is all about is a back hand attempt to eliminate the debt both parties built up in IOU’s.
 
Written By: davebo
URL: http://
"What "fixing" Social Security is all about is a back hand attempt to eliminate the debt both parties built up in IOU’s."

And that is a bad thing because...?
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://

 
Add Your Comment
  NOTICE: While we don't wish to censor your thoughts, we do blacklist certain terms of profanity or obscenity. This is not to muzzle you, but to ensure that the blog remains work-safe for our readers. If you wish to use profanity, simply insert asterisks (*) where the vowels usually go. Your meaning will still be clear, but our readers will be able to view the blog without worrying that content monitoring will get them in trouble when reading it.
Comments for this entry are closed.
Name:
Email:
URL:
HTML Tools:
Bold Italic Blockquote Hyperlink
Comment:
   
 
Vicious Capitalism

Divider

Buy Dale's Book!
Slackernomics by Dale Franks

Divider

Divider