Democrats have been champing at the bit to raise our taxes since the halcyon days of a Democratic Congress and president, when Bill Clinton's tax plan brilliantly engineered a historic Republican takeover of Congress.
Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., has said, "With the war on terrorism, I just don't think it's in our best interest to go forward with the tax cuts." Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., said we need to "revisit the tax cut in the midst of a recession." Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., said "we" can't afford the Bush tax cut and still pay for a national prescription drug program, national early childhood education programs and a national health care program.
When we were at peace, Democrats wanted to raise taxes. Now there's a war, so Democrats want to raise taxes. When there was a surplus, Democrats wanted to raise taxes. Now that there is a mild recession, Democrats want to raise taxes. There is perennially some sector of the economy Teddy Kennedy is longing to socialize and this, too, will require raising taxes.
So it was interesting that Sen. Tom Daschle, D-S.D., recently said of the Bush tax cut: "Ideology dictated that – tax cuts, no matter what the circumstances." At least Republicans admit it.
Last June, Daschle began the incremental normalizing of tax hikes by darkly warning that Congress would have to "revisit" the Bush tax cut. "At some point the reality is going to come crashing down on all of us, and we're going to have to deal with it."
Again in a long speech delivered on Jan. 4, Daschle repeatedly denounced the Bush tax cut, rambling on and on about Bush's tax cut being "exactly the wrong solution." The Dukakis of the Dakotas called it a "huge tax cut" – though this was the $300 rebate that Democrats also said was so piddling it was hardly worth passing. Republicans, he charged, made this "huge" tax cut their "number one priority ahead of everything else."
And then the Dakota Dukakis spent the next month denying he was calling for a repeal of what he had called the "unfortunately ... huge" tax cut.
After spending months deriding Bush's tax cut as a triflingly useless $300 tax rebate, liberals turn around and attack the triflingly useless $300, saying it is blowing a hole in the Democrats' pristine budget.
Liberals are always simultaneously enraged about and dismissive of policies they oppose. They commission a statue altering the races of firefighters hoisting the flag at Ground Zero, and when a firestorm of protest erupts, they say it's no big deal so let's move on. They are hysterical about the prospect of a missile defense system, saying it will scare the Russians and anger Europeans, but then tell us it won't work anyway.
If it's no big deal, then how about we win?
You can tell Democrats are eyeing our bank accounts by their convoluted prattle about stimulus packages and "affording" tax cuts. Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., has complained that Bush's tax cut "had no economic stimulus up front." What exactly is an "economic stimulus"? It's definitely not a tax cut, or Kerry would have said "tax cut."
Taxes are like abortion, and not just because both are grotesque procedures supported by Democrats. You're for them or against them. Taxes go up or down; government raises taxes or lowers them. But Democrats will not let the words "abortion" or "tax hikes" pass their lips. Which one was an "investment in our future" and which one is a "choice"? Was that killing babies or taking our money?
Back when Democrats were seeking a tax hike because the nation was at peace, Democratic mouthpiece and CBS News reporter Bob Schieffer railed: "So Washington took the summer off and the darnedest thing happened. Somebody lost the surplus. All that tax money that the rosy scenarios and economic forecasters told us would be there to pay for tax cuts and missile defense systems – well, sorry, they were wrong."
First, consider the psychosis revealed in the concept of "paying for" tax cuts. Tax cuts aren't something you pay for. It's less money for the government to spend. Hearing politicians tell us "we" can't "afford" a tax cut is like listening to a glutton tell you he can't "afford" a diet. In no other context do people talk about "paying for" money they don't have. I can't pay for your refusal to give me money because I need a yacht.
But moreover, there are literally thousands of government programs. So it was nice of CBS' Schieffer to tell us which two we can't afford – tax cuts and missile defense. Evidently, we still have boatloads of money to fund things like Christ in a jar of urine and the worthless Department of Education. We just can't afford to defend the country. Unless maybe, just maybe, if we raised taxes.