The Democratic Party is on life support. There is inner conflict about the firing of a number of black staff members (not to mention ideological clashes), and a Hispanic group is complaining the party is ignoring its issues. Polls indicate the soccer moms who voted for Bill Clinton are now primarily concerned about security. They are pledging their allegiance to President Bush, who in their view is better able to protect America than any Democratic presidential candidate. Some female pundits have even observed how "hot" Bush looks in a flight suit. Who knew that sexiness could work for a Republican?
Then there is the ultimate issue: the economy. While Democrats have tried to talk down the post-9/11 economic recovery, the facts are getting in their way. The Wall Street Journal reports that, between Oct. 9, 2002, and May 9, 2003 (Oct. 9 being the market's low), the Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 18.1 percent. If that pace continues, the Dow will be up 31 percent for that 12-month period. The S&P 500 Stock Index went up 20.1 percent since last Oct. 9, an annualized return of 34.4 percent. Even the NASDAQ, the home of those once highflying technology stocks, is up 36.4 percent since Oct. 9, an incredible annualized rate of return of 62.5 percent.
Financial advisor and analyst Ric Edelman tells me (full disclosure, he's also my personal financial advisor), "If you're thinking the stock market is in the doldrums, you haven't been paying attention. The truth is that the stock market has been turning around, and it's looking much better than it has at any time in the past three years."
In an interview, Secretary of the Treasury John Snow predicted an economic upturn will be visible "by the fourth quarter of this year." He said there will be a "little lag" while the tax cuts kick in. "We're now in the implementation phase of changing the withholding tables and preparing to send out to 25 million families the checks for child credits. Lower tax rates will be in effect by next month. And when people have more of their money to spend, they'll do something with it, and it will be good for the economy."
To the critics - moderate Republicans and liberal Democrats - who charge that the tax cuts are a boon to the rich and do nothing for the poor, Snow responded, "That's creative and inventive, but wrong economics. What the tax plan does is create a bigger and stronger economy. This bill will help everyone in the American economy."
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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