Unlike his father, President George W. Bush sometimes is difficult to understand. However, one issue about which he has been resolute and consistent in recent times is taxes. In the past Bush did not veto higher spending bills. In his entire first term and well into his second President Bush did not veto a single bill. Even now he has vetoed only three bills, two of which would have expanded embryonic stem-cell research. His rationale for not exercising his veto power was that he did not want to quarrel with the first Republican Congress since 1995-1996. He let Congress get by with profligate spending until exasperated voters threw out the rascals in 2006.
Now, however, the President is more serious. When he had a Congress which cut taxes every year he was in office, he did not veto spending. This year, with a Democratic 110th Congress, Bush has said, "I will use the veto to keep your taxes low." He has promised to veto 9 of the 12 congressional spending bills. Bush said on August 8 "If the majority gets its way, American families, small businesses, will face a massive tax hike. It would amount to the largest tax increase in American history. Look, I recognize the Democrats control the Congress, and with it the power of the purse. I also have some power, and it is called the veto. And I have the votes in Congress to sustain vetoes, and therefore, I will use the veto to keep your taxes low and to keep federal spending under control." If only the President had thought this way when Congress was controlled by Republicans it likely would have remained Republican. Bush went on to say that, "Our economy prospers when we trust the American people with their own paychecks."
Bush noted that, "Growing tax revenues combined with spending restraint has helped us drive down the federal deficit, and we were able to do so without raising taxes on the people who work, or without raising taxes on small business owners or farmers."
Bush averred that Democrats in Congress want to increase taxes and legislate additional government programs, "And I strongly oppose that approach."
Congress recently passed a budget resolution that includes an extra $205 billion for discretionary programs over the next five years. "Now somebody is going to have to pay for it. And that, of course, will be the hardworking American people." Bush said that averages out to be $112 million per day, $4.7 million per hour, $78,000 per minute. Put it another way, it's about $1,300 in higher spending every second of every minute of every hour of every year for the next five years.
The President stated that that is why he will use his veto pen. He has threatened a veto of 48 bills passed since the Democrats assumed control of Congress. The first bill he may veto is State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), which narrowly passed in the House. When President Dwight D. Eisenhower suffered a humiliating defeat in 1954 he began to veto bills with a great fervor. Up to that point he had not. However, a top-heavy Democratic Congress upheld almost every veto. The present Democratic margins in both Houses of Congress are thin. There likely are insufficient votes to override a veto. Let us hope we have the opportunity to find out.