Insightful analysis and important facts Tom. Something's got to give. Going back to the Clinton tax rates in the 1990s is the way to go. During the 1990s America brought its fiscal house in order by ending the decade with surpluses, plus we gained over 20 million jobs. In contrast, during the Bush Republican tax policy in the last decade, we created only 5 million or so jobs.
The Bush Republican tax cuts originally were intended to be a temporary measure designed to stimulate our way out of the 2000 recession. After the recession ended the unfunded cuts became unsustainable and remain so. Former Fed Reserve Chair Greenspan and Reagan budget man David Stockman both admit we can't afford the Bush Republican tax cuts any longer and need to end them.
Instead of stopping the fiscal stimulus tax cuts when the last recession ended around 2003, Bush disastrously decided to extend his tax cuts through our last economic upswing, including during two wars - one of which (Iraq) Bush Republicans started prematurely and which unnecessarily cost us over a trillion dollars and more American lives than we lost in its false justification on 9/11.
Paul O'Neill, Bush's Treasury Secretary at the time outed Bush himself as realizing that extending the tax cut was unwise:
"He says everyone expected Mr. Bush to rubber stamp the plan under discussion: a big new tax cut. But, according to Suskind, the president was perhaps having second thoughts about cutting taxes again, and was uncharacteristically engaged.
“He asks, ‘Haven't we already given money to rich people? This second tax cut's gonna do it again,’” says Suskind.
“He says, ‘Didn’t we already, why are we doing it again?’ Now, his advisers, they say, ‘Well Mr. President, the upper class, they're the entrepreneurs. That's the standard response.’ And the president kind of goes, ‘OK.’ That's their response. And then, he comes back to it again. ‘Well, shouldn't we be giving money to the middle, won't people be able to say, ‘You did it once, and then you did it twice, and what was it good for?’"
But according to the transcript, White House political advisor Karl Rove jumped in.
“Karl Rove is saying to the president, a kind of mantra. ‘Stick to principle. Stick to principle.’ He says it over and over again,” says Suskind. “Don’t waver.”
In the end, the president didn't. And nine days after that meeting in which O'Neill made it clear he could not publicly support another tax cut, the vice president called and asked him to resign."
The Bush Tea Party Republicans today say they are fiscally conservative. They are not. They don't walk the walk. Bush Tea Party Republicans want big unfunded tax cuts for the rich and have proven during the past several decades that they do not reduce growing fiscal spending any better than the Democrats.
We have a choice. On the one hand we have a party that has shown in recent times that it grows government in a fiscally responsible manner, i.e. Democratic President Clinton who brought our debt to GDP ratio way down, and even President Carter lowered the debt to GDP ratio, something which no Republican President has been able to do in modern times. In fact, Greenspan called Clinton the best Republican President we've had in a while, obviously snubbing Bush Snr. and maybe even Ronald Reagan.
On the other hand we have another party, the Bush Tea Party Republicans, that grows government just as fast as the Democrats and at the same time starts wars, and maintains massive unfunded tax cuts that weaken our fiscal stability even during economic upswings when we should be saving.
The poor choice here would be to maintain the Bush Tea Party tax cuts that got us into this economic mess in the first place. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result. I hope Independent voters think twice before voting for politicians that want to return us to the Bush Tea Party Republican tax cut and spend policy.
Thank you too for your informed, high quality comments.
TR once said it is unpatriotic not to express your disagreement with our government especially during wartime, and I believe the same holds true in political discourse.
I take your point about divided government playing a role during the 1990s. But a government divided does not necessarily result in more balanced policy. For example, our government was divided during significant portions of the Bush Presidency, yet the Democrats failed to stop Bush's fiscally destructive unfunded tax policies.
And more recently the Republicans in the current Senate successfully opposed the President's proposal to reinstate President Clinton's Paygo, or pay as you go requirement that all spending proposals be funded, as well as the formation of a joint bipartisan Senate panel to address the deficit. This buttresses the Republicans' promise to continue their unfunded tax cuts.
Re your discomfort with the phrase the "Bush Tea Party Republicans," this effort to continue the Bush tax cuts as well as the Republican effort to prevent the Democrats from rebuilding the pre-Bush regulatory framework through a Republican moratorium on new regulations is emblematic of the Republican Party today. This is the party of Bush, with the unfunded tax cuts and opposition to regulation.
And the Republican Party is the party of the Tea Party - whose radical candidates have won important primaries in several states and also are for tax cuts galore and deregulation. The phrase Bush Tea Party Republicans (or BTPR) is accurate and descriptive in nature. For better or worse, the phrase describes who the Republicans are today. Yes they are "lumped" in the sense that they are a group. The Bush and Tea Party factions have lumped or grouped themselves under the Republican umbrella.
((And the Republican Party is the party of the Tea Party))
I realize that many frustrated liberals like to paint the entire tea party organization as a bunch of radical racist republicans....but that is simply not true.
"((And the Republican Party is the party of the Tea Party))Not true."
Sorry to break it to you, but true. Here are the facts.
Tea Party candidates are winning major Republican primaries in Nevada, Colorado, Kentucky, Florida and elsewhere.
Ultra-right-wing Republican leader Michele Bachman formed a caucus of over 50 members, all or nearly all Republican.
As an aside, this is the same Michele Bachman who is great pals with Republican Tea Party Supporter Rock Star Sarah Palin, and the same Michele Bachman who says on her website she is a former tax attorney who understands taxes and wants to slash them but can't explain how in the world we will pay for our government without them or what she will cut in spending to make up for the cut in taxes:
"I have cosponsored several bills to provide tax relief to hard-working Americans, including bills to repeal the estate tax, reduce capital gains taxes, repeal the alternative minimum tax (AMT), extend the adoption tax credit, and, make permanent other important tax relief passed by Congress in 2001 and 2003. Families and businesses can rest assured I will continue to support efforts to reduce taxes and put more money back in the pockets of American workers."
http://bachmann.house.gov/Issues/Issue/?IssueID=2869 (by the way, how she thinks repealing the estate tax will help ordinary hard-working Americans is beyond me).
And lastly, your own referenced link admittedly states that Tea Partiers are mostly Republicans and only 5% are Democrats:
"The recent New York Times survey shows that 54% of Tea Partiers are Republicans and 36% are independents. Just 5% identified as Democrats. Ideologically, Tea Partiers are not representative of the nation as a whole, and until recently no one has been silly enough to claim anything like this. Tea Partiers are overwhelmingly self-described conservatives, which is what you would expect."
The Republicans and Tea Partiers are hard wired together with the Bush Republicans into a mass of fiscal irresponsibility - free money unfunded massive tax cuts coupled with no explanation of how we will pay for them or what we will cut in government spending.
From your own article:
""The recent New York Times survey shows that 54% of Tea Partiers are Republicans and 36% are independents. Just 5% identified as Democrats. "
So....nope...not true. Republicans are only slightly more than 1/2 of the tea party make up.
(....a mass of fiscal irresponsibility - free money unfunded massive tax cuts coupled with no explanation of how we will pay for them or what we will cut in government spending.)
Gee...that sounds just like the Obama administration and the current democrats....LOL!