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Tuesday, October 11, 2005

The New Pravda at work

Billmon refers to the NY Times as the "New Pravda." In this article, the Times almost does its job, but still backs away, insisting on presenting both sides of the argument--the incorrect one as well as the correct one:
"This is not the time to expand the programs that were failing anyway," said Stuart M. Butler, a vice president of the Heritage Foundation, a conservative research and advocacy group influential on Capitol Hill.

While the right has proposed alternatives including tax-free zones for businesses and school vouchers for students, Mr. Butler said, "the left has just talked up the old paradigm: 'let's expand what's failed before.' "
Indeed, even as he was calling for deep spending cuts last week, Representative Mike Pence, Republican of Indiana, who leads the conservative caucus, called tax reductions for the prosperous a key to fighting poverty.

"Raising taxes in the wake of a national catastrophe would imperil the very economic growth we need to bring the Gulf Coast back," Mr. Pence said. "I'm mindful of what a pipe fitter once said to President Reagan: 'I've never been hired by a poor man.' A growing economy is in the interest of every working American, regardless of their income."

Economic growth is crucial to reducing poverty, but the effect of tax rates is less clear. In 1993, President Bill Clinton raised taxes on upper-income families, the economy boomed and poverty fell for the next seven years. In 2001, President Bush cut taxes deeply, but even with economic growth, the poverty rate has risen every year since.
"Less clear." Sounds pretty clear to me: Butler and Pence just want to "expand what's failed before"--tax cuts.

Actually, this is a case where we could have our cake and eat it too--expand government services AND continue or even expand tax cuts. All we need to do is cut the military budget by about 75%. We'd still be spending more than anyone else, but we might be curtailed a little from fighting stupid, criminal wars. Win-win-win.