Wednesday, September 29, 2004

how conservatives sleep at night

a recent political chat with a conservative friend led down an interesting road this week. in a discussion about other topics, i noted that he, as a high-income earner (over the kerry-threshold of $200k/year) was more likely to receive a tax hike under kerry than bush.

to my great surprise, he disagreed, noting that given the size of the deficit, a tax increase seemed likely under either candidate. our conversation moved on quickly and the point was left unaddressed, but since then it's haunted me like freddy kruger.

is this how conservatives can look in the mirror ? bush ran for president during an economic boom - his keystone tax policy was, of course, massive tax cuts. when the economy took a downturn, he adjusted his rationale but maintained the policy instrument - tax cuts. and with the economy in the tank, two tax cuts under his belt and only the feeblest of recoveries stirring, his answer was, of course, more tax cuts. even now, with a fragile recovery perhaps underway, the only debate within his party or administration is the degree to which taxes will continue to be cut.

and yet my conservative friend, in a moment of rationality and aware of the ballooning deficit, realizes the untenability of that policy. and assumes that bush will somehow reverse course, abandon the core economic principle that's guided his ENTIRE political career, and do the right thing.

is that the kind of self-deception it requires to feel good about 4 more years ?

- LH


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