Wednesday, June 04, 2008
Rush & Me - Part 1
As mentioned below, Rush Limbaugh has taken a couple of swings at me in recent days.
Here’s the first, from May 23:
We have David Frum; we have Bill Kristol; we have David Brooks, and all of the learned conservative intelligentsia are all looking for ways to water down conservatism now.
And here’s the second, from May 28:
So what we have here, there was a great piece, Peter Ferrara in the American Spectator last week writing in this case about David Frum, who is a conservative commentator and author, writer, National Review Online. In this whole concept that I constantly rail against, and that is accepting the premises put forth by the left and then trying to monkey with them a little bit and change 'em so they're not quite as bad, add a little conservative touch to it, there's a term that Peter Ferrara came up with to describe this, it's two words, the second word is "surrender." That's what apparently is going on here.
Now, first, a reality check: It is Rush, not me, who has repeatedly mused that he would prefer to see Republicans lose this election if McCain were nominated. So who is the advocate of "surrender" here? And since Obama has pledged early and unconditional withdrawal from Iraq, it’s not just an election that Limbaugh equably contemplates losing – it is a war.
What I am writing and thinking about – and also Bill, and David, and Alex Castellanos (about whom Rush also had some harsh words recently), and Tom Davis, and Newt Gingrich, and almost every Republican candidate in the country – is how to win, win in a new era in which the themes and issues with which Rush and I grew up are receding deeper and deeper into history. And not just win politically, but win substantively too – to deliver better results to American voters than they have had over the past 8 yearss.
Rush accuses me and the others of seeking to “water conservatism down.”
I counter: it’s the learn-nothing, change-nothing approach that Limbaugh is unwisely endorsing that risks exiling conservatism for a generation.
Take a closer look at that Ferrara piece Limbaugh described as "great."
I had a little argument with David Frum about taxes almost two years ago in a series of blog exchanges. He had argued that to pay for abolishing the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) we should adopt a carbon tax of equivalent size. ...
I argued that if we had to adopt another tax to offset the revenue loss from eliminating the AMT, then we weren't really eliminating the AMT. We were validating a trillion dollar tax increase that was sold to America as a minor loophole closure only for the very rich, not a general tax increase.
Frum said my position was unrealistic and a smarter position for conservatives was to negotiate for the least bad tax increase to offset AMT abolition, a carbon tax that would tax only consumption and pollution, not savings and capital. ...
By the end of last year, however, it was the Democrats who caved on an offsetting tax increase for the AMT. ...
The Democrats waived their own paygo rule to pass a "patch" that prevented the AMT from advancing to tax more and more middle class voters, resulting in another, $65 billion tax cut under President Bush. Democrat leaders said they would just deal with the AMT by continuing to pass such patches every year
Or to simplify:
1. Frum says that if we repeal the AMT we have to put something in its place.
2. Ferrara counters: No we don't - because look, a Democratic majority just patched an AMT patch without offsetting revenues!
A cheerful response, that alas overlooks two huge facts:
1. Of course Democrats don't need to worry about finding offsetting revenues for their AMT patches. They will soon be wallowing in all the revenues they can spend.
Conservatives should always, always, always remember:
George W. Bush and the Republicans in Congress have bequeathed the country a series of huge tax increases that will take effect in the next presidential term. The top rate of income tax will jump to 39.6%. The tax cuts for long-term capital gains and dividends will expire. The estate tax will be reinstated. And all this will happen without any Democrat in Congress having to cast a vote for it. It’s automatic, pre-enacted, presented as a gift with a bow on it to the incoming president and Congress.
John McCain may talk of “making the Bush tax cuts permanent.” But this talk is idle. Even if he wins the White House, Democrats will most probably increase their majorities in both houses of Congress. The tax cuts will expire, and Democrats can patch the AMT for many years to come with the proceeds.
2. The cost of "patching" the AMT will sharply rise in the years ahead as more and more taxpayers are caught in its clutches. Click here for a chart from the Tax Foundation that nicely illustrates the scope of the problem. The $65 billion patch of 2008 will cost more and more and more each succeeding year. More to come
06/04 12:03 PM