Wednesday, October 12, 2005

No, no, no

Time to quarrel with the liberal bloggers, who pretty well capture my sentiments about the Bush Administration but are people I would disagree with on various issues under saner political circumstances.

What I take to be the principal emerging response among them to the trial balloon from the Tax Reform Commission (see my previous post) is well exemplified by this comment in Eschaton, entitled "How They Want to Pay for Paris Hilton's Tax Cut," and saying that "it's time to start getting Republicans on the record about this cunning plan."

Okay, the Republicans have so exploited the tactic of mindlessly repeating talking points ad nauseum that it's understandably tempting for Democrats to play the same game, and trot out good old Paris Hilton every five minutes. But is supporting the AMT, and opposing limits on wasteful upper-end health insurance tax benefits, as well as on tax breaks that promote borrowing and big homes, really a good place to deploy this strategy?

Making changes such as these is only possible in a bipartisan environment where the two major parties give each other cover for taking on sacred cows. I fully understand that this is not the time for bipartisan cooperation, in that Bush has proved for five years that he does not cooperate in good faith. But it would be nice if these sorts of ideas could still have a chance if and when the political environment changes. And that of course is my hope regarding the work of the Tax Reform Commission - not that anything good will come out of it right away (at present it is bordering on impossible to have anything good come out of the U.S. Congress), but rather that its work will shape high-minded bipartisan compromise possibilities a few years down the road. These, in turn, could involve either revenue-neutral tax reform or tax increases to keep the U.S. Treasury (not to mention Social Security and Medicare) afloat.

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