- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 13, 2001

Since about 90 percent of the laws passed in Washington harm the economy, rather than help it, its worth celebrating those rare occasions when Congress actually does something that is good for Americas long term prosperity. President Bushs tax bill is one of these rare policy achievements.
No one has complained of the defects of the tax bill (too back-end loaded to help the economy anytime soon, too small given the giant tax surpluses we now have, and too much of a concession to the class warfare rhetoric of the left) than I have, but this should not blind us to the genuine accomplishment that has been delivered by George W. Bush and the GOPs congressional leadership.
Why have I laid aside my past reservations to trumpet the Bush tax bill? Here are 10 reasons why conservatives should celebrate this bills passage:
(1) When it comes to tax cuts: size does matter. One of the strongest arguments for the Bush tax cut is that it will take $1.35 trillion over the next 10 years out of Washington. This tax cut is the best conceivable repellent to new spending. This is precisely why the Democrats fought so tenaciously to prevent a tax cut of this magnitude from ever being enacted. Workers, businesses, and parents can spend $1.35 trillion much more efficiently than Congress can.
(2) A return to the supply side. As Larry Kudlow argued in NR Online earlier this week, the tax bill provides some modest, but not inconsequential, increases in supply side incentives to save, invest and take risks. Mr. Bush wanted to slash the top tax rate to 33%. Instead he settled for 35 percent. But hear this: The elimination of the phase out of exemptions and credits brings the effective top income tax rate down by at least one more percentage point. We didnt repeal the whole Clinton tax increase of 93, but this is a very nice start.
(3) Vindication for the politics of tax cuts. Moores law of politics is that no one in the history of American politics ever lost an election by voting for tax cuts. After months of the media assuring us Americans dont really feel that tax cuts are a "high priority," every vulnerable Democrat in the Senate voted "aye" on the final passage of the Bush tax cut. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, California Democrat, voted for tax cuts. So did Jean Carnahan of Missouri, who never had a nice word to say about tax cuts in her life. So did Sens. Max Cleland of Georgia, Max Baucus of Montana, and Mary Landrieu of Louisiana. They must know something about the politics of tax cuts that the folks at CBS and the New York Times cannot seem to fathom.
(4) The left is fuming. It finally dawned on me: If this bill is so watered down, why is it that people like Tom Daschle, Dick Gephardt, Paul Krugman, and the entire staffs of The Washington Post editorial page and the Center for Tax Justice have been whining continuously about how horrible this "ill-advised" tax cut is going to be for the nation? Paul Krugman moaned on NPR recently that this tax bills price tag is really closer to $2 trillion.
Lets hope hes right.
(5) The GOP has finally put the 1990 "read my lips" debacle behind it. Taxpayers can trust Republicans again. Tax cuts were the crown jewel of the Bush domestic policy platform. The White House absolutely had to have this win and they got it notwithstanding several near-death experiences in the Senate. Bravo to Karl Rove, Paul ONeill, Larry Lindsey and the whole White House lobbying team that snared this victory for the president and the country. The ghosts of Dick Darman have been put to rest.
(6) McCain is now certifiably McCrazy. Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, showed his true colors. He actually voted against final passage of the Bush tax plan. He was one of only two Republicans in all of Congress to do so. Why this act of Jeffordsonian betrayal? Because he proclaimed that the bill favored the rich too much at the expense of lower-income Americans. He co-sponsored a poison pill amendment with Tom Daschle, South Dakota Democrat, to gut the Bush tax plan. Mr. McCains evil plot was foiled thankfully by one vote. Prediction: John McCain will never again seriously contend for the Republican nomination for president.
(7) Tax-cutting success generates its own momentum. Why not another tax bill next month to cut the capital-gains tax? To give business well-deserved tax breaks? To phase in the tax cuts even faster? To repeal the death tax sooner? The conservatives in the House, including people like Dick Armey, Texas Republican, and Pat Toomey, Pennsylvania Republican, are already working on it.
(8) Class warfare rhetoric fell flat. The lefts chief rallying cry against the tax bill for these last three months was "tax cuts for the rich." It didnt play in Peoria. Heres an example: In a recent McLaughlin and Associates survey, 60 percent of voters said they favored eliminating the death tax even for "billionaires." The lesson: the growth argument of the right once again trumped the envy argument of the left. John F. Kennedy was right: a rising tide does lift all boats.
(9) Fire the Joint Tax Committee. The biggest obstacle to tax cuts this year was Lindy Paul, the staff director at the Joint Tax Committee, which predicts the revenue losses from tax cuts. Lindy Paul consistently vastly overstated the "cost" of the tax cuts, even predicting that a capital-gains cut would lose revenues, when history proves conclusively that capital-gains tax cuts always raise revenues. If we want more tax cuts, we need to insist on real world scoring at the JTC.
(10) Want tax cuts? Vote Republican. Republicans win when they draw sharp distinctions with Democrats. On the tax issue, they have done just that. Every Republican in the Congress, save two (Sen. Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island and the aforementioned Mr. McCain) voted for tax cuts. Meanwhile, the Democratic leadership and all the left-wing interest groups rallied against tax cuts. This sharp distinction on the tax issue can only help the Republicans, which is now genuinely the party of Ronald Reagan.
So conservatives should take some Prozac and cheer up. Weve just passed the third-largest tax cut since World War II. This might not have been a Reaganesque accomplishment but its awfully close.

Stephen Moore is president of the Club for Growth.

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