- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 10, 2001

Nobles: The Republicans and Democrats who joined in the passage of the centerpiece of President George W. Bush's tax-reduction plan.

As the speaker's gavel came down on the 230-198 vote, you could almost hear a sigh of relief from taxpayers, who are more overtaxed than the average finisher of the Eco-Challenge. For the first time in a long time, Congress voluntarily relinquished part of its power of the purse to the people who provide the funds in the first place.

Such actions are excruciating for politicians, for whom spending is tantamount to self-preservation. Rep. J.C. Watts was correct when he claimed, "Today, we are putting people before politics." Republicans and Democrats who voted for the tax cut did so out of a belief that the American people are being overcharged that the surplus money that stays in Washington will be spent in Washington.

They also acted quickly. While Mr. Bush was raising support for his plan outside the Beltway, Republicans and Democrats were hastening the bill forward through the procedural delays and populist demagoguery thrown in the way by the Democratic leadership.

Ronald Reagan would have been proud. For a radio address taped on July 27, 1979, Mr. Reagan wrote, "I have always believed that government has no right to a surplus; that it should take from the people only the money necessary to fund the government's legitimate functions. If it takes more than enough it should return the surplus to the people."

Knaves: The Republicans in the Senate who are already on record against the tax cut.

Acting on perhaps instincts of political preservation, a few Republican senators have expressed opposition to Mr. Bush's tax cut. Republican Sen. Jim Jeffords, a member of the Senate Finance Committee, said, "I'm more concerned about paying off the debt. The tax cuts … are higher than I'd like to see."

He is joined in this disgraceful dissent by squishy Sen. Olympia Snowe, who favors a tax cut "trigger." Without such a lock on the money of taxpayers, Mrs. Snowe is not expected to vote for the measure.

Arlen Specter, who recently proposed that he have another chance to again vote the wrong way on impeachment, boldly opined, "I'm not sure that $1.6 trillion is precisely the right figure. Perhaps it is, if more of that was devoted to the lower income groups."

The Democratic leadership is understandably delighted with these senators and their ideas. Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle believes that triggers are a "terrific" idea, and that Sens. Jeffords, Specter and Snowe will help him defeat the tax cut passed by the House.

Why shouldn't he? After all, those three knaves also helped ensure that Mr. Clinton was not convicted under either article of impeachment.

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