- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 31, 2001

"If this is a victory for them," Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle snickered on April 6 after the Senate provisionally approved tax relief totalling $1.27 trillion, or $350 billion less than President George W. Bush initially sought, "we want more victories like it." Well, a bipartisan contingent was only too happy to comply with Mr. Daschles wish. Over the weekend, with 12 of his partys colleagues and renegade Independent James Jeffords of Vermont joining a nearly unanimous Republican caucus, the Senate overwhelmingly gave final approval to a plan to reduce taxes by $1.35 trillion through 2010.

Only this time Mr. Daschle wasn´t snickering. "This is a tax fraud in more ways than one," the prairie populist screeched, undoubtedly stung by the fact that even his fellow South Dakota senator, Tim Johnson, deserted him. "Once again middle-class working families get left behind," Mr. Daschle whined, ignoring the fact that a married couple earning $36,000 and raising two children will immediately see their federal income-tax burden fall by more than 50 percent. "We will revisit these issues," Mr. Daschle threatened. "We will try to find ways to make corrections." Good luck. Even with his newfound status as soon-to-be Senate majority leader, Mr. Daschle will still face the seemingly impossible task of corralling a veto-proof 67 member majority to revise the tax cut.

Mr. Daschle, of course, wasn´t the only Democrat to realize how complete Mr. Bush´s victory on the fiscal front was. Take it from one who knows Leon Panetta, the former chairman of the House Budget Committee, Clinton budget director and later White House chief of staff when the federal government was shut down in the midst of a massive budget battle with the Republican Congress. "There´s no question won the race to the surplus pot," Mr. Panetta told the Associated Press on the eve of Mr. Bush´s victory.

Suffice to say, the fiscal thrashing Mr. Bush administered to the left-wing of the Democratic Party has not been well-received. On the Senate floor arch-liberal Paul Wellstone, begging his colleagues to block Mr. Bush´s path to the "surplus pot," warned his party of the consequences. "Democrats! Wake up and smell the coffee!" Mr. Wellstone implored, "We´re not going to have the resources" to fund big-government programs.

The New York Times op-ed page has been turned into a forum for hysterics. Paul Krugman breathlessly accused the 58 senators who voted for tax relief of engaging in "white-collar crime," for which they deserve to be sent to "a minimum-security installation somewhere unpleasant," Mr. Krugman wrote. Even more hysterical, if that could be imagined, were class-warriors James Carville and Paul Begala, whose New York Times op-ed essay condemned the "Bush tax cuts for the rich" and accused "too many in our party" of "sleepwalking as George W. Bush has audaciously sought to deny the federal government the money and the power to have a positive effect on people´s lives." Note well of the $5 trillion in cumulative surpluses projected by the Congressional Budget Office for the 2001-2010 period, Mr. Bush has earmarked $1.35 trillion for tax relief, or 27 percent. Messrs. Carville and Begala, as well as Sens. Daschle and Wellstone, wanted to spend it all. Moreover, they gave every indication that they could not care less how poorly or inefficiently the funds would have been spent.

Now, that is a cause for hysteria.


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