- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 24, 2007

The tax issue

“The hottest domestic political issue of the coming two years will be federal income taxes,” Pete du Pont writes at www.opinionjournal.com.

“The Democratic Party is for a big tax increase, via repeal of the Bush tax cuts. Its three major presidential candidates are for it (Hillary Clinton and John Edwards voted against the 2003 Bush tax cuts and Barack Obama against their extension). House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid are for it. Bill Clinton is for it because he believes the 2003 Bush tax cuts were ‘way too big to avoid serious harm.’ And the party’s newspaper, the New York Times, is for it, stating that the 2003 tax cuts were ‘economically unsound’ and would ‘increase the deficit by hundreds of billions of dollars.’ ”

“So what are the facts? Did the tax rate reductions of the Bush administration spur or diminish economic growth? Grow or diminish federal tax revenues? Were they good or bad economic policy?

“Economic indicators show that since the 2003 tax cuts the GDP has grown an inflation-adjusted average of 3.3 percent a year, and eight million new jobs have been created over 44 consecutive months of job growth. Unemployment has fallen 25 percent, from 6.1 percent to 4.5 percent, with strong declines across all ethnic groups. Productivity growth has expanded 2.8 percent a year since 2001, outstripping the past three decades’ average. So according to all these economic indices, the 2003 tax cuts have strengthened the American economy,” Mr. du Pont said.

“The tax cuts have also produced substantial tax revenue increases — 14.5 percent growth in 2005 and 11.7 percent in 2006. For the first seven months of the current fiscal year, total revenues were up 11.3 percent over last year, and individual income tax receipts were up by 17.5 percent.”

Paul’s list

Long shot Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul yesterday gave front-runner Rudolph W. Giuliani a list of foreign-policy books to back up his contention that attacks by Islamic militants are fueled by the U.S. presence in the Middle East.

“I’m giving Mr. Giuliani a reading assignment,” the nine-term Texas congressman said as he stood behind a stack of books that included the report by the commission that examined the September 11 terrorist attacks.

Mr. Giuliani was mayor of New York when Muslim terrorists slammed two commercial airliners into the World Trade Center, a role that has vaulted him to the front of the Republican presidential pack.

“I don’t think he’s qualified to be president,” Mr. Paul said of Mr. Giuliani. “If he was to read the book and report back to me and say, ‘I’ve changed my mind,’ I would reconsider.”

Mr. Paul said he was unfairly attacked during last week’s Republican presidential debate when Mr. Giuliani dismissed his contention that U.S. policies in the Middle East had contributed to the attacks in New York and Washington, Reuters news agency reports.

Sense and census

The latest Census Bureau statistics, showing that the United States now has a minority population of more than 100 million, are a good argument for ending racial quotas, Ward Connerly says.

“The fact that the number of minorities now stands at 100 million-plus — fully one-third of the nation’s total, and counting — completely undercuts the original justification for racial preferences,” said Mr. Connerly, whose American Civil Rights Coalition is supporting a 2008 “Super Tuesday” campaign of ballot initiatives in at least five states against such preferences.

“When originally conceived in the 1960s, America was a very different nation, one in which whites were in a clearly dominant position,” Mr. Connerly said. “At the time, ‘affirmative action’ was a well-meaning concept designed as a temporary measure to ensure that, as John F. Kennedy‘soriginal executive order had it, individuals would be treated equally, ‘without regard to their race, creed, color or national origin.’ But from those admirable origins, has grown a vast network of racial preferences that, in fact, mocks the very concept of equity as it systematically imposes double standards everywhere from the university to the workplace.

“The Census Bureau numbers make clearer than ever that this pernicious system has long outlived its original intent. Minorities are no longer vastly outnumbered or politically helpless. In fact, in four states, including California, ‘minorities’ are the majority. The very numbers undermine the rationale for affirmative action.”

Edwards’ response

Democratic presidential contender John Edwards argued yesterday that President Bush has made the nation less safe and the Republican candidates are trying to become “a bigger, badder George Bush.”

Mr. Edwards’ remarks came one day after he challenged the idea of a global war on terror, calling it an ideological doctrine advanced by the Bush administration that has strained the U.S. military and emboldened terrorists, the Associated Press reports.

Mr. Bush told reporters yesterday that Mr. Edwards’ view was naive.

A short time later, during an appearance in Montgomery, Ala., Mr. Edwards answered back: “George Bush has made America less safe and less respected in the world. What we are seeing now in this campaign is John McCain, Rudy Giuliani and the other Republicans running for president of the United States are trying to be a bigger, badder George Bush. Is that really what America wants over the next four years?”

Hillary hits

In an “American Idol”-style contest, Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Rodham Clinton yesterday announced Round Two of her effort to get Web users to choose a campaign theme song.

She generated a lot of Internet buzz, getting more than 130,000 votes on her Web site, HillaryClinton.com. The New York senator said yesterday the campaign narrowed the field to 10 songs — the top 5 vote-getters of the original 10 and the top 5 write-ins.

Mrs. Clinton tells people: “You have spoken [and] there were some truly wonderful selections,” and does a little swaying to the beat in her self-deprecating Web video. The video was first highlighted yesterday on The Washington Times’ blog Fishwrap.

“Anyway, I’m so gratified that all of you thought that this was such a wonderful idea,” Mrs. Clinton deadpans, as the video cuts to YouTubers blasting the concept.

“This is ridiculous,” one says, as another adds: “Insulting!” and one more asks, “Are you freaking kidding me?”

The front-runner for the 2008 nomination will announce the winner online or will send text messages to supporters who sign up.

Fishwrap asked readers for their Clinton campaign theme song suggestions, and among the more popular were: “See You Next Time” by U2, and “I’m a Loser” by the Beatles, plus songs by Elton John, Jet and Meredith Brooks. For more, see The Washington Times Web site (https://video1.washingtontimes.com/fishwrap/2007/05/hillarys_hits_1.html). In the first five hours, more than 200 comments were posted.

c Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or [email protected].

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