Mike Kueber's Blog

January 7, 2013

The pusillanimous E.J. Dionne

Filed under: Issues,Media,Politics — Mike Kueber @ 2:37 am
Tags: , ,

While listening to Meet the Press this morning, I heard two of my favorite politicians – Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles – talk about the need for the federal government to cut spending if it wants to avoid a fiscal disaster.  These two authors of the much acclaimed Simpson-Bowles plan to get our nation’s budget under control declared that the Fiscal Cliff compromise had taken the first easy step – raising taxes – but had completed avoided the more difficult step – cutting spending. 

But when host David Gregory turned to his panelists, he heard a different perspective from liberal Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne.  Dionne conceded that he was in the minority because he thought the Fiscal Cliff compromise was not another example of kicking the can down the road, but rather was a major step in the right direction.  To support his position, he pointed out that raising taxes is never easy in America and the Democrats deserved credit for accomplishing that. 

Amazingly, Gregory let Dionne’s remark go unchallenged.  The obvious response should have been that the tax increase was not broad-based; instead it was surgically directed to a group that has been demonized by President Obama – i.e., the successful.  

There is a cynical statement in Washington – “don’t tax you, don’t tax me, tax the guy behind the tree” – and that is precisely what the Democrats accomplished.  The San Antonio Democrats recently deployed the same strategy in winning the approval of an annual tax of $34 million to fund a Pre-K 4 SA program.  Instead of advising voters of the programs actual cost, they advertised that an average SA family would have to pay less than $10 a year in increased sales tax, but failed to say that 90% of the tax would be assessed against businesses and out-of-town guests.

I suppose that it is expecting too much for politicians and pundits to make honest arguments and then let the people decide.  That’s too bad.

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