Bush is 'a spend-but-don't-tax conservative'

January 26, 2004

Dear Editor:

There is a sharp contrast between the fantasy world of President Bush's State of the Union address and reality. Some examples:

Bush: "The men and women of Afghanistan are building a nation that is free and proud and fighting terror - and America is honored to be their friend."

Reality: According to the widely respected Doctors without Borders, "Afghanistan is neither safe nor stable. There is a growing insecurity that is profoundly affecting Afghans and those trying to assist them."


Bush: "Already, the Kay Report identified dozens of weapons of mass destruction-related program activities and significant amounts of equipment that Iraq concealed from the United Nations."

Reality: Reuters interview with David Kay Friday: "Q: What happened to the stockpiles of biological and chemical weapons that everyone expected to be there? A: I don't think they existed." The only "weapons of mass destruction-related program activities" Kay's 1400 member team observed were their vain efforts to find WMDs. No wonder Kay is quitting his post ahead of schedule.

Bush: "Younger workers should have the opportunity to build a nest egg by saving part of their Social Security taxes in a personal retirement account."

Reality: Current revenue from social security taxes is used to pay those now retired. Bush has never explained where he will get the billions of dollars to pay those now retired once this money is deposited in workers' accounts.

Bush: "For the sake of job growth, the tax cuts you passed should be permanent. This will require that Congress focus on priorities, cut wasteful spending, and be wise with the people's money. By doing so, we can cut the deficit in half over the next five years."

Reality: Stephen Moore, president of the Club for Growth, a politically powerful conservative group, called Bush's State of the Union pledge to tackle the deficit "really unpersuasive." William Niskanen, the chairman of the Cato Institute, who advised former President Ronald Reagan, called it "most misleading." Economists of the right, left, and center dismiss Bush's promise to reduce deficits.

Republicans have been in the habit of scoffing at "tax-and-spend liberals." Bush is a spend-but-don't-tax conservative.

Brian Cooney


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