Alex's Outlook

Sunday, April 06, 2003

EJ Dionne says that Tom DeLay's Republicans threw their conservative budget (including big tax and budget cuts) out the window five days ago.

Tom DeLay is a rock-ribbed, tough-as-nails conservative, so he probably did what he did for a reason. Still, it makes one wonder. If the GOP can't cut the size of government in the middle of a war with the most popular president in at least a generation and control of both houses of Congress, when can they cut it? Admittedly, the GOP doesn't really control the Senate because Voinovich, McCain and Chafee are basically Democrats on budget matters. But why couldn't Frist/Rove/Bush cajole just one of them to vote for the package? And why did Frist even allow the vote when Zell Miller, effectively a Republican, wasn't present for the rollcall?

Anyway, Bush's tax cut is dead unless Bush personally revives it after the war is over when Bush is super-popular. There was some hope that once the House and Senate went into conference and split the difference in their respective tax cuts (726b for the House and 350b for the Senate) there would still be plenty of room for either the $400b full dividend break or full-blown acceleration of the 2001 cuts plus a 50% break on dividends. Now the House dropped $200 billion. Checkmate!

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