The Right Word
One really good indicator that the initial discomforting twinges on the periphery of the Democrats collective mind are crescendoing into a full blown panic is when they start to pretend that they are conservative. This would be fine – conservative thought is, after all, the product of education, reasoned analysis, and experience, and is therefore welcoming of any who have matured enough to recognize its wisdom – except that these “converts” have not come to their recent conclusions as a result of reasoned analysis, but by sheer panic.
It works something like this: Liberals attain office. They immediately put into place their ideologically-driven agenda. Those policies fail miserably, having no basis in reality. The general public, facing reality on a daily basis, realize something is not right, and start to get involved, educate themselves, pay attention to the details of public policy.
The more they learn, the angrier they get. Polls reflect this. The governing liberals, whose thought processes cannot quite come around to mending the disconnect they harbor between the failure of their policies and the dissatisfaction of the voters, begin to panic, and try frantically to figure out how to fix the mess they are in order to placate the voters. Aware that the voter, and the economy, demands conservative-style solutions (possibly even knowing somewhere deep, deep down that those solutions work), but shackled by an ideological allegiance that prevents them from thinking things all the way through and into the long term, they come out with a few promising sounding tidbits that still fall lamentably short on real substance.
Take President Obama’s most recent economic policy statements. While steadfastly refusing to do anything that will repair the economy, such as cutting the marginal tax rates, and reining in the money supply(and perhaps not spending a few trillion dollars of the taxpayers money every time he walks by the government checkbook sitting on the counter), he did offer a handful of “targeted” tax cuts. Unfortunately, his sights are somewhat off.
Some of the tax credits being proposed, such as the temporary immediate 100% deduction for capital and equipment expenditures would not be a bad idea, except for the “temporary” part. By making them temporary, however, just like the Cash for Clunkers program, and the Homebuyers Tax Credit, these measures will effectively accomplish nothing beyond distorting the market in the short term, setting it up for a steeper crash when the program or credit ends. While one can appreciate that the President has reached the point where he can no longer ignore economic reality, and admit that, yes, cutting taxes IS perhaps the best way to boost the economy, his failure to be able to carry the thought just a few steps further continues to frustrate.
Especially when he tempers the few good ideas, like making the research and development tax credit permanent, with yet another $50 Billion spending binge.
This is analogous to seeing your house on fire, and after realizing that trying to douse the flames with a slip-tank full of gasoline did not work, you try using a water pistol, while filling up a bucket with more gasoline with your other hand.
A similar manifestation of the same phenomenon is demonstrated by our own congressional delegation, at least the ones up for re-election (or election, in the case of Senator Bennet). Rep. John Salazar, who in ’07,’08, and ’09 impressively garnered grades of “F” from the National Taxpayers Union , told the Daily Sentinel last month that, among other things, he suddenly wanted to extend the Bush tax cuts – for a year (just exactly what kind of stability was expected to be bought by postponing economic calamity for a year, he did not quite say). This from a guy who, in March 2008, voted to approve the FY’09 Budget Blueprint, which promised $690 Billion in taxes over the ensuing 5 years.
In a similar vein, the accidental Senator, Michael Bennet, came out against the $50 billion in spending hikes, joining Salazar who said he was “skeptical” that they would work. Considering that both men voted flippantly to spend several TRILLION dollars on the stimulus and the healthcare bill, it is safe to conclude that they remain far more skeptical of retaining their seats this November.