Towards A Good Samaritan World

Tuesday, February 22, 2005


A lot of conservatives are getting fed up with Bush.

First, they're mad about Bush mentioning that he may raise the cap on income liable to Social Security taxes. As the Wall Street Journal points out:

[T]he early direction of reform is looking more and more worrisome. First, House Ways and Means Chairman Bill Thomas proposes to finance private accounts with a huge new VAT levy, and now Mr. Bush puts his own tax hike on the table. What an unhappy irony it would be if Republicans finally gained control of the levers of power in Washington only to pass the largest entitlement expansion since 1965 (the Medicare drug bill) in Mr. Bush's first term, and effectively repeal his income tax cuts in the second.

Tech Central Station is also opposed. And Larry Kudlow slams the idea in the National Review, drawing a parallel to Bush I's tax hike, betraying his "read my lips" promises.

Yet, as the WSJ notes, raising the cap while creating private accounts is an excellent way to undermine the original concept of the Social Security program:

[O]ne of the ironies here is that the earnings limit for payroll tax contributions exists because that's the way Social Security's Democratic creators designed it. That is to say, they didn't want it to be perceived as a soak-the-rich welfare program, but as a "universal" compulsory savings scheme. Since payouts would be limited, it was only natural that contributions would be too.

Exactly. By raising the cap while introducing private accounts-- as long as the changes are combined with changes to the benefit schedule-- Bush will turn the old Social Security benefits into a soak-the-rich welfare program, which will lose political support and be sunk like the other welfare programs were. FDR's idea of a compulsory saving scheme will live on in the private accounts. Yes, the payroll tax hike may hurt small business and job creation. If so, Bush can blame the Democrats, for not passing Social Security reform as he originally designed it; and he can challenge America to give the Republicans a bigger majority, or to change the Democratic Party by voting in the primaries, if they want a lower-tax environment.

The National Review is also disgusted with Condi's words of praise for the EU constitution. Here I partly agree. European unification gained a new impetus from the Iraq war, and opposition to America is becoming Europe's raison d'etre. Yet many in Europe continue to support Europe, and by rushing too eagerly into rapprochement with certain unrepentant enemies of Iraqi democracy such as Chirac and Schroeder, our real allies in Europe may perceive that we are leaving them high and dry. Mark Steyn and Niall Ferguson think the recent Euro-American signs of friendship are nothing but talk. Maybe. But if we have a global commitment to liberty, we should be maintain an attitude of vigilant suspicion towards the creeping encroachments of Eurocracy. (Max Borders agrees.)

Some conservatives are also annoyed that Bush shows little sign of trying to override the filibuster option for judicial nominees. I agree with Ron Brownstein that Bush should cut a deal.

Bush won 51%; a solid win, but not a landslide. Republicans should look for consensus and be ready to sacrifice a bit of their agenda, while making it clear which of their policies are concessions to the Democrats, so that voters who dislike these policies will have a reason, not to lose faith in the Republicans, but to put even more of them into office.


  • I found this awful article by a prof at CU today. I challenge you to read it all the way through - despite that I was unable to do it myself because it's so sickening. Still, it's worthwhile to have a *real* example of left-wing hate-America insanity for comparison purposes.

    Of particular interest to me was the complete misunderstanding of the Law of War. Particularly silly was the claim that the 9/11 hijackers were "secular soldiers". There might have been other interesting parts, but I skipped straight to his litany of America's evils that served as his conclusion.

    By Blogger Nato, at 3:12 PM  

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