Fiscal Policy: Michael O’Hare Defines Real Leadership

Whereas President Bush has praise for the small reduction in overall spending passed by the House arm-twisting hoping to reduce aid for the poor and education, he objects when the Senate sprinkles in a few energy tax increases to partially offset the tax cut extensions dubbed by Senator Santorum as the Tax Increase Prevention Act. So neither the GOP Congressional leadership not the White House has any real intention of restoring fiscal sanity.

So where does one turn at the end of this week for any sense of sanity at all? Maybe we should go back to Saturday when Michael wrote a speech for a real leader:

“We can have a high-service government, with good schools, recreation, humane welfare, excellent environmental policies, and all the rest of it: we’re rich and lucky. But we can only have those things if we’re willing to pay the taxes that pay for them. We can also have a low-service government, and leave people to arrange their schooling and other services privately, with low taxes. Of course the rich will have a lot more success at this than the poor, in big houses on large lots with a swimming pool in back, but it’s a legitimate political choice. Those are the only two paths for us. There is no high-service, low-tax future for California, and I’m not going to promise you one. If you want a governor who will lie to you about having good schools, great universities, and up-to-date transportation with no heavy lifting by anyone, you can vote for him in the next election, but this administration is about treating each other like grownups and telling the truth. There is certainly waste and abuse in California; there always is. But there isn’t anything like enough to pay for what we used to enjoy with the taxes we pay now, even if we could completely stamp it out.”

If one alters California to the United States, this would be the speech that we would like to hear from our President. Of course, we will have to wait another three-plus years to hear it. But as Michael explains, he was talking about Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Real Failure:

What California needed Arnold to do was to speak some plain truths about the choices facing the state … Of course he said nothing of the kind, and will be remembered as a mountebank and a lightweight.

When ARNOLD was campaigning to replace Gray Davis as our governor, I grew tired of the suggestion that ARNOLD was a liberal Republican. But I also grow tired of the mantra that George W. Bush is a conservative. ARNOLD and Bush are exactly the same – neither a liberal nor a conservative. The better description of these two is that they are frauds. They certainly are not leaders.

Update: John Tamny remains confused as to the difference between Keynesian business cycles and long-term growth:

Despite clear evidence that the marginal rate cuts of the 1920s, ’60s, and ’80s (not to mention the 2003 tax cuts) led to higher revenues, Sen. George Voinovich (R., Ohio) recently said that “contrary to what some of my colleagues believe, tax cuts do not pay for themselves.” Stealing from the class-struggle line used so effectively by the Democrats, Rep. Mike Castle (R., Pa.) decried tax-cut extension for “reducing programs that could affect the poor and working poor.” … Returning to Lloyd Bentsen, back in 1980 he argued for marginal tax-rate cuts for their ability to improve “the productivity performance of the economy over the long term.” Republicans should intuitively take to Bentsen’s past reasoning, and at least a few Democrats should jump on board too.

Of course, Bentsen was also for fiscal responsibility as in finding someway to actually pay for the tax cuts.