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The politics of not losing

The Democrats' "victory" in the vote yesterday to "cut" Bush's tax cut in half is kindah funny, ranking right up there with the $20 you "save" by driving all the way across town, wading through the teeming masses at the mall and finally buying a shirt you don't even need. The Washington Post described one Democratic Senator (John Breaux) as saying cutting taxes at a time like this (what with the budget deficits and the costs of war and all) is "not good policy" — a remark which, in any other context, would make you think a guy would oppose a $350 billion tax cut.

And from what all the politicians are actually saying about the policy, it's a complete loss for America: "It would cut the growth out of the growth package," was the response of Don Nickles (R-Okla.), the Senate budget committee chairman. In other words, the Democrats think a tax cut is bad, and the Republicans say this one won't stimulate the economy. (Don't you just love it when we all come together as a team?)

In the end, of course, this all just so much posturing. A loss for the Republicans is indeed a win of some sort for the Democrats. Maybe something good did actually happen for the American people here (if you believe the Republican party has too much power, for instance), but mostly it just feels like a reminder of how much the political system sucks. The most important domestic issue right now is the stagnant economy, and Washington is demonstrating itself to be incapable of actually addressing it.

March 26, 2003 10:56 AM

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