David Broder’s article is stunningly specious
Although he’s considered the dean of Washington-based liberal progressive columnists, nearly every point in David Broder’s recent, Congress Cooks the Books at the Nation’s Peril, was stunningly specious. He begins his piece by citing polling data that validates his tactic of leveling charges against conservative politicians such as Bush and Cheney, who are deemed clearly culpable simply because they are former members of the private sector. Even if they can’t be proved, his partisan polling confirms that, if enough allegations are made by he and his Democrat/crony-columnists, doubt can be sown. Broder goes on to assert that these doubts and cynicism (sown by him and his ideological colleagues) are bad because the public is shaken and looking to Washington for “reassurance that jobs and savings and investment are safe.” Really?
Broder next posits that Robert Rubin is the oracle we need to follow. The former Clinton Administration Secretary of the Treasury counsels that we need to suspend last year’s (very small) Bush tax cut, which hasn’t even begun to phase in yet, and shift the President’s Pentagon increase to more “legitimate domestic needs.” Broder then spends the balance of his piece beating the tired, class-warfare drum for eliminating the tax cut that, as he says, “virtually all will go to the highest income voters.”
Broder is clearly spending too much time inside the beltway if he thinks the public looks to Washington to safeguard our savings and investments when, for example, most of us know that Congress has already spent the billions of social security funds it has collected. Polls have shown that many of the new entrants to the job market don’t believe that social security will even exist when they are old enough to collect it. As Walter Williams has pointed out, “Washington politicians have for decades been doing what Enron has been accused of doing—concealing debt with accounting tricks.”
And speaking of Enron, why does Broder think that Robert Rubin is the paragon of “judgment and integrity” we should follow? Did he miss the widely reported story that Rubin personally made phone calls from his office at Citibank to the Bush Treasury Department asking for special “intercessions” on Enron’s behalf? It seems that Citibank was holding a lot of Enron debt. The spectacular irony, obviously lost on Broder, is that the Bush administration, which the Democrats later attempted to link to Enron fraud, did not cave, while Broder’s economic messiah, Rubin, was clearly colluding in the scandal by trying to prop up and unload Enron bonds on the uninformed market, before the bonds collapsed.
Broder also has it completely wrong on taxes, which should infuriate all readers. The 1999 IRS statistics released in the spring of 2001 reveal that you only needed to earn $52, 900 to be paying at a rate that is among the top 25% of all tax filers. Isn’t it special to note that the tax burden over the Clinton/Rubin years had all been top-loaded so that as an income class, you also paid 83.5% of all income taxes collected by the treasury? In short, if his readers know and understand even some of the numbers relative to our mounting tax burden, this tax-break-for-the-rich mantra doesn’t wash and is insulting and for numerous reasons. Just consider this, let’s say you’re a policeman and your wife is a teacher and both of you have some seniority. With some years on the job and overtime, filing jointly, you and your wife could be grossing around a $100k a year but, unfortunately for you, you’re so rich as to be in the top bracket where your federal income tax is 39.6%! With state and add-on taxes, the government then is essentially confiscating half of your money. How are you going to put your kids through college and save enough for your retirement? And now Broder, Rubin, Daschle, Hillory, et al think that reducing the top tax burden from 39.6 to 35% in 2006 is a big deal. Yeah, Mr. Broder is right; public cynicism about (Democrat, tax-and-spend) politics has returned to pre 9-11 levels. Give us a break!