The gravest questions of fiscal responsibility for the nation are being ignored in the freakish sideshow now under way in Congress over yet another tax cut in these fiscally difficult times. President Bush and the Republican leaders should be candidly debating the $2 trillion-plus mountain of deficits and debt they are rolling onto the backs of future generations through the administration's serial tax cuts. Instead, they are obsessed with the 2004 election cycle, wrangling over how best to throw a last-minute bone to low-income Americans shortchanged in last month's tax giveaway to the most affluent Americans.
The Bush cuts offer too little short-term stimulus while choking the long-term revenue flow for the looming time when Social Security and Medicare costs will balloon. Mr. Bush's growing need to float the federal government on borrowed money will crimp economic growth. This is the stuff of real debate. Instead we have the G.O.P. worrying a modest share for the poor. The outcome promises to position the president as a compassionate "moderate" in a cynical bit of right-wing theater produced by the House majority leader, Tom DeLay, the president's indispensable ally in budget politicking.
The Times brain trust does not seem to realize that "candid debate" is not an option right now, even if aWol didn't lie like a rug; this is no longer "business as usual."
They seem to think that "choking the long-term revenue flow" that enables the government to "promote the general welfare" (Preamble, US Constitution) is some sort of accident.
It isn't; it's the plan. The Thugs are out to trash the New Deal and loot what they can, now, because they can.
When will the Times stand up?