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Taxing Times

Re: The Washington Prowler’s Virginia Territory:

Three things. One, thanks for the great plug. Two, my mama likes it when I get called by my real name: most of the stuff I’ve seen always calls me by my nickname “MUDCAT.” And three, the Democratic staffer (who for some reason or the other was afraid to be mentioned) forgot one piece of backwoods wisdom when he or she was talking about Georgia and South Carolina. That is, “You can’t hit ’em if you don’t shoot at ’em.” Like yourself, I watched the Georgia and South Carolina races, and neither one of us saw any rural strategies because there weren’t any. One thing I learned last year in my travels with Johnny’s PAC is that there’s not fifty cents’ difference in a “rural thinking voter” in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Georgia, or Virginia. My belief is they’re not Republicans –they’ve just been voting for Republicans. We shall see.

Once again, thanks for the kind words, but I would be less than honest if I didn’t tell you that it was the efforts of an unselfish rural team that did the job in Virginia, not me. If I can ever help you guys, let me know. Y’all do a good job.
Dave “MUDCAT” Saunders

Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.’s Dynamic Prophecy:

While the Reagan tax cut may have spurned some economic growth through the 1980s, the cost was not worth the ballooning of the federal deficit. In FY 1980 the deficit was nearly $1 trillion. In FY 1990 it was more than $3 trillion. That’s because in order to prime the economy, the Reagan Administration let the deficit grow at a rapid pace — 60% growth over his eight years in office. Add the term of the first President Bush into that equation and the number jumps to 75%. During the Clinton Administration, the deficit increased by a mere 22%. From 1950-1980 the federal deficit grew more or less with inflation.

What does this mean? Anyone who looks at the numbers will see that tax reductions don’t lead to revenue increases unless borrowing is considered revenue. This kind of thinking is what got Enron in trouble.
Ben Burney
New York, NY

President Bush gave a remarkable speech to the Economic Club of Chicago on Tuesday. As RET points out, tax cuts will surely bolster the economy — you can look it up. What was remarkable to me is the tribute the Prez paid to Mugsy (Rich) Daley and Bugsy (Bill) Daley. Does he actually think he can be buddies with these guys? Until November, Bugsy’s best friend was Tom Daschle. It was Bugsy who tried to steal the election in Florida from Bush. Mugsy presides over the most corrupt city in the country. The Daleys will take federal money — but Bush will find no loyalty.
Jack Hughes
Chicago, IL

Democrats think of tax cuts the way Saddam Hussein thinks he is going to defend Iraq. Hussein is acting as if being surrounded in Baghdad is a valid military strategy. But any general will tell you that this is quite the opposite of the way a rational person would think, just as egghead leftist economists are telling us irrationally that tax cuts are going to hurt the economy. Have you noticed how nervous and subdued Hussein looks these days? Kind of like the Democrats looking to 2004.
Steve Nikitas
Pittsfield, MA

Re: The Washington Prowler’s Behind Tom’s Turnaround:

I believe that Daschle’s decision not to try for President in 2004 is related to his refusal to make public his tax returns. I can’t imagine what he is hiding but, believe he came to the realization that he could no longer rely on the leftist media to cover for him and treat the whole issue as “old news.” Clinton was confident that whatever he told the “press corps” riding on the bus was all that the voters would hear. The current alternatives to this captive leftist media of yesterday must have convinced Daschle the he wouldn’t be able to conceal the truth and he folded.
— unsigned

Daschle removing himself from the presidential lottery came down to one item.

Very simply this, he cannot allow the news media to reveal that his second wife, for whom he ditched the first wife and kids, is a full-fledged, full-time lobbyist making millions of dollars annually, and that they are rich, rich, rich beyond belief. Releasing his tax returns and opening up Linda Hall to scrutiny would not be a wise move for him/her.

He would be revealed for what he is, the media would have no choice.
Donna Joyce

Gosh! While reading about Mr. Bush’s new economic proposals in The Prowler column this morning, I was intrigued by the comment that “Republicans John McCain, Lincoln Chafee, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins have already announced at least initial opposition to the Bush plan,” and, given that particular coterie of Republicans, I was left wondering if, when it comes up for passage, Senator Arlen Specter will be again inspired to vote “Not Proven.”
Sam Keck

Re: Paul Beston’s Manhattan Stealth:

Enjoyed Paul Beston’s piece. He ought to go ahead and say it — Manhattan liberals are backwardly provincial. Let’s face it, the members of the congregation of a Southern Baptist church in rural Mississippi have a more accurate understanding of Manhattan liberals than vice versa. Not only are Manhattan liberals more likely to believe inaccurate stereotypes, but they are also more homogenous in their voting.
Stanton Brown

Re: Michael Craig’s Nancy Drew a Blank on Bush’s Economic Plan:

Michael, your analysis of double taxation misses the mark completely. With the taxation of corporate profits followed by the taxation of those same profits when they are distributed to the share-holder owners of the corporation as a personal income tax we have the same productive activity being taxed twice. Contrast this with a guy who owns a hot-dog stand and who lives off the profits of his business and is only taxed once. Now to suggest that your average prole who slaves for a wage on which he pays income tax and then has to pay sales tax on a hot dog, perhaps from our individual entrepreneur mentioned above, to give him energy to get back to work next day is being doubly taxed is confusing the issue completely. The productive output of his kulak boss’s company and the cooking of the dog he consumes are totally separate economic activities and so can reasonably be expected to be taxed separately and individually.
Basil Weir

Mr. Craig keeps saying things like “encouraging companies to pay more in dividends diverts money from pro-growth activities like hiring workers and R&D.” He’s wrong.

When I get a dividend what the blazes do you think I do with it? Burn it? Tear it up? I spend it, either on donuts or a new investment. In either case it goes from an entity that does not quite have a use for it to one that does, right now, and even better the decision on where it goes is mine, mine, mine. And after I’ve spent it, what do you suppose the recipients will do? The whole sequence moves money where it is actually needed, not where the dividend holding management thinks it ought to go.

Further, your top-down analysis is too statist for me. It smacks of father knows best. My investments in the stock market leave me with more confidence than my “investments” in taxes, but not much. Please do not forget that the whole company is mine: employees, R&D, income, and the cash for the dividend. I loaned it to management and I never did trust them much.
Fred Zinkhofer

I sure wish Mike Craig would stop giving away the game to the Democrats! My God, if Nancy Pelosi were to actually adopt some of his ideas, it might even shift the balance of power back to them in 2004.

But probably not.

Having lived and worked in the San Francisco Bay Area before running screaming to Texas and comparative fiscal sanity, I feel qualified to make a statement about Mrs. P. She’s the epitome of California Liberalism and her “election” to Minority Leader (may it always be thus) is the first serious crack in the Democrats’ facade.

It used to be that everyone said, “As California goes, so goes the Nation.” Let’s hope the Democrats keep believing it. I don’t. I lived there from 1958 to 2001, and I saw it change into the Left Coast. The pendulum swings, but California is — as usual — behind the rest of the nation.
Bob Johnson
Bedford, TX

If Mike Craig writes one more letter purporting to be giving financial or political advice to anyone, I think I’ll be ill.
Gary Hannah
Shalimar, FL

Re: Jackie Mason & Raoul Felder’s Senator Lieberman, We Presume:

Jackie and Raoul write: “… adopting only gentile names for their children — instead of Abe and Irving their names became Baxter and Cameron …”

Since when was Irving not a “gentile” name? You couldn’t find an Irving in Vilna, Minsk, or Odessa. Irving, like Seymour, Sidney, Sheldon, Murray, and Morris, is an Anglo name the Jews used so heavily it became Jewish by adoption.

Meanwhile, of course, Anglo Protestants took over Old Testament Hebrew names like Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Reuben.

If Jewish-by-adoption names ever become fashionable among Gentiles, we’ll know things are completely out of hand.
Rich Rostrom

I long since have shed any vestigial bias and suspicions of Jews and Roman Papists which were probably endemic of the fundamentalist Baptist traditions of places like Benton County, Tennessee, where I was born. (Such vague prejudices I may have entertained largely were irrelevant anyway because I don’t remember there were any Jews or Catholics in the county and most people never traveled more than 20 miles from home during their lifetimes. Even years later, when my Catholic wife and I visited my folks, we had to drive to Fulton, Kentucky, to attend a Catholic mass — we were amused to meet Catholics with Southern accents.)

The point of this is that those of us who believe that a culture that rejects religion inevitably becomes immoral and amoral are not foolish enough to reject alliance and common cause with other religious groups whose tenets include the obligation to live a moral upright life. However, Jackie Mason and Raoul Felder are dead on — in the inimitable phrases of Don Imus, Joe Lieberman forever has relinquished the moral high ground, in his haste, during the 2001 campaign, to serve as the Hollywood colony’s “butt boy.” (He started skulking downward during Monica-gate.) In fact, despite his Holy Joe pronouncements, can anyone remember anything he actually carried through to alleviate our increasingly noxious culture?
J. R. Wheatley

A colleague told me last week that Lieberman divorced his first wife, not an unusual happenstance in this day and age. However, it would seem that a man who claims to have the integrity to serve as President yet broke a sacred marriage vow, should explain how we shouldn’t be concerned about his intent/ability to live up to his vow, if elected, “…to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States…” The wife he discarded should also have an opportunity to express an opinion.

I don’t recall hearing about this divorce during the 2000 campaign but, then, Lieberman wasn’t running for President. And, perhaps, the leftist media didn’t think it of any import. If Lieberman is nominated, I do hope the non-leftist media, at least, will examine the issue. And, again, the issue isn’t the divorce, but the fact that the man, under one set of circumstances, found a reason so compelling that he was forced to break a sacred vow. I’d like to know how likely he’d be to do that again.
— unsigned

Re: “Long Time No Hear” letter in Reader Mail’s Dividend Divisions and Kevin McGehee’s letter in Reader Mail’s Goodbye, Ohio State:

I was going to let “Unsigned” get away with it this time until Kevin McGehee stepped in. Now I can make my point without looking as if I’m slavishly defending Ben Stein!

Kevin makes a very logical and well-reasoned case supported by facts. However, it really wasn’t necessary because Unsigned states: “According to Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Dr. Tariq Aziz in an interview with Ted Koppel last month (ABC’s ‘Nightline,’ 12/04/02), no relations were ever re-established — at all.”

Gee… Didn’t anyone notice that this was a statement by an Iraqi official to an ABC journalist? And Ted Koppel to boot! Small wonder Unsigned wants to remain anonymous. Anyone who relies on ABC, Ted Koppel, and/or an Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister for his information should hang his head.
Bob Johnson
Bedford, TX

Re: Reader Mail’s Goodbye, Ohio State:

This year’s National Championship game was a farce by two teams that escaped any challenging opponent during their seasons. Had OSU played in the Big 12 South, OSU would have been fortunate to finish third, but only if they defeated the Big 12’s OSU, Oklahoma State. Miami’s schedule was worthy of the University of Central Florida Golden Knights. The Oklahoma Sooners would have made minced meat of either team. Bring on next year!
Steven R. Shaver

USC could have beaten either Ohio State or Miami on a bad day. Just ask Iowa.
Pete Brittain
Sandpoint, ID

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