Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Are you making it up as you go along?
I have some serious issues with the piece by Dick Morris in today's New York Post. So, let's begin: "PRESIDENTIAL second terms usually end in failure. Since 1900, only Teddy Roosevelt could boast of a second term that was as good or better than his first.
Woodrow Wilson lost Congress, then couldn't bring America into the League of Nations. FDR, whose third term was a success, failed to pass anything in his second after he alienated Congress by trying to pack the Supreme Court and purge recalcitrant Democrats. Harry Truman's popularity plunged over Korea, as Lyndon Johnson's did over Vietnam. Ike had two recessions and a hospitalization. Richard Nixon resigned. Ronald Reagan had Iran-Contra, and Bill Clinton was impeached."


Out of all of these men, the only one I could truly call a failure would be Nixon. Nixon was forced to resign, generally a sign of failure. To me, failure comes only in the absence of success. Sure, all presidents are failures if you consider their inability to achieve all that they had hoped. Man, I mean, Lincoln was shot and killed his second term—what a failure! I won't belabor the point, but I'd submit that each of these men finished out their terms, and succeeded in at least a few of their goals. That they were effective enough to win two terms in the first place is an amazing achievement, and perhaps it's just the nature of the office that anyone is lucky to have one totally successful term. Next: "But if the flat tax is a voluntary option, allowing people either to pay it and claim no offsets or to itemize and pay under the old tax rules, the legislation will likely go down easily. Then, our normal preference for a simple life will lead, inevitably, to a larger number of flat-tax payers each year."

Allow me to rewrite that first sentence with some reality thrown into the mix: But if the flat tax is a voluntary option, allowing people either to pay it and claim no offsets or to itemize and pay under the old tax rules, the legislation will likely result in a total failure to meet any of its intended goals, while decreasing total government revenues notably.

This is just a stupid idea. The point of the flat tax is to simplify the tax code, and eliminate loopholes. Now, you're going to add another complication, and give people the option to pay whichever version of taxes allows them to pay less? That's. Just. Dumb.

It's like saying, "Americans will never want to go to war with Iran, so let's give them the option to devote their tax dollars to a war with either Iran or Canada, and we'll do both!"

Like I said on Monday, sometimes it's a part of leadership to force the American public to do something against their will because it's better for the country as a whole.

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