Matthew Hoy
By Matthew Hoy on December 20, 2001

Friday's lead editorial in the Washington Post entitled "The Congressional Scorecard" is a pretty good summary of the past year.

Unfortunately, it also takes a decidedly Democratic cast, especially in the first two paragraphs, attacking Republicans and mostly reserved praise for Democrats.

CONGRESS LEFT town for the year yesterday having accomplished a great deal less than the billowing rhetoric of the occasion was meant to suggest. Its main achievement was to squander the budget surplus by passing the president's ill-advised tax cut.

I wonder if the Washington Post editorial writers did any research or have even been reading their own paper.

The anticipated budget surplus was more than $200 billion at the beginning of the year. As the economy began to tank, so did government income in the form of taxes, which made up that budget surplus. Caving into Democrat demands, the vast majority of the President's tax cut was backloaded. Those cuts will come in future years.

This year's tax cut, those $300 or $600 checks that taxpayers received, cost a total of $40 billion. Let's not forget that at one point the Democrats were clamoring for the tax cut to be more front-loaded and the number for this year that they tossed around was $65 billion, or more.

Of course, let's not even argue about whether or not the government should be running a surplus during a recession. No one has been able to come up with a economics textbook that argues that the government should tax heavily during an economic downturn.

So, the first two sentences of the editorial are dishonest and inaccurate, but they sound like a likely Democratic refrain when the mid-term elections come around next year.

I've got a feeling that Washington Post editorial writers will be quick to deem these arguments persuasive, powerful and valid. After all, they came up with them first.


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December 2001



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