Joe Conason's Dec. 13 "Spoils of War" editorial in The Inlander is yet another example of the left's attempt to confuse, obfuscate and distort the facts. Conason's article is so filled with hate that it is hard to figure out just what he is mad about -- conservatives, simply because their views are different than his, or that the Democrats are unable to push through their own moneyed interests.
First, he lashes out at Bush for winning the election -- even when media outlets across the country are forced to admit that at worst the Florida election was a draw and at best Bush won it outright.
What seems to annoy Conason the most is the possible repeal of the Alternative Minimum Tax. He says companies who would benefit from this repeal must think, "only suckers pay taxes." Conason obviously has never noticed this thing called the Earned Income Tax Credit. Don't let the words, tax and credit fool you, this is not a refund -- this is money paid out to people who did not pay any taxes in the first place. Now who thinks paying taxes is for suckers? The tax credit is a welfare program.
But the Earned Income Tax Credit is not on the Stimulus Package table, because the Democrats want that package to include extended unemployment benefits, including subsidized health insurance and an expansion of Medicare. Why? Because the unemployed tend to vote for Democrats, because Democrats love to take and then give away money that does not belong to them. The two biggest vote-buying programs ever invented are Welfare and Social Security. By extending unemployment benefits, the Democrats are trying to create yet another large vote-buying program.
So what is the big deal? Both parties want to help those who help them. It's a trade-off, right? Wrong. Corporations cannot vote. Millions of people collecting unemployment benefits can. With an election less than a year away, Democrats would just love to give away as much money to as many of their voters as they can.
But the Republicans are not trying to buy votes, they are trying to get people off unemployment rolls by giving money to those who create jobs, to corporations. Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle decried this saying that Reagan-style "trickle down economics" do not work. According to a study by the Cato Institute, they do.
The Institute studied the two administrations before Reagan (Ford and Carter) and the two after (Bush and Clinton). They found that, "real economic growth averaged 3.2 percent during the Reagan years versus 2.8 percent during the Ford-Carter years and 2.1 percent during the Bush-Clinton years."
The report went on to say, "real median family income grew by $4,000 during the Reagan period after experiencing no growth in the pre-Reagan years; it experienced a loss of almost $1,500 in the post-Reagan years." The report also noted that the rates of interest, inflation and unemployment dropped faster than during Reagan than those other administrations.
Conason goes on to complain about "donations made on [Republicans'] behalf by lobbyists, accounting firms and other affiliated practitioners of legal graft." Yeah, and don't forget labor unions when talking about "legal graft." Wait, he was just talking about Republican donors, not Democrat donors. I'm wondering if in his excitement, Conason just failed to notice that the largest lobbyists on the Hill include the AARP and the NEA -- two hotbeds of conservative thought there.
One thing Conason does have right is "the corrupting influence of special-interest money." If you really want to talk about 'the corrupting influence of special-interest money, liberals need look no farther than William Jefferson Clinton.
According to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Clinton rented out every piece of government property he could get his hands on. White House bedrooms were rented out to the tune of $400,000 a night. Clinton offered discounted packages also: belly up $10,000 and a contributor could meet Clinton in a room full of other donors. If you wanted a cheeseburger with Bubba, it would have cost you $100,000.
But the big winner was a trip on Air Force One for Raymond Lesniak who contributed $1.5 million to Clinton's re-election campaign. The trip took Lesnaik to Newark (New Jersey) Airport so he could see the Pope. I guess United did not offer direct service.
In renting out government (taxpayer) assets, the Clintons raked in about $180 million at a cost to the taxpayers of nearly $1 billion. I guess the difference is that Clinton was just doing "the will of the people" (which apparently included committing adultery in government offices with an intern and suborning perjury), so his sins are to be forgiven -- whereas the Republicans are trying to give money back to corporations so those corporations can create jobs for people.