Sunday, April 20, 2003

Growth, taxes & France

The Club for Growth is running ads against Republican senators George Voinovich of Ohio and Olympia Snowe, chastising the lawmakers for opposing President Bush’s full tax cut proposal. The ads feature America’s favorite whipping boy, France:

PRESIDENT BUSH COURAGEOUSLY LED THE FORCES OF FREEDOM.

BUT SOME SO-CALLED "ALLIES" LIKE FRANCE STOOD IN THE WAY.

AT HOME, PRESIDENT BUSH HAS PROPOSED BOLD JOB-CREATING TAX CUTS TO BOOST OUR ECONOMY.

BUT SOME SO-CALLED REPUBLICANS LIKE GEORGE VOINOVICH STAND IN THE WAY.

AMERICA NEEDS STRONG ALLIES ABROAD.

AND PRESIDENT BUSH NEEDS STRONG SUPPORTERS IN THE SENATE.

HEY GEORGE VOINOVICH: JOIN PRESIDENT BUSH'S FIGHT TO CUT TAXES AND FIX THE ECONOMY.


This approach—comparing Voinovich and Snowe to Jacques Chirac—strikes me as somewhat simplistic. France, after all, engaged in duplicity, first promising to support the disarming of Saddam Hussein, then turning against the U.S.-led effort to actually do so. Snowe and Voinovich, in contrast, are politically consistent in their opposition to the president’s tax proposals. Both senators are so-called deficit “hawks” who consider substantial tax cuts too risky. While I don’t support this approach to fiscal policy, I also know that Snowe and Voinovich are not hypocritical or duplicitous in holding their views.

That said, the Club for Growth’s intent is admirable. Lower taxes is supposedly a core principle of the Republican Party, and the Snowe-Voinovich position does politically undermine the agenda of a Republican president. But Club for Growth could have formulated an ad which focused on the intellectual error of their opponent’s position—attacking the notion that lower taxes is the cause of higher deficits, for example—rather than on America’s fleeting disdain of France.

No comments: