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Categorizing GOP and Democrats

July 14, 1988

The issue of raising taxes is once again heating up as a result of two recent events: Bush's criticism of Dukakis for raising taxes in Massachusetts and California Gov. George Deukmejian's withdrawal of revenue "adjustments" as soon as they were recognized as tax increases by others.

Why should tax increases be such absolute no-nos--regardless of the circumstances? Dukakis had lowered taxes in each of the last five years, but when caught with a revenue shortfall this year--suffered also by California and other states due to changes in federal tax laws--he raised taxes by $125 million to avoid serious damage to essential services. I think that was the sensible and responsible thing to do. Why didn't Deukmejian stick with his initial effort? Didn't he care?

I think he did care--for his own perceived selfish interests instead of the obvious interests of the state and the public. This, in my opinion, was extremely irresponsible and a betrayal of his public trust!

He must have felt a desperate need to maintain the shibboleth of the Reagan ideology (a test of loyalty) on the myth that tax cuts are always good, particularly those for the wealthy, while tax increases are bad. He undoubtedly feels that by so doing he will retain the support of the moneyed elite. The Reagan myths, however, cannot outlast his Administration, and support is bound to switch to more realistic channels. Bush and Deukmejian are, therefore, barking up the wrong tree. In any event, arbitrary and mindless rules cannot substitute for intelligent and courageous decision-making in this rapidly changing world!

CHARLES KUNZELMAN

Arcadia

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