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OTHER COMMENTARY / EXCERPTS : A Shock Treatment That Makes No Sense

January 21, 1990|MARTIN SCHRAM

Daniel Patrick Moynihan set Washington's monuments whirling by suggesting that people may stop reading President Bush's lips and start reading their pay stubs when they see that a whopping payroll tax increase has made this month's check much smaller than last month's.

The funds are ostensibly being withheld for Social Security--but in fact, they're just being used to pay for assorted federal expenditures, and the huge trust fund surpluses are being used to distort the true size of the Gramm-Rudman deficit targets.

"There is a word for this," Moynihan said. "The word is thievery. "

First, the White House scoffed at the idea of a Democrat being for any tax cut. But then it was endorsed by the conservative Heritage Foundation, which has become a retirement home for former Reagan Administration ideologues. And soon Republican congressional leaders were warning Bush aides that Moynihan might have sparked a Grand Old Party stampede.

Now the Bush team is complaining that Moynihan is just trying to make the Administration look bad in an election year by pushing a Populist tax cut when they're pushing their capital gains tax cut--all of which will make the deficit look so much higher than it does now.

Another way to say it is that it's time for the Administration to stop deceiving the public.

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