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Bush's First Principles: Cut Taxes, Cut Spending

January 10, 2002

Re "Bush Father-Son Parallels Begin, and End, on Economy," news analysis, Jan. 8: Just when I thought your three-part puff pieces disguised as news analysis of George W. Bush's first year couldn't get any worse than Monday's installment ("Attacks Redefine Bush Foreign Policy," Jan. 7), along comes reporter Peter G. Gosselin's assertion that Bush was a veritable Cassandra.

Says Gosselin, during his campaign, Bush pushed for "tax cuts as 'insurance' against a downturn almost no one at the time saw coming." Gosselin adds that Bush was proved right about the downturn. That's like saying someone who plans to drive a car into a wall can predict a crash.

Bush's consistent talking down of the economy once in office and his all-purpose solution--the flagrantly self-serving tax cut aimed at the wealthiest--are in large part responsible for the wipeout of the surplus (which was vanishing before Sept. 11), the looming budget deficit and the sad state of our economy today. Despite what Gosselin purports, many saw this coming.

By the way, Gosselin and readers might remember that from the start of his campaign Bush has pushed his tax cut as an economic panacea whatever the state of the economy--good or bad. Gosselin could have examined the reasons why.

Linda L. Cordeiro

Los Angeles

*

Class warfare: It's always the method employed by liberals when logic fails. Robert Scheer's attempt in "Let Down His Rich Pals? Over His Dead Body" (Commentary, Jan. 8) to blame President Bush for the lack of funds for homeless shelters is pathetic at best and disingenuous.

The economic slowdown began way before Bush became president and, thanks to Democratic stall tactics, real economic stimulus came too late. And the deficit is occurring not because of Bush's war against terrorism but because a Democratic Senate is insisting upon record levels of government spending.

If Democrats were really insistent upon returning to President Clinton's so-called "fiscally conservative policies," they'd be helping trim wasteful government spending instead of approving more red ink.

Gary Barrett

Davenport, Iowa

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My accolades to Scheer for telling it like it is. I drive a pickup truck that I bought when Bush's father was president, not because I want to but because I refuse to go into debt just to "invest" in our economy while the president flies around the country showing mock concern for Americans suffering from the effects of this recession.

Like his father before him, Bush indeed seems to have no clue what it is like to have to make painful choices in life, or even to have no choices at all. Rather, he is an underachiever who manages to be both arrogant and stupid at the same time. My only consolation will be to see him bring about his own undoing, and believe me, it will happen.

Christopher E. Stevens

Orange

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The Times' Jan. 8 editorial about the current Washington economic rhetoric points out that most American taxpayers simply cannot understand why the president, Senate and House of Representatives cannot agree on an economic stimulus plan. American taxpayers know a "dirty little secret" that the elected politicos in Washington shudder to hear--cut spending.

An actual 5% to 10% across-the-board cut in spending (defense and homeland security exempted), a hiring freeze (defense and homeland security exempted) and Congress forgoing its recent midnight pay raise will resolve the U.S. government's fiscal problems. As the economy improves and tax revenues increase, governmental spending can increase accordingly. The basic problem with this premise is that the elected politicos never, ever want the American taxpayer to know the government can exist with less during an economic downturn.

Dennis Martin

Whittier

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