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Help me!!!

Posted by Chance on August 8, 2006

Now, all the time I hear about how evil Bush is. Much of this criticism has been how he cares only for the rich, and that he doesn’t give a crap about the poor.

Now, I want to understand where those on the other side are coming from. I realize that many liberals hate Bush because of the Iraq war. I can understand this viewpoint, because I would never really like Clinton or Carter as president because of their views on abortion. My “abortion” is their “Iraq War.” That’s fine.

However, I also hear about how Bush, and really, Republicans, only care about the rich. I don’t buy that. I would think Bush’s domestic record would garner a little praise from liberals. In a Cato article, On Spending Bush Is No Reagan, (pdf file), Cato investigates how much spending has increased, by department.

Oh my!!! Defense has grown 27.6%. That’s quite a bit. But, Health and Human Services has grown 21.4%. That’s hardly devoted to rich people. Oh, wait. Education has grown 56.0%. That means, take half of what was being spent on education, and add it back to the education money. In my view, that kind of assistance is the best. It is the ideal “hand up” assistance, not “hand out”.

Now, this kind of assistance is not free from criticism. Liberals have charged that Bush is a “borrow and spend” kind of guy, not “tax and spend.” However, I am not fighting the criticism about how Bush handles money, I am fighting the criticism that Bush only cares about the rich.

But wait, Bush has committed the unpardonable sin. He cut taxes for the rich. Whether or not the rich should have been paying 38% is never discussed. Despite my smart alec remarks, I can understand liberals having problems with this. However, tax receipts have grown with Bush’s tax cuts, as they have with Reagan’s, according to Wall Street Journal. Of course, the Wall Street Journal is hardly an unbiased source, and there may have been other factors involved in the economy. However, I ask this. Can someone perhaps provide the benefit of the doubt that maybe, just maybe, more is not always better when it comes to taxing the rich, from a philosophical and economical standpoint? That maybe there is a distinct possibility that cutting taxes sometimes spurs the economy? That maybe, 40% for the top bracket is just a little too high and too taxing on the economy? And that, even if you disagree, and think higher taxes are better, that maybe Bush is not cutting taxes because of some disregard for the poor, that he thinks cutting taxes may actually help the economy?

I titled this “Help me!!!” Help me believe that it is not a matter of liberals just hating Bush. Help me believe that Democrats actually have legitimate reasons for saying Bush loves the rich and hates the poor. I understand that liberals hate Bush because of the Iraq War, and his gay marriage amendment, and that he cut taxes for the rich, but I would think how he spends government money would at least give the hint of a smile on the face of a liberal. When someone says Bush has no concern for the poor, that leaves me utterly confused. Show me where I am going wrong.

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3 Responses to “Help me!!!”

  1. Michael Westmoreland-White said

    Wow! Strong challenge, Chance. I, for one, don’t think I’ve ever said that Bush hates the poor. I’ve used his own words to question how seriously his self-proclaimed “compassionate conservatism” is, but that’s different. I’ve also said that his policies objectively hurt the poor and I think that’s right, but that could be just because he’s incompetent, not because he hates the poor.

    I question some of the Cato Institute’s figures, but that’s also beside the point. I do think you are right that many “liberals” either hate or get irrationally angry at Bush. He is an extremely divisive figure, just like Clinton. (Carter always personally opposed abortion, btw. He upheld Roe v. Wade, but was the first to try to reduce the causes of abortion–which is when NOW withdrew its support. Okay, caught that rabbit.)
    I, like many other progressives, disliked Bush long before the Iraq war. I campaigned long and hard against his first tax cuts (and they were the most justifiable). But I think Christians have to make sure that dislike never becomes hate. I pray for Bush every day. I email the White House often, almost always in a respectful tone, though usually with a challenge to policies.

    I’ve been wanting to make time on my blog to right about Christians and partisanship and you’ve just given me renewed motive to do so.

    P.S. I’d argue that Reagan’s economic policies, though harmful overall, were not as harmful to the poor as are Bush II’s. Reagan was a strong supporter of the earned income tax credit and of “empowerment zones” in cities. While not sufficient, IMO, these WERE good programs in and of themselves and usually got high marks from progressive economists and activists.

    Hope the anniversary weekend was great. Peace.

  2. Dan Trabue said

    I don’t have time to give a well-researched answer right now, but the short version is, we’re not impressed with what Bush has done.

    Investing more money in education but doing so via the deeply troubled No Child Left Behind program WAS an investment of money but it had so many unhelpful strings attached that it often required enough money on the state’s side that there was no net benefit or perhaps even cost the state.

    I’m with Michael in that I don’t hate Bush, I went in to 2000 (anger at a deeply troubled election process aside) thinking the guy was mostly a harmless goofball. I’ve changed my mind on that part since.

    But my problems are with his policies not the man. And I’ve problems with his policies because the net result is that they have hurt the poor more than they’ve helped.

    As to your comments asking, Why penalize the rich?, I’m not in favor of penalizing the rich, just limiting their power and depth of corruption that often but not always comes tangled up in the wealth package. That, in my mind, is no penalty but a blessing.

    Again, one of my models would be the Jubilee Laws which seem to be as much about limiting the accumulation of wealth as they are about assisting the poor.

  3. Chance said

    Thanks for the comments. Again, the purpose was not to defend Bush’s actions necessarily, but to defend him against the claim that he doesn’t care about the poor.

    “As to your comments asking, Why penalize the rich?, I’m not in favor of penalizing the rich, just limiting their power and depth of corruption that often but not always comes tangled up in the wealth package. That, in my mind, is no penalty but a blessing.”

    Makes sense. In my view, a free market allows for little corruption (provided laws are enacted against fraud and such), because every interaction with them is voluntary. It is when big gov’t gets involved that allows room for corruption. For the most part, I believe corporations have no real power, unless they have a gov’t avenue to work through.

    I wish I had more time to respond to your comments, because I think you both raise interesting points, it is just an issue of time on my part, especially recently. So, if I don’t respond, it is not because I don’t think you bring up good points, I am just limited in time spent addressing them.

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