Saturday, March 06, 2004


Gary Bezowsky writes:

"I don't think it's entirely correct to assign a leftward drift to the Republican efforts during the Bush term. Sure, we have carping from the right wing against the Bush policies on immigration reform, the deficit and prescription drugs. However, I would defend immigration reform and prescription drugs on conservative grounds and the deficit on economic grounds. Bush ran on a platform that included support for prescription drugs. It should be no surprise that he championed this bill in his first term.

It should be noted this bill includes features with a decided market oriented twist. It allows certain Medicare eligible beneficiaries the right to use private insurers. Additionally, it allows for the first time everyone to establish tax friendly private insurance accounts to cover major medical expenses and pay for minor medical expenses out of pocket.

Immigration reform is the first real effort to offer any policy changes in this area. It brings these people out of the shadows, provides background checks and forces the illegals to pay fines but does not offer automatic citizenship. The illegal are not going away. Americans are not going to chase after the illegals employers. Bush has recognized the Mexican voting block will only grow in the future and is determined to bring this naturally conservative constituency into the Republican's fold.

The anger over the deficit is misplaced. It's appropriate to run deficits during periods of slow growth and it will go away as spending slows and the economy grows from the proper fiscal policy prescriptions of lowering marginal tax rates. Deficits are now running at 4% plus of GDP. At this level, they are not a problem.

I think Bush is taking a page out of the left's playbook. Get a little bit of what you really want each year. A single bill is never the cumulation of the effort. It's just the first step of a long journey. I'm ok with the strategy.

Look for making the tax cuts permanent, privatizing social security and more Medicare reform with more market oriented elements in the second term. Just watch the economy boom with this brew. I think the efforts on the war on terror will increase in the second term. Although I don't have a prediction about the direction.

I'm more upset with the steel tariffs (since rescinded) and a lackluster effort to get a better free trade agreement with Australia. These suffer from domestic politics"


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