What’s gotten into Tom Friedman? He’s written good columns two Sundays in a row.
Every so often a quote comes out of the Bush administration that leaves you asking: Am I crazy or are they? I had one of those moments last week when Dana Perino, the White House press secretary, was asked about a proposal by some Congressional Democrats to levy a surtax to pay for the Iraq war, and she responded, â€œWeâ€™ve always known that Democrats seem to revert to type, and they are willing to raise taxes on just about anything.â€
Yes, those silly Democrats. Theyâ€™ll raise taxes for anything, even â€” get this â€” to pay for a war!
And if we did raise taxes to pay for our war to bring a measure of democracy to the Arab world, â€œdoes anyone seriously believe that the Democrats are going to end these new taxes that theyâ€™re asking the American people to pay at a time when itâ€™s not necessary to pay them?â€ added Ms. Perino. â€œI just think itâ€™s completely fiscally irresponsible.â€
Friends, we are through the looking glass. It is now â€œfiscally irresponsibleâ€ to want to pay for a war with a tax. These democrats just donâ€™t understand: the tooth fairy pays for wars. Of course she does â€” the tooth fairy leaves the money at the end of every month under Treasury Secretary Hank Paulsonâ€™s pillow. And what a big pillow it is! My God, what will the Democrats come up with next? Taxes to rebuild bridges or schools or high-speed rail or our lagging broadband networks? No, no, the tooth fairy covers all that. She borrows the money from China and leaves it under Paulsonâ€™s pillow.
Is it me, or is Friedman sounding a tad shrill?
Of course, we can pay for the Iraq war without a tax increase. The question is, can we pay for it and be making the investments in infrastructure, science and education needed to propel our country into the 21st century? Visit Singapore, Japan, Korea, China or parts of Europe today and youâ€™ll discover that the infrastructure in our country is not keeping pace with our peersâ€™.
We can pay for anything today if we want to stop investing in tomorrow. The president has already slashed the National Institutes of Health research funding the past two years. His 2008 budget wants us to cut money for vocational training, infrastructure and many student aid programs.
Not to mention providing health insurance for children.
Of course, the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, the Democrat David Obey, in proposing an Iraq war tax to help balance the budget was expressing his displeasure with the war. But he was also making a very important point when he said, â€œIf this war is important enough to fight, then it ought to be important enough to pay for.â€
Our bridges are falling down, too many of our children go without health care, we’re in debt up to our eyeballs to Japan and China, and the Right wants perpetual war in the Middle East, but by gawd we won’t raise taxes!
And why not? Because then we’d be going down the same road as sick ol’ socialist Europe, and we all know how badly they’ve …. wait a minute … um, actually Europe is doing pretty well these days. See also Ezra.