I would love to hit the streets (or maybe the Republican fundraisers) some day and ask a few questions. In this order.

  1. Did you vote for George W. Bush in 2000?

  2. Are you in favor of a balanced budget?

  3. Do you support the military actions in Iraq?

Assuming I received “yes” responses to all these questions, and I feel confident saying that a healthy portion of the public would respond in a similar manner, I would have but one more inquiry:

Would you support a tax increase?

Generalizing along ideological and political lines (and emphasis on the “generalizing”), I imagine this would mark the point where the answer would change.

Two and a half years ago, I didn’t think a tax cut seemed like a good idea at all. Bush’s desire to cut taxes formed one of the principle reasons causing me to feel that I could not vote for him. Irrespective of the structure of the tax cuts and who received the greatest benefit, I opposed the idea of cutting taxes because I didn’t think this nation had the fiscal responsibility to reduce federal spending in connection with reduced federal income. After finally putting an end of decades of deficit spending, the Congress and the Executive got their things together and balanced the budget, and ultimately starting running respectable budget surpluses.

And how we responded. The economy kept rising, the mood on the streets and the floors of the exchanges generally maintained a pleasantness to which we had grown accustomed. We starting calculating how quickly we could pay down the national debt, how reducing the deficit would ultimately lead to more financial prosperity.

But we decided to say that if our government had more money than it was spending that we wanted it back. And how.

I’m not one of those people who blames the recession of the economy on the new fiscal policies of the current Administration. The markets had begun their turn southward before the Supreme Court effectively settled the 2000 election, and certainly before Bush took office. And I’m not one of those people who thinks himself smart enough to say that I have foreseen the Iraq conflict coming for years either.

But I did feel at the end of 2000, as I do now, that the political future of this country is never certain, and that unexpected circumstances will always arise that will cost our government money if we wish to effectively create a solution. And I felt then, as I do now, that having a little war chest (ugh, please pardon the pun) sitting around drawing interest and waiting for unexpected events is something of an intelligent idea.

Especially when the country fares, financially speaking anyway, rather well, as we did when we elected Bush.

I might be one of the only people in this country who would willingly support a politician who wanted to raise federal taxes. Yes, I like getting more money back on my annual tax return and I like have less money deducted from my income in the first place. On the other hand, for as much as I like to bitch about it, my government does an incredible amount of wonderful things for me, and I recognize that these resources and services cost money.

It’s pragmatism to think this way, at least in my sort of humble opinion.

* * * *

Economists had projected $300 billion deficits this fiscal year. Before we went storming into Iraq. President Bush just recently asked Congress for between $70 and $80 billion to fund that campaign. From where will this money come?

Now if you adamantly oppose this war, you probably have a taller soap box on which to stand, from which to question the Administration’s ability to pursue the best interests of the citizens of this nation.

But if you support the war, and abstractly you believe in a balanced budget, would you still vote for President Bush in 2004? He’s already out trying to correct the first major mistake of his daddy’s presidency (not finishing off Saddam), and you can bet he won’t make the same mistake his father did by saying something like “Read my lips: no new taxes” and then raising taxes. Granted, W has not made a comment like his father’s, but all his rhetoric about tax cuts, especially that in the two years and two months since he took office, paint him pretty much into a corner. This Bush will not support a tax hike until at least 2005, when he has safely won his second four years in office.

So would you vote for someone espousing a tax increase?

I at least would certainly consider it.