Inefficient Double-Taxation
An email conversation about the news of the day.
Jan. 29 2002 1:30 PM

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David—

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You and I are a fine couple of coconuts—so much in common, when it comes to basic values of citizenship, service, and the notion that there's more to the commonweal than getting and spending—and yet, and yet ... I can't seem to engage you on this ludicrous tax cut. I understand that conservatives believe the less money the government has the better, and there is something to that, but the Bush cut is about all the things you detest: mindless getting and spending, pre-eminently. OK, I won't continue to browbeat you on entitlements. But why shouldn't the Bushies take an aggressive look at corporate taxation—lower the rates across the board (which would eliminate some of these Enronian tax scams) and twin that with an all-out attack on corporate welfare? I'm with Lester Thurow and other libs who believe the corporate tax is an inefficient form of double taxation, which, it appears, only seems to encourage corporate inefficiency and criminality.

I do have mixed feelings on another McCainian notion that editorialists are pushing Bush to endorse: campaign finance reform. Even if we eliminate the soft-money loophole, I'm sure the powers that be will find other ways to grease the system (you can't take away their first amendment right to form "independent" committees to back their favorite public servants). As for Terry McAuliffe, the Democratic party chair who may have made some big money on this latest bankruptcy, I've always believed he should share a pedestal with Haley Barbour in the Madame Tussaud's Museum of Public Grotesquery.

I hope I don't have to salve your wounded expectations over Bush's speech tomorrow morning. Really. I'm hoping he comes on like gang- or trust-busters.

Your pal,
Joe

P.S.: If the baby had been a girl, we were prepared to call her Theodora.

Joe Klein is a staff writer at The New Yorker and the author of The Natural: The Misunderstood Presidency of Bill Clinton.

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