hard heads soft hearts

a scratch pad for half-formed thoughts by a liberal political junkie who's nobody special. ''Hard Heads, Soft Hearts'' is the title of a book by Princeton economist Alan Blinder, and tends to be a favorite motto of neoliberals, especially liberal economists.

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Friday, June 14, 2002
the Democrats have been criticizing Bush for
squandering the surplus with his tax cut, but the
Republicans have got the better of the exchange,
pointing out 1) so what do you want to do, run a large
surplus in a slowing economy? 2) oho, we've squandered
the surplus have we? Then I guess no prescription
drugs, or other desirable spending, for you.

But isn't there a pretty simple way out of the
Democrats bind? Namely to dip into the trust fund this
year and possibly the next with a clear conscience,
with a promise written into law to make up the
difference once the economy has sufficiently
recovered? Delaying the trust fund fights a year or
two will also mean the Democrats can fight against the
relatively unpopular marginal rate cuts and estate tax
reductions, as opposed to just the relatively popular
rebate checks and child tax credits.