The Corner

Inertia. Fatigue. Problems.

The GOP House leadership continues to struggle over a $50 billion budget-cutting bill. They dropped ANWR in order to pick up some moderate Republican votes and they are desperately reaching out to Blue Dog Democrats. The Senate Finance Committee is marking up only a one-year tax-cut extension, despite the clear fact that the strong economy is based in large part on the huge incentive jolt from capital formation spurred by lower tax rates on dividends and capital gains. Symbolically, Intel just boosted its quarterly cash dividend by 25 percent.

Why Republicans don’t say more about the tax-cut related economic expansion is beyond me. And whether Tuesday’s disappointing election results provide a wake up call for the GOP remains to be seen. But they need a wake up call. Young Turks in the House like Mike Pence, Jeff Flake, and Marsha Blackburn should be represented in the House leadership. Ideas matter. Dick Armey was a great idea man. Speaker Dennis Hastert doesn’t seem to be a great idea man. The Tom DeLay period is probably over. New blood in the leadership is essential.

And speaking of new blood, where exactly is the White House proposal for budget cutting? Last week Bush said he was open to deeper budget cuts. But no new budget-cutting list has so far been unveiled by the OMB. The White House is not using the bully pulpit to lead the effort.

The public is clamoring for exactly this kind of budget (and tax) crusade. A specific budget proposal from the West Wing would be very helpful. The lack of one offers more evidence of Bush fatigue. Failure to provide a specific Social Security reform plan was a key reason for the downfall of this reform. Likewise, failure to publish a specific budget-cutting plan, which could energize the whole congressional process, may lead to the downfall of a significant budget cut this year.

Specific policies will beat inertia. But without specifics, the Democrats will gain more ground simply because the Republicans now running government are failing to meet taxpayer expectations.

This is a real problem. It ain’t going away.

Larry Kudlow — Larry Kudlow is the author of JFK and the Reagan Revolution: A Secret History of American Prosperity, written with Brian Domitrovic.

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

The Wheels Begin to Come Off in the House

The Republican House has never been particularly functional, but Ryan has managed to hold it together admirably — until now. The Freedom Caucus took down the farm bill last week to pressure for a vote on a hawkish immigration bill, while a discharge petition is gaining ground with the support of Republican ... Read More
World

Treasury Secretary Mnuchin Wins, America Loses

Derek Scissors of AEI has a sour take on the latest turn in U.S.–China trade talks: If there’s good news, it’s that the Trump administration has fallen silent on whether the U.S. will bend our law for China in the ZTE case, which got so much attention last week. That would be a big step backward. But even ... Read More
Culture

Jonathan Swift in a White Suit

In 1965 Tom Wolfe visited Princeton University for a panel discussion of "the style of the Sixties." The author of The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby, published that year, was scheduled to appear alongside Günter Grass, Allen Ginsberg, and Paul Krassner. Grass spoke first. The German novelist's ... Read More
World

In Appreciation, and against (Too Much) Nostalgia

To put it a little self-pityingly: It seems that my gurus are going, and the world’s. Richard Pipes, the great historian of Russia and the Soviet Union, died on Thursday; Bernard Lewis, the great historian of the Middle East, died yesterday. We had them both for a long time. Pipes was born in 1923, Lewis way ... Read More
Culture

Comedians Are Catching On

The comedians are beginning to catch on. Over the weekend -- just one week after featuring a bevy of top-line Hollywood stars impersonating members of the Trump administration, as well as a cameo by a vengeful Stormy Daniels asking for President Trump’s resignation -- Saturday Night Live finally acknowledged ... Read More
PC Culture

The Nature of Progressive Insensitivity

Former vice president Joe Biden is back in the news yet again. For a second time, he seems surprised that poor residents of the inner city are capable of doing sophisticated jobs: We don't think ordinary people can do things like program, code. It's not rocket science, guys. So, we went and we hired some folks ... Read More
Culture

The Feminization of Everything Fails Our Boys

Let me share with you two troubling — and, I believe, closely linked — news reports. The first, from this weekend, comes courtesy of the American Enterprise Institute’s Mark Perry. In one chart, he highlights the dramatic and growing gender gap in higher education. In short, women are dominating: ... Read More