Wednesday, July 17, 2002
I've grown tired of these French-bashing columns because there's not much left to say about a nation of 200 cheeses and one kind of toilet paper. Besides, the real threat isn't the frogs across the pond. The real threat is their fellow hoppers here at home.I, for one, love the French for all their flaws but frankly don't have much good to say about the goofy radical professors stalking the humanities departments at Harvard except to note that there aren't really as many of them as you'd be led to believe.
The Ninth Circuit, which serves some 54 million people, is immense--almost 60 percent larger than the next biggest circuit. There may be legitimate arguments for dividing the court. But as Murkowski's statement makes clear, this proposal isn't about balancing workloads or improving efficiency. It's about punishing the judiciary for voting the way it did on the Pledge of Allegiance. That's unconscionable.Well, based on this it sounds to me like there is a legitimate argument for dividing the court — it's almost 60 percent larger than the next biggest circuit. I agree that being upset about the Pledge decision (which was totally correct in my book) is the wrong reason to do it, but in politics, especially when you're dealing with a boring procedural issue like the size of judicial circuits, bad reasons are often the only reasons you can get. If a good idea happens to come to the forefront for any reason, I say seize on it.
For decades Republicans have chastised the long-since-buried former President Lyndon B. Johnson for his failure to raise taxes to support the Great Society programs and the Vietnam War. Actually, they usually criticize Johnson for failing to fund the Great Society specifically, ignoring the war (apparently a self-funding endeavor) and forgetting, at least for a moment, that money is a fungible asset.It's not quite the same since we seem to be at a different point in the economic cycle than the country was during the mid-1960s, so I think you could make the case that actually raising taxes to pay for the war would be a bad idea, but it seems like cancelling the planned Bush tax cuts would be the way to go.
And now, facing an expensive war on terrorism of indefinite, perhaps permanent, duration, not only will no one raise the verboten issue of tax increases, no one will consider the idea of rolling back even the most reckless elements of the tax cuts enacted last year -- namely the eventual repeal of the estate tax. (Surely the 10,000 families benefitting from the repeal could be asked to sacrifice just a little.)