Economic Program | Memo
Too Many Broken Promises For Too Long: The Bush Budget
How To Play Offense on President Bush’s Budget Message.
The standard progressive response to the President’s budget—“more spending, misplaced priorities, and tax cuts for the rich”—is old and not persuasive.
On February 6, 2006, President Bush will submit his fiscal 2007 budget proposal to Congress. From the President’s viewpoint, this document’s intent is to frame the year’s priorities and set the terms of debate. The standard progressive response has been to answer in kind, with a competing agenda and policies. And over the past several years, the result has been a familiar script—complaints about spending cuts and misplaced priorities, and decrying tax cuts for the wealthy. In addition to being unpersuasive, these attacks reinforce perceptions that progressives want more spending and bigger government.
We suggest a new tactic, similar to the one we suggested for the State of the Union. Rather than attacking specific policies or priorities, we would shift the debate to character and honest leadership: has the President actually delivered on the promises made to the American people in past budgets? The answer is “no.” Remember the Mission to Mars, the hydrogen car, and reducing the debt by $2 trillion? How about affordable college tuition, lower health care prices, cutting government waste and creating a more effective and efficient government? As a record of promises made and broken, the budget is a damning record—in their own words—of Republican failure and the lack of honest leadership.