Arizona Daily Star: www.azstarnet.com
Sunday, October 3, 2004
Editorial: Elect Kerry
Four years ago, George W. Bush became president of a thriving America.
Not only had his predecessor eliminated the national deficit, he had
left the new president a $236 billion budget surplus.
at a record low of 4 percent. The nation was not at war.
president's policies have had a negative impact on each of these
We believe John Kerry can reverse that trend, and we endorse him for
In less than four years, President Bush, the avowed conservative,
turned a record surplus into a record deficit, now estimated at $422
billion. During the same period, the unemployment rate rose to 6
percent and then improved a bit, but this summer, 5.4 percent of the
work force was still unemployed.
The peace and prosperity of the Clinton administration evolved, under
President Bush, to a falsely justified war and an economy that declined
sharply and is barely staggering back to solvency - though even that
faltering solvency is seriously jeopardized by impractical tax cuts for
which our children will pay dearly.
Economist Milton Friedman has observed, with considerable wisdom, "A
tax cut that adds to the deficit today is just a tax hike on future
It is clear that a change is needed. We believe the policies and
management style that Kerry represents offer more hope than the current
administration's stubborn allegiance to isolationist rhetoric, the
unjustified use of military force and economic policies that provide
instant gratification to some and long-term danger to the nation as a
For many voters, unfortunately, the election is essentially a
personality contest. People tend to regard the candidates the way
do celebrities. And while that is always a mistake, this year it
be a particularly egregious mistake to vote without examining closely
the leadership qualities and philosophical underpinnings of each
Kerry demonstrated his leadership abilities, as well as his fidelity to
principle, with his bravery during the Vietnam War and with the dissent
that he expressed when he returned home. That dissent took as
courage as - maybe more than - the young John Adams' decision some 250
years ago to take on the legal defense of British soldiers who had
fired on a Boston mob that had been pelting them with rocks.
The domestic and international problems facing Bush are not likely to
vanish if Kerry is elected, but Kerry's experience in the Senate -
especially his time on the Foreign Relations Committee - makes him
better prepared to move the nation toward achievable goals and stronger
President Bush had never served in a state legislature or either house
of Congress before he was elected. His only preparation for the
been six years as governor of Texas and social contact with his
father's friends and associates. The effects of this shallow
background, coupled with a simplistic world view, can be seen in the
deadly chaos of Iraq, the decline of U.S. prestige abroad and impending
domestic crises in health care and Social Security.
What is needed now is not only a realistic strategy for addressing
changes but a manager who can assemble a team to achieve them. Kerry's
campaign has been working closely with former President Clinton and
officials in his administration. Unlike President Bush, these are
individuals with a proven track record of creating jobs, eradicating
deficits and promoting prosperity in a peacetime economy.
President Bush's economic policies - cut taxes and regulation and let
free markets develop unrestrained by government regulation - would
likely create wealth, but for a very limited segment of society.
people who prosper from the debt service the government pays, as well
as highly skilled workers, will do well.
We cannot say the same for the vast middle class, for those whose jobs
have been outsourced and those for whom the Bush tax cuts - though they
are politically attractive - are a pittance. And for that
population that still cannot afford health insurance, or for seniors
whose Medicare premiums just went up 17 percent, the tax cuts are
Come January, either Bush or Kerry will have to address the
deteriorating mess in Iraq as well as the deficit and the approaching
drain on the Social Security trust from baby boomers reaching
And just as there is no evidence that Bush ever accepted the
predictions of his intelligence and security experts with respect to
Iraq, there is nothing to suggest that he will reverse his politically
opportunistic tax cuts.
Kerry would deal with taxes more realistically, increasing rates but
only for those earning at least $200,000 a year.
President Bush had four years to prove himself and did poorly. It
time to elect a president with a broader understanding of international
affairs and a greater concern for the welfare of those living on
slender incomes. Elect John Kerry.
Copyright © 2004 Arizona Daily Star.
permission. (Dennis Joyce
Oct. 15, 2004, Rene Weatherless Oct. 20, 2004)
Pulitzer Inc. >