"Surprise! The Bush tax cuts are working."

No less an authority than the New York Times said so on its front page this week. In a story about what it called the economy's "unexpected lift," the newspaper credited the recent tax cut as a major contributing factor to the positive growth numbers.

Imagine that, and after all of the editorializing by The Times and their ideological colleagues at the broadcast networks about how tax cuts (search) can only hurt the economy.

What can the left do now? Why call for tax increases, of course. Sen. Joe Lieberman (search), D-Conn., who is one of the nine Democrats seeking his party's nomination, wants to raise the top rate five points from 38.6 percent to 43.6 percent. He says he'd lower middle class rates as part of his fair share package.

But we already know the effect that high tax rates have on those who pay the most taxes has had. It sends people to their tax shelters, or they are reluctant to sell stocks because the taxes on the income eats up too much of their earnings. And so the government gets less revenue.

Republicans can crow about how their tax cuts are improving the economy, but praise for them should be tempered until they get their spending habits under control. Too many Republicans resemble the Democrats they replaced in the 1994 Gingrich (search) revolution.

Remember all of those young and eager reformers who were going to make government smaller and more efficient and be better stewards of our money? Some of them are behaving worse than the guys they replaced. Remember that old song, "Love and Marriage?" Sing the tune to this lyric: "Tax and spending, tax and spending, why does it seem as if it's never-ending?"

Republicans need to go on a diet and stop consuming so much of our money. If they do, they'll not only take away the economy as an issue for Democrats, they'll earn voter approval for many years to come.

And that's Column One for this week.

What do you think? Send your responses to: afterhours@foxnews.com.

Cal Thomas is America's most widely syndicated op-ed columnist. He joined Fox News Channel in 1997 as a political contributor. His latest book is "What Works: Common Sense Solutions for a Stronger America" is available in bookstores now. Readers may email Cal Thomas at tcaeditors@tribune.com.