Common Sense: A Ten Year Plan

Ten years is a long time.

That's the amount of time that passes before this whole tax cut fully takes effect. Just think about that. Ten years.

Ten years ago George Bush "Senior" was president. Ten years ago most of us didn't know who Bill Clinton was. Ten years ago those Swissair victims were alive. As were the EgyptAir and Concorde victims. As were the victims in Bosnia and Somalia.

Ten years ago, there was no Internet bubble. In fact, there wasn’t much of an Internet. The Dow was worth about a fourth what it is now. The Nasdaq was worth about a fifth of what it is now. Ten years ago there were no reality shows. There were no Star Wars prequels and no Austin Powers flicks.

There were no surpluses. Only deficits as far as the eye could see. And ten years ago, taxes were lower. Less than two years later, the top rate would suddenly be nearly five points higher.

My point? Over time a lot of things change. Some times, in record time.

That's why I worry about this ten-year tax plan of President Bush's. Because so much of it takes effect later, rather than sooner.

I'd like to say I trust Washington to keep to its vote and its word, that these tax cuts will come. But I have my doubts and I have my ears. I hear what Tom Daschle is saying, that down the road it might be appropriate to revisit this whole tax cut issue. And I have my eyes. I read what former Congressional Budget Office head Robert Reischauer writes about nixing some of the tax cuts before they take effect, so it doesn't look like a tax hike getting rid of them after they take effect.

And I have my gut. Which tells me left to its own devices, many in Congress would rather spend more than give back.

Some say I'm crazy to even be worrying about this now. Ten years from now, here's hoping that I was.

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