Jeff Bauer: ‘Here’s a link to Warren Buffett’s chat with 300 students at Dalton State College on November 7th. He said an economic stimulus package should be focused on low-income individuals. ‘You want to get money in the hands of people who’ll spend it,’ he said. ‘It’s the right thing to do fiscally and socially.”

This sort of flies in the face of the Republican approach we’ve been discussing – big retroactive tax cuts to companies that don’t need them and won’t hire new people because of them.

(Incidentally, to all those who’ve written in over the past year lambasting Buffett’s ‘hypocrisy’ for decrying the repeal of the estate tax – at the very same time as he will himself be avoiding the tax almost entirely by giving his estate almost entirely to charity – I would just point out the obvious. By giving it all away to his fellow man, Buffett will, in effect, tax his estate at a 100% rate, rather than the current 55%.)

The good news, from a partisan point of view (a point of view I would be the first to agree should not be all-consuming; but that I would argue, when the leadership of the two parties stand for such starkly different things, should not be entirely ignored either), is that, despite the President’s well-deserved sky-high approval rating in the wake of September 11, it’s not as if Democrats can no longer hold their own at the ballot box.

Both gubernatorial races last Tuesday, in Virginia and New Jersey, saw red turn to blue, as Democrats regained the statehouse; and thus far in 2001, Democrats have won 32 of the 34 major mayoral races . . . or 33 of 34 if you count Mike Bloomberg of New York.

For partisan reasons and because Mark Green and his family are such terrific, talented, nice people – and because Mark has devoted his life to public service – I would have liked to see him win last Tuesday. But Mike Bloomberg is a pro-choice, pro-gay “Republican” who gave more than $200,000 to the Dems in recent years, maxing out to, among others, Al Gore, Bill Bradley, Chuck Schumer, Barbara Mikulski, John Corzine, Chris Dodd, Bob Torricelli, Tom Harkin and Jerry Nadler. So it’s not exactly as if he’s a Trent Lott / Jesse Helms / Dick Armey Republican.

Mike did switch parties in order to become mayor, but he has described himself as a liberal. In any event, he is clearly more interested in results than in party labels. If you saw him on ‘Meet the Press’ Sunday, you probably came away with the feeling that New York City will be in good hands. Go get ’em, Mike.

In any event, whether the Democrats won 32 of 34 mayoral races in 2001 or 33, the point of all this is that – even with the country quite properly rallying behind President Bush in response to September 11 – there is plenty of room for the Democratic message to succeed in 2002 and gain some ground from the conservative wing of the Republican Party, which for the first few months of the year, until Senator Jeffords made his switch, controlled the whole shooting match: the House, the Senate, the White House and, some would argue, the Supreme Court.

Raymond Dumont: ‘At a time when we are spending money that a few months ago we were told the country couldn’t afford, it doesn’t seem appropriate to give money back to some of the world’s most profitable corporations. Perhaps you could explain the reasoning behind the Republicans’ making the corporate alternative minimum tax retroactive to 1986.’

☞ Nope. Not me.

Tomorrow: The New I-Bond Rate


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