We cannot have war and still keep Bush

Wednesday, April 2, 2003 at 1:00am

Most columns build up to a bottom line. This one starts with it: We can't afford a war and another giant tax cut, too.

The charade starts, of course, with President Bush, who is trying to sell the country his own version of what Lyndon Johnson called "guns and butter," and what his father later ridiculed as "voodoo economics."

Already facing a projected $325 billion deficit, is the president dropping his $726 billion tax cut in order to help pay for the war? No! Instead, he preaches the appealing, but phony, idea that we can wage war and put more money in people's pockets at the same time. History proves him wrong. With the exception of the war against Mexico in the 1840s, taxes have been increased in every war fought before and since.

Finally, this week, the administration put a price tag on the war in Iraq. If you believe the official spin, their number-crunchers were unable to do so before the fighting actually started. They couldn't even come up with a ballpark figure. The truth is, they didn't try. And a compliant Congress, ignorant of the cost of war, passed the president's budget package anyway

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