Ramesh Ponnuru, who as senior editor of National Review might be expected to be a conservative voice at the new Bloomberg News opinion operation, has a column on Bloomberg accusing Republicans of disregarding the "middle class," a group he does not define. Mr. Ponnuru writes:
Reagan in 1980 promised to cut tax rates for everyone and stop inflation from pushing middle-class voters into higher tax brackets. He won re-election, and his vice president won the election to succeed him, in part by promising to keep these voters' taxes low. In 1994 and 2000, Republicans again made big wins in part by promising to cut taxes for middle-class parents.
In recent years, though, Republicans have tried to cut taxes for corporations and high earners without doing anything for the middle class. (Anything direct, that is: The middle class was told it would benefit from higher growth.) It's not surprising, then, that the Republican advantage on taxes has declined -- or that in recent elections, most voters haven't told pollsters that Republicans are "in touch" with people like them.
Republicans haven't learned the lessons of their success under Reagan or their failure under Bush.
Not even National Public Radio buys this ridiculous narrative. From an NPR piece today on the tenth anniversary of the Bush tax cuts:
Roberton Williams of the Tax Policy Center says wealthy families saw the biggest jump in their take-home pay, but everyone who paid income taxes got a break.
"Everybody got something," he says, "because one of the things the 2001 act did was create a 10 percent tax bracket, which lowered taxes even for people at the bottom of distribution. It doubled the child tax credit from $500 to $1000, so for families with children, it was a big boon."
Good for families with children.
It's a good thing there's NPR as an antidote to all the left-wing class-warfare anti-Bush anti-Republican partisan propaganda that National Review writers are putting out there.
In fairness to Mr. Ponnuru, he does refer to Republicans in 2000 "promising to cut taxes for middle-class parents." But he neglects to mention that they followed through on the promise, making the reference to "failure under Bush" all the more mystifying.
Update: Mr. Ponnuru replies in the comments below.