Wednesday, December 21, 2005

One 2005 Report Card

Pete du Pont is the former governer of Delaware and runs a Dallas-based thinktank. In his monthly OpinionJournal piece, he provides a handy review of some the over- and underachievers in global politics. Some highlights from the winners:
  • The good news is that the American economy is doing very well: 10 consecutive quarters of 4% annualized economic growth, which helped create 1.8 million new jobs this year and four million in the past two years. The tax cuts of the Bush administration are one of the reasons for this success, for they stimulate economic growth, and that growth produced a 14.6% increase in federal tax revenues in 2005. Even liberals should be happy, for the percentage of income taxes paid by the top 1% of taxpayers has grown from 19.3% in 1980 (before the Reagan tax cuts) to 27% in 1988 and 34% currently.
  • The war for freedom in Iraq is progressing too. Iraqis held their third purple-thumb election last week, electing a legislature following a transitional assembly in January and approving their constitution in October. Ten million people voted in an election that even the New York Times called "an overwhelming and heartening triumph." The Iraqi economy is stable and growing. Per capita income is now more that $1,000, double what it was in 2003.
  • The people of France and the Netherlands get top grades for voting down the nearly incomprehensible European Union constitution. Its adoption would have insured that socialist Europe never recovered from its economic doldrums. Over the past 25 years the European Union has added just four million new jobs while the U.S. has added 57 million.

And some of the losers:

  • The Republican Congress--House and Senate--has dismally failed to control the growth of government...One would think the president would have used his veto power to control the spending surge, but he hasn't used it at all. (The last president to serve a full term without issuing a veto was John Quincy Adams.) For starters he should have vetoed the highway bill, which contained 6,373 pork projects costing $24 billion.
  • Senate and House "moderates" are part of the problem too. Maine's Sen. Olympia Snowe opposes extending the tax cuts that have stimulated our economy, and Rhode Island's Sen. Lincoln Chafee opposes oil refinery construction on abandoned military bases (which would increase our fuel supplies) and tax cuts. In the House it is the 25 Republican moderates who have opposed most spending reductions and tried to block ANWR oil drilling in Alaska.
  • ...the worst failing grade for the year goes to the United Nations and Kofi Annan. Paul Volker's report on the Oil for Food scandal concluded that $10 billion worth of Iraqi oil was illegally smuggled to adjacent nations...So Dennis Kozlowski stole $600 million from Tyco and got eight to 25 years in jail, while Kofi Annan supervised more than $10 billion in Oil for Food theft and will stay in his job since, in his own words, "the business of the United Nations is not reform."
A nice summation.


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