When Congress and President Bush return to Washington following the Labor Day weekend, there will be a new version of a very old strategy. Democrats will charge that the Bush tax cuts are threatening the surplus and the Social Security "trust fund." First, there is no trust fund. The government has a bunch of IOU's to future Social Security recipients. Current recipients get their checks drawn on the payroll taxes of current earners. Remember this. You'll need it to sort out fact from fiction in the coming liberal Democrat and media (same thing) campaign.
The other thing you need to keep in mind is that there is still a surplus, at least on paper. It's the second biggest surplus in history. Liberal Democrats and some Republicans cared little about a surplus when they were engaged in deficit spending. The concern of the administration, as I argue in my column this week, should be about cutting waste, fraud and abuse. Go to the Citizens Against Government Waste Web page and see for yourself how government misspends and wastes our money. Multiplied billions, even trillions, of dollars could be saved if waste, fraud and abuse were eliminated. These things are equal opportunity. Too many Republicans are as engaged in the practice as the Democrats.
It won't be easy for President Bush to criticize members of his own party, but he'll have to do it if he really wants to change things in Washington.