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Tax Returns

Fred BarnesWeekly Standard
Democrats believe raising taxes on the well-to-do to pay for, say, expanded health care benefits for children is a political winner. It might be. But when Bush adviser Karl Rove spoke to Grover Norquist's weekly gathering of conservatives last week in Washington, he offered to bet anyone in the room $5 that the president would finish his two terms without having signed a single tax hike. Rove had only one taker.
If Rove is right--and I believe he is--Social Security reform is off the table in Bush's final two years. Democrats look kindly on a fiscal fix for Social Security that involves raising the ceiling on income subject to payroll taxation. But they won't offer Bush what he might want--personal investment accounts--in exchange for swallowing a tax increase. "He's not going to raise taxes for nothing," an adviser says.
Michael Crowley