Kerry, Edwards focus on envy, not improvement

Freedom Editorial

To put a twist on Bill Clinton’s internal slogan during his 1992 campaign, the Kerry-Edwards economic policy seems to be “it’s the envy, stupid.” They’re running on the “Two Americas” theme that Sen. Edwards followed to defeat in the Democratic primaries.

With a strong economic recovery barreling the Bush administration toward the November election, class envy just isn’t going to sell, especially when the two salesmen are multimillionaires.

“George W. Bush has chosen tax cuts for the wealthy and special favors for the special interests over our economic future,” reads the issues briefing on the Kerry Web site. Yet not just the wealthy but most Americans got a tax cut.

The Kerry environmental agenda is just as bad. “Kerry will ensure that we have ‘Clean and Green Communities’ throughout America by coordinating federal transportation policies, federal housing incentives, federal employment opportunities and the use of federal dollars to acquire parks and open space” to “take on … sprawl.” That means expensive mass transit and zoning schemes that cost billions, limit land use and raise housing prices. And with “federal” used four times in one sentence in the Web briefing, it’s clear distant federal bureaucrats would take even more control over citizens’ lives.

Sen. Edwards, of course, is notorious as a trial lawyer who made a fortune in particular by driving up the cost of obstetrics care.

From the heartland, Detroit News columnist Thomas Bray wrote on July 11, “(A) Kerry-Edwards ticket may look attractive, but beneath the well-coiffed surface it hints strongly at a two-pronged assault on Middle America. John Kerry’s environmental extremism would be joined by the penchant of John Edwards and his powerful trial-lawyer backers to sue every job creator in sight.”

It’s too bad Sens. Kerry and Edwards don’t come up with some proposals that really would help the middle class. For example, inflation-adjust income-tax rates and personal deductions back down to the levels of 1970, before the long inflation of the 1970s pushed a good part of the middle class into upper- income tax brackets.

Instead of promoting envy against the most successful, just help the middle class.