Washington had a terrible time with the budget last week. The only thing the White House and the conservative Republicans agreed on is that the other side was to blame for the mess. The Democrats had no choice but to watch the spectacle in horror.
Now that a compromise has been reached, some questions can be answered.
"Why was the president so insistent on a cut in the capital gains tax as part of his budget reform?" I asked Frederic Decker, a deep thinker on the Hill.
Fred said, "Mr. Bush is always looking for new ways to help the rich."
"Why was Mr. Bush so sure that a tax cut would stimulate the economy and encourage people to invest in the nation's business?"
"The president assumed that people would make only successful investments such as the Silverado Savings and Loan Association."
I then talked to a White House spokesman. "Mr. Bush blames Congress for all the troubles he has been having with the budget. How can he be so sure that the opposition is at fault?"
"If you are a president you automatically know who is responsible for your woes. Bush and his administration have been honest and forthcoming in trying to present a budget that will strengthen the country and the economy. But when you have so many Benedict Arnold Republicans on the other side, the president has no choice but to take his case to the public."
"How does Mr. Bush intend to do that?" I asked.
"He will carry his message to every state in the Union, as well as parts of the District of Columbia."
"Does he mean that?"
"Not really. He'll go to a few big fund-raisers and then send Dan Quayle to all the others, if he can ever find him."
"What good will it do if the vice president does take Bush's message to all the states?"
"We don't know about him, but it will give Marilyn Quayle a rest. In order to get the budget deal, President Bush has to use all the hyperbole he can muster. There is nothing that pleases him more than to stick his finger in Newt Gingrich's eye."
I had another question for Frederic Decker. "Do you believe that the president frightens the Democrats?"
"They're scared silly. When he threatened them with excommunication because they wouldn't give the country a cut in the capital gains tax, they all hid under their desks."
I spoke to a Democratic congressman. "The president doesn't believe in new taxes. He believes that the lower the taxes, the more the economy will survive. We're in a recession and the deficit is the worst it's ever been. Could it be that the president is practicing voodoo economics?"
The congressman said, "Who knows? But one thing we're sure of, Mr. Bush believes that you'll never stop white-collar crime in this country until you give the people in the highest income brackets a break."