Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Tax Framing

I can somewhat understand that it's framed in the media as a tax increase when John Edwards calls for not extending the Bush tax cuts for those making over $200,000 a year to help pay for his health care reform plan.

But then how can Bush turn around to propose making those same tax cuts permanent and get media credit for working to "slash taxes by $1.9 trillion" over the next decade?

Where's the mid-point there? Not extending the cuts is an increase, extending the cuts is a decrease.

And, on a related note, considering all of the hubbub in the national lefty blogosphere over Barack Obama's universal health care speech a few weeks back, how about some love for the actual plan to do something about it by Edwards? The words of Obama's speech were eloquent and all, but they really didn't say anything about what he would actually do to address the growing health care crisis.

Ezra Klein, to his credit, did summarize the Edwards plan and how it differs from others offered up to this point. You can read that here.

UPDATE: More from Klein on the media's reaction to the Edwards health care plan, including the revenue proposal (emphasis mine):
But if the problem with the New York Times and Washington Post story was that it failed to clearly or seriously explain the plan's features, much of the media hasn't even bothered to fail at the substantive task. They, instead, have been mainly interested in Edwards' willingness to raise revenues to fund the plan. This, of course, is a no-go, a non-starter, political suicide, evidence of unelectable extremism. On the other hand, all of these reporters would happily tell you, in private, that taxes need to be raised. Most all of them support health reform. They universally loathe the politician's tendency to avoid tough questions like revenue increases. But when a politician steps up, they rush in with the very narratives and reporting style that encourages such irresponsible rhetoric. If the framing were that Edwards was willing to speak the hard truths about how to pay for his, and the country's, expressed priorities, maybe other politicians wouldn't fear honest utterances.
It's stuff like this that's made Klein my favorite voice in the national lefty blogosphere.

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