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Wag the Blog: What You Had to Say

Over 180 readers have commented so far on our question about former Sen. John Edwards' assertion that a universal healthcare plan would have to be funded by a tax increase and whether such comments hurt a candidate in the 2008 presidential race.

The conversation continues, but here is a small sample of what you had to say.

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Edwards hasn't learned one of the basic tenets of modern campaigns: never lead with a tax increase. You may be open to a tax increase, you may even be obsessed with a tax increase--but you don't brag about it. I do think it's important to avoid swearing oaths or signing contracts NOT to raise taxes, because sometimes it's necessary. But if you feel a fart coming on, there's no need to call everyone in the room to gather around your butt for the big announcement.

Posted by: Iva Norma Stitts

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Tax and spend beats the GOP's borrow and spend every day. Look, we are already paying hidden taxes for health care in terms of higher insurance premiums for all those folk who have no choice but to use the hospital emergency room for all healthcare! Edwards' honesty is refreshing.

Posted by: Michael Westmoreland-White

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We just aren't as stupid as Washington insiders think. Very few people hear a story about Edwards proposing tax increases and make up their mind without wanting to know whose taxes are going to be increased, by how much, and what we are going to do with the money. Those are the type of basic questions we ask ourselves every week when struggling to spend our hard earned income wisely.

Posted by: Alan Kansas

********

Gheez! Could we please not play to the lowest common denominator!?! Edwards is speaking about the need for a program which we all know is desperately needed. Guess what? We have to pay for it. But of course, I am one of those bleeding heart liberals who is okay is HONESTY and SINCERITY!

Posted by: MelPickett

As pointed out, since when is a tax on the top 3% a tax on the "middle class"? And why do journalists help perpetuate this myth? I'd pay the increased taxes--and by the same token, I'd no doubt have to pay Bush's proposed tax for my "gold-plated" health insurance policies (which aren't worth much because the insurance companies count on finding ways to "delay" payment and making people who are paying plenty for their insurance spend their time filling out forms and calling insurance "help" lines; it's all a scam). I'd sign up for Edwards' single payer option and gladly give up my Bush tax cut (not really geared toward salaried professionals anyway).

Posted by: Sherry

********

Edwards did not use the most glamorous way to sell his policy but he can be given credit for his honesty. Plus, it's not the tax question that made Bush win in 2004.

Posted by: Pierre

By washingtonpost.com Editors  |  February 6, 2007; 4:47 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Edwards, Obama and the "Clean" Money Issue
Next: McCain, Romney and the Endorsement Race

Comments

Although John Edward's statement re a tax increase may have been politically suicidal with right-leaning Americn voters, it shows his brain and heart are in the right places. It will take someone with imagination, creativity and stamina to "fix" the health crisis -- of which health care coveraage is only a part, albeit it a very important part -- in this country. He/she will have to fight the icons in this field, i.e., the health providers, as well as the "villains", i.e., the drug companies and the health insurance industry. Edwards may be the only person objective and commited enough to do it. GO John GO!

Posted by: The Answer Lady | February 8, 2007 12:02 PM | Report abuse

US President Tim Kalemkarian, US Senate Tim Kalemkarian, US House Tim Kalemkarian: best major candidate.

Posted by: anonymous | February 8, 2007 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Thank you, Judge C. Crater.

Why is it so natural to identify with people who make $328,469.00? Think of all the people you know... how many of them make $328,469.00? You know, maybe, approximately, 1%?

This is so obvious it might seem patronising to say it, but in any case, it seems like most domestic problems we face affect the poor. Lack of health insurance, for instance. Underemployment. Hunger. Education. And, um, you know, poverty. That one disproportionately affects the poor.

If it were up to you, wouldn't you choose to provide health care for the poor, improve public education, and eliminate hunger, all at the cost of decreasing the top 1%'s disposable income from $300,000 to $280,000?

Posted by: Babak | February 7, 2007 2:26 PM | Report abuse

"If you make $328.469.00 you are the top 1% and pay 19% of all federal incone tax."

And you certainly don't have the right to whine about it, either. That doesn't stop you, however.

Posted by: Judge C. Crater | February 7, 2007 10:42 AM | Report abuse

"Artefact" is a valid alternate spelling of "artifact". It's archaic, and I'm surprised the Post used it, but it's not wrong.

Posted by: Blarg | February 7, 2007 9:03 AM | Report abuse

On my blog, I take a look at this Edwards tax hike issue and also respond to Cillizza's crticisms of a Hagel candidacy, among other things. Please take a look:

http://www.tracking2008.com

Posted by: Steve | February 7, 2007 8:13 AM | Report abuse

When can we stop the space race and come down to the mother earth and look at the glow that is emitting daily? If ignored we don't have NASA we don't have anything expect the apes sitting on a tree saying "Shall we start over again"???

Posted by: Firozali A.Mulla MBA PhD | February 7, 2007 7:56 AM | Report abuse

For uncensored news please go to:

www.wsws.org
otherside123.blogspot.com
www.onlinejournal.com
www.takingaimradio.com

Bush's budget priorities: war and the wealthy

By Jerry White
7 February 2007

President Bush released his 2008 budget on Monday outlining his administration's right-wing agenda of extending tax cuts for the wealthy, boosting the Pentagon budget to an all-time record and slashing vital social programs like Medicaid and Medicare.

While the $2.9 billion budget proposal is only the beginning of protracted wrangling between the White House and the Democratic Congress, the resulting deal will resemble Bush's plan in its broad outlines. Like the Republicans, the Democrats accept unquestioningly the premise that the social needs must take a back seat to the priorities of waging imperialist war and protecting the profits of America's financial aristocracy.

In his written budget message to Congress Bush said his plan would lead to a balanced budget by 2012, with no need for raising taxes. "My formula for a balanced budget," he said, "reflects the priorities of our country at this moment in its history: protecting the homeland and fighting terrorism, keeping the economy strong with low taxes and keeping spending under control while making federal programs more effective."

As many analysts have pointed out, the accounting methods used by the White House to project a balanced budget in five years involve arbitrary and evidently false assumptions, including deliberate underestimations of the current deficit and exaggerated revenue predictions. As in all recent budgets, from both Democratic and Republican administrations, the surplus in the Social Security Trust Fund is counted as reducing the deficit, although it will be required in the future to pay benefits to retirees.

The estimated $142 billion for spending on the war in Iraq does not include the costs associated with the deployment of an additional 21,500 US troops to the country. Last week the Congressional Budget Office estimated that a yearlong surge would require $27 billion in additional spending because of the number of support personnel needed to support the greater number of combat troops.

Finally, the budget makes the projection that the cost of the war in Iraq--which is expected to be at least $163 billion this year--will drop to $50 billion in 2009 and fall to zero the following year. Bush quickly declared that the cost reduction was not based on any actual plans to reduce the US presence in the country, and administration officials said the 2009 figure was seen as a "placeholder" to be adjusted in the future. In fact the current war budget includes more than one billion dollars for the expansion of permanent US military bases in Iraq as well as Afghanistan.

The administration's budget figures are not only bogus, but brazenly so. If a major corporation presented such numbers in its financial report, the CEO and CFO could be arrested for fraud, under the provisions of legislation passed after the Enron collapse. The Bush administration can only proceed as it does because it is assured that the Democratic Party and the media will respond with only the most tepid criticism.

Regardless of the posturing by the White House and the Democratic

For the rest please go to:

http://www.wsws.org/articles/2007/feb2007/bdgt-f07.shtml

Posted by: che | February 7, 2007 5:30 AM | Report abuse

'Israel's Antiquities Authority said it was searching for artefacts '

'artefacts' -- my god, what has happened to my country. Are we all illiterate? Et tu, Washington Post?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/02/06/AR2007020600956.html

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 11:10 PM | Report abuse

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, Feb. 6 -- A suicide bomber armed with pistols and grenades killed himself and at least one other person after a shootout with security guards at Islamabad's international airport on Tuesday night, in what the police described as a thwarted but brazen terrorist attack.

It was the second suicide bombing in Islamabad in less than a week and appeared intended to inflict major casualties at the airport, which was teeming with passengers and was sealed off by the police for hours. At least five people were wounded, including three security personnel, and were rushed to nearby Rawalpindi General Hospital.

Posted by: most dangerous place in the world.. | February 6, 2007 11:04 PM | Report abuse

Since we are on a financial kick, here is a link to an *excellent* article about the charade that is called Economy:

http://www.bitsofnews.com/content/view/4834/2/

Posted by: roo | February 6, 2007 10:22 PM | Report abuse

The republican tool dana milbank finds it very amusing that paul bremerm managed to lie his way out of accountability... he wasted billions of taxpayer dollars -- that's just so funny to rich beltway pundits...

'But Bremer proved unexpectedly agile at shifting blame: to administration planners ("The planning before the war was inadequate"), his superiors in the Bush administration ("We never had sufficient support"), and the Iraqi people ("The country was in chaos -- socially, politically and economically").

And Democrats, after 12 years in the minority, were out of practice. Instead of going after Bremer's greatest vulnerabilities -- his autocratic management style and his "de-Baathification" of Iraq -- Democrats instead chose a strange focus for the hearing: the failure to account for $8 billion of cash payments three years ago. '

yes, how strange that democrats would focus on $8 billion taxpayer dollars in fraud and waste. how very strange of those bizzaro democrats to want accountability in government. and the fact that bremer weaseled his way out of responsiblity -- why that's hilarious.

Posted by: dana milbank is slime | February 6, 2007 10:14 PM | Report abuse

'ST. GEORGE, Utah -- When the baby boomers of St. George were children, radioactive ash from nuclear test explosions in Nevada regularly drifted toward the red bluffs of their town and fell like snow. They played in it and wrote their names in it on car windows.

The federal government reassured the townspeople they were in no danger as it detonated 952 bombs in Nevada over four decades. But thousands of people who lived downwind of the test site got radiation-related cancer, and the town of 50,000 has its own cancer-treatment center today.

So when word got out recently that the government wants to test a huge conventional bomb in Nevada, sending a mushroom cloud thousands of feet in the air, people in St. George felt an unwelcome blast from the past.

At a series of emotional meetings last month in Las Vegas, St. George, Salt Lake City and the Idaho capital of Boise, people who live downwind of the Nevada Test Site expressed fear that if the government goes ahead with its code-named Divine Strake test, radioactive dust from previous tests will blow their way.

"People here have been exposed to radiation already. We don't need any little extra push," St. George native Michelle Thomas said in her home last week.

Thomas, 54, has had cancer twice, in the breast and in a salivary gland, and had a pre-malignant ovary removed. She suffers from polymyositis, a muscle-degenerating autoimmune disease. Ever since she became too sick to work as a teacher, she has spent her time on anti-nuclear activism.'

Posted by: the nukes are coming... | February 6, 2007 10:08 PM | Report abuse

'WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- The Federal Reserve sent record payouts of more than $4 billion in cash to Baghdad on giant pallets aboard military planes shortly before the United States gave control back to Iraqis, lawmakers said Tuesday.

The money, which had been held by the United States, came from Iraqi oil exports, surplus dollars from the U.N.-run oil-for-food program and frozen assets belonging to the ousted Saddam Hussein regime.

Bills weighing a total of 363 tons were loaded onto military aircraft in the largest cash shipments ever made by the Federal Reserve, said Rep. Henry Waxman, chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

"Who in their right mind would send 363 tons of cash into a war zone? But that's exactly what our government did," the California Democrat said during a hearing reviewing possible waste, fraud and abuse of funds in Iraq.

On December 12, 2003, $1.5 billion was shipped to Iraq, initially "the largest pay out of U.S. currency in Fed history," according to an e-mail cited by committee members.

It was followed by more than $2.4 billion on June 22, 2004, and $1.6 billion three days later. The CPA turned over sovereignty on June 30.'

Posted by: the most astonishing stupidity in history | February 6, 2007 10:04 PM | Report abuse

'NEW YORK (AP) -- The Ku Klux Klan has rebounded by exploiting current hot-button issues, especially immigration, according to a new report released by the Anti-Defamation League.

The Klan, and other white supremacist groups like skinheads and neo-Nazis, grew significantly more active in the past year, holding more rallies, distributing leaflets and increasing their presence on the Internet -- much of it focused on stirring anti-immigrant sentiment, according to the report.

"Extremist groups are good at seizing on whatever the hot button is of the day and twisting the message to get new members," Deborah M. Lauter, ADL Civil Rights director, said Monday. "This one seems to be taking hold with more of mainstream America than we'd like to see." (Read the full ADL report)

"Klan groups have witnessed a surprising and troubling resurgence by exploiting fears of an immigration explosion, and the debate over immigration has, in turn, helped to fuel an increase in Klan activity, with new groups sprouting in parts of the country that have not seen much activity," Lauter said.

Old Klan chapters have been revived and new ones started throughout the South, historically the heart of the group, and in other places such as Michigan, Iowa and New Jersey, says the report.

Last May in Alabama, an anti-immigration rally included slogans such as, "Let's get rid of the Mexicans!" according to the document, titled "Ku Klux Klan Rebounds."

"The Klan is increasingly cooperating with other extremist groups and Neo-Nazi groups," Lauter said. "That's a new phenomenon."

Between 2000 and 2005, hate groups mushroomed 33 percent and Klan chapters by 63 percent, according to Mark Potok, director of the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate crimes.'

Posted by: oh look, a campus club for william | February 6, 2007 8:43 PM | Report abuse

'If you make $60,041, you are the upper middle class.
If you make $137.05.00, you are one of the top 5% of income earners and pay 40% of all federal income tax.
If you make $328.469.00 you are the top 1% and pay 19% of all federal incone tax.'

but you never talk about it as a percentage of your income, do you? because you know the higher brackets actually pay a lowr percentage than most of us, because of lowr investment income taxes, tax planners and accountants, etc.

the percentage is what counts -- it is the only fair taxation that spreads the burden equally.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 8:35 PM | Report abuse

John Edwards's heart is in the right place, but I'm not convinced the American people are ready for this proposal. Why? History. National healthcare will come about when a successful administration with a problem solving track record makes this a big, bold second term agenda, and does so in a way that optimistic, forward-looking and acknowledges the historical sweep of finally overcoming this monster. Right now, however, I fear it only threatens to go up in smoke fast, hurting the candidate's chances more than helping the potential change. If Democrats really want this, if they're serious about it, make it term two. Focus now on short-term goals like controlling the debate more. Taking language back. Changing the way they're seen by the fly-over states.

Posted by: Charles Coulter - Los Angeles | February 6, 2007 7:33 PM | Report abuse

$19 billion is all that is needed each year until 2015 in order to eradicate world hunger. Now think what you could do if your taxes were used toward accomplishing the Millennium Development Goals. Don't be so scared of a few taxes- your life will be better because of them. Now tell your leaders what they need to spend those taxes on- The Millennium Development Goals!

Posted by: katieL | February 6, 2007 6:39 PM | Report abuse

2004 tax-base index
with the Bush income tax relief.

If you make $60,041, you are the upper middle class.
If you make $137.05.00, you are one of the top 5% of income earners and pay 40% of all federal income tax.
If you make $328.469.00 you are the top 1% and pay 19% of all federal incone tax.

Posted by: a12iggymom | February 6, 2007 6:28 PM | Report abuse

"Tax and Spend" is, in reality, the way our government should operate. The phrase has been taken over by the right-wing spin machine to hide their desire to destroy the Federal government's ability to do anything but finance wars. (Remember Grover Norquist's rare honesty in talking about "drowning this baby.")

Somehow, progressives never got the hang of labeling the Bush philosophy "Borrow and Spend," which would have more accurately described the greedy, selfish, short-sighted, irresponsible approach of this regime.

If progressives and liberals keep arguing public policy in response to such conceptual frames, we will lose.
Now is the time to address our issues honestly and clearly, sharing a narrative of mutuality, compassion, hard-headed financial resopnsibility and, most of all, with a view to the healthy condition of the world that we will leave to our grandchildren.
I have found John Edwards' comments about this and most other policy questions he has discussed recently candid, clear, subtle, and illuminating even about issues I thought I knew.

Now we need more Democrats talking like this, instead of the tired professionals who constantly calibrate their comments against the old, and losing, narratives.

Posted by: Ronald Ein | February 6, 2007 5:36 PM | Report abuse

"Nothing is more important in the face of a war than cutting taxes." -Tom DeLay, March 12, 2003

Posted by: F&B | February 6, 2007 5:24 PM | Report abuse

Why should we not roll back the tax cut it was only politically motivated payback by the soon to be former president Bush. (Sound good to say that) We need to pay the bill this administration ran up and one way to do that is to raise the tax of those that get the most.

Posted by: Reece Conrad | February 6, 2007 5:23 PM | Report abuse

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