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Wag The Blog: Tax Trouble for Edwards?

During an appearance Sunday on NBC's "Meet The Press", former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) said he favored a tax increase in order to fund his universal health care plan.

"Yes, we'll have to raise taxes," Edwards acknowledged. "The, the only way you can pay for a health care plan ... that costs anywhere from $90 billion to $120 billion is there has to be a revenue source."

While this strategy is aimed at winning the Democratic primary nomination, some of Edwards's rivals have already begun grumbling privately that it's the kind of proposal that could cost their party the White House in 2008. Republicans, they say, have succeeded again and again in elections by portraying Democrats as tax-raisers who are looking for ways to take money away from people to support government programs.

So, for today's Wag the Blog question The Fix asks readers whether raising taxes is a show-stopper in the 2008 race. In other words, has Edwards hamstrung his bid by advocating a tax increase, or has Iraq (or some other issue) neutralized the potency of Republican "tax-and-spend-liberal" attacks?

Sound off in the comments section below. The Fix will pull out select comments to feature in a follow-up post later today.

By Chris Cillizza  |  February 6, 2007; 5:30 AM ET
Categories:  Wag The Blog  
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Next: Edwards, Obama and the "Clean" Money Issue


Dildo or [url=]Dildo[/url] or

Posted by: Clothes | February 22, 2007 3:28 AM | Report abuse

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Posted by: Clothes | February 22, 2007 3:27 AM | Report abuse

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Posted by: Clothes | February 22, 2007 2:01 AM | Report abuse

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Posted by: Clothes | February 22, 2007 2:00 AM | Report abuse

No problem with John Edwards (D-N.C.) tax increase in order to fund his universal health care plan. Saying he will have to raise taxes, acknowledged the truth. Its the only way you can pay for a universal health care plan that costs anywhere from $90 billion to $120 billion (his est.) He is correct, you must have a "revenue" stream.

Posted by: sj | February 10, 2007 3:26 AM | Report abuse

If a tax increase is handled correctly for universal healthcare then, no, I don't think it will hurt the 2009 Dem nominee. Here's how you do it: Take the portion of the payroll tax that now goes to Medicare and shift it over to Social Security, i.e., solve the Social Security problem without raising payroll taxes.

Then, convert Medicare to Medicare Plus to cover everyone from cradle to grave, and make Medicare Plus's coverage similar to what Congress persons and Senators now have. Then, fold in ALL medical costs, regardless of the reason for the injury or illness, so medical costs for car accidents, malpractice, workers compensation, etc., no longer would be a litigable matter, since Medicare Plus would cover those costs, thereby resulting in less litigation and lower premiums for car insurance costs, lower malpractice premiums, and lower workers compensation premiums, since only non-medical costs would be covered by those programs.

Then, sever Medicare Plus from employment and the payroll tax completely, since everyone, employed and unemployed, young and old, will be covered by Medicare Plus. That removes the burden of Medicaid and CHIPS costs from the states, so they can better handle Medicaid nursing home coasts.

So, how do you then finance Medicare Plus? Through a national sales tax on all products purchased in the U.S. (except food and maybe prescriptions drugs) and maybe on most services, but products exported would NOT have the tax imposed on them. This will help to reduce the trade deficit; shift the burden off the Big 3 auto companies for retirement and active employee medical costs, so they can be more competitive; pick up some revenue from products produced by foreign employees (foreign employees who now pay nothing into Medicare). If the Country can see a very simple, straight forward program, such as outlined here, where various groups -- not just the poor -- benefit, it will support such a new tax in return for the security that universal coverage will provide. Doctors will be guaranteed payment with a minimum amount of paperwork for their staff, who no longer will have to deal with multiple forms from hundreds of different insurance companies, and they should have reduced malpractice premiums. Employers, who now provide healthcare coverage, will be put onto a more level playing field with employers who do not provide any, or who provide substandard medical insurance coverage. Families would no longer have to deal with multiple insurance companies -- and all the headaches that coordination of benefits can cause -- when one spouse has coverage through one employer and the other spouse has coverage with his employer.

Senator Clinton's 1993 plan -- and maybe Senator Edwards' just-announced plan -- suffered from being too complicated. At least for campaign purposes (actual legislation, of course, will be more complicated), the winning candidate will have to able to explain in one paragraph, like I've described above, what he, or she, would do; how it is better; how it will be paid for; and why it will work. America is mostly satisfied with Medicare, so using that as the "base" for the change will help the candidate to withstand "socialized medicine" accusations. Conservative economists may even be split -- thereby reducing opposition -- since they long have preferred consumption taxes, or the value-added tax, which is an alternative to the national sales tax. Exemptions in the tax can help reduce the regressivity of a sales tax. Once you look at the program as a whole, considering the tax AND the expansion of benefits to all, the program is much less regressive than just looking at the tax itself.

I think this approach is easy to outline and explain. That is the key.

Posted by: Randy Vehar | February 9, 2007 7:36 PM | Report abuse


Two things. 1) on the question of medicaid, it only covers indigent care in nursing home situations for the elderly, or as you point out, it doesn't much cover the elderly.

2) The way that top end (marginal rate taxes are handled) everyone pays the same rates on income structure. So we both pay the same on the 42 that we both make, and then I pay a little more on the difference between the 42 and 60k that I end up at. When people discuss taxes, income tax rates really don't trouble me that much.. they are progressive and the current marginal rates don't discourage investment and hard work. The ones that bother me are the payroll taxes, in part because half the contribution is hidden from employees, in part because they depress wage growth. And because the SS side is capped, its regressive.

Posted by: Steve in ND | February 8, 2007 11:27 AM | Report abuse

I haven't done the math but I would venture a guess that if the current tax free treatment to the employee of employer paid health insurance were changed so that some or all of it is taxable then that would probably pay for all the uninsured. So instead of saying right out of the gate that you're going to raise taxes, simply say you're going to level the playing field so that everyone, whether corporate, private, or government employee, will be treated as equally as possible. And you would then have a much more equitable system than currently.

Posted by: STEVE MORRIS | February 8, 2007 12:33 AM | Report abuse

Steve, medicaid doesn't even cover the elderly that much...that's mostly medicare. Medicaid primarily covers children.

Posted by: rturner_md05 | February 7, 2007 6:16 PM | Report abuse

Typo in last post: loberal, should say liberal.

Posted by: rturner_md05 | February 7, 2007 6:12 PM | Report abuse

kingofzouk...unpleasant 90's? A budget surplus. Peace. The strongest economy since the post-war (40's era). Wow. How unpleasant is that!

Now, we have a quagmire in a country completely uninvolved in 9/11 with no wmd's, MASSIVE, UNPRECEDENTED debt, soldiers dying every day in a "war" with no plan, no strategy, and no endpoint. A president who is more concerned with his legacy (i.e. a failed war "strategy", or lack thereof), a "No Child Left Behind" that has left behind millions of children, and preoccupation with catering to the religious "right" (i.e. making sure gays can't have partnerships/marriages, EQUAL rights, whatever you want to LABEL them), and gutting the Constitution. Boy, aren't things grand in 00's? Oh, but we can't discuss that, because that would be the loberal media! LOL

The 90's, in fact, were pretty awesome. We had CHECKS and BALANCES. Things, middle-of-the-road things were accomplished. Were there mistakes? Sure. But the Bill of rights wasn't trampled. Lies (that actually were important to national security weren't propogated in the 90's - I don't consider a lie about a b*** j*** or stained dress a matter of national security, but lies about wmd's? Yeah, national security issue there.) Oh, and binLaden, the one ACTUALLY responsible for 9/11? Successfully captured? Dead? Nah...still running free, still plotting, still laughing. So, b4 you bemoan the 90's, look at the facts.

Posted by: rturner_md05 | February 7, 2007 6:10 PM | Report abuse

I am a Democrat, so let's put that to rest before I even continue. Those who say the rich "need to pay their fair share" trust me, they do...individuals, that is....coroporations, however, that's another story. Individuals who make over 100K pay a MINIMUM of 35% on Federal taxes alone. Those who make 200-300K pay 35%+ (I've looked at the tax breakdowns, but I can't remember exactly what the "+" is). Anyway, as a resident physician, I made 42K last year and my Federal tax burden is 15% (AFTER my itemized deductions - mortgage interest). So please, before you talk about the "rich not paying taxes" get the facts. That said, I'm not sure that socialized medicine is the answer, but some form of government intervention is certainly warranted given the millions of uninsured, the majority of whom are working Americans. I'm not sure if raising taxes is the answer either. Reducing government WASTE would seem much more logical to me. $200K grants to study how the Tse tse fly mates? WHO CARES? LOL. Anyway, my 2 cents worth...

Posted by: Anonymous | February 7, 2007 5:46 PM | Report abuse

GenX. No worries, I'm a couple years older, and everytime someone from our generation points out the screw job we're going to get from the Boomers and WWII generation, all the O2 leaves the room and we're told how selfish we are. If its any consolation, the Boomers will go down with us when they start trying to draw on their pensions and 401ks and the boom market becomes a perpetual bear market.

KOZ: Medicaid is health insurance for the poor? What planet do you live on? The only people who are eligible for Medicaid are children, impoverished elderly and pregnant women. The GOP has gutted Medicaid to that point so that they could cut marginal rates on the super-wealthy and try to cut off the Estate Tax. If you're going to justify the rape of the middle class and working class, at least get your facts right.

Posted by: Steve | February 7, 2007 2:28 PM | Report abuse

I found the differentiation between universal health insurance and universal health care interesting. I'm guessing that the former means the current system of hmos and other forms will continue but be funded by government. I do believe that a national system of health care for all is an idea whose time has come. Look at most large American companies to see what health insurance costs them in terms of competition in the global marketplace. Health care paid for by employers, pioneered by, among others, Henry J. Kaiser, is a millstone around companies trying to compete internationally. I have long been frightened by the concept of socialized medicine as typified by Britain's National Health, but I feel it has come to the point where some type of federal government support is necessary.

Posted by: toledojoe | February 7, 2007 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Lark- why do you have to name call? I'm not "Zouk" or a troll. I'm a 32 year old woman who happens to believe Baby Boomers are going to destroy America. I would not be surprised to learn that you were a Boomer looking forward to recieving Social Security and Medicare since you probably haven't saved a dime - expecting the goverment to take care of everything and everyone.

Posted by: GenX | February 7, 2007 10:16 AM | Report abuse

I don't know the nitty gritty of this argument and haven't read any responses, however I have always found Americans' fear of taxes a bit odd. Yes, we don't want to pay them, but Americans have some of the lowest tax rates of the Western world and if it meant (finally) providing universal health care, something all other Western democracies manage, then I would be happy for higher taxes. Maybe that makes me a 'liberal'. I think I just have a good sense of fair play.

Posted by: Aussie view | February 7, 2007 7:52 AM | Report abuse

hey, Dave! - the synonym for "story" is spelled "t-a-l-e." A "tail" is what your dog has, as in "Hey, who knocked over my beer?" "It's the wagging of that hideous tail!"

Posted by: Paul Shaffer! | February 7, 2007 12:06 AM | Report abuse

Raising taxes won't be a problem for Edwards (or any other Democrat) because he will only raise them on the "wealthy", whatever that means. But that's ok because the reason to raise taxes is so darn worthwhile. Universal Healthcare - it doesn't get any more caring than that. Yet another governmental program - do we never learn? I have worked as a contractor for EPA, HUD and DoD - none of which is a profile in efficiency and some of them downright dysfunctional. But this would be needed by millions of people - you know, if we could help just one person, it would be worth it. Those rich people just need to pay their fair share... Edwards is a lawyer - he can sell some pretty tall tails and make you a believer.

Posted by: Dave! | February 6, 2007 10:48 PM | Report abuse

"there are others in this world who also went to college and studied Marx, although most of us who are employed took it as an elective and found a major that pays."

-yeah, i did too. don't know too many professional marxists. i do, however, know of many professionals who have not closed their minds to facts and / or theories they are uncomfortable with, but then i'm not from zouk.

"the most famous line from Marx which is entirely accurate and not subject to historical revisionism is 'From the able to the needy' or something like that."

-congratulations! you revised it.

"Regardless of the historical imperative, the utopian society magically found a way to motivate the extraordinary towards providing for the less than average. In the real world this has been hard to establish."

-as you say, it's utopian. if you will review, i said that too. utopian philosophies have been tried and perverted since the beginning of time. take christianity, for example... or compassionate conservatism - the difference here being that marx and jesus at least believed in what they said, and thought about it enough to develop a coherent philosophy. and i'm sure they could both spell and pronounce words like 'n-u-c-l-e-a-r' and 'p-o-t-a-t-o.'

"and as far as your metrics for mediocrity:
fast food sells like crazy and is expanding around the world, but I guess if you don't like it something must be wrong"

-ain't just me, your zoukiness. you can't seriously tell me that you've never heard or read of the lack of quality / nutrition in fast foods. would you encourage your kids to eat that? have you ever seen the films "supersize me" or "fast food nation"? and in re: "sells like crazy and is expanding around the world" - by that logic, you must have had a pet rock in the '70's? no? did you get down on the dance floor with the village people? the point being that quality is supposed to be what you personally decide it is, not what everyone else likes.

"fox news is the number one cable network but ratings should be ignored if it isn't a liberal message - (See air America / bankruptcy)"

-see above. i bet you sent away for sea monkeys, didn't you?

"Beanie babies sold by the millions, I don't care for them but then I don't make puny economic decisions for everyone as you seem to be able to do."

-no, i just don't let them make economic decisions for me. but you shouldn't feel insecure - after all, everyone always says 'it's not the SIZE of the economic decision that matters, but rather how you use it.'

"the Canadian health system is a parasite off our patents."

- ours? i think big pharma would beg to differ with you. i dare you to ask them for "your" share of the profits.

"where do you think all those cheap drugs originate?"

-the cheap ones are generic knock-offs of the overpriced, heavily marketed ones which are sending pharmaceutical executives' kids to college, and to cancun, and to the lexus dealer, etc.

"all big government is good, especially the enviro-jihadists."

-oh, you mean those dastardly folks who told us about global warming? it's called science, zouky. "look it up."

"do you know how many infants have died because you and your kind thought that DDT should be banned across the globe?"

-do you know how many were born deformed because you and your kind wanted to sip your drinks outdoors without getting bitten?

"Mosquitoes are more important than poor Africans according to your wisdom."

-i don't recall saying or thinking that. not that you're paying attention, i'm sure, but ddt is poisonous to everyone, black white and brown.

"But please do tell more about your marxist utopia."

-well, for one thing, it has no kings, not even imaginary ones.

Posted by: meuphys | February 6, 2007 7:28 PM | Report abuse

Andra, you are SO right! Keeping the old people alive is a huge cost that would not be incurred in private insurance plans!

Posted by: roo | February 6, 2007 6:38 PM | Report abuse

KOZ: I hope you're not going to flood every Fix board with useless posts about the invincible Rudy Giuliani.

He'd make a great general election candidate. Too bad there is ZERO chance of him getting the GOP nomination. ZERO.

Posted by: Loudoun Voter | February 6, 2007 6:11 PM | Report abuse

William, Why is there Air?

Posted by: W.H.C. | February 6, 2007 5:58 PM | Report abuse

"Without our taxes, nothing the government wishes to do, could be done."

And why would that be bad?

The federal government should be responsible only for national defense and diplomacy.

EVERYTHING else should be a state issue.

So if you take $400 billion for the military budget, and say another $200 billion (and that's generous) for other programs, that's 600 billion a year, once the national debt is payed off.

Bush's new budget for FY07 is what, something like 3 trillion? About 80% of that is entitlement programs (which can be abolished), payment on the debt (won't exist after it's payed off), and pork.

The income tax (unconstitutional, since when 16A was written "incomes" were revenues from trust funds or annuites), should be abolished and replaced by the FairTax.

Posted by: William | February 6, 2007 5:50 PM | Report abuse

Why are taxes such a "four-letter" word? Without our taxes, nothing the government wishes to do, could be done. Taxes are after all the cost we pay to have free society, and a safety net (however ravaged by those who'll never need it) for those with the least of us. Our taxes gladly paid and responsibly spent (not as often as I'd like) keep us free and growing whether the republican-lobbyist elitist cadre (always wanted to say something inflammatory like that...)want to admit it or not. Get over yourselves! Spent in the ways that bolster our society and values of freedom from oppression, guarantee of opportunity and promise of quality to our lives is why this is still the greatest country on the planet, and our people too.

Posted by: Jerry Adams | February 6, 2007 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Just like tribal Iraq is not ready or able for democracy, so corporate run USA is not ready for health care for all.

Posted by: loonramdon | February 6, 2007 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Fact of the matter is, there will have to be a tax raise SOMETIME...

Posted by: jojo | February 6, 2007 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Here's an example of why healthcare costs are so high and why lawyers like John Edwards are part of the problem:

Our friend's father died in a nursing home last year. A well-to-do retired banker, he was on Medicaid when he finally passed away at 85. But thats not my story. In the month before he died, a 98 year old woman who was in that same nursing home died in the hospital, having been rushed there in the middle of the night with heart failure. It was the third time she had been rushed to the hospital last year alone. She had had dementia for years and was mainly uncommunicative. She died while they were prepping her for tests. Why did the nursing home keep rushing her to the hospital and why did the hospital keep pulling out all the stops to keep her alive? Because they were afraid of being sued if they didn't.

What were the costs? She was on Medicaid in the nursing home, in New York State, at probably $8-9,000 per month. Medicare paid the hospital bills. I had to take my own 85 year old mother, who also has dementia, to the hospital 2 years ago for an out patient heart catheter test and it was $10,000 dollars, of which Medicare paid over $9,000.

The 98 year old woman easily cost the taxpayer paid healthcare system $100,000 for last year alone. Politicians are going to be very reluctant to deal with these issues.

Posted by: Andra | February 6, 2007 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Once enough baby-boomers with chronic illnesses get laid off and discover the horror of the solo private health insurance market or underwriting of health plans at small businesses, the momentum for single-payer health care will be unstoppable. These people will vote.
The problem with all the "universal health care" plans so far, including Edwards', is no one is willing to take commercial insurers out of the picture because they contribute so much $ to political campaigns. I was awfully disappointed by Steven Pearlstein on this topic the other week. Maybe you just have to be out there on your own, with cancer, to get it.
Lastly, on the topic of taxation, maybe it's time to give luxury taxes another try, but this time 1 percent above a certain amount, not 10 percent as in the early 1990s. We live in a different time now. There is much more wealth concentrated among the top 5 percent of households, and they will probably not blink at a 1 percent sales tax--how else to let everyone know they are rich if they can't show off their stuff? I don't think a 1 percent tax would hurt yacht sales this time, for instance.
Lastly, it's a given that the Bush income tax for the rich need to expire.
Raising taxes is only a "show stopper" if they are on the middle class, or allowed to be portrayed that way by the Republicans or WaPo bloggers.
It's time for the Dems to show a little guts. Now or never.
And whatever happened to Bill Bradley, anyway?

Posted by: jane | February 6, 2007 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Look, nobody wants to pay more taxes, but everything costs something. I do not believe that there is anyone in America who thinks that we can have anything approaching universal coverage, and that the health insurance fairy is just going to come out of the sky and do it at no cost.

The larger question is, are candidates like Obama going to get to have it both ways and say things like, there is going to be universal coverage by the end of the next President's first term, and not relate how its going to be paid for?

Personally, I'd welcome a debate about whether having a third party system pay for things like medical care is the most efficient way to go, and it would have the added benefit of starkly drawing the lines between a Democratic vision of the future and the Republican vision of the future.

Posted by: Steve | February 6, 2007 4:13 PM | Report abuse

"From each according to his abilities; to each accotrding to his needs." - Marx

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 3:56 PM | Report abuse

No candidate, not Edwards or anyone can win an election by saying "I'm going to raise taxes".

Posted by: Brian Holz | February 6, 2007 3:49 PM | Report abuse

I can only guess that those public schools you cherish didn't teach economics because there doesn't seem to be one Lib out there who has any inkling of the science behind this. Ever heard of the Laffer curve? One can lower taxes and actually increase revenue. Just examine the record revenue since the Bush tax cuts.

there is also an issue with who's money we are talking about. It is not the government's money to allow you to keep. It is your money to contribute to the general welfare. GET IT STRAIGHT LIBS. I don't support your giant programs and prefer to dispense my money in my own way. Clearly there are many of my representatives in Congress. Keep trying to elect ones that support your agenda. you will find it difficult since we all know the Dems proclivity to create beasts and never kill them off. but then you Libs seem to have no sense of history since you can't even remember the 90s and the failed foreign policy of those years. but you don't want to talk about unpleasant things.

Posted by: kingofzouk | February 6, 2007 3:39 PM | Report abuse

The problem with the "tax" issue for Edwards and Democrats is that the media and the general public don't recognize or acknowledge the hidden taxes that Bush's administration has imposed on most Americans. When you are spending 300 billion for the Iraq war and it is not part of the Federal budget, where does the money come from? Thin air? It comes from borrowing money (printing money) through the selling of Treasury bonds, much of it to foreign investors. What does that do to the value of the dollars average Americans hold in their possession? What it does is devalue those dollars while increasing the debt that these and future Americans will have to pay back. This is just a sneaky of raising taxes without calling it a tax increase. The fact is that the current administration has raised taxes every bit as much as any in recent history. They just have a better way of packaging it for public consumption and the media lets them get away with it. The so-called Bush tax cuts that he is trying to make permanent are just an income redistribution plan for the upper class. Call it what you will, but the money for these "tax cuts" has to come from somewhere and somebody, and to that somebody, it is a tax increase. Edwards and others should not be punished when they state the obvious--Programs cost money and that money has to come from somebody which means taxing someone or cutting programs (which transfers the costs of the programs back to states or individuals--another name for those costs might be taxes). It's time to stop the shell game and applaud politicians who try to be honest, rather than allow them to be pilloried for trying to do the right thing.

Posted by: John Pegues | February 6, 2007 3:32 PM | Report abuse

The problem with the "tax" issue for Edwards and Democrats is that the media and the general public don't recognize or acknowledge the hidden taxes that Bush's administration has imposed on most Americans. When you are spending 300 billion for the Iraq war and it is not part of the Federal budget, where does the money come from? Thin air? It comes from borrowing money (printing money) through the selling of Treasury bonds, much of it to foreign investors. What does that do to the value of the dollars average Americans hold in their possession? What it does is devalue those dollars while increasing the debt that these and future Americans will have to pay back. This is just a sneaky of raising taxes without calling it a tax increase. The fact is that the current administration has raised taxes every bit as much as any in recent history. They just have a better way of packaging it for public consumption and the media lets them get away with it. The so-called Bush tax cuts that he is trying to make permanent are just an income redistribution plan for the upper class. Call it what you will, but the money for these "tax cuts" has to come from somewhere and somebody, and to that somebody, it is a tax increase. Edwards and others should not be punished when they state the obvious--Programs cost money and that money has to come from somebody which means taxing someone or cutting programs (which transfers the costs of the programs back to states or individuals--another name for those costs might be taxes). It's time to stop the shell game and applaud politicians who try to be honest, rather than allow them to be pilloried for trying to do the right thing.

Posted by: John | February 6, 2007 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Duphys - there are others in this world who also went to college and studied Marx, although most of us who are employed took it as an elective and found a major that pays. the most famous line from Marx which is entirely accurate and not subject to historical revisionism is "From the able to the needy" or something like that. Regardless of the historical imperative, the utopian society magically found a way to motivate the extraordinary towards providing for the less than average. In the real world this has been hard to establish. and as far as your metrics for mediocrity:
fast food sells like crazy and is expanding around the world, but I guess if you don't like it something must be wrong - arrogance, look it up.
fox news is the number one cable network but ratings should be ignored if it isn't a liberal message - (See air America/bankruptcy)
Beanie babies sold by the millions, I don't care for them but then I don't make puny economic decisions for everyone as you seem to be able to do.

the Canadian health system is a parasite off our patents. where do you think all those cheap drugs originate? and the reason the vaccines were not available is due to federal government intervention into the market and changing the FDA guidelines on vaccines. that resulted from Dem trial attornies trying to "soak the rich" pharmo companies. but all big goverment is good, especially the enviro-jihadists. do you know how many infants have died because you and your kind thought that DDT should be banned across the globe. Mosquitoes are more important than poor Africans according to your wisdom.

But please do tell more about your marxist utopia. It lets the whole world know just how weak your arguments are. And your support of Karl Edwards is telling.

Posted by: kingofzouk | February 6, 2007 3:28 PM | Report abuse

I love to hear JRE tell the truth yet remained amazed at how much fear it strikes in the "good ole boys" who have great monetary gain by leaving our healthcare system beyond broken.

Time to transform this country, kick out the bought and paid for folks who have run it into the ground.

Courage to lay down the facts, and a real desire to work for change supporting all Americans...Insuring the entire U.S. by 2012......hmm and all we have to do is remove the "bonus" Bush gave the wealthiest 3% of folks ?

Where do I sign?

Posted by: Fear does strange stuff | February 6, 2007 3:23 PM | Report abuse

A candidate could get some traction with a platform that called for tax increases as long as it also called for other difficult -- that is, potentially unpopular -- steps on the spending side.

It's easy for any candidate proposing only new benefits paid for with tax increases to be saddled with the "tax-and-spend" label. This is because the label is accurate. A candidate whose agenda also includes spending cuts or their equivalent will still have a battle, but will also have ammunition with which to fight back.

It's still early, but Edwards so far is headed toward a "tax-and-spend" agenda. He hasn't addressed the fact that America -- even with the uninsured and other access problems -- spends vastly more for health care overall as a percentage of the economy than other developed countries. A large part of this is due not to the way the system works, but rather to the decisions Americans make about health care, in particular the level of care provided to the very old and terminally ill.

It will be difficult to sell a program that calls only for taxing more and spending more. But at this stage Edwards and the other candidates aren't really selling a program -- they are instead trying to sell themselves as people who would do credit to the office of the Presidency, to Americans who don't think much of the men who've held that office recently. Part of that sales job could be highlighting a candidate's willingness to suggest necessary steps even though they are unpopular. Traditionally that approach has worked better for Republicans than for Democrats, but 2008 is a different year.

Posted by: Zathras | February 6, 2007 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Diane and others have asked about $200,000 and whether that is wealthy or middle class. I would say it depends on where you live. In Jackson, MS or Lansing, MI or Jefferson City, MO, $200,000 per year is plenty to provide a very comfortable lifestyle, live in a nice sized house, drive a reliable vehicle, take a vacation each year and still have some to put away for retirement and savings. I certainly wouldn't say they are wealthy, but doing quite well for themselves.

In Washington, DC or San Francisco or Miami or New York $200,000 doesn't go so far. I, for example, live inside the beltway in a smallish 3 bedroom, 2 bath house that still cost almost $1,000,000. My wife stays home with our three children. So, two kids share a room and all three share a bathroom. More than many have, I understand, but certainly not living the wealthy lifestyle.

She drives a 2 year old Ford Escape and I have a 4 year old Infiniti. Nice, comfortable cars to be sure, but not the Lamborghinis - or even Mercedes - of the "rich." We try to put $1500 per month away for the kids to go to college (which isn't nearly enough) and another $1500 into a retirement account.

With a $4500 monthly mortgage, $3000 monthly savings for college and retirement (as opposed to a yacht for the carribean) and approximately $1500 monthly in auto expenses (payment, insurance, maintenance, gas) that's $9,000 of my 10,500 monthly take home pay on a $190,000 salary. That leaves $1500 for food for a family of 5 (home and eating out occassionally) all of our clothes, the kids's clothes, any vacations we want to take, medical costs, and anything else that comes up (and with three kids, something else ALWAYS comes up). $1500 per month of true disposable income and I make $190,000 per year.

How much of that $1500 should I take from the grocery budget for John Edwards' heath care plan?

Or would you tell me not to save for retirement? Or don't worry about sending the kids to college? Or move further out in the suburbs so my 9-10 hour work day is complemented with a 2-3 hour commute and thus giving me NO time with my family? or move to a smaller place where all three kids share a room and we have one bathroom for all 5 of us?

Like I said, I'm not complaining, I am very fortunate in many ways to be able to do the things I do, but please don't tell me I am wealthy enough to be responsible for everyone else's health care.

Posted by: The Rich Guy | February 6, 2007 3:08 PM | Report abuse

You're laughing at people whose homes were destroyed in a natural disaster, and saying that they shouldn't have gone to the government for help. Unbelievable. The government built the levees that failed to protect the people of New Orleans, and the government was responsible for making the evacuation plans that failed to get people out of the city. What happened during and after Katrina was a horrible failure of local, state, and federal government. And you're blaming the victims.

But I guess since we aren't talking about white people (oh, excuse me, "White" people), they don't matter. They're just a bunch of stupid animals who deserve to be shot.

Posted by: Blarg | February 6, 2007 3:05 PM | Report abuse

his majesty speaketh:

"Let's punish success and reward mediocrity. that's marxism, not capitalism."

-what exactly do you know about marxism? because as someone who has read about it and studied it (and no, i'm not a marxist) 'punishing success' isn't really part of the plan. marxism is a utopian ideal impossible in reality - the states you would refer to as "marxist" are totalitarian dictatorships whose geopolitical equivalent in the 19th century - the time marx was writing - would have been empires, not the proletariat. furthermore, the good ol' USA has PLENTY of examples of "rewarding mediocrity." capital does not select for the quality of one's thought but rather for the ability to insist - using "market mechanisms," of course - that it be adopted by others. capitalism has brought us fast food, beanie babies, fox news, and liposuction, and if that ain't mediocrity...

"do we really want a Canadian style health care system where you have to wait 6 months to see the doctor? where you have to get your new medicines from other countries?"

-actually, if you will think back to last year, you will remember that in one of their phony colored terrorist alerts, the government was unable to provide anthrax vaccine in sufficient quantity and had to get it from england. you may also remember americans lining up at the border to buy more affordable prescription medicines from canada, a state with nationalized health care whiich was thus able to negotiate bulk prices from manufacturers.

the tally: common sense 2, zouk 0.

Posted by: meuphys | February 6, 2007 3:01 PM | Report abuse

"I think Americans will admire his convictions."

You mean like buying a $10 million dollar house, on an immense estate, with an execise barn?

What a sleazeball and a hypocrite.

He could have donated that $10 million to the poor, poor Katrina victims he seems to care so much about.

Or maybe, he should invite some to stay in his house, with his family.

But he wouldn't do that. Heaven forbid the Man of the People, who cares so much about poverty, should actually invite one of them to dinner.

Filet Mignon eating Edwards is too good for that.

Get real all of you. Edwards is Kerry with an American wife and a Southern accent.

Posted by: William | February 6, 2007 2:57 PM | Report abuse

I see a lot of moaning about the lack of coverage for the poor but we do indeed have converage for the poor, it is called medicaide. now if you support raising the line under which someone might qualify for this program, that is in my mind nibbling around the edges. I don't object to your attempts to do that.

On the other hand, if you favor a new giant tax to provide benefits to a whole new swath of the population based on soaking the most productive and the actual taxpayers, I think the hillary plan of a while back was in that mode and was laughed out of Washington. this site not withstanding, I don't think there is much support among the middle of the road voters for this. certainly not the 30-40% Repubs.

but really, do you need to twist the facts to convince people of your ideas. what is all this garbage about record deficits and so on. you lose all credibility when you quote patently false information.

Just who do you thnk is signing your paycheck every week - it is some rich guy paying about 50% in AMT. If you get him up to 75%, he is going to let you go. think about the implications of your actions for once. The problem with your Iraq strategy si you have not done the simple step of saying what are the implications of this action.

Posted by: kingofzouk | February 6, 2007 2:54 PM | Report abuse

For as much as Shrub has added to the tax bills of current and future generations with the debacle in Iraq, Republicans should bite their tongues before assailing any Democrat who mentions tax hikes.

Posted by: bigolpoofter | February 6, 2007 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Apparently several of the candidates--Obama, Edwards, Guiliani, possibly Richardson and Gingich--are gambling in different ways that the American public is looking for a different kind of President than what we have had since 1968.
I would appreciate your thoughts on whether my perception that some of the candidates are trying to "break the mold" in 2008.
If you agree, what do you think of their chances of succeeding as a "different" kind of candidate?

Posted by: Mouse | February 6, 2007 2:39 PM | Report abuse

I find John Edwards to be refreshingly authentic and honest. He isn't dodging how he will finance the programs he's proposing. I, for one, plan to support him. I hope others who value you honest, forthright leadership will too.

Posted by: Pam Leitterman | February 6, 2007 2:38 PM | Report abuse

It takes guts for Edwards to say he will have to raise taxes to pay for a new program, but it's just common sense. For the past 6 years the Republicans have been spending money like water while cutting taxes and adding hundreds of millions of dollars to the national debt. Yet they will use Edwards statement against him, out of context, in the most vicious manner possible.

Edwards is not necessarily my preferred Democratic candidate, but I'm impressed that he is willing to say "raise taxes" without choking on it.

Posted by: Barry Brisco | February 6, 2007 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Any discussion of the current US healthcare system should look at the financial and moral costs we now incur. I know that many of the dollars we spend never help a sick person. Our health system is bloated with excessive costs. I say let's focus our money toward two areas, fighting sickness and the prevention of illness. The moral costs of our present system leave many of us wanting. Too many Americans do not have health insurance. We all suffer when so many of our fellow citizens are left out. Indeed, we are all responsible for each other. I support universal healthcare. Our leaders should help us understand the collective obligation we have to each other and the personal duty we each have to take care of our own health. Beneficiaries should be encouraged to enjoy their optimal level of health but if a citizen chooses to ignore the best advice of healthcare providers, we cannot afford to save them each time he crashes. My vote goes to the politician that tells us Universal Health has responsibilities in addition to rights.

Posted by: Bob in Vilas NC | February 6, 2007 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Unlike most his Democratic primary opponents, John Edwards refuses a position of moderation in the face of suffering--incl. the 47 million without healthcare. Edwards beelives this is unacceptable, supports universal healthcare as a principle, and has the guts to say how he'll fund it. I think Americans will admire his convictions. He certainly won my vote. I'm tired of Dem's being too scared to have the courage of their convictions.

Posted by: Greg Harris | February 6, 2007 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Grover Norquist is a genius!

"I don't want to abolish goverment. I just want to shrink it to the size where I can drag it into my bathroom and drown it in the bathtub!"


Posted by: William | February 6, 2007 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Edwards has moved too far to the left to be a viable candidate for president. He has basically turned into a socialist, calling for wealth redistribution to fund more wasteful largesse through social programs.

What's he going to suggest next? That the government confiscate private land and give it to Katrina parasites?

Edwards is shamelessly pandering to poor minorities, hoping to win their votes in exchange for free stuff paid for by taxing people who actually work hard, instead of receiving a welfare check.

It was really pathetic how after Katrina, all the "victims" were crowding around the Superdome like sheep, whining "We want help! We want help!"

They are so used to being provided for by government largesse rather than providing for themselves, that they had no idea what to do when the check and food stamps stopped coming in.

This may sound cruel, but the people demanding "HELP" as if they were somehow entitled to it reminded me of zoo animals who's keeper doesn't feed them one day, and then they have no idea what to do so they start howling.

Did you see people in rural LA or Mississippi whining for help and demanding free stuff?

NO, because those people are hard-working, honest, and resilient. They are not leaches, unlike the New Orleans "victims."

And now, all of New Orlean's finest citizens are scattered over the entire country, raping and murdering anyone they can find.

I pity the poor families who took in Katrina refugees, only to be robbed or have their daughter raped by the Katrina escapee.

If a Katrina refugee showed up at my door, I would show them the business end of my shotgun and tell them to beat it before I lost my temper.

I don't feel sorry for the Katrina "victims". They are in the situation they're in because they are lazy and have criminal tendencies.

Then, when anything bad happens to them, they blame White people and society in general.

How pathetic. It's so easy to blame other people for all your problems. Can I have a debit card to buy CD's, Gucci, and Air Jordans, too?

I have a solution that's better than Pinko Edwards' to solve the Katrina problem.

Anyone care to hear it?


Posted by: William | February 6, 2007 2:19 PM | Report abuse

The public will not support tax increases and for good reason: our politicians do not deserve our trust. I am not going to believe that a universal healthcare scheme will only require higher taxes on the rich when the person pitching it is also telling me he got fooled into supporting that Iraq War Resolution.

Posted by: Andra | February 6, 2007 2:11 PM | Report abuse

How would YOU come to grips with the issue of health care in this country?
A "small nimble market approach" sounds like health savings accounts. Is that what you favor?

Posted by: Mouse | February 6, 2007 2:01 PM | Report abuse

resident Bush yesterday proposed deep cuts to federal healthcare, education, and transportation programs, searching for new money in the federal budget to pay for increasingly costly defense programs and the war in Iraq.

The president's $2.9 trillion spending plan calls for saving $100 billion in Medicare and Medicaid payments, and for limiting eligibility in the State Children's Health Insurance Program -- a change that could result in the loss of health care for children in many states.

Health care workers were especially taken aback by the plan: cuts to Medicare spending would equal about $66 billion over five years and Medicaid would see a similar decline in funds by about $25 billion over the same period. The American Hospital Association (AHA), a national organization that represents nearly 5,000 hospitals and health-care systems, immediately condemned the cuts.

AHA president Rich Umbdenstock described Bush's plan as singling out children, seniors and the disabled to carry the burden of achieving a balanced budget.

--more money for war profiteers, less for citizens. simple.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 1:48 PM | Report abuse

The unfortunate truth is that the Republicans will devour Edwards and spin this "raising taxes" mantra to eternity, despite the plain fact that a national health plan is beyond despirately needed, it is a crisis!
What Edwards should do is clarify that the money would come from the top income bracket and will not effect the middle class, thereby making the case that he is pro-middle class. The "raising taxes" portion of his plan, however, should not be the central point of his arguement. It should be to address the health-care crisis and how many millions of working Americans desperately need relief for their families.

Posted by: Louise Fleming | February 6, 2007 1:46 PM | Report abuse

'some small nimble market approach' by halliburton...

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 1:41 PM | Report abuse

I got the idea from what you said: That it's right to bring everyone up to make a level playing field.

Obviously, the current system isn't a level playing field. Fewer and fewer jobs offer employer-subsidized health insurance. And a lot of those plans aren't very good, as more employers switch to high-deductible plans. With healthcare costs going up so rapidly, it's very hard to afford private insurance. So unless you're lucky enough to have one of the good jobs that gives fairly-priced comprehensive insurance, you probably can't afford decent healthcare at all.

Okay, so the current plan isn't level. There are two options, as you pointed out. We could bring everyone up, or we could push everyone down. If we don't change the system, then prices will keep going up, coverage will get worse, and fewer people will have any sort of coverage. In other words, they get pushed down. As I explained, universal healthcare raises everyone up to level the playing field. And that's what you want, right?

Posted by: Blarg | February 6, 2007 1:41 PM | Report abuse

This is going to be one of the key issues in the upcoming election. Any legitimate Democratic candidate will have to face it. Basically this comes down to Big Spending Social Conservatives who give tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans and run up massive deficits, against Big Spending Liberals who want to repeal the Bush tax cuts to fund programs (health care, education, clean energy R&D) that help the middle class and return fiscal sanity to the federal government. While this won't do much in the south, this will very likely be a winning strategy in key midwestern and southwestern swing states. The Democrats don't deserve to win this election if they don't face this issue head on -- and also develop a slate of issues that take into account the reality that the South (with the possible exceptions of Virginia and Florida) is lost to the party for the forseeable future.

Posted by: ClarkBaxter | February 6, 2007 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Many Americans who have been laid-off and seen their jobs migrate to China or India might take a look at Sen. Edward's idea. Industry and Business are becoming tired of being the health-care provider for their employees and retirees. It adds to the cost of American products and makes those products less competitive in the world market. It is in our self-interest to have a National Health Care Program. A return to pre-Bush tax rates for those making over $200,000 would not reduce them to poverty. It could help maintain the American Middle Class. This seems an equitable trade-off. You maintain your life-style (lavish by Middle-Class standards) and the Middle Class and poor get health care. American products are more competitive in the world and more Americans can have a decent living.

Posted by: JRH | February 6, 2007 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Where would you get the idea that I would support some giant expensive interventionist government program over some small nimble market approach. Somewhat clever but not really.

Posted by: kingofzouk | February 6, 2007 1:28 PM | Report abuse

If the American people wanted to be told the truth, they would be overjoyed with Edwards and have turned against borrow-and-spend Bush much earlier. Too bad for Edwards people would rather cripple the next generation with debt than pay for what this generation takes.

Posted by: aleks | February 6, 2007 1:24 PM | Report abuse

"this is how you level the playing field, raise everyone up, not tear the most successful down."

That's very progressive of you, Zouk. I'm glad to see you support universal healthcare.

After all, universal healthcare does raise everyone up. It ensures that the poor and middle class can afford decent coverage. And it helps put a stop to skyrocketing healthcare costs which are currently making the problem worse, and making it so only the rich can afford good health insurance. It would even lower the healthcare costs for the rich, so it wouldn't tear them down. Sounds like universal healthcare is right up your alley!

Posted by: Blarg | February 6, 2007 1:21 PM | Report abuse

"The White House is projecting that its new budget will eliminate the deficit by 2012 assuming Mr. Bush's tax cuts are extended after 2010. We don't put much stock in future budget forecasts because they depend on so many variables. But even CBO predicts the deficit should remain near or below 1% of GDP for the rest of the Bush Presidency. That's well below the 40-year average of 2.4% of GDP."

From today's WSJ. Now who should I believe a major newspaper or some ignorant coward who won't sign his own name to even a blog. go ahead and actually read the article or remain in your ignorant veil of stupidity.

Oh too bad, another last election lie put to bed. Let's discuss Dem corruption now. how about Czar Pelosi's need for a newer gigantic plane for her entourage. Denny is a big man but he was able to do with less. See how everything the Dems touch bloats out of proportion.

It is getting easier and easier to discredit most everything you Libs say. the internet is severly limiting your ability, along with the miasmic stream media, to control the terms of the debate. now that you may have to be somewhat honest about your arguments, they are going down in flames. Perhaps a main reason Fox cable news has been so dominant over the last five years. We have been propagandized enough. the truth will set you free. Please continue to ignore ignorant coward.

Posted by: kingofzouk | February 6, 2007 1:18 PM | Report abuse

'President Bush's 2008 budget includes a $625 billion request for the military, up from $295 billion the year Bush was elected -- a 112 percent increase. Its about $100 billion more than all other military budgets in the world, combined.

Plenty of attention is being paid the exhausted military fighting Bush's various wars. There's no denying it. It's overstretched and undermanned. It makes you think the Pentagon needs more money, not less.

But little attention is paid the flip-side of that story -- the squandering of money on defense contractors' swindles, whether it's the superfluous $66 billion F-22 fighter jet program -- one of three jet fighters in development -- or the $9 billion-a-year missile shield, which, one test aside, hasn't gotten much past its middle school science project concept since Ronald Reagan fancied it a quarter century and $160 billion ago.

The military is strapped by its own doing. Lawmakers are complicit. Job-producing military contracts are seeded throughout the land's congressional districts like bribes.'

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 1:17 PM | Report abuse

In no other world except the loopy Beltway pseudo-reality could one spend money one does not have. If I try to buy a hamburger or a fajita with an IOU, I would create an uproarious frolic in a restaurant, yet our congress does it every day. How can this make any sense except to a political spinmeister and the less than thoughtful spun. Eventually, all bills come due. At least Edwards has enough honesty to admit this will cost money. I think he would be smarter to say he's taking back some of the doubling of income the top 1% has seen in the last 6 years, but oooh that would be "class warfare." As if it is not "class warfare" to take all of the tax breaks the Republican's give and not feel one penny of gratitude toward the country that allows such wealth to flow from the least to the most powerful.

Posted by: Phil Boiarski | February 6, 2007 1:17 PM | Report abuse

'It also shows that GOPs don't come to the Fix for their analysis or advice.'

true -- they go to the Moonie Times ... because they're so credible

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 1:13 PM | Report abuse

the god squad preachers control the minds of hundreds of thousands in this country, buddy... the fundamentalists vote how they're told..

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 1:11 PM | Report abuse

'Understand the distinction between Dems and Gops now?'

sure do. republicans lie every time they open their mouths, and steal my money.

'but consider most private schools spend less per pupil, how is that?'

and the truth is, private schools produce lazy, undereducated privileged losers like gw bush -- and their parents pay through the teeth for it --more than 3 times what public school taxes cost. that's the wonderful profit movtive at work.

'why is Aetna deciding how much things cost? Why is BCBS deciding who I can visit? the entire method is backwards.'

--whicn is why we need single payer

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Hey CNN, better get over there and start some drumbeat to stop Rudy in his tracks. Go interview some god squad guy and get it on record. We don't want anyone thinking Rudy can beat hillary. Ignore every poll that shows him in the lead and all the others that demonstrate that the god squad has less than 20% of the base vote or that they care a lot about war and taxes. Maybe we should run a "news" piece about rudy's marriages and gay friends.

that is why CNN is at the bottom of the ratings.

It also shows that GOPs don't come to the Fix for their analysis or advice.

Posted by: kingofzouk | February 6, 2007 1:09 PM | Report abuse

'the deficit is way down and is projected to go away in about 3 years.'

..and pigs fly and my fairy godmother will give me a golden castle...

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 1:04 PM | Report abuse

n case you wondered whether social cons had a problem with rudy--ain't gonna fly:

'WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, said Monday if Rudy Giuliani wins the GOP presidential nomination Democrats will take back the White House in 2008.

"If by some chance Giuliani were to gain the Republican nomination it would set up a very similar scenario that we had last November," Perkins said in an interview with Christian Broadcasting Network. "A unenthusiastic Republican base which will suppress turnout and set up a Democratic victory."

Perkins comments come just as the former New York City mayor filed a formal statement of candidacy with the Federal Elections Committee -- another step towards his likely run for the White House.

"Americans do not yet realize how far outside of the mainstream of conservative thought that Mayor Giuliani social views really are," Perkins told CBN. "Once people focus on this election and the candidates, Giuliani's lead will diminish."

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Why is the knee-jerk reaction of most Libs who confront a failing government enterprise to simply apply more cash? you think it will work for health care and also for public education, social seccurity and medicare. but consider most private schools spend less per pupil, how is that?

Now reconsider the health care situation. do any of you have auto insurance or home insurance which covers every dollar you spend on the device? do you shop for oil changes based on price (jiffy Lube or the dealer)? do you put of some repairs on an older car? do you pay for every single inspection known to man when you hear a funny noise?

Only when we approach the health care situation differently will this problem go away. what other comodity are you so careless about the price? do you know so little about the procedures? when someone else is paying the tab we ask few questions. We accept all tests and procedures. We extend life without any contemplation. Why is my employer paying for this? why is Aetna deciding how much things cost? Why is BCBS deciding who I can visit? the entire method is backwards.

More money will not solve this problem, an entire restructuring is in order.

Posted by: kingofzouk | February 6, 2007 1:01 PM | Report abuse

I say take the bastard swine rich and confiscate every penny they've got.

Posted by: david scott | February 6, 2007 12:58 PM | Report abuse

This cannot hurt Edwards chances...he never had any. Plus, Republicans do not have to *portray* Democrats as tax raisers, since that is their solution to every problem.

Posted by: gitarre | February 6, 2007 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Hillary tried the "Univeral Health Care" thing when she was first lady. Didn't go so well. Edwards is going to have a hard time selling the "raising taxes for univeral health care" thing when people start digging into how much money this guy has and how he got it. Canada's univeral health care is a joke! You've got private clinics popping up everywhere and people paying out of their own pockets for good health care bypassing the governments "free" healthcare. Canadians are paying twice! No thanks.

Posted by: michelle | February 6, 2007 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Saunders, do you read the papers? why are you Dems misrepresenting the facts over and over. the deficit is way down and is projected to go away in about 3 years. but you think we need to radically raise taxes to fix this?
another fallacy: the poor are giving their money to the rich - where do you get this tripe from? the rich may be paying less of THIER money.

It is your money until the entire process takes it from you under threat of prison. It is not naturally owned by the government who might see to it that a few leftover crumbs are left for you to control. this time we are not going to allow you Libs to alter the terms of the debate as you did with redeployment which really means retreat and pro-choice which really means pro-abortion. Nice try. It is my money and I give the legislature the power (limited) to use a little for the common good - like the military. Keep your envious hands out of my pocket. go to school, work hard, get a second job. this is how you level the playing field, raise everyone up, not tear the most successful down. Understand the distinction between Dems and Gops now?

Posted by: kingofzouk | February 6, 2007 12:50 PM | Report abuse

I'm really excited to see that right out of the gate Edwards has already managed to get the media to focus on his candidacy and one of his top issues - healthcare.

To all those who dismiss Edwards chances in this election because he dared to speak the dreaded "T" word, I think you greatly underestimate John Edward's communication skills.

In addition to being a class act, I think Edwards's skillful remarks about taxes prove that he is also one smart cookie. His comments practically guarantee him more media interest precisely because they are controversial. And, the more face time and interviews he gets the better his chances are in the election.

Why do you think he's leading in the Iowa polls? In the 2004 election he spent a lot of time with Iowa voters and unlike most politicians, the more the voters heard him, the more they liked him.

Way to go, John!

Posted by: pmorlan | February 6, 2007 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Every time Bush opens his mouth he lies. The Republican Party has substituted partisan politics for patriotism. I keep thinking that eventually Bush will deal honestly with the American people, but I'm still waiting. In the mean time the conduct of the Republican leadership in the House has been reprehensible.

I suspect that there are many other folks like me who are sick and tired of the Washington status quo since 2000. Edwards has presented a detailed plan designed to tackle one of this nation's most pressing issues. Unlike Bush, he actually has a realistic plan that isn't designed primarily to make the wealthiest companies and individuals wealthier while putting the squeeze on the majority of Americans. Edwards health care proposal actually comes with the means to generate the required dollars without leveraging our children's future.

That's not a campaign killer, that's a breath of fresh air. The same old same old Republican attacks calling Democrats the tax and spend party simply don't ring true anymore.

Posted by: Dave in Wisconsin | February 6, 2007 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Because of Bush's class favoritism in tax policy, we will, sooner or later, have to raise taxes to cut down on the enormous deficits we are running. Start by scrapping his tax cuts, except the minimal ones for the middle and lower classes, then reevaluate the impact of that step. If not enough to restore fiscal sanity, raise taxes to their pre-tax cut levels, at least. The voters have recognize the fallacy of Republican labels. After all, their policy is to tax less, but spend more than the Democrats ever dreamed of doing.

Posted by: G. Saunders | February 6, 2007 12:37 PM | Report abuse

"Why is it, folks, that you want to give your money to the already wealthy, while denying yourself?

What kind of abysmal stupidity is this?"

When someone tells me..."You're going to get all this stuff, and it's not going to cost you a thing"...I have trouble believing them. I would appreciate Mr. Edwards candor, if I believed he was being candid.

Posted by: FH | February 6, 2007 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Sen. Edwards knows revenues are needed to effect change in health care; so do the American people. This is "truth for a change." Truth in today's political stratosphere is rare! Edwards health care truth will be embraced beacuse lack of adequate and affordable is not a partisan issue; it is universal. Stop the war, provide health care and taxes will go down!

Posted by: Lon Erwin | February 6, 2007 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Edwards certainly represents a slice of America - the envious. He wants to go back to surrender foreign policy that utterly failed in the 90s, he wants to increase the size of government in many areas and he wants to raise taxes. I am happy this idea is being floated around so that once and for all we can eliminate this as a viable option in american politics. I don't think even most Dems are going to vote for this charlatan. first, he worked for about 2 years in the Senate before running for president the first time. you see he knew he couldn't run on his record for a second term. now he believes he is ready to run the world - into the ground :yes. When asked if Iran will get the bomb when he gets in office, he gagged and did not respond - a clear indication that they would and that he won't be saying anything about this. Haven't we had anough "soak the rich" mentality. anyone out there pay the AMT? you will soon. the tax rates above about 200K are no longer applicable and neither are any of the write-offs. Let's punish success and reward mediocrity. that's marxism, not capitalism and I don't think the majority still lives in some 60s hippy haze. Except on this blog of course.

do we really want a Canadian style health care system where you have to wait 6 months to see the doctor? where you have to get your new medicines from other countries? where the rich leave the country to get decent surgeons?

This guy is simply not electable and can't be taken seriously when he advocates the positions he does. and simply telling the truth about intentions to raise taxes eliminates him entirely. you have to lie about all your positions when you are a Dem so you can get a few votes, then change everything once you are in office. Just ask hillary if you doubt this. you see it is now the norm for Dems to vote for that before running for office, I mean before voting against it.

Rudy is looking inevitable more and more the Dems open their mouths. the recent strategy where they said nothing, advanced nothing and did nothing seems to be the only path to election success. you see the policies don't fly. but blame it on the voting machines if you must.

Posted by: kingofzouk | February 6, 2007 12:19 PM | Report abuse

NEW YORK (Fortune) -- Remember The Marvellettes' song, "Too Many Fish in the Sea?" Well, there aren't.

Off New England, a centuries-old tradition of cod fishing is pretty much over. Blue fin tuna are severely overfished, according to the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch.

Worse - a study published last fall in the journal, Science, warned of a "global collapse" of all wild seafood by mid-century if fishing continues at its current pace.

Shrimp?. Farmed shrimp from Southeast Asia can pollute the seas.

Atlantic salmon? "It's farmed because there's no wild Atlantic salmon left. And it's generally farmed in open net pens, and there are a bunch of issues with that.

Swordfish? Not if they're caught by unregulated foreign fleets, and we won't even get into the health issues raised by mercury contamination.'

This is what greed has brought us to... deregulation and greed. Soon there will be no seafood left. We are endangering the ability of the human species to survive.

Posted by: lark | February 6, 2007 12:19 PM | Report abuse

This is a major gaffe by former Senator Edwards. One of the biggest things he had going for him second bid for the nomination of his party was that he might be the most electable.

Some people still believe that Americans are less inclined to vote for an African American or a woman for President. Now they have to be worried about Edward's becoming a caricature of a democrat.

I think that his move to the left to capture the nomination might be too severe and hurt him in the general election. Cutting off funds to the troops and raising taxes does not poll well at all. He really needs to get his campaign back on track to have a shot at winning it all this time.

Posted by: GWendt | February 6, 2007 12:16 PM | Report abuse

It's about time to get rid of the Republican lie that you can cut taxes and have a fun war at the same time.

Posted by: candide | February 6, 2007 12:15 PM | Report abuse

It is telling that the working class foxviewers don't have a problem with paying taxes so the CEOS of war-profiteering corporations can afford new yachts and thoroughbreds and hanging out with their saudi buddies, while american middle-class kids are dying in Iraq.

Why is it, folks, that you want to give your money to the already wealthy, while denying yourself?

What kind of abysmal stupidity is this?

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 12:09 PM | Report abuse

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 | February 6, 2007 12:08 PM | Report abuse

If being honest is a problem, then Edwards is out. The government [local, state, federal] does not print money. If we want programs [police, fire protection, street repairs, etc.] we must pay for it. And taxes or private subscriptions is the only way to pay for it. There is no free ride. Insurance companies are in business for profit and congress does all they can to support them and they in turn support the congressmen/women.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Is it not interesting that Americans always want everything, but are unwilling to pay for anything!! It is about time that we, as a nation, begin to grapple with the truth-EVERYTHING COSTS MONEY IN GOVERNMENT. We can no longer afford to borrow our way to prosperity. If we want decent health care for every American, we need to pay for it. If we are forced to fight a conflict in the Middle East that most Americans do not believe in, we have to pay for it. If the wealthy and greedy do not wish to particpate, that is fine. They can be left out of Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, FEMA, and every other Federal program. This includes driving on highways subsidized by the taxpayer and participating in the education programs in this country(includes all colleges and universities). Wake up America-if you want it, you have to pay for it. China and Saudia Arabia might someday want their money back.

Posted by: Al | February 6, 2007 12:06 PM | Report abuse

I loved Edwards in 2004. But man, this last two months, he's ran a awful campaign. He rags on Obama's experience? Really?

Then now, he gives every publication the opportunity to run "Edwards want to raise taxes"?

It would seem that too much of Kerry has rubbed off on Edwards...Seriously, he's running a Kerry Campaign.

Posted by: toby | February 6, 2007 12:05 PM | Report abuse

I agree with those pointing out the disconnect between inside the beltway puindits and the majority of average americans.

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.

But its apparently much more fun for Washington writers and insiders to think of taxes as a magic, holy grail type of issue that causes us regular people to lose all ability to reason. Sadly, this kind of reporting only adds to our inability to engage in a real debate in the issues.

Personally, I think most Americans didn't see a noticeable tax cut in 2002, haven't seen an improvement in their economic situation since the cuts, and would gladly give up the tax cuts if they thought we could really solve the health care problem.

Posted by: Alan Kansas | February 6, 2007 12:03 PM | Report abuse

So Kamakaze is going to give everyone $2600 to buy insurance. I want to buy mine where he does. We, two people on medicare spend at least $6000 on premiums.


Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 12:03 PM | Report abuse

The republicans have done a great propaganda job since the reagan administration, convincing simple folks that getting something back from their government in return for what they put in is 'socialism'.

Poor ignorant foools, that can be so easily manipulated to vote agianst their own self-interest, against having what every other citizen in every other civilized country has.

but I guess that's just the nature of sheep...

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 12:02 PM | Report abuse

In this feel-good era of "spend what you don't have" neo-conservatism, we have created a bloated government that caters to a foreign policy of nation building that is currently beyond our means to support. Why should anyone in this country pay taxes to create a potential health system in a far-away country that we are nation building when so many Americans do not have access to health care in our own country. It seems that our current neo-conservative/Fundamentalist administration has this country's priorities backward. This so-called tax "increase" does not affect me at all because my taxes as a middle class citizen will not go up. The tax "increase," which is a repeal of Bush's tax cuts earlier this decade, will only occur on the rich. So I say, bring it on, because my tax bill will not increase at all.

Posted by: Tim in Raleigh | February 6, 2007 12:00 PM | Report abuse

The people are ready and willing to accept the reality of the need for some increase in taxes to make health care available for everyone. And they are not so stupid as to believe that it can be done any other way. Edwards has said where the new tax money would come from--people earning more than 4200K per year and through great efforts to collect unpaid taxes. That is a VERY popular position among the vast majority of Americans who do not make over that amount and weho pay their taxes. Most importantly, however, he is telling the truth in a way most people can understand it.They are willing to accept tax increases if it is done FAIRLY and openly. Thye are tired of the "smoke and mirrors crap thye have been getting from so many others. Thye understand the greater good of everyone having health care and not having it connected to employment.

Posted by: jmsbh | February 6, 2007 11:55 AM | Report abuse

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 | February 6, 2007 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Over 47 million Americans are without health insurance. It would be pretty naive for anyone to think that we could provide Universal health care without a clear way to pay for it. Edwards is letting everyone know how he proposes to pay for it. I believe that after having an administration that blatantly lies, and becomes arrogant when it is questioned, people would be ready for someone who is honest. Bush tax cuts that favor the rich should be rescinded. It's not a tax increase, its a tax...reversal!

Posted by: Loretta | February 6, 2007 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Edwards is a hypocrite. Who doesn't he sell that 100 acre, $6M estate, donate the bulk of the proceeds to charity, and live among the people he purports to represent? If health care in this country is too expensive, perhaps Edwards should look in the mirror and see a good part of the cause.

I don't think telling the truth, that taxes need to be raised to support a bigger government, will sink his candidacy. I think his hypocrisy and socialist agenda will do it.

Posted by: Dan F | February 6, 2007 11:53 AM | Report abuse

I'm far more open to considering this kind of proposal, which acknowledges financial reality, than the stuff we've seen for the last six years. Better a "Tax-and-spend" Democrat than a "Borrow-and-spend" Republican (so much for the idea that the Republican Party stands for fiscal conservatism!)

Posted by: Lee Cox | February 6, 2007 11:51 AM | Report abuse

"It is the job of government to provide for the health and well being of the people and to raise the money to do so. "

Hugh, you are so far off it's sad.

It is NOT the job of the Government to do any such thing. It is the job of the Government (Federal, anyway) to do three things - defend the borders, deliver the mail (build roads), and resolve conflicts between the states. That's it.

People, get this straight - there is NO RIGHT TO HEALTH CARE in this country, consitutional or otherwise. If you want to work and 'earn' health care, fine. If not, well, you make your own bed, you can lie in it.

Since when did a 'right' on your part become an obligation (to pay for it) on my part? How sad that as a country, we've devolved into a quasi-socialist cesspool.

Posted by: JD | February 6, 2007 11:49 AM | Report abuse

You may well be right, but it is troubling that we seem unable to talk about solutions to complex problems without resorting to simplistic mantras like "no new taxes." The solutions to some problems will require new revenues and to take an idea off the table merely because it appeals to a reactive common denmoninator is self-defeating. How about a new adage: "sometimes it takes money to do the right thing."

Posted by: Robt. Wrenn | February 6, 2007 11:48 AM | Report abuse

JimD in FL: "Among the biggest supporters of universal government funded healthcare are the Big 3 domestic auto manufacturers. The single largest cost item in a GM manufactured car is the health insurance for current and retired employees."

I guess this is my biggest company's suddenly have the burden of health insurance lifted from them in favor of Government health care? And if so, from where did the figure of $120 billion come? That seems like a small figure to me. Are prescription drugs and vaccinations for kids included in that figure? And is it smart politics to start talking about raising taxes before we even know what your plan entails. Probably not IMO.

Posted by: FH | February 6, 2007 11:47 AM | Report abuse

How refreshing to find someone with guts enough to be honest. Few ever make a "donation" to the government for all our benefits, so we have to resort to taxing. It's encouraging to see a man willing to tax those who have gained the most financially. I'm a Republican eager to vote for Edwards. So far he's the only one I'm willing to go the polls for. I'm sick of the political maneuving and it's only February, 2007!

Posted by: Marvin | February 6, 2007 11:44 AM | Report abuse

It should be pointed out that Bush's health care plan includes a tax increase as well, although he tries to pretend that it doesn't. The main question is "Who's taxes are going to be raised?" Bush's plan hits the middle and upper-middle classes for the benefit of huge insurance companies. Edwards doesn't say where his will come from, but I'm guessing those temporary tax cuts the mainly benefit the wealthy will be a good place to start. Compared to the borrow and squander fiscal polices we have been using for the last few years tax and spend sounds down right responsible. After all, isn't that the definition of what a government is supposed to do?

Posted by: John Gillnitz | February 6, 2007 11:44 AM | Report abuse

I hate taxes. However, tax and spend is a far sounder fiscal policy then borrow and spend. We must start to think in 100 and 200 year cycles, not 8 year cycles. What do we do if there isn't any oil? If our world overheats? How do we maintain our public buildings and roads. Come on Americal; it is time for us to think outside of the 8 year box. Politicians believe they can't; we must, for the future genrations of our families.

Posted by: Dick McCarthy | February 6, 2007 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Of course taxes have to go up to pay for Universal Health Care. But what I'm worried about is how are we going to pay for the Iraq War? And no one is talking about that. Middle class get out your wallets!!!

Posted by: Melanie L O | February 6, 2007 11:39 AM | Report abuse

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 | February 6, 2007 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Is there some reason why I should care what the people who are posting comments think? I'm sure people feel passionately one way or the other, but so what? What a waste of time. (I don't mean it's a waste of time reading you, Chris....)

Posted by: Mookie Wilson | February 6, 2007 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Don't talk about raising taxes. Don't make it a point of the campaign. But you'll need to cover the wonderful services you will provide, so just do raise taxes when you get in. Don't talk about it though.

Posted by: Anna K | February 6, 2007 11:34 AM | Report abuse

When are we going to have politics that involve truthful discussion of important topics of interest to the American public? Perhaps politics and truth do not work together. When will the American public get their collective head out of butt and realize that you have to pay (taxes) for a better, fair and just society that benefits current and future generations. With a $8.5+ trillion deficit and annually interest payments exceeding $400 billion we have been irresponsible and self centered to a fault, lead down this delusional path by the Republican party. I want open, honest, truthful politics and that will only be acheived with publicly financed statewide and national elections. Money is what corrupts our political process and until politicians do not have to beg for money, usually from the very rich, on a regularly basis nothing will substantially change in this country. Particularly as it relates to being honest about taxation and the need for revenue to address some of our most pressing needs.

Posted by: Perry Lundon | February 6, 2007 11:34 AM | Report abuse

John "Hugo Chavez" Edwards. Wake up people!

What part of socialism don't you understand?

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 11:34 AM | Report abuse

I think it is refreshing to hear a politician make a simple, declarative statement that is not qualified by 15 "what if" modifiers. Edwards needs only to point to the billions the Repubs have spent on this insane war. That money doesn't grow on trees! We, the taxpayers, are on the hook to repay that debt, and we can't keep ignoring it. We are the only advanced society in the world without universal health care. It doesn't come from the tooth fairy; we all have to invest in it. And, isn't universal health care better for our citizens than borrowing to blow up and destroy other societies?

Posted by: Art Copleston | February 6, 2007 11:34 AM | Report abuse

ed Trottier -- no, 'fascism' is what we have under the bush administration.

you clearly don't know what the word means. look it up... something to do with dictators, authoritarian govt, etc.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Haley - John Edwards may be no Jack Kennedy but JFK did not have a particularly distinguished congressional career either. JFK did serve in Congress longer - 3 terms in the House and 8 years in the Senate.

Among the biggest supporters of universal government funded healthcare are the Big 3 domestic auto manufacturers. The single largest cost item in a GM manufactured car is the health insurance for current and retired employees.

Posted by: JimD in FL | February 6, 2007 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Walter Mondale gave voters the benefit of the doubt when he announced in his acceptance speech that he would raise taxes. He assumed that all voters knew that taxes were going to be raised no matter who won and would appreciate his honesty. That didn't work out real well for him, did it? I can see the whole situation repeating itself in 08. Edwards will try to discuss many issues while the Republican canidate just goes back to the tax issue. Edwards is now the dream Democratic nominee for the Republicans...

Posted by: NB | February 6, 2007 11:32 AM | Report abuse

The CONservatives on this comment thread once again, and quite predicatbly, demonstrate that they are intellectually and morally bankrupt. These jackals have no problem with spending like drunken sailors while mortgaging our future with China to fill the coffers of Bush's cronies, but God forbid somebody responsibly address the health care crisis. Their only retort? Libelous smears and half truths about Edwards.


The economic elite and their political allies in this nation has been engaged in all out war upon the middle class for the past six years (ask Republican Lou Dobbs, he'll tell you.). The middle class is getting routed. If you are earning less than 200K and you think this idea is a bad deal for you, then you're so clueless that you might as well just keep voting GOP. Just be sure to keep plenty of KY handy, because the assault ain't gonna end.

Posted by: DJS | February 6, 2007 11:31 AM | Report abuse

A dose of truth from our political leaders isn't such a bad thing - especially these days.

Posted by: MJ | February 6, 2007 11:30 AM | Report abuse

I'm for anyone who tries to speak honestly about taxes and debt reduction. Better to have a tax and spender than to have a tax cutter and spender like we've had for the last 6 years.

Posted by: Steve | February 6, 2007 11:30 AM | Report abuse

The cost of healthcare is a top concern for millions of families and is what makes them feel most insecure about the future. Most voters want a reasonable solution and understand that there is no free lunch. I think a tax increase on wealthier Americans -- for a specific purpose such as healthcare coverage -- is acceptable. Speaking of taxes, the Congress should not support any of W's proposed tax cut extensions or new tax cuts until the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are paid in full. The debt that the "borrow and spend" Republicans seek to impose on our children and grandchildren is outrageous. At least a "tax and spend" approach is more honest than "borrow and spend" which hides to real costs of wars and new programs.

Posted by: Rich Kowalewski | February 6, 2007 11:29 AM | Report abuse

'Better drop a few big ones than kill any more Americans.'

you are a sick fu**ing moron.. too bad a 'big one' doesn't fall on you

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 11:28 AM | Report abuse

'amused' -- you a lobbyist for rich surgeons, son? i have a lot of neighbors who are a doctors -- they have big fine mansions. i don't see any of them suffering, frankly.

i see you're one of those 'people' who have no sympathy for the thousands of patients who are killed or terribly injured by reckless or incompetent medical professionals. if an 'ambulance chaser' can allow me redress for my grievances in a court of law [as the Consiution guarantees] then I don't see what your problem is.

What's driving up the cost of health care is the millions upon millions paid to CEO's and stockholders at insurance and pharmaceutical firms -- the ENORMOUS profit margins.

"The nine most terrifying words in the English language are 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help.'

You mean, from a republican govenment -- they're always corrupt and incompetent -- purposefully, so they can embezzle the money, just like they are doing now.

Posted by: drindl | February 6, 2007 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Hmmmm, did you say "...portraying Democrats as tax-raisers who are looking for ways to take money away from people to support government programs."? How about "accurately identifying Democrats as tax-raisers who are looking for ways to take money away from people...." Please review Hillary's recent statement about "I wanna take those profits {a very modest 10.5% profit margin, by the way) away and...." Socialism/facism, here we come!

Posted by: Ed Trottier | February 6, 2007 11:24 AM | Report abuse

It is ridiculous to say that Democrats who want to roll back tax cuts for people making $200K+/yr. are raising taxes for everyone and it's quite irresponsible for the media to do so!

Posted by: scavros | February 6, 2007 11:22 AM | Report abuse

i worry more about my children and grandchildren who have no health insurance than i do about my friends, some with no children and two houses, who make over $200,000/year paying a little more in taxes. i admire john edwards honesty in addressing what all of us know as needed, without the interference of insurance companies and their lobbyists. medicare, medicaid and hospital write-off costs could then be bundled into this plan.

Posted by: onevoiceonevote | February 6, 2007 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Huge deficits increase interest rates THAT IS A FACT, and the only way that we can offer expanded programs (and I for one think that the time has come for Universal Health Care) is to have some sort of tax increase - at least it should be 'on the table'. We may enjoy lower taxes, but if your interest rates are through the roof, what is the point?

To me Edwards is speaking TRUTH and logically attacking this Health Care crisis. He should be applauded; and I, for one, think more favorably about him for his frank and honest comments!

Posted by: Bob Sierralta | February 6, 2007 11:20 AM | Report abuse

If being honest is a problem, then Edwards is out. The government [local, state, federal] does not print money. If we want programs [police, fire protection, street repairs, etc.] we must pay for it. And taxes or private subscriptions is the only way to pay for it. There is no free ride. Insurance companies are in business for profit and congress does all they can to support them and they in turn support the congressmen/women.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Edwards did not use the most glamourous 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 | February 6, 2007 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Grant it may not be the best strategy to start a run for the presidency. But he is talking the truth, in that we have to get the money from someplace. We all want affordable healthcare. But we don't want to pay for it, or help out the ones who don't have healthcare coverage. We would rather sink millions, probably billions this year, in electing government officials than pay for a healthcare plan.

Posted by: Robert | February 6, 2007 11:19 AM | Report abuse

I think that Edwards is reading the mood of the country exactly right. The people of this country are so sick and tired of talking points and spin, indeed they have worked for several years. Repetition has worked and the politicians have come so use to its success that they take the people for stupid. Basically, they are not. They may be yearning for a politician that "tells it like it " even if it hurts. Along comes John Edwards. It just could be the year that proves that the people are smarter than the politicians, Who'd a thunk it?!

Posted by: Ken McGee | February 6, 2007 11:18 AM | Report abuse

"Tax and spend" is much better than "borrow and spend" which is what Bush has done. It is the job of government to provide for the health and well being of the people and to raise the money to do so. Whether it is starve the beast or just ignorant mis-management, the excess borrowing has put us in a desperate situation. Taxes must go at least back to where they were.

Failing to tax is pandering and it is irresponsible. Being unwilling to pay one's share of taxes is also irresponsible. Patriots pay taxes!

Posted by: Hugh | February 6, 2007 11:18 AM | Report abuse

"by al-Qaeda terrorists eager for evidence that America's will is breaking."

I see old It's-All-About-Me Joe is giving Bush a run for his money on demagoguing Americans concerning the nature of the insurgency.

*** Less than 10% Al Qaida, folks. ***

That's the finding of the Center for Strategic International Studies report. No matter how many times the president talks about "fighting them there so we don't have to fight them here", that's the actual likely figure (4 to 10%). The scared and complicit media (especially the Post) won't ever quote these facts to put the rhetorical lies into context. Get the facts. Get past the propaganda. Because the Post is not interested in helping you.

Posted by: B2O | February 6, 2007 11:17 AM | Report abuse

In the long run, it would actually be more beneficial for the physical health of America to put that amount of money into EDUCATION than into health care.

Empirically, nothing improves physical health as much as an extra year of education.

This may be counterintuitive, but it is backed up by data.

Posted by: Golgi | February 6, 2007 11:15 AM | Report abuse

"Sorry, he's cooked. He should have ran this idea by Walter Mondale first! Hillary and Obama will laugh all the way to the nomination.

Posted by: blimeyman | February 6, 2007 11:15 AM | Report abuse

The Edwards '08 campaign is dead!

Posted by: paul | February 6, 2007 11:15 AM | Report abuse

There is no free lunch here. Universal health care is an obvious priority for our country and it will have to come from additional taxes; preferably on those that are more than wealthy enough to already have healthcare coverage. There should, of course, be efforts to reduce the costs involved. Negotiate with drug providers, bypass insurance companies, look for ways to improve efficiencies in medicine; including finding ways to expand the number of available competent doctors.

Posted by: Peter | February 6, 2007 11:13 AM | Report abuse

if we cannot arrive at universal health care soon, we will complete our descent from free market democracy to feudal oligarchy.

Posted by: robespierre | February 6, 2007 11:12 AM | Report abuse

I like Edwards. As a southerner, I am aware that a Southerner may be a good bet for the DEMS. I don't think, however honest, candid, and open a candidate is about taxes, that a Democratic candidate for President can withstand the assault on his/her position on taxes. Moreover, just the phrase "we need to raise taxes" is a deal-breaker. The President got a war for free--no new taxes--and we should be able to get universal health care for free.

Posted by: Natalie | February 6, 2007 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Edwards may be on the right track here. But he's got to also get "out front" on proactively explaining to working class FauxNews viewer types that they aren't the ones who will be hit with the tax increase (and with the savings in premiums will be better off). If there's ONE thing that the GOP is good at (besides convincing Ma and Pa Foxviewer that Sunni insurgents are itching to impose Islamic Law onto Peoria), it's that their interests are indistinguishable from those of the top 2%. Ask the average lower-income GOP voter you meet on the street about the inheritance tax and he/she will tell you in dead seriousness "that's where they tax the few thousand I try to leave to my children - the Republicans are trying to save me from that". It's sad, but they are extremely adept at straight-faced lying to these people.

Posted by: B2O | February 6, 2007 11:07 AM | Report abuse

I love the GOP's dogmatic insistence that any and all taxes are bad. The party has expanded the size of government during the Bush administration more than at any time since LBJ, but they'll continue to pretend at election time that they're the party of tax cuts and small government. Hysterical. It's a sad day when I long for Ronald Reagan, who in addition to cutting taxes hugely also agreed to a HUGE tax increase after it became clear that they'd been cut TOO much. Somehow, republicans never mention that little fact about Reagan.

Posted by: Colin | February 6, 2007 11:07 AM | Report abuse

My two cents: rising health costs wouldn't be as bad if Edwards and other ambulance chasers weren't pushing insurance premiums for doctors et al through the roof - that also means doctors have to cover every base, driving up costs. Cap malpractice awards and we'll be getting somewhere (indeed that should be a prerequisite to any talk about universal healthcare - the GOP will allow the Democrats to talk about bankrupting the country only after the Democrats stop bankrupting MDs). But on the whole thing? I'll close with a quote from the Gipper: "The nine most terrifying words in the English language are 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help.'" He was right then and he's still right today.

Posted by: Amused | February 6, 2007 11:03 AM | Report abuse

The Bush Administration has exploded the myth of Democrats being the only ones capable of insanely excessive spending. I don't think "tax and spend" will fly when their fiscal policies (aided and abetted by a lapdog Republican Congress) have killed a budget surplus and produced monstrous deficits.

The American public is ready for a dose of reality. Only ostriches can survive by burying their heads in the sand.

Posted by: Andrew | February 6, 2007 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Although I'm a registered Republican, I voted Democratic in the last election, mainly because I felt Bush wasn't doing enough to protect and project the victory we achieved in Iraq, namely, identify the financiers of the insurgency, and put it down. Since then, he has pointed a well-armed finger at Iran and given a warning. If the insurgency is ended by this action, I will be happy, knowing that the deaths of some 3,000 American fighting men will not have been in vain. In this badly named "war on terror," Iran is the chief practicioner and should be neutralized, and maybe even invaded. I'm rooting for the Israeli to return to fighting form and whip the pants off the Iranians. If not, we've got to do it, and believe me when I say I would not object to using tactical nuclear weapons to get the job done. Better drop a few big ones than kill any more Americans.

Posted by: | February 6, 2007 10:59 AM | Report abuse

So much ado is made over the nothing-buzzword "tax-and-spend." That is what governments do. They collect taxes, and then they spend the revenues. At least in this case the American people get something back directly for the money they have to give to the government anyway. This is not like Mondale's "I just told you" line. This is a thought-out plan with a clear benefit at a necessary monetary cost. Conservatives can play off old fears of "liberals" "raising" your "taxes," but in the face of a strong candidate they will fall short to actual ideas.

Posted by: Simon | February 6, 2007 10:58 AM | Report abuse

It's unrealistic to think that we can have something for nothing. Obviously we need a funding source for a universal health care program. I don't mind paying taxes for things I value, even though I am a senior citizen. I
do mind paying for the waste and corruption associated with the Iraq action, and for bridges that go nowhere and for rich people's tax cuts. Maybe we don't even need to raise taxes -- just rebalance things.

Posted by: Charm | February 6, 2007 10:43 AM | Report abuse

"A few lawmakers took the novel tack of addressing the merits of the resolutions themselves. Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), the only member of the Democratic caucus to side with Republicans, said the Warner resolution, which objects to Bush's troop increase in Iraq, would "hearten our enemies." Quoting Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg, Lieberman argued passionately that "what we say here is heard . . . by al-Qaeda terrorists eager for evidence that America's will is breaking."

what an ungodly lying sack of dog dung leiberman is, a used condom... after lying through his teeth about his opposition to the war during his campaign, upon re-ellection he immediately whips out his dick cheney lies and talking points -- his big scary al queda boogeyman... is there anyone who takes this heap of rubbish seriously anymore? i feel sorry for the gullibility of conneticut citizens -- but you screwed us all.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 10:31 AM | Report abuse

'Perhaps too much was expected of an organization that began its "Morning Business" yesterday at 2 in the afternoon.

Still, the U.S. Senate set a new standard for procrastination last night when lawmakers decided, after nearly four years of war in Iraq, that they were not quite ready to have a debate about the conflict. Among those who voted against having this modest discussion was Sen. John Warner (R-Va.), the sponsor of the resolution that was to be debated.'

Posted by: republicans want eternal war | February 6, 2007 10:24 AM | Report abuse

At least Edwards is being honest. Not that he has a chance anyway of defeating either Obama or HRC for the nomination, probably HRC.

But at the end of the day, ask yourself this - what Red state from 2004 will go blue because they don't think they are taxed enough?

And drindl, once again you throw your 'facts' around without any documentation. You care to prove, through a link, that those making 500 large are only paying 2% in tax? And not a link to DailyKos or some other whackjob site, please.

Posted by: JD | February 6, 2007 10:24 AM | Report abuse

I think Edwards has the right idea, and hopefully he can educate the doubters on the amount of wealth in this country, and on how math/percentages work. I agree, though that Edwards is talking about health insurance and not health care. But we have to start somewhere. While the Republicans are trying to save face re their blunder in Iraq, we need to pay attention to the unaddressed problems in the USA. The world is judging us by how we treat our own citizens. (They already condemn us for how we treated Iraq.)

Below is some useful info on the rich:
Let's look at the numbers compiled by the IRS Statistics of Income Division. In year 2002 a total of 2,414,127 returns showed adjusted gross income over $200,000. Only 1.86% of all returns were at this income level, but with total income of $1.251 trillion they represented 20.75% of all income. After taking all deductions, 26.4% of all taxable income was on these high-income returns, and their income tax came to $323,977,221,000 -- 40.6% of all income tax that year was on these 2.4 million high-income returns.
"But Professor Tax", you say, "those numbers are for ordinary high income people. What about the real millionaires? What about the 168,977 tax returns that showed income of more than $1,000,000 in year 2002?" Indeed, 0.13% of all returns -- one out of every 770 -- were filed by such folks, who got 7.89% of all the income, 10.34% of all income after deductions, and paid 17% of all the tax, amounting that year to $135,841,970,000. Ouch! No wonder they hate the income tax so much. At the top of the top we've the 5,309 returns showing income over ten million dollars -- 0.0041% or one in every 25,000 -- who had 2.41% of all the income, 2.78% of the taxable income, and paid 4.23% of all the tax. The amount of tax was $33,737,749,000, which works out to an average $6.5 million each. The hand bleeds at the very thought of signing such a check.

Posted by: Outspoken | February 6, 2007 10:22 AM | Report abuse

Edwards would raise taxes for Americans who make more than 200K a year. If all Americans who made less than that voted for him, he would win in a landslide. However, most of those Americans do not realize this so they won't vote for him and Edwards has no chance.

Posted by: john | February 6, 2007 10:21 AM | Report abuse

GenX is a troll -- probably zouk.

Don't disparage how much an equitable tax system, based on a true percentage of ALL income, could generate. The wealthy in this country on unfathomably wealthy.. many have higher incomes than entire countries. There is a house in Colorado on the market for over $200 million, for instance.

Why shouldn't those who TAKE the most from this great country GIVE the most back? It's time to tax the freeloading rich leeches.

Posted by: lark | February 6, 2007 10:21 AM | Report abuse

i think in a normal campaign cycle, where the country is mainly as focused on taxes than say the War in Iraq, Edwards move would be fatal. In 2008, I think the War in Iraq is going to dominate the election cycle once again where taxes is at the bottom of the list on most important issues. Plus, the voters Edwards would have to win over are not ones that just focus on taxes they focus on economic issues as a whole. Edwards is such a good economic populist that he can wiggle his way out and have people be for him on the economy like no other candidate. In addition, I think voters in 2008 will want a candidate that tells them the truth not what they want to hear.

Posted by: Josh B | February 6, 2007 10:20 AM | Report abuse

"Any ideas, Mr. Norquist?"

Grover's virtually gone into hiding. He may even be buying some land in the Marianas.

Grover's on more than one list of potential conspiracy investigations.

So he may not want to engage publicly these days.

Any day now, there may be a federal agent somewhere out there carrying a pair of silver bracelets with old Grover's name on them.

What's Grover's White House connection, Rove? Or Cheney?

Or both...

Posted by: JEP | February 6, 2007 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Taxes for things Americans want (like health care for everyone, good roads, schools etc) is not going to undo a Democratic candidate. Taxes for Bush's war could be Hillary's big problem, however (and she hasn't told us how she's going to end it in Jan. '09).

Posted by: Beltway insider | February 6, 2007 10:16 AM | Report abuse

I see Hal's knee is jerking its familiar refrain...

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 10:14 AM | Report abuse

I don't think that raising taxes is a show stopper. With the deficits as high as they are and the future bleak as a result tax increases are necessary. It is more important how those taxes are framed: who do they target, what do they target. Would making medicare and social security fully taxable to the extent of one's total income taxable or providing an exemption from the current high point to let's say $250K and then taxing the remaining income would clearly only target the highest income brackets and not be offensive to those who do not make that much. How about taxing investment income above a certain level. Again, so that it does not hit the proverbial "average family" but the high end.

Posted by: Sean | February 6, 2007 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Hal, Dems do balanced budgets-- the GOP does cut-taxes-and-spend. Which one is better for our future?

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

The problem is in percentages vs. dollar figures.

Rich folks live by the margin, their world revolves around their "cut" so they should embrace a percentage scale since they live by one.

When you offer them a percentage-based scale, it makes everything seem equitable and provides a management device that in empirical and reliable.

That is, until you apply it to their income tax, and then they don't see the %, they just see $ total, and it makes them mad because it is just not fair they should pay so much more than someone else.

When the numbers show up as a percentage, its much more acceptable, but when they turn that percentage into actual dollar amounts, the rich R's knees get shakey, their brows bead up, and their hands instinctivly reach to pat their wallets, just for self-reassurance. Its like saying "price controls" in a room full of executives, maybe even worse, the word "taxes" is a four-letter word to some folks.

Percentages define true equity, not total $ figures. But tell that to a fiscally conservative R and they will wince. Yet it is true, nonetheless.

Posted by: JEP | February 6, 2007 10:11 AM | Report abuse

What else is he going to say? People will inevitablely figure out that such an ambitious plan could not be funded without a tax increase. He might as well be honest and answer the question before it is asked.

Whatever the case, Americans better get ready for higher taxes, like them or not. Medicare's not in good health, and the national debt keeps increasing exponentially. The current model is not sustainable without a tax hike. Any ideas, Mr. Norquist?

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

Are you saying that Edwards should lie to us: "We need universal health care, but don't worry, the tooth fairy will provide it."? in order to get elected? If that's true, America deserves everything it got with the last president/congress/supreme court, etc.

Posted by: Jane | February 6, 2007 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Why are people so basically math-challenged? Those who make over $200,000 a year are NOT middle class. Not even close. Remember the term "Trickle-down economics? " It didn't work, did it? The only benefit to Bush's upperclass tax breaks are that those who do benefit have more to invest so that they can make more money for themselves. Savings for "the rest of us" are at all-time low levels.

I think it is refreshing for Edwards to be "up front" about how the government would EASILY pay for something we actually NEED, rather than spend uncontrollably-with-no-end-in-sight for something that has virtually NO concievable benefit to the US anymore.

Of course, maybe enough of us haven't followed the President's advise to "Go Shopping" so all those sales tax revenues can help the states pay for important stuff like roads and schools and hospitals and police and fire protection. Isn't that just another way for the lower and middle classes to pay more taxes -- disproportionately to their income? Or was his remark only meant for those who make $200,000 or more per year?

Posted by: Diane | February 6, 2007 10:04 AM | Report abuse

I think Edwards would be in more trouble if he insisted that he wouldn't raise taxes to meet this goal. The american people are an understanding bunch when given facts, something that has been missing from the debate over the past 6 years.

Clinton's election in 1992 also provides evidence that promising tax increases for the richest americans is not a 'non starter' in presidential politics. I find it hard to believe that a majority of americans will feel sorry for someone paying more in taxes if that person makes over $15,000 per month.

Posted by: bjschmid | February 6, 2007 10:03 AM | Report abuse

I'm a Generation X'er...I already know Social Security isn't going to be there for me, but with politicians like Edwards promising to tax my success, well I guess I won't be surprised to be paying at least half my wages in taxes. The Boomers are going to be this country's downfall - their cradle to grave mentality is going to bankrupt us.

Posted by: GenX | February 6, 2007 10:02 AM | Report abuse

I don't think Sen. Edwards blew his bid for the White House. If you consider the number of tax incentives the President has proposed, which have eliminated our middle class and keep taking the most from our lower class (particularly with that stupid Alternative Minimum Tax where they get you even when you don't owe in the lower brackets) than a tax proposal to eliminate 46 million uninsured is not unreasonable.
No reasonable citizen is going to believe that the Edwards Universal Health Care proposal is worse than the continued spending in Iraq for an unnecessary war. Further,the budget presented yesterday once again cuts Medicare and Medicaid. Do we keep denying our people the right to health care by killing our soldiers in Iraq or do we reasonably find a solution for all?

Posted by: Dr. Ludmilla Wikkeling-Scott | February 6, 2007 9:56 AM | Report abuse

bj spanos -- you say you pay more than 50% of your income on taxes. Well, the rich don't. The wealthy do not pay anywhere near their share. No one who makes over 500 or 600 hundred grand a year pays more than 5 or 10% of thier income on taxes.

Because of shelters and tax planners and lower taxes on investment income than earned, and whatnot, the really wealthy generally pay about 2%. There is gross inequity in this system -- and therefore out of SIMPLE FAIRNESS taxes should be raised on the wealthy and cut on the middle class.

Posted by: drindl | February 6, 2007 9:55 AM | Report abuse

As a Reagan Conservative Republican, I hope Edwards and the rest of the Democratic hopefuls talk about raising taxes - after all, that's what Dems do best.

Posted by: Hal | February 6, 2007 9:55 AM | Report abuse

It has been said "that a wise man can see more from the bottom of a well than a fool can see from the top of a mountain" Given that advice, Senator Edwards might want to rethink his health care proposal. A true universal health care system, which is not dependent upon family, employment, or tax credits is what is called for, not some "cobbled" together plan.

The "single payer" approach, as an expansion of Medicare, with basic health coverage for all Americans, funded through an tax increase for Medicare, makes perfectly good sense. Imagine a system dependent upon tax credits mandating that every person obtain coverage. How that would actually affect the "working poor?"

Individual and families struggling to pay rent and buy food, or transportation, would then be forced to make yet another choice with their available money. Tax credits work only when you have the ability to pay for the health care and defer deductions.

None of the plans mentioned really provide true universal coverage for all Americans. Rather than coverage, all offer a piece of the pie to established health insurers, doctors, hospitals, labratories, and nursing homes. Who pays in the end.....the same folks who are paying now....the middle class! All kidding aside, when Senator Edwards talks about tax increases for the rich...hold on to your wallets because you are about to be robbed!

Posted by: unopotato | February 6, 2007 9:54 AM | Report abuse

After Bush's presidency the people more than anything want a president who is in touch with reality. The next thing people want is universal health care and they know it will cost something extra. If a president will deal honestly with voters about any issue but especially health care they will respond. I think people will be willing to pay higher taxes for universal health care as long as they believe it is an honest program and not "welfare" for insurance companies, drug companies, large corporations, or the very rich. We need a Medicare like program for all citizens of the U.S. All other developed countries in the world have universal health care why not the U.S.?!

Posted by: Gil | February 6, 2007 9:51 AM | Report abuse

According to a Kaiser Foundation study last month, there were approximately 46 million uninsured Americans under age 65 (and thus not eligible for Medicare).

If Edwards is saying he plans to spend 120 billion to address this problem, that is roughly $2600 per uninsured person. Would it make more sense to just give them the $2600 and let them buy a policy on their own rather than build a new government program to administer it all?

That problem, rather than simply raising taxes, is what will be the problem for the Democrats in 2008 following proposals like this one.

Posted by: Kamikaze | February 6, 2007 9:49 AM | Report abuse

First, way to go Iva, excellent comment. Second, the myth that taking back the tax cut for the "rich" will not come close to funding this health program. Those who advocate or use class war to reach their ends lie because we are talking about a mere 1.3 percent of the tax paying community. The middle class, that actually runs from about one third to 95 per cent of all taxpayers (those under 25% pay less than 4 percent, most pay nothing or actually have a negative tax obligation, hence the so-called earned income credit) will end up paying the lion's share of the cost because of their sheer numbers. Taxing those with over $200,000 in income at 50% would not reach the annual costs predicted by Edwards himself. This the Democrat version of voodoo economics.

Why don't we just tear everything up and start over again, using the Constitution and the Bill of Rights as the core documents?

Posted by: Steve | February 6, 2007 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Who was the bankrobber from the 20th Century, when they asked him why he robbed banks, he said "That's where the money is?"

Same thing with taxing those who make over $200,000 a year, if we are going to tax someone, why not those with more than enough to get by, who will suffer no loss of NECESSITY, but will only suffer a loss of more luxury?

Instead of sapping the survival wages of the common worker, and adding even more daily stress to their struggle for basic necessities, tax those who have resources well beyond their survival needs, and give a COMPASSIONATE, Christian break to those whose incomes shrink dramatically every time the price of gas goes up.

To so many rich Republicans, "taxes" represent some evil concept, but they are really nothing more than our nation paying to make and keep itself civilized. And the more we wisely spend, the more civilized we become.

If they want to complain about the way those taxes get spent, so be it, let them form watchdog committtees to count every penny spent and hold the Democrats accountable for their spending habits.

But we MUST change the framing on the entire 21st Century concept of taxes. Until our wealthier citizens begin to admit that it is blatant greed, and not any sort of frugal civic spirit, that makes them want to avoid taxes.

Talk about cut and run! In terms of the American economy, the Bush Gang cut taxes, and all humanitarian social programs, then ran away from everything but war.

Start telling folks you know "Taxes are good for the country."

They may be hard to stomach for most very wealthy folks, but really, if you are one of the top income beneficiaries of this great nation and its incredible wealth-making machine, then don't you owe that machine a grease-job now and then? If you don't, it will break down on you and all your fortune will be lost in the resulting chaos of ignorance and anarchy. It is more possible than any of you might imagine.

The French aristocrats thought they were protected by their wealth, right up until the lost their heads.

TAXES ARE GOOD! Say it slowly, let it roll around in your mind, give it a place in your wounded psyche.


Especially if they help provide health care and comfort to those truly in need.

This very decision by Edwards will help a passle of common folk (like most of us) make up their minds about who really plans to represent them, and not the HMO's in the years to come.

Edwards just made the most courageous step so far in his campaign, and it bodes well for his "One America" aspirations. I am more encouraged by his work every day, he is bringing the everyday American citizen back into the spotlight as the most important person our government needs to serve.


Posted by: JEP | February 6, 2007 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Whoever the Democratic nominee is in 2008, Republicans are going to attack them as a "tax increaser." That's happened in every election since the Reagan revolution, irrespective of whether the Democrat ever actually raised taxes. After all, under GOP logic failing to vote for a tax CUT during a war and while our debt is climbing sky high constitutes a vote for a tax INCREASE.

Assuming that kind of attack is coming, I actually think Edwards is smart to get out in front of the issue so that he can very clearly define what KIND of tax increases he will and won't consider. If Democrats actually make clear that they don't favor raising taxes on the middle class -- you know, since they don't -- then I think the focus of Edwards' message shifts to his plan to solve a major problem; the health care crisis. And if that happens, the GOP is in serious trouble.

Posted by: Colin | February 6, 2007 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Edwards focused-grouped the hell out of a room full of people, and they told him: "We want our leaders to ask us to sacrifice something"

This is true. Many of us think that our nation is at war, and yet we have no stake in it. We also have no interest in putting on a uniform and risking our lives in Iraq. What we want is some compromise, something that affects our daily lives but not uncomfortably so. We want the President to hold a National Address where he sincerely urges us to carpool, or save a dollar a day to give to Iraqi orphans, or something like that. We want something that makes us all feel American.

In Kennedy's time, it was "ask what you can do for your country." Perhaps these days we're a little lazier, or, more probably, concerned that too few will ask, and that, consequently, the burden will be too heavy. Edwards' research team is right about the desire for leaders to challenge us (moderately). Unfortunately, he's a phoney who needs a focus group to tell him that.

Posted by: MC | February 6, 2007 9:28 AM | Report abuse

America's Hogo Chavez. It's anumbers game for Johnny. More people below $200,000 in inocme than above so he position is a socialist dream. People voting money away form those who have more than they do. Look folks, I'm in NC, Edwrads only ha about 3 years experience in the senate, the last 3 he was running for President. he didn't run for senate in 2004 because he knew he would lose. Folks in NC are/were tired of him! Wake up Dems! You're being had! Don't belive his gay marriage position either, it will shift after the SC primary. Cold cold cacualations...he makes Hillary seem warm and fuzzy!

Posted by: Anybody but Edwards | February 6, 2007 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Exactly how big were the Bush tax cuts? All the Democrats running for office say that they're going to eliminate the Bush tax cuts to fund their big new programs, and that only the top 1-2% of taxpayers would be affected. Would that really provide $120 billion per year?

Universal healthcare is important. It makes the healthcare system more fair, it reduces the overall cost to everyone, and it will help make us competitive with other countries for international businesses. (Toyota recently built a big factory in Canada to avoid US healthcare costs.)

So I'd like the politicians to be honest. They should explain why universal healthcare is so important, and why the cost isn't nearly as high as it looks. But they should also admit that a lot of people are going to need to pay higher taxes to support it, not just the top 1%. If Edwards or whoever can successfully explain the importance of the program, I think he can get people to overlook the very small increase in their taxes it would require.

Posted by: Blarg | February 6, 2007 9:15 AM | Report abuse

When 13-21% of the cost of private health insurance goes to the administration of the plans and Medicaid and Medicare has about a 2% slice for administration, having a single payer program starts making sense. Add to that the savings from not paying premiums, it would seem that the net would be a positive for taxpayers.
Add to that savings that more people doing more preventative stuff (screenings, vaccinations, etc), reducing the need for high cost reactive care, and you can see that the costs should come down further.
Unless you have invested in or work for a health insurance company, the advantages are obvious.
Edwards isn't perfect, but he is on the right path on this issue.

Posted by: Capeman | February 6, 2007 9:07 AM | Report abuse

Whoever said above that a tax increase on the top 3% of income earners is a "middle class tax increase," I have a question: What do you define as upper-class? I'm sorry, but if 97% of people make less money than you do, that is not middle class.

As to the broader question of tax increases to pay ofr universal health care, I think that just about anyone would make that trade if you are honest with them. Besides, the basic question is this: Do you want more of your money going to an ineffective private insurance scheme that doesn't cover everyone and prevents coverage of those who really need it, or do you want to pay less to the government for something that covers everyone and has a much lower overhead? I think the choice is clear, unless you are a shill for the insurance industry.

Posted by: Steve | February 6, 2007 9:05 AM | Report abuse

At least Edwards is being honest. It makes sense to expand health care, and if taxes have to be raised, someone's got to do it. We can't keep funding the war, trying to fund NCLB, expand health care, and preserve entitlement programs without increased revenue sources. I commend Edwards for putting smart policy over politics.

Posted by: TP | February 6, 2007 9:04 AM | Report abuse

Off-set the costs by cancelling Bush's
tax breaks for the rich -- there should
be lots of revenue left for other
programs. Stop the Bush war in Iraq
and wow! Look at all the revenue the
US treasury will have -- unfortunately,
Bush and Cheney will have a lot of
explaining to do to their corporate
friends who are making billions from
their hardware sales in Iraq.

Posted by: Basil | February 6, 2007 9:04 AM | Report abuse

Off-set the costs by cancelling Bush's
tax breaks for the rich -- there should
be lots of revenue left for other
programs. Stop the Bush war in Iraq
and wow! Look at all the revenue the
US treasury will have -- unfortunately,
Bush and Cheney will have a lot of
explaining to do to their corporate
friends who are making billions from
their hardware sales in Iraq.

Posted by: Basil | February 6, 2007 9:04 AM | Report abuse

Why would anyone seriously consider Edward's for the Presidency when he barely showed up to the Senate to represent the people of North Carolina who put their trust in him.

I don't care if he abolishes taxes, he won't get my vote.

Posted by: Betsy | February 6, 2007 9:02 AM | Report abuse

On the contrary, Edwards is showing extraordinary courage by getting specific on ways to extricate us from this huge health care mess. Perhaps the American people are ready for some straight talk for a change. Beats more platitudes about cutting and running in Iraq.

Posted by: George Doctoroe | February 6, 2007 8:58 AM | Report abuse

Edwards problem with this disclosure is the backdrop of federal spending. Bush has already blown through the surplus into new deficit country in Iraq, Halliburton and other inside contractors can't deliver the goods without obscene cost overruns, and it's now more than a few bazillion balloons to run for president. The honest working folk, both in and out of the middle class, will not be amenable to ANY tax increase no matter what the reason or nobility of purpose. There are other, less onerous ways to fund universal health care. It takes $$$$, but not in the form of a tax increase on personal, (read working peoples') income tax. Edwards just shot himself in both feet, on that one.

Posted by: L Sterling | February 6, 2007 8:54 AM | Report abuse

I am praying that this is a sign of good things coming: that the Democratic party is finally going to stand up with a real message rather than allowing the Republicans to define the issues. I don't understand how anyone can reasonably oppose a system of universal health care. Are we so isolated from one another that we can't even see that providing health care to every member of our society is a worthwhile cause?

Posted by: Dani | February 6, 2007 8:51 AM | Report abuse

Cilliza stop being lazy.

Look beyond the end of your nose and see that for the 47 million people that have no health insurance now, this would be a godsend to them. Wealthy people would bear the brunt of the tax increase. It's like Edwards says,
"It's time to be patriotic about something other than war."

Something you guys in the media should think about.

Posted by: Adam Terando | February 6, 2007 8:51 AM | Report abuse

"As long as he hammers away on the two Americas..."

Good point, Adam. His emphasis on that concept does provide cover that no other candidate has except for maybe Obama. It has been historically difficult to frame tax increases as something that only the rich will experience. The GOP simplifies the verbal landscape to overlook that fact and successfully sucks in the anti-tax crowd emotionally even though >99% of them would see no tax increase. Or else they decry "class warfare" as a cover for what is, essentially, class warfare.

The two Americas concept is as good a defense as any. Question is, will it last? Can he get the poor white trash to think of themselves in terms of being members of only the poorer version of the two Americas?

It'll also be difficult for some to stop projecting themselves as members of the richer version. I am astonished at how ingrained this perception is as many such wannabees will vigorously defend the rich even though they have no chance (states of extreme denial aside) of ever getting there (realistically/statistically speaking).

Posted by: Judge C. Crater | February 6, 2007 8:50 AM | Report abuse

Edwards proposals is intriguing, but how he wants to pay for it is not. We already pay half our income in federal and state taxes, plus with other financial family commitments we have, I'd say we get to keep maybe 25 to 30 percent of what we earn. Keep squeezing us and who knows maybe we'll qualify for low income and get all these handouts Democrats like Edwards keep proposing. I will definitely vote against him and anyone else who wants to raise my taxes.

Posted by: BJ Spanos | February 6, 2007 8:48 AM | Report abuse

Edwards is doing what lawyer's love to do, "take the sting out." Rather than wait for the opposition to attack you, as in trial they would on cross-examination, he is being open about the problems of his plan when he introduces it, on his direct examination. While this strategy works well when you are trying to explain away your client's past criminal record, as a political candidate it will be harder, particularly when it is the "sting" of a tax increase. That said, Edwards strongest hope rest on (1) successfully convincing voters it is a tax on the very rich and (2) using the disclosure to show his honesty which sets him up in stark contrast to Bush (see Iraq, particularly WMD).

Posted by: Rob in Dayton | February 6, 2007 8:41 AM | Report abuse

It's actually a good political issue for Edwards to run on, so long as he stays out in front on it, and doesn't allow anyone to focus the debate on it but himself. The right will demonize him as a tax raising liberal, but Edwards is hopefully smart enough to cut that off at the beginning.

Edwards is going to run as a populist, talking about the two Americas. This fits right in. Edwards doesn't care if rich people vote for him, he's going for the middle and lower classes. As long as he hammers away on the two Americas and promises to cut middle class taxes, while raising them only on the upper classes, not only is this not a losing position for him, it's a winner.

He must be out there constantly refuting the attack-lies that he's going to raise taxes on the middle class though. As long as he keeps this in terms of populism (rich vs. poor) instead of it being a "tax increase", it's going to help his chances both in the primary and in the general election. There's a whole lot more poor people than rich people. A populist may well motivate a bunch of poor non-voters to come to the polls.

Posted by: adam | February 6, 2007 8:35 AM | Report abuse

"$90 billion to $120 billion"

What is that, about 15 minutes in Iraq? Heaven forbid we should spend American's tax dollars on Americans. Building a Shiite theocracy in the ME that will undoubtedly turn around and threaten us (a la Iran) the minute we leave the country (and the genocidal slaughter of Sunni Muslims begins) is a much better use of our money, don't you agree?

I could go on about the deaths of American troops but as yesterday's Senate action amply illustrates, the GOP doesn't give a rat's a$$ about American deaths.

Posted by: judge C. Crater | February 6, 2007 8:33 AM | Report abuse

If there has been no resolution to the Iraq situation at the point Edwards wins the nomination, the salience of this issue will be greatly reduced. It is very likely 2008 will be about who the voters trust on Iraq, and due to our incompetant administration that trust is likely to go to any credible Democrat.

Therefore, until that time there really is no point in arguing the above fantastic claims by liberals, starting with the false notion Edwards' plan provides universal health care rather than universal health insurance. There is an enormous difference.

Posted by: Silent Cal | February 6, 2007 8:29 AM | Report abuse

He should be talking about acheiving a lasting peace in Iraq and then how he would responsibly invest the so-called peace dividend.

Posted by: mikopedia | February 6, 2007 8:28 AM | Report abuse

' All hat no cattle, as someone once said.'

that would be your president bush, robert

all codpiece, no cod

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 8:26 AM | Report abuse

All Cillizza is doing is 'catapulting the propaganda' -- using the same tired, lying cliches the cons have been using for decades to support their rob-the-middle-class and reward-the-rich policies.

We are deeply in debt -- the president's 'budget' is a freaking joke which 'balances the budget' by cutting funding for the disabled, children's healthcare and education--squeezing the life out of the most vulnerable -- to give more tax cuts to the rich.

We will have to raise taxes on the middle class in order to pay for these tax cuts to the wealthy sooner or later -- let alone any other budget priorities -- we can't go on borrowing billions from the Chinese.

Can we see a little more honestly from the media? And fewer con talking points?

Posted by: drindl | February 6, 2007 8:24 AM | Report abuse

Edwards has been out of DC for several years but you can tell that DC is still in him. Why is the answer to every question, raise taxes? On who? The middle class? We are being soaked as it is. We send untold amounts of money to DC and get very little in return. Congressional salaries go up, the wealthy get tax breaks, etc... If you are going to raise my taxes you need to cut wasteful spending and show me, conclusively, that the money will be used wisely. Please don't forget that "tax" is just a polite word for someone's hard earned money. That money, taken without permission, could be used to supporting the local community, saving for college, etc... So, if you are going to take someone's money you need to show them that they are going to get more of a return on it than if they spent it themselves.

I lived in NC while Edwards was Senator. Ask anyone in NC, "what did Edwards do as Senator?" Even stalwarts of the NCDP would be hard pressed to find an answer other than "he was good at getting the spotlight." Mr Edwards I didn't know Jack Kennedy, but I can tell you that you are no Jack Kennedy.

Posted by: Haley | February 6, 2007 8:22 AM | Report abuse

Well, since Edwards is only proposing raising taxes on people making over 200,000 a year (3%) of the population everyone getting hit will, like Edwards, have already moved into their mansion. Edward's plan isn't going to deny anybody the opportunity to BECOME rich like he is. Fix health care and perhaps us little people can get ahead because we won't be faced with having our premiums doubled and our out of pocket expenses drasticaly increased every time we turn around. At this time the folks making over 200g a year couldn't care less about having their premiums doubled. It's a small percent of their earnings.

Posted by: Carrie | February 6, 2007 8:22 AM | Report abuse

Iva - I was going to comment, but you said it all...

Posted by: jan | February 6, 2007 8:21 AM | Report abuse

It sounds like Edwards just dropped out of the race!

Posted by: Frank | February 6, 2007 8:18 AM | Report abuse

'Slate's Fred Kaplan does the math and says the real request for new defense spending totals $739 billion, which, adjusted for inflation, is "about one-third higher than the previous record for U.S. military spending, set in 1952."

Hey Chris, why don't you mention that the privatization of the defense department, the massive fraud and waste and rampant cronyism [all to spy on citizens and prosecute a war that is making the entire world more dangerous] is costing taxpayers approximately 8 times what a health care system that would cover everyone in the country would cost?

Just think, all you would have to do is fire a couple a few of the biggest, most corrupt war-profiteering global corporations [hint: they're not actually DOING anything except taking the money and running] --and use the money instead to actually do something for the middle class -- the people who are footing the bill for all these fatcat CEO's running this tragic joke of a 'war'.

Posted by: drindl | February 6, 2007 8:17 AM | Report abuse

There was a time when 'tax and spend liberal' meant something- your taxes would go up and the money would be wasted. That's not really what Edwards is offering here. He's proposing the government start a big new program (all told, health care spending amounts to 16% of GDP) and confronting the need to pay for that. This is a far more honest approach than the typical 'we will pay for my proposal through budgetary savings' line which is often trotted out. Unmentioned in all of this is what happens to the health insurance premiums we pay out of pocket/paycheck right now. We get those back? Nice offset, no (health insurance premiums payments currently run to $90 billion or so).

The Democrats lose if they live in fear of the 'tax and spend' label. That label addresses only the costs- how much is coming out of your pocket- not what you're supposed to get from the policy. You've lost before you begin.

Posted by: Brendan | February 6, 2007 8:14 AM | Report abuse

If Edwards frames this in terms of the Iraq War, it could be a winner.

"For X-billion dollars, we could finance another 2 years of operations in the Iraq quagmire, or we could provide universal health coverage to all Americans."

That would kill two birds with one stone. Get out of Iraq AND provide health care coverage. I think Edwards should be commended for his frankness regarding how he plans to pay for this insurance.

Posted by: Zzonkmiles | February 6, 2007 8:10 AM | Report abuse

Why do we NEVER hear the phrase "borrow and spend" applied to the Republicans? If we don't like tax and spend politicians we vote them out of office and the taxes can be ended. Throw borrow and spend politicians out of office and their mischief endures for years.

Posted by: Jeff Pemberton | February 6, 2007 8:07 AM | Report abuse

"That's a very lazy beltway view"

You got that right. There's just no chance that the cynicism being pedaled as studied evenhandedness by the MSM new generation bloggers offers little hope for Americans hoping to take back our Democracy.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 8:03 AM | Report abuse

Let's get this straight... the hypocrite Edwards just moved into a massive mansion on over 100 acres, funded by chasing ambulances and Reagan tax cuts, and he wants to make sure that other people can never do that, by raising marginal tax rates. Beautiful... And he says that Obama has too little experience, Edwards was only one term Senator and what legislation did he inroduce or spearhead? All hat no cattle, as someone once said.

Posted by: Robert | February 6, 2007 7:57 AM | Report abuse

That's a very lazy beltway view. If you look at any polls on the subject, Americans are happy to trade this kind of spending for a reversal of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. And no, not looking at polls is not a virtue for a political reporter.

And with a more efficient healthcare systen, most Americans will end up paying less. It is not as though people look at the ever increasing premiums they pay as some sort of discretionary spending.

Posted by: AJ | February 6, 2007 7:52 AM | Report abuse

You can't spend without revenue. I believe the American public knows this and spending on health care is something they will accept.

I've seen many instances of tax increases to pay for schools and the voters accepted the increase because they placed a high priority on education.

Posted by: SPIIDERWEB | February 6, 2007 7:49 AM | Report abuse

The cost of bloated health insurance bureaucracies and drug marketing salespeople in their BMWs, a system of litigation that is designed primarily to get somebody to pay the doctor's bills, and out-of-control doctors and hospitals who can't stop building newer and fancier temples of medicine are taxes. They just aren't collected by the government.

If Edwards' plan is enacted, I suspect the net result will be a DECREASE in taxes.

Posted by: S. Carter | February 6, 2007 7:45 AM | Report abuse

Ultimately, universal healthcare will save working people and small business owners money. The time has come and people know it.

Posted by: Intrepid Liberal Journal | February 6, 2007 7:30 AM | Report abuse

So long as any tax talk (and media analysis of tax talk) looks at what the cost in new taxes would be vs. reduced out-of-pocket expenses for insurance, medicines, etc., then Edwards will be fine. But if the media buys the "ooh scary! He said the T-word" meme then it's a loser for Edwards.

Posted by: T. Carter | February 6, 2007 7:23 AM | Report abuse

He said he wouldn't rule out raising taxes. The thing is that no other politician telling the truth will be able to either. The important thing to note is that he said he'd repeal the Bush tax cuts on those who make over $200,000 and focus on back taxes - both more likely to be a smart sell in the general election.

JRE is winning points for telling the truth, let's hope that it continues. In a race with Hillary Clinton we need some straight talk - especially now that McCain has sold out.

Posted by: Nation | February 6, 2007 7:21 AM | Report abuse

There's so much talk about "tax and spend" liberals, what about "spend then tax" conservatives? Surely that effects people more than any tax increase on the rich.

Posted by: Ethan Schwartz | February 6, 2007 6:41 AM | Report abuse

There's so much talk about "tax and spend" liberals, what about "spend then tax" conservatives? Surely that effects people more than any tax increase on the rich.

Posted by: Ethan | February 6, 2007 6:40 AM | Report abuse

You're right, there he goes again, telling the truth. A cardinal sin in this morally bankrupt city. I guess our troops are better served by what was formerly known as "The Worlds Greatest Deliberative Body" spending all of its time arguing about arcane parlimentary tricks rather than truly debating the Iraq escalation/blunder.

Posted by: Pdoggie | February 6, 2007 6:35 AM | Report abuse

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 | February 6, 2007 6:23 AM | Report abuse

As smart strategy for the election is to run heavily on the more domestic issues of education, health, and the environment. Even Newt Gingrich has been talking around these points, so if all the candidates have strong positions on these areas then are tax hike could be a problem.

Posted by: Bill | February 6, 2007 6:11 AM | Report abuse

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