Sunday, August 15, 2004

Dueling deficits? Not really. 

Here's another headline for the Bush Headline Project.
The New York Times headlines its story "Styles similar in Bush and Kerry duel on deficit numbers"
The idea here is to promote the view that Kerry would be no better at handling the economy than Bush has been. So therefore, you might as well vote for Bush because he's so strong on terror.
But lets not actually have a detailed comparison of the numbers and projections, no. Instead, lets just have a series of contradictory and meaningless quotes from the two campaigns.
This is what passes in the US major media these days as 'exploring the issues.'
The head of the Concord Coalition is quoted in the article as saying "It's unclear to me that either candidate is better" but what the coalition also said in July is much more detailed and more critical of Bush: "The President’s budget claims to cut the deficit in half over five years but omits the likely cost of ongoing military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, assumes a freeze on non-security appropriations and pretends that relief from the growing alternative minimum tax will be temporary. Moreover, its 5-year window ignores the 10-year revenue loss of making the President’s tax cuts permanent. In Congress, deficit reduction talk has produced actions that only make it more difficult to close the gap. "
The article fails to include this telling detail. What it does say, in paragraph 17 is this: "Compared with Mr. Bush's plans, Mr. Kerry's proposals would amount to an increase in taxes. But the full panoply of Mr. Kerry's proposals would lead to tax cuts totaling $425 billion over 10 years, which would rank him as one of the biggest tax-cutters in history." Without any further explanation, this paragraph doesn't make any sense, particularly in the context of the article and its headline. The media script is that republicans cut taxes while democrats raise them -- so lets not ever have a headline or a story which contradicts that script.

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