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"America has two great dominant strands of political thought - conservatism, which, at its very best, draws lines that should not be crossed; and progressivism, which, at its very best, breaks down barriers that should never have been erected." -- Bill Clinton, Dedication of the Clinton Presidential Library, November 2004

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Saturday, December 20, 2003


The AP Gets Half the Story

posted by Matt Singer at Saturday, December 20, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
Well, the (so-called) liberal media picked up the "Bush Tax" story by trying to point out that Dean was responsible as Governor for property tax hikes.


One man deals with the impact of a national recession on his local budget by choosing to limit spending growth rather than raising taxes in a state that already had fairly high tax burdens.

Another man walks into office and proposes tax cut after tax cut after tax cut, with very little stimulus in any of the packages, all of which negatively impact state tax collection and do little to help states deal with a recession.

These two situations are "similar"?


Now the distinction in this situation goes back to something that has confused some folks in other situations. Dean points out in the AP article that when faced with a recession, and making the tough choice that fiscal responsibility was in order, Dean slowed the rate of growth of Vermont government. Local governments chose to maintain previous rates of growth.

In the Bush system, Bush chose to make cuts that slash state tax revenues without providing any good way for states to get more aid from the federal government to make up for it. States would not just have to slow the rate of growth, they would have to reverse it. Virtually every state has faced the choice of tax hikes or service cuts, not simply growth rate reductions.

The only question in my mind is which campaign planted this story: Bush or Kerry.

If you see this story pop up in your local fishwrap, respond to it. Write a letter to the editor emphasizing that Dean dealt with temporary budget shortfalls by reducing the rate of growth of government - a reasonable response that does not cut essential services while also not forcing the government to raise taxes - while some localities decided on their own to raise taxes to maintain previous rates of growth.

Bush on the other hand has taken a slash and burn approach, leaving states with dire choices of either steep tax hikes or severe service cuts.

It's no contest. Dean was faced with a tough decision. Bush forced a tough decision on the states. That's the Bush Tax and it is very much a reality.


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About Nation-Building

Nation-Building was founded by Aziz Poonawalla in August 2002 under the name Dean Nation. Dean Nation was the very first weblog devoted to a presidential candidate, Howard Dean, and became the vanguard of the Dean netroot phenomenon, raising over $40,000 for the Dean campaign, pioneering the use of Meetup, and enjoying the attention of the campaign itself, with Joe Trippi a regular reader (and sometime commentor). Howard Dean himself even left a comment once. Dean Nation was a group weblog effort and counts among its alumni many of the progressive blogsphere's leading talent including Jerome Armstrong, Matthew Yglesias, and Ezra Klein. After the election in 2004, the blog refocused onto the theme of "purple politics", formally changing its name to Nation-Building in June 2006. The primary focus of the blog is on articulating purple-state policy at home and pragmatic liberal interventionism abroad.