Corporate media coverage of tax/budget issues often seems to be an argument between right-leaning Democrats and conservative Republicans. In the midst of a national discussion of budget deficits, raising taxes on the wealthy is considered a non-starter–even though most Americans would support it.
The front page of the Washington Post on Saturday (5/14/11) offered a pretty typical example. Under the headline “Democrats Consider Political Cost of Taxes,” Peter Wallstein explained that since some right-leaning Democrats aren’t keen on the idea of raising taxes, the party is at a crossroads:
At issue for Democrats is whether the party risks going overboard in its embrace of tax increases–a perilous proposition for lawmakers from political battlegrounds.
Those tensions erupted at a private meeting this week of a handful of key Democratic members.
The piece went on to explain:
Several centrist Democrats have been voicing concern in private sessions that [Kent] Conrad’s draft may be shifting too far to the left in order to placate liberals on the committee whose votes are needed to move the legislation, according to aides.
The Conrad idea is a 3 percent surtax for millionaires. To the Post, adopting something like that “could leave some Democrats vulnerable to the old tax-and-spend label that has long haunted the party in competitive elections.” Deep into the piece, readers learn that liberal Democrats are worried that the White House is too quick to support spending cuts over tax increases on the wealthy, and that some even advocate larger tax hikes for millionaires.
It’s hard to imagine seeing many pieces that are flipped around, politically speaking–where the People’s Budget from the Progressive Caucus would be treated as a politically popular platform that reflected the wishes of the party base (not to mention the general population). Instead these policy ideas are mostly overlooked, while conservative Democrats who worry about what Republicans will say about them are given top billing–and called “centrists” to boot.