St. Elizabeth, Mythmaker

A mostly political Weblog.
Sept. 19 2008 6:15 PM

St. Elizabeth, Mythmaker

It's your fault for wanting to know the truth.

(Continued from Page 63)

And here's the NYT's own translation of the tape:

"Obama's remarks that — if he takes office — in 16 months he would withdraw the forces, we think that this period could increase or decrease a little, but that it could be suitable to end the presence of the forces in Iraq." [E.A.]

There's a not inconsequential difference between the two, no? The Times version specifically does not "endorse" the timetable of 16 months (no matter what some bloggers claim). It says 16 months isn't crazy. ...  P.S.:Hot Air has a third translation, which is somewere in between, ...  P.P.S.: Maliki does seem to endorse Obama's general approach over McCain's, though. ("Who wants to exit in a quicker way has a better assessment of the situation in Iraq.") ... [via Insta, Yglesias ] 12:41 A.M. link

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Sunday, July 20, 2008

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Why did star blogger Matt Yglesias really  defect from The Atlantic  to the Center for American Progress? It can't have been the money: The Atlantic is the last journalistic gravy train in town. Were the ideas at the Aspen Ideas Festival not up to snuff? ... P.S.: What's CAP getting in the deal? Gravitas! ... 11:49 P.M. link

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Maybe we should pay more attention to the issues on which Obama hasn't noticeably shifted to the center. For example, 1) health care and 2) tax increases. In each case, the relevant question would seem to be: Is he sticking to his guns because a) that's what he really believes his presidency should be about, or b) the issue is so central to his coalition that changing his position would disrupt his election strategy? ... My guess: Issue 1# is both a and b. But some moderate moderation** on Issue #2, taxes, wouldn't really hurt Obama politically--he could still be for raising taxes on the rich without proposing hikes that add up to marginal rates in the over-50% range on the coasts.  His failure to do that suggests that soaking the rich in myriad ways is what he really believes in.

It's a big insufficiently remarked-on vulnerability. You don't have to be against high taxes to be against high marginal tax rates, which threaten to produce a boom in unproductive tax shelters. The tax-raising alternatives are to broaden the tax base (i.e. the sorts of income that are taxed) and to broaden the range of taxpayers who face increases (instead of soaking only the very tip of the income pyramid, those making over $250,000 or $300,,000 a year).  ...

**--Obama does seem to have watered down his tax position a bit, fudging what seemed to be an inclination to impose the Social Security payroll tax of 12.4%  on high earners. Now aide Jason Furman says

[W]e are looking at a range of plans, think Congress might like to have rates that are in the neighborhood of 2% to 4%."

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