John Biemer, a Chicago Tribune reporter, is a conscientious guy who generally does a good job playing it straight. But he falls prey to what is a common bias in reporters writing about tax cuts.
Writing about dueling press conferences in the 6th Congressional District race between Republican Peter Roskam and Democrat Tammy Duckworth, he notes that Duckworth is calling for cuts to the Alternative Minimum Tax and that Roskam was calling for an extension of the Bush tax cuts. Duckworth was alleging the AMT is starting to hurt the middle class. Roskam charged that Duckworth's opposition to extending the Bush tax cuts amounted to support of a big tax increase.
Both were supporting "tax cuts." But when it came to Roskam's support, Biemer prefaced his writing with loaded phraseology.
Asked how the nation could afford to extend tax cuts with an $8 trillion national debt and a costly war in Iraq, Roskam said, "There is a spending problem in Washington, D.C. "One of the ways for me to be active as a new member of Congress is to be one of the voices that says to the Republican Congress, `We ought to get this spending under control,'" he said.
Duckworth said she "would seriously consider repealing part" of the Bush tax cuts, which she said, "have caused our deficit to swell and our debt to explode.
No such language prefaced Duckworth's call for a decrease in the AMT, which would result in the same "loss of revenue" in the world of most journalists.
Of course that world is flawed. As has been demonstrated time after time, tax cuts increase revenues by stimulating the economy. Just recently, the government reported the growth in revenues.
Through the first six months of this budget year, revenues have totaled $1.04 trillion, up 10.5 percent from the same period a year ago.
We can all agree that spending is out of control.