MEDIA WATCH: Bush's tax-cut proposal seen as make-or-break

President Bush is advocating a tax-cut package some might say rivals the size of his home state of Texas. In sending this across-the-board proposal to Congress, Bush stated, 'It's tax relief for everybody who pays taxes. That's what the times and basic fairness demand' (The Boston Globe, February 8).

President Bush is advocating a tax-cut package some might say rivals the size of his home state of Texas. In sending this across-the-board proposal to Congress, Bush stated, 'It's tax relief for everybody who pays taxes. That's what the times and basic fairness demand' (The Boston Globe, February 8).

President Bush is advocating a tax-cut package some might say rivals the size of his home state of Texas. In sending this across-the-board proposal to Congress, Bush stated, 'It's tax relief for everybody who pays taxes. That's what the times and basic fairness demand' (The Boston Globe, February 8).

There are indications that support for the Bush plan is growing rapidly, especially in the last few months. But when you start talking about what to do with somewhere between dollars 1.6 trillion and dollars 2.5 trillion, it's no surprise that a lot of people have their own ideas.

We analyzed editorials and opinion pieces in leading newspapers and Web sites across the country to determine the level of support for Bush's plan, as well as who is likely to get the most out of the proposal.

Predictions vary. Some claim the lower brackets will win out, since the plan calls for a bigger reduction percentage for these groups. Others point to the higher brackets, which will benefit from a larger dollar amount reduction.

Commentary most often focused on the perception that Bush's plan favors the wealthy by awarding them the largest savings. The Denver Post (February 4) wrote, 'Why is an administration that claims to feel so much compassion for the poor preparing to use so much of the surplus to shower money on the very wealthiest Americans?' Despite this criticism, there are indications that the plan is likely to pass.

There is also debate as to what impact Bush's tax cut will have. According to the coverage we surveyed, tax cuts are viewed as an unreliable way to stimulate the economy rather than a helpful way of averting a recession.

There has been talk that Congress may try to add on special interest tax cuts to the president's plan. There appears to be little support for this. Not only has Bush publicly indicated he would accept 'no more, no less' than the original proposal, but the plan's opponents tend to favor a smaller alternative rather than a larger proposal.

Other commentary dealt with how influential Federal Reserve Board chairman Alan Greenspan is in generating additional support for Bush's tax cut.

In the online world, Fortune.com (February 19) wrote about his ability to convert opponents. 'When Greenspan said in congressional testimony that he now supported a large tax cut, every politician in town got religion.'

A handful of reports thought it unwise to pass such sweeping tax reform based on budget surpluses for the next 10 years, when the surpluses themselves are not guaranteed.

An editorial in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (February 8) quoted the recent testimony of David Walker, head of the US General Account Office: 'No one should design tax or spending policy pegged to price numbers for any 10-year forecast.'

There are indications that Bush's tax plan is seen as a make-or-break event. An editorial in The New York Times (February 4) claimed, 'The tax cut and budget issues could determine the success of his presidency.'

So much for a honeymoon period. Nothing like a little pressure to motivate you, Mr. President.

Evaluation and analysis by CARMA International. Media Watch can be found at www.carma.com.



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