Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Political etiquette

This was a post I made to Facebook on January 5, 2013 that I thought I'd put out on the larger Web:

In 2010, the federal government temporarily reduced the Social Security payroll tax from 6.2% to 4.2%. That reduction expired at the end of 2012, so people are noticing somewhat smaller paychecks.

This event, of course, gets spun in different ways, depending on political orientation, so I have a proposal for an etiquette rule for political discussions about such temporary measures:

  1. Since Republicans will want to characterize the expiration of the measure as a tax hike, they are not allowed to complain that it's only temporary when discussing the measure around the time that it passes. Use of the word temporary in or near such discussions is an automatic bar to their later being allowed to use the words tax and hike near each other when the measure expires (except insofar-as to remind Democrats that they are now subject to Part 2 of this rule).

  2. Conversely, since Democrats will want to characterize the expiration of the measure as just going back to normal levels of taxation, in all discussions of the measure in or around the time of passage, they must not only use the word temporary, they must put stress on the word (through the usual phonetic means in speech or by bolding, italicizing, or equivalent in writing). Any failure to do so is an automatic bar to their being allowed to object to Republican characterizations of the expiration as a tax hike (except insofar-as to remind Republicans violating Part 1 of this rule that they are in violation).

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