NH Paper Lets John Edwards Promise the World

The John Edwards presidential campaign couldn't have asked for a more flattering article than the one printed Friday by New Hampshire's Concord Monitor.

In an interview with the paper's Lauren Dorgan, Edwards promised universal health care, universal pre-kindergarten, matched savings accounts for poor people, and a new iniative called "College for Everyone." All of these new programs are going to require significant amounts of tax money in order to be paid for.

Instead of asking Edwards where he would get the money to pay for his massive spending increases, Dorgan and her Monitor colleages let Edwards off the hook with a spin that he's only asking America to "sacrifice." Here's an excerpt:

John Edwards says if he's elected president, he'll institute a New Deal-like suite of programs to fight poverty and stem growing wealth disparity. To do it, he said, he'll ask many Americans to make sacrifices, like paying higher taxes.

Edwards, a former Democratic senator from North Carolina, says the federal government should underwrite universal pre-kindergarten, create matching savings accounts for low-income people, mandate a minimum wage of $9.50 and provide a million new Section 8 housing vouchers for the poor. He also pledged to start a government-funded public higher education program called "College for Everyone."

"It is central to what I want to do as president to do something about economic inequality. I do not believe it is okay for the United States of America to have 37 million people living in poverty," he said in a meeting with Monitor reporters and editors this week. "And I think we need, desperately need, a president who will say that to America and call on Americans to show their character."

At every stop, Edwards said, he tells voters he'll ask them to sacrifice. Asked to describe what he means, he described his plan for increases in capital gains taxes, saying taxes on "wealth income" should be in line with those on work income.

"I think if we want to fund the things that I think are important to share in prosperity, then people who have done well in this country, including me, have more of a responsibility to give back," he said. Later, he added: "There are no free meals."

What does that mean, though? How much is "giving back?" Who is classified as having "wealth income?" Isn't it possible that all these tax increases (including one on capital gains) will ruin or harm the economy? How can those cost and revenue estimates be accurate?

All of these and many more are questions that a more objective reporter might have posed to Edwards. Unfortunately, Lauren Dorgan chose not to be objective.

That isn't to say that she did not talk to Edwards critics, however. She did, in fact do this, unfortunately for Monitor readers, however, Dorgan only talked to people from the Hillary Clinton campaign--not once to someone from a Republican campaign or from a conservative group.

Matthew Sheffield
Matthew Sheffield
Matthew Sheffield, creator of NewsBusters and president of Dialog New Media, an internet marketing and design firm, left NewsBusters at the end of 2013