NYT Treats 'Trickle-Down Economics' As Factual Term, But 'Death Tax' Just Conservative Rhetoric

December 9th, 2011 9:29 AM

New York Times reporter Richard Oppel Jr. twice used the term “trickle-down economics” (without the quote marks) in Thursday’s dispatch from the Republican Jewish Coalition Forum in D.C., where several Republican candidates made speeches: “G.O.P. Candidates, at Jewish Coalition, Pledge to Be Israel’s Best Friends.”

“Trickle-down economics” is a derogatory term for the Reaganesque idea that tax cuts for the rich encourage investment, leading to economic growth that benefit everyone. It’s a favorite of Times columnist Paul Krugman and liberals in general, but the Times has generally refrained from using the term as a straight description in news stories. But Oppel did it twice, with no quote marks around the phrase to show that it’s not actually a neutral journalistic description, but a liberal Democratic interpretation of conservative policy. In contrast, the Times invariably places conservative catch-phrases like "death tax" in protective quotation marks, so that readers get the hint that it's just partisan rhetoric.

Mr. Romney used his speech to criticize President Obama on other fronts, saying that he was fostering an “entitlement” society.

(Obama had mocked conservative belief in free markets in a speech in Kansas on Tuesday: "And even if prosperity doesn’t trickle down, they argue, that’s the price of liberty.")

“American prosperity is fully dependent upon having an opportunity society -- I don’t think President Obama understands that,” Mr. Romney told the crowd. “I don’t think he understands why our economy is the most successful in the world. I don’t think he understands America.”

Mr. Romney’s remarks served as something of a rebuttal to a speech that Mr. Obama gave on Tuesday in Kansas, in which the president warned that trickle-down economic policy did not work.

“A merit-based opportunity society is one that gathers and creates a citizenry of pioneers -- a people who invent, who build, who create,” Mr. Romney said. “And as these people exert the effort, and take the risks inherent in inventing and creating things, they employ and lift the rest of us, creating prosperity for all of us. The rewards they earn don’t make the rest of us poorer -- they make us all better off.”

His view ran counter to Mr. Obama’s assertion a day earlier that while trickle-down economics appeals to the nation’s “rugged individualism and our healthy skepticism of too much government,” it is not an effective economy policy.