FORTUNATELY, there is clear evidence that reframing the discussion often has a big impact on the way voters think about tax policy. In the spring of 2005, for example, I asked the Survey Research Institute at Cornell University to conduct two telephone surveys to investigate public attitudes about the Bush administration’s proposal to eliminate the estate tax.
In the first survey, respondents were simply asked whether they favored the proposal. Almost 75 percent said they did. In the second, respondents were first told that lost revenue from eliminating the estate tax would necessitate some combination of raising other taxes, borrowing more money from abroad and further cutbacks in government services. This time, almost 80 percent of respondents favored keeping the estate tax.
Thank God he's almost recovered from a recent heart attack.