Chris Murphy ’96 made the Washington Post today.

In the waning days before Tuesday’s election, Republican leaders are holding the issue of taxes out like a life raft to struggling congressional candidates. Few have grabbed it with greater enthusiasm than Rep. Nancy L. Johnson.

A 24-year incumbent from Connecticut who sits on the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee, Johnson has run at least three television ads on fees and taxes, accusing her Democratic challenger, Chris Murphy, of raising “our taxes 27 times.” She presses the point in speeches, telling voters that while Murphy was hiking taxes as a state lawmaker in Hartford, she was helping President Bush cut taxes on Capitol Hill.

But it’s not clear the tax boat is going to float in this western Connecticut district, where Johnson, like Republicans nationally, is having trouble turning the economy into a winning issue. Murphy, 33, a lawyer and state senator, has opened a narrow margin in the polls by painting Johnson as a pawn of big business and attacking administration policies — including the tax cuts — as giveaways to millionaires.

Damn those evil millionaires! We hateses them.

As Murphy knocked on doors last week in Cheshire, a prosperous town about 25 miles south of Hartford, no one asked about the 27 tax hikes, a figure Murphy contends is exaggerated. But voters did express frustration with Republicans in Washington, saying the positive economic indicators have meant little in their lives.

“Good economy for whom? It’s a good economy for people who already have a lot of money,” said Kathleen Viereg, a family physician who was tending her lawn. Viereg said she has patients who postpone treatment because they can’t afford rising deductibles and co-payments — and those are the ones with insurance.

A political independent and undecided voter, Viereg said talk of tax relief leaves her cold when so many people are struggling financially. “The voodoo economics of these tax cuts doesn’t add up,” she said.

If we divided all of Connecticut into two groups: those that “have a lot of money” and everyone else, I would bet that a female physician is more likely to be in the former than the later.

Murphy attacks Johnson on a range of economic issues, from Social Security to a new drug benefit for Medicare recipients. If elected, Murphy says he will “absolutely” work to repeal cuts in the dividend and capital gains tax rates, calling them “tax breaks for the richest 1 or 2 percent of Americans.”

What percentage of the Williams graduates of the 1980’s (about 5,000 individuals) are in the richest 2% of Americans? You can bet that it is more than 2%. Chris Murphy: class traitor? Just asking!

I can’t find the data on where the cut off is for the richest 2%, but the richest 5% starts at $164,000. I would wager that at least 1/3 of Williams graduates from the 1980s are in this top 5%. Another great topic for a senior thesis.

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