‘OBAMA TAX CUTS’…. Atrios offers a very compelling idea when it comes to Democratic messaging.

I’ve said it before … but I have no idea why we’re talking about the “Bush tax cuts” instead of talking about how Bush’s tax cuts are expiring as he intended, and meet the new and improved “Obama tax cuts.”

Can I just take a moment to enthusiastically endorse this? The tax policy debate has been stuck in a weird place — what, everyone has been asking, are we supposed to do with rates set by Bush/Cheney?

But the tax policies of the Bush/Cheney era were a failure. They didn’t create jobs, they didn’t generate vast economic growth, and they contributed to massive explosion in federal debt. Republicans who passed them, hoping to play a little budget shell game, set the rates to expire at the end of 2010.

So, to borrow a phrase, let’s turn the page. That policy didn’t produce the desired results, and now it’s coming to an end. Going forward, we’ll have a new policy — Obama tax cuts, on top of the cuts he approved last year, would make lower rates permanent for the middle- and lower-class. Obama would allow a modest increase to the top rate for the wealthiest Americans — just as he promised to during the election — but the rich would still get a cut on the first $250,000 they make, thanks to the way marginal rates work.

Congressional Democrats, especially those worried about re-election, would therefore take a stand in support of the “Obama tax cuts” for the middle class.

Why not go with rhetoric that’s likely to resonate, and which has the added benefit of being true?

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.