Hayes Scolds Media for Shoddy Journalism on Buffett Rule: ‘Reporters Should Do Their Job’

“It’ll probably work politically,” The Weekly Standard’s Stephen Hayes observed of President Obama’s “fairness”-based “Buffett Rule” tax hike quest, “but don’t reporters have a job to do here?” On FNC’s Special Report on Tuesday night he noted the 30 percent income tax rate on capital gains “would raise less than six percent of the total cost of the stimulus” and “would raise roughly the same amount in one year” as “the U.S. government accumulates in debt in a single day.”

Declaring it “totally meaningless,” Hayes asserted “there’s nothing serious about” Obama’s economic plan and so, he suggested in an idea with little chance of occurring, “reporters should do their job and put this in perspective.”

No surprise, they didn’t on Tuesday night and haven’t in the past. CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley relayed how “the President took his re-election campaign to Florida today. He hammered away at what will be one of his main themes against Governor Romney, that high-income earners should pay more in taxes.”

Reporter Norah O’Donnell, who offered no contrary information in her April 10 story, explained Obama’s spin:

Here’s what the President is talking about. People who make their money from investments like stocks and bonds pay a tax rate of 15 percent. That’s about what Mitt Romney paid in 2010. Billionaire investor Warren Buffett says it’s unfair and wealthier Americans should pay more. The President is calling for a tax of 30 percent on incomes above a million dollars. The Senate will consider the so-called Buffett Rule on Monday. Mr. Obama says making wealthier Americans pay more in taxes is an issue of fundamental fairness.

In fact, the average effective federal income tax rate for taxpayers is 11 percent, I noted in my January 24 post, “Nets Use Romney’s Taxes to Advance Obama’s False ‘Fairness’ Narrative,” which includes a table showing those earning between $50,000 and $75,000 pay an average effective income tax rate of 7 percent, 8 percent for those taking in $75,000 to $100,000 and 12 percent for those between $100,000 and $200,000.

From late January: “‘The Secretary Speaks!’ ABC Again Champion’s Obama’s Poster Girl for Higher Taxes, Contrasts Her Rate with Romney’s

From September of 2011: “ABC Trumpets ‘Fairness’ of Obama’s ‘Buffett Rule’ Tax Hike Quest

From August of 2011: “Networks Embrace Buffett’s Call for Higher Taxes on ‘Mega-Rich,’ ABC Salivates Over Spending It

Hayes, during the panel segment on the Tuesday, April 10 Special Report with Bret Baier on FNC:

It’ll probably work politically, but don’t reporters have a job to do here? I mean, isn’t it the job of the media to put this in perspective? The Buffett Rule would raise less than six percent of the total cost of the stimulus. If you look at Buffett Rule it would raise roughly the same amount in one year, $4 billion according to the Joint Committee on Taxation, $4 billion in one year, as the U.S. government accumulates in debt in a single day.

This is totally meaningless. It’s completely worthless. And yet the President has spent more time talking about this than virtually any other specific economic policy proposal at a time when the economy is struggling and we’ve had a bad jobs report. This is the President’s plan. It’s not a plan, it’s not serious. There’s nothing serious about it and reporters should do their job and put this in perspective.

Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center