CNN's Velshi Admits Press Went Soft on Obama's Tax Hike Plan

CNN's financial guru Ali Velshi admitted that the press didn't really challenge President Obama's proposal for tax hikes after his Thursday press conference on his jobs bill. Velshi, perhaps going soft himself, noted during the 12 p.m. hour that Obama's speech "seemed like a bit of an economics lesson" how the President attacked Republicans and their demands on the count that they don't create jobs.

"He spoke very little about the actual tax increases, and there wasn't a lot of challenge from the reporters," Velshi explained, "which leads me to believe that people either think that the jobs bill really is dead in the water, or they realize that most Americans, according to our polling at least, support the idea of a tax on people making more than a million dollars." [Click here for audio.]

Anchor Suzanne Malveaux opted for the image of a "homework assignment" the President has given to the press, to have the jobs bill analyzed by economists and prove his jobs-creating agenda wrong.

Perhaps Obama and members of the press haven't read or acknowledged the conservative critiques of the President's jobs proposal. The Heritage Foundation's provided a devastating critique of the plan, but the AP's fact-check shortly after the President initially introduced his plan wasn't so nice either.

"It’s hard to see how the program would not raise the deficit over the next year or two," the AP wrote, "because most of the envisioned spending cuts and tax increases are designed to come later rather than now, when they could jeopardize the fragile recovery."

The AP also cast doubt on the notion that all the proposals would quickly create employment. "One is to set up a national infrastructure bank to raise private capital for roads, rail, bridges, airports and waterways. Even supporters of such a bank doubt it could have much impact on jobs in the next two years because it takes time to set up."

Meanwhile, the Heritage Foundation's senior analyst in Tax Policy, Curtis Dubay, ripped the plan as "poorly crafted and contradictory."

"Since it is likely President Obama's job proposals would create few, if any permanent, positions, taken together with the tax hike on job creators, his plan would likely reduce employment in the long term," Dubay summarized.

A transcript of the segment, which aired on October 6 at 12:12 p.m. EDT, is as follows:

SUZANNE MALVEAUX: The President clearly putting the onus on Congress to answer to this jobs bill and why Republicans do not support the jobs bill. The President trying to portray himself as someone who has an open door to the White House, one who is negotiating instead of campaigning, and even offering, Ali, a homework assignment to us, to take the Jobs Bill, take a look at it, go to these economists, have them analyze it, and prove him wrong that this is not going to create some 1.9 million dollar – jobs, rather – for the American people. What did you hear in the President's case that he made here, first of all, and secondly, was there anything that you heard that would allow the Republicans to jump on board here and to negotiate, to compromise, on his Jobs Act?

ALI VELSHI, CNN chief business correspondent: Largely, to your second question first, no, not really. In fact, there was nothing particularly surprising. The one piece of news we were sort of expecting to hear, he kind of buried, about the 5.6 percent on people on over $1 million worth of income. I'll tell you – and I don't mean this in a bad way, Suzanne – but it seemed like a bit of an economics lesson. He was giving a lot of answers to reporters explaining supply and demand, and basic economics, and using the argument that so many of the things that the Republicans have been demanding, particularly to see in something like a jobs bill, he argued, don't create jobs.

So he says if you want to reduce regulation on air quality and climate, or you want to reduce regulation on financial institutions, how does that create jobs in the short term? And he was sort of challenging them to do that. He made that point. He spoke very little about the actual tax increases, and there wasn't a lot of challenge from the reporters, which leads me to believe that people either think that the jobs bill really is dead in the water, or they realize that most Americans, according to our polling at least, support the idea of a tax on people making more than a million dollars.

He also was asked, as you know, a couple of times about the "Occupy Wall Street" protest, and he made the point that the one thing that would help protect consumers against financial institutions and their behavior would be this consumer financial protection board, which the Republicans stood in the way of – initially the formation of, and then the appointment of Elizabeth Warren to the head of, and now the appointment of a new candidate.

So he made the point that there is some avenue whereby consumers can feel more protected from financial institutions, but that the Republicans haven't gotten on board to support that. So sort of a wide-ranging economics lesson if you will, but I don't know that he won any Republicans over with it.

Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro was a News Analyst for the Media Research Center's News Analysis Division from 2010 through early 2014