Minutes After Defunding Vote, NPR Airs Interview with Bloomberg Reporter Pleading for Major Tax Hikes

Just minutes after the House of Representatives voted to deny federal funding to NPR headquarters on Thursday, NPR was displaying its typical liberal bias on the show Fresh Air with Terry Gross. Substitute host Dave Davies was whacking corporate tax avoidance, or  "How Offshore Tax Havens Save Companies Billions." The guest was Jesse Drucker, an obviously liberal reporter with Bloomberg News. Drucker used to be at The Wall Street Journal, where like any self-respecting liberal activist/reporter, he led an e-mail campaign to prevent the Journal from being sold to that awful Rupert Murdoch person. That's enough right there for an NPR invitation.

Drucker came to NPR with the earnest recommendation that America desperately needs a significant hike in marginal tax rates that's more like socialist Europe, and perhaps a little value-added tax on top for seasoning:

DAVE DAVIES: You know, it's interesting that it's something that you observe in tax law generally, is that, you know, tax laws are enacted with presumably laudable public policy goals in mind, fairly taxing those for what they - people for what they should pay and then also providing the right incentives that you want. 

And then what always happens is that, you know, high-priced lawyers and accountants get busy, and they're smart and creative, and they think of avenues, ways, you know, loopholes to take advantage of them. And I'm sure other countries lose tax revenue to this particular activity, transfer pricing, just as the United States does. Have other countries figured out - anybody else figured out a way to get a handle on it? Do you know?

JESSE DRUCKER: Well, I mean, there's a kind of - it's a great question....A lot of those countries have much higher marginal income tax rates on individuals. I mean, you know, if you were a multimillionaire in, you know, France, Germany or the U.K., I mean, you're looking at marginal rates, you know, sometimes close to 50 percent. A lot of these countries also have value added taxes, basically what's effectively a national sales tax.

So, you know, a lot of these other countries kind of have other sources of tax revenue. You know, and the U.S. should probably explore some of these other avenues. I mean, at the very least, the U.S. should probably be exploring kind of some way to deal with the fact that we're losing $90 billion a year to this. 

I mean, we're in a situation right now -- you know, Camden, New Jersey, is in the process of laying off nearly half its police force. And we can see kind of what is going on with kind of called for cuts to teachers' salaries and laying off teachers around the country when there are tens of billions of dollars in tax revenues being pushed into mailboxes offshore.  

Davies mostly asked questions that vaguely reflected the "pro-corporate" counter-argument to set up Drucker's story of corporate tax tricksters. It was sort of amusing to see one of these violators Drucker was denouncing was Google. Google? The Obama-loving business? Drucker ended with a lecture:

So, you know, kind of especially in this time of kind of really severe fiscal straits, I think we want to ask the question of who is it that should bear the brunt of the problems here? And should it really only be the 90 percent or 99 percent of Americans who can't afford to send their kids to private schools and can't afford private security and can't afford, you know, cars and drivers, the people who rely on public schools and public transportation, should the debate only be about cutting their services? Because by and large, that is the only way the debate is framed.

And should the debate be enlargened to encompass - well, what about the profits that are being shifted into a mailbox overseas by companies that are located here in the U.S. I mean, the situation with Google, also, obviously, is very interesting because, you know, Google, as we know, is a company that has its start because of U.S. taxpayer funding. I mean, both the original grant at Stanford University and the scholarship that sent one of its founders, Sergey Brin, to Stanford, those were both funded by you and me, by the taxpayers.

And so the question is: Should we have a system where taxpayers essentially help to fund success and create profitable companies but then don't fully share in the thing that they need to pay when they make profits, which are their taxes?  

You can understand why the NPR host would say "thanks so much." On Wednesday, Davies welcomed to Fresh Air a Dr. Gregg Bloche, a health adviser to Barack Obama's presidential campaign, to discuss the rationing of health care in chilling passages like this:

What the doctor can then do is to say to her or his patient: That's not something that I'm allowed to do, that's not something that the rules permit me to do, just like a lawyer is not allowed to present false information to a tribunal, even though it's a lawyer's obligation to stand by his or her client. The key here is that society ought to be making these rules.  

So it's quite ridiculous for Democrats to stand on the House floor and insist (like Rep. Lois Capps did) that NPR offers "thoughtful, even-handed analysis" of the issues of the day.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis