Early Tuesday morning, David Shepardson and Christina Rogers at the Detroit News ("GM's Akerson pushing for higher gas taxes") reported that General/Multi-Government Motors CEO Dan Akerson "wants the federal gas tax boosted as much as $1 a gallon to nudge consumers toward more fuel-efficient cars."
Later in the interview, Akerson was much more emphatic about what he would like to see done immediately:
"You know what I'd rather have them do — this will make my Republican friends puke — as gas is going to go down here now, we ought to just slap a 50-cent or a dollar tax on a gallon of gas," Akerson said.
The educated guess here is that Washington Post fact checker Glenn Kessler is currently not the most popular person in the White House.
On Saturday, in a relatively rare rebuke originating from what G. Gordon Liddy has mockingly derided as "Washington's quaint little alternative newspaper" (daily circulation 741,000 in March 2005, 551,000 in March 2011), Kessler ripped into the President's claims about the auto bailout, giving him "Three Pinocchios," which in his ratings system means "Significant factual error(s) and/or obvious contradictions." Kessler found "weasel words," a "misleading figure" (actually, more), and (imagine that) a straw man.
Here are selected paragraphs from Kessler's KO (bolds are mine; internal link was in original):
... What we found is one of the most misleading collections of assertions we have seen in a short presidential speech. Virtually every claim by the president regarding the auto industry needs an asterisk, just like the fine print in that too-good-to-be-true car loan.
CBS's Erica Hill hounded newly-announced Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Friday's Early Show about his 2008 proposal to allow the Big Three auto companies to go into bankruptcy proceedings instead of bailing them out: "Based on what we've seen in the auto industry, weren't you wrong in this case?" By contrast, her co-anchor, Chris Wragge, went easier on DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
Hill interviewed Romney just after the top of the 8 am Eastern hour. After an initial question about his 2008 Republican primary loss to Senator John McCain, the CBS anchor raised the former Massachusetts governor's two-plus-year-old proposal and, like her colleague Dean Reynolds did earlier in the broadcast, touted the apparent success of the Obama administration's bailout of Detroit:
NewsBusters readers are well aware that we like to point out when arrogant, pompous, holier-than-thou liberals make completely false statements on the air and in print.
Bill Maher marvelously did so on HBO's "Real Time" Friday claiming that the Bush tax cuts have so far given a total of $2.8 trillion to the richest one percent of Americans (video follows with transcript and commentary):
An otherwise straightforward report on bad economic news on Friday's NBC Today cited economist Diane Swonk, who argued government stimulus prevented things from getting worse: "We basically had a massive coronary during the financial crisis....Financial stimulus and monetary stimulus, you know, got us to the stage where we're healing but we're in still in a lot of rehab."
Correspondent Tom Costello set up the sound bite by declaring: "To get things moving, the government has already cut payroll taxes while the Fed has pumped in $600 billion of stimulus money." He lamented: "But more government spending is unlikely given the political battle over the debt ceiling in Washington."
On Friday's Early Show, before the new 9.1% unemployment figure came out, CBS's Dean Reynolds bewailed how President Obama is being "saddled" by the "stubbornly sluggish economy." Reynolds played up how "GM, Ford, and Chrysler have all returned to profitability," and tracked down a beneficiary of the auto industry bailout, who sang the praises of the Democrat.
[Audio clips from Reynolds's report available here; video available below the jump]
MSNBC's Chris Matthews on Thursday got a much-needed economics lesson from CNBC's Joe Kernen.
In the midst of a discussion about the economy and how it's going to impact the 2012 elections, the "Hardball" host bragged about having studied economics in grad school leading Kernen to marvelously ask, "You studied economics?" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
It never ceases to amaze me what people on MSNBC are willing to say while cameras are rolling.
On Wednesday, the perilously liberal Cenk Uygur - with a straight face no less! - told Congressman Brian Bilbray (R-Calif.) in the midst of a budget discussion, "I'm actually a fiscal conservative" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
I’ve written several articles skewering HBO for producing political projects destined to air immediately prior to the 2012 election, where the vast majority of the cast and crew are passionate Barack Obama supporters, and where the content is aimed at the Democrat’s two favorite Republican villains: Sarah Palin and Dick Cheney. So, when I sat down to watch HBO’s Too Big to Fail, I prepared myself for the worst. What I didn’t expect was the big surprise awaiting me.
Too Big to Fail, which premieres on HBO on May 23, 2011, features a star studded cast recounting the events that led to the financial crisis and bailouts by the U.S. government in 2008. It is a mini-series packed into a 98-minute made-for-television movie where several essential characters are quickly introduced and where finance and economics are casually discussed. It may help if one has a baseline of knowledge about the crisis before watching the movie. If one doesn’t know who Henry Paulson, Ben Bernanke, and Timothy Geithner are or what Lehman Brothers, Goldman Sachs, and AIG are, it may prove slightly difficult to follow.
Although the Director, Curtis Hanson (L.A. Confidential, 8 Mile), was limited to telling a very long and complicated story in a very short amount of time, he was able to skillfully pull it off. Perhaps this is because the screenwriter, Peter Gould (Breaking Bad), deftly adapted Andrew Ross Sorkin’s 2009 prize winning New York Times Bestseller, Too Big to Fail.
If you had any questions as to why Dylan Ratigan belongs on MSNBC rather than CNBC they were all answered Friday night.
Appearing on HBO's "Real Time," Ratigan presented himself as a far-left commentator telling the audience of devout liberals, "This entire rhetoric machine from the Republican Party is predicated on an abandonment of arithmetic and fact" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Earlier today, NB's Tim Graham noted that the establishment press has given the silent treatment to a study by Timothy Conley of the University of Western Ontario and Bill Dupor of Ohio State University showing that the stimulus plan passed in February 2009 was a major net economic loser. In the first paragraph of the study, the authors revealed their core estimate that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act "created/saved 450 thousand government-sector jobs and destroyed/forestalled one million private sector jobs." That's a net loss of 550,000 jobs "destroyed/forestalled."
To test Tim's contention that "Our media only cites studies which estimate the number of jobs Team Obama 'saved or created,'" I did searches on Dupor's last name at the Associated Press, New York Times, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times, and got back the following results:
When an admittedly liberal Nobel laureate in economics thinks trying to balance the budget is holding America hostage, one has to wonder if there are any adults remaining on the left side of the aisle.
Consider what New York Times columnist Paul Krugman wrote Monday:
New York Times columnist Paul Krugman Monday wrote another in a series of factually dishonest pieces about budget deficits and what he likes to call 'the Great Recession."
In his "The Unwisdom of Elites," the unabashed liberal made numerous falsehoods and omissions to blame our current economic and budget woes exclusively on George W. Bush and "small groups of influential people":
Perhaps you hadn't noticed, but in late August 2010 Ben Bernanke took on complete responsibility for everything -- especially everything mediocre or bad -- that occurs in the economy.
I know this because on August 27 and 28 (covered here and here), the Associated Press issued three reports essentially telling readers that it was up to Ben to save us. There wasn't anything Barack Obama, Tim Geithner, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, or then-present Larry Summers could possibly say or do to improve the economic situation, described at the time as "appears to be stalling" in one of those AP items.
Out of this came what has come to be known as "QE2" (the second round of "quantitative easing"), otherwise known as "electronically printing money to buy U.S. debt because possibly no one else will."
If you had any questions about just how far to the left New York Times columnist Paul Krugman is, they were answered Monday when he expressed enthusiastic support for the Congressional Progressive Caucus's radical tax-hiking "People's Budget."
In his "Let's Take a Hike," the Nobel laureate left no doubt about his desire to swiftly redistribute America's wealth with little regard for the economic consequences:
On Monday, the New York Times assembled a panel of alleged experts in its Room For Debate section. Each weighed in on Monday's ratings agency outlook downgrade by Standard and Poor's in an item entitled "Is Anyone Listening to the S.&P.?" (Don't ask me why "the" is there. It shouldn't be; the item is about the firm Standard and Poor's, not "the" Standard and Poor's stock index.)
One of the contributors was Yves Smith. Ms. Smith "writes the blog Naked Capitalism. She is the head of Aurora Advisors, a management consulting firm, and the author of 'Econned: How Unenlightened Self Interest Undermined Democracy and Corrupted Capitalism.'"
As night follows day, the press is beginning to go after a business entity which had the nerve to do its job and call attention to Uncle Sam's dire fiscal situation.
Standard and Poor's is presumably not 100% populated with angels, but it didn't deserve the gratuitous and ignorant shots fired at it this evening by the Associated Press's Bernard Condon and an "expert" he quoted. In attempting to tar the firm, Condon acted as if the mortgage-lending mess was the creation of "banks" which marketed mortgage-backed securities and asleep at the switch ratings agencies. He didn't once mention Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, the fiasco's Democratic crony-run uber-culprits, which for 15 years consistently deceived the markets about the quality of the already marginal loans underlying the securities they issued .
Here are selected paragraphs from Condon's cracked creation, including a headline which gives away a resentment that the ratings agencies are still actually able to do what they were designed to do (bold is mine):
It certainly isn't a surprise that Nobel laureate Paul Krugman was far more pleased with the deficit reduction plan proposed by Barack Obama this week than the one unveiled by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) last week.
In Friday's New York Times column "Who's Serious Now?" the unabashed liberal declared the President's proposal "really serious" and the Congressman's "a sick joke":
Last November, MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell proudly declared himself a socialist on national television.
On Wednesday, "The Last Word" host took this a huge step further saying the whole idea that Americans are rugged individualists is an illusion because they're all really socialists (video follows with transcript and commentary):
On the same day a new poll found only 37 percent of liberals strongly approve of Barack Obama's performance as president, the New York Times's Paul Krugman bashed America's chief executive for being missing in action.
"What have they done with President Obama?" asked the Nobel Laureate. "Who is this bland, timid guy who doesn’t seem to stand for anything in particular":
The repeal of Obamacare's nightmarish 1099 requirement has passed both chambers of Congress and is on its way to the President for his expected signature.
In reporting Tuesday on the repeal bill's progress, the Associated Press's headline writers assured readers that the original requirement in Obamacare was a "small" component of it. The AP's Stephen Ohlemacher also misstated current 1099 filing requirements, ignored the repeal bill's de facto tax increases (i.e., reductions of tax credits) that were crammed into the bill to "pay" for lost revenue that will supposedly result from repeal, and glossed over the fact that the requirement made it into law because almost no one read the Obamacare legislation in the first place. Other than that, the AP report isn't too bad. (/sarc)
Here are key paragraphs from Ohlemacher's report (bolds and number tags are mine):
As debate rages across the country about whether it is reasonable to reduce federal spending in light of the fact that the federal government is spending more than eight times what it takes in, the same publications willing to defend that spending often simultaneously criticize spending by businesses that make a profit. One such story ran in publications nationwide this week, including the Chicago Tribune.
In a story blaringly entitled "Eight Outrageous Executive Perks" circulated by Tribune Media Services, author Kathy Kristoff laments the compensation packages offered by varied companies to their founders and/or CEOs.
For example, Qwest CEO Ed Mueller’s family was permitted use of the company jet, an expense totaling $281,182 for the year. Occidental Petroleum served as another example; the company's CEO moved from Texas to California to do his job. Texas has no state income tax; California had a 9% state income tax at the time. Occidental agreed to pay the tax for him.
Last Friday, in what one would think would be a bombshell story headlined "Foreign Banks Tapped Fed’s Secret Lifeline Most at Crisis Peak," Bloomberg's Bradley Keoun and Craig Torres reported that foreign banks secretly and routinely tapping the Federal Reserve's "discount window" lending program, primarily in 2008 and 2009. Some specifics:
"(The) loans protected a lender to local governments in Belgium, a Japanese fishing-cooperative financier and a company part-owned by the Central Bank of Libya."
Dexia SA (DEXB), based in Brussels and Paris, borrowed as much as $33.5 billion through its New York branch ..."
"Dublin-based Depfa Bank Plc, taken over in 2007 by a German real-estate lender later seized by the German government, drew $24.5 billion."
"...foreign banks ... (accounted) for at least 70 percent of the $110.7 billion borrowed during the week in October 2008 when use of the program surged to a record."
Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke fought for two years to keep the information secret after Bloomberg filed a Freedom of Information Act request in 2009. The Bloomberg report quotes Bernanke as claiming in April 2009 that disclosure "might lead market participants to infer weakness."
In the Bloomberg report, Congressman Ron Paul is quoted making a prediction that has sadly been way off the mark:
New York Times columnist Paul Krugman was in his predictable defend Obama at all costs mode on Sunday's "This Week."
When former Bush administration official Torie Clarke said unemployment remains high because the private sector is concerned about future regulations, the Nobel Laureate scoffed, "All of this stuff about uncertainty is just a myth being made up to blame this on Obama" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich, in a column appearing at Business Insider, says that we're heading in the direction of a "double-dip" -- and though he doesn't follow it with the word "recession," it's obvious he's not talking about an ice-cream cone. It's also obvious that he's less than pleased with the media spin that things are really okay.
Along the way, Reich had to go back to the mid-1930s, the era of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's ongoing economic depression (at least as far as employment was concerned) to exemplify what a supposedly good recovery from an economic trauma looks. He was clearly desperate to avoid saying anything nice about the more historically relevant and objectively more impressive recovery and subsequent prosperity that occurred under Ronald Reagan. This is also true of the establishment press.