Showing how difficult it is to make the smallest reductions in federal spending, New York Times personal finance reporter Tara Siegel Bernard's latest "Your Money" column criticized, as hurting the old and poor, a proposed change in how inflation is calculated that would slightly curb the annual increases in entitlement spending. The proposal is generally supported by conservatives and reviled by liberals.
I guess Byron Tau thought he had to make it look like Big Labor is really, really mad at President Barack Obama and the White House so he could make Obama look like he's a moderate on economic and fiscal issues. Thus his Sunday morning post's headline: "Labor targets Obama over proposed benefit cuts."
Of course, they aren't "cuts" at all, though they are being portrayed as such. All Obama has done, according to information which appears to have been conveniently leaked (perhaps in hopes of killing the idea) to the New York Times ahead of his very late President's Budget, is "propose a new inflation formula that would have the effect of reducing cost-of-living payments for Social Security benefits, though with financial protections for low-income and very old beneficiaries, administration officials said." Despite the weakly descriptive language at the Times, monthly Social Security and other checks would continue to increase under the proposal each year inflation occurs -- just not by as much.
Senate Democrats on Saturday narrowly passed their first budget in four years.
Appearing on PBS's Inside Washington Friday before the vote, syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer called it "the most appalling document you have ever seen" claiming, "It marches us off a cliff into Greece and perhaps into Cyprus" (video follows with transcript and absolutely no need for additional commentary):
While you were watching Rand Paul's historic filibuster and the debate surrounding budget sequestration, an economic theory battle was waging between two of the nation's foremost liberal economists Paul Krugman and Jeffrey Sachs.
In his most recent salvo published at the Huffington Post Saturday, Sachs spoke heresy to Obama-lovers across the fruited plain including Krugman claiming that following the 2008 financial crisis, "It was the Fed, not the fiscal stimulus, which prevented a fall into depression."
As NewsBusters reported earlier, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman and MSNBC's Joe Scarborough had quite a heated discussion about the budget, debt, and the economy on PBS's Charlie Rose Monday evening.
Near its conclusion, Scarborough actually scolded Krugman for pompously behaving like a sighing Al Gore (video follows with transcript and commentary):
New York Times columnist Paul Krugman and MSNBC's Joe Scarborough had an at times heated discussion about budget deficits, debt, and the economy on PBS's Charlie Rose Monday evening.
At one point Krugman got so rattled by the facts that he actually said Scarborough quoting what he had said in the past was making an ad hominem attack against him (video follows with transcript and commentary):
For conservatives, it's been truly delicious the past few weeks watching previously devote Obamaites break ranks with their colleagues to finally tell the world that the emperor has no clothes.
A fine example Monday was the perilously liberal economist and media darling Jeffrey Sachs who published an article at the Huffington Post with the headline "How Obama's Politics Led to Sequestration":
Bob Woodward is a legend in modern journalism, especially for fellow liberal reporters. But that all is for naught now that Woodward has committed the cardinal sin of criticizing the White House for an operative's use of what apparently is a fairly common tactic: a harsh bullying of the press in order to demand even more favorable coverage than the Obama-friendly press already lavishes on Team Obama. It centers on Woodward reporting that sequestration was the White House's idea. This morning Matt Lauer, on the Today Show, questioned Woodward's judgement, saying "I'm a little surprised you've gone public with this." Even, the New York Times offered no refuge for Woodward.
He isn’t the only one. Clinton operative and op-ed columnist Lanny Davis has received similar treatment, and veteran White House reporter Ron Fournier at National Journal also reported threatening emails and calls. But in today’s broadcast of Morning Joe, co-host Mika Brzezinski decided to give deference to Obama acolyte David Axelrod’s days as a journalist for the Chicago Tribune in order to portray Woodward as going over the line in his reporting on Gene Sperling's harassment:
On Friday, Renee Dudley at Bloomberg News exposed the contents of February 12 internal emails revealing that Walmart executives are worried -- very worried -- about sales during the first 10 to 14 days of the its most current fiscal period (mostly likely either the first 10 days of February if the company works with calendar months, or 14 days if it began the second period of the fiscal year on Monday January 28).
Their primary concerns are the payroll tax hike and delayed tax refunds, but they may also need to start worrying about higher gas prices (bolds are mine):
Buzzfeed's Ben Smith, who used to toil at Politico, must be blind in one eye and can't see out of the other.
In what appears to be a sudden revelation in his column ("Obama Prepares To Screw His Base") on ObamaCare's harsh treatment of young people, Smith notes how they "will pay disproportionately for ObamaCare." What this really represents is something which alarmed those who studied the bill both before and after its passage in March 2010. In other words, people who follow these things closely have known about this situation for years. But course, it has fallen on deaf, deliberately ignorant, or deliberately negligent establishment press ears. Thus, most low-information voters don't know what's coming. Beyond that, Smith acts as if the Obama administration hasn't been shafting young people ever since Barack Obama took his first oath of office in January 2009, when it has been doing so in a variety of ways on a daily basis. Excerpts from Smith's somnambulance, wherein he actually tries to blame Sarah Palin for what's coming, follow the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post):
The front-page title at the Politico for David Nather's lengthy write-up on Democrats' alleged ideas for doing something about runaway entitlement programs is "The quiet liberal plan for entitlements; There are some ideas for reining in spending that have been blessed by the left." That gives readers the impression that the left might actually have something specific and potentially palatable in mind.
No such luck. The actual title at Nather's write-up, however, pluralizes "plan" -- "The quiet liberal plans for entitlements." Its itemization of the supposedly brilliant ideas for reform liberals have in mind are dominated by tax increases and income redistribution measures which fail to structurally reform anything.
Congressman Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) made a comment on NBC's Meet the Press Sunday that is guaranteed to raise eyebrows on both sides of the aisle.
"If we had a Clinton presidency, if we had Erskine Bowles chief-of-staff at the White House, or President of the United States, I think we would have fixed this fiscal mess by now. That's not the kind of presidency we're dealing with right now."
ABC and CNN contributor Donna Brazile - posing as one of Barack Obama's trusted defenders in the media like she always does! - got a much-needed education Sunday about the President's profligate spending.
Countering Brazile's propaganda on ABC's This Week, George Will said, "A dollar spent on A cannot be spent on B...This is our future. We're going to be an assisted living home with an Army. That's going to be the American government" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Stop the presses! Stop the presses! Bill Maher on Friday actually said something well-reasoned and intelligent that conservatives - including members of the Tea Party - might agree with.
"We have 23.5 percent dirt bags in America," the HBO Real Time host surprisingly said. "It just seems like there’s less people pulling the wagon and more people in the wagon, and at some point the wagon is going to break" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
During PBS’ coverage of the 2013 Inauguration, syndicated columnist Mark Shields, Gwen Ifill, and Yale University’s Beverly Gage seemed to have forgotten what the definition of liberal is within the context of Obama’s second inaugural address. In fact, Gage said that this wasn’t an “endorsement of collective liberalism,” and Shields called it more “humanitarian.”
The non-taxpayer subsidized liberal media has been more honest. Today’s New York Times said Obama offered a “liberal vision.” Slate’s John Dickerson, who infamously called for Obama to destroy the GOP, called the 44th president’s address “a liberal love letter.” ABC finally figured out that Obama is a progressive liberal.
For four years (and really going back further when you consider former President George W. Bush's halting attempt to reform Social Security in the middle of last decade), Barack Obama and his party have paid lip service at best to the idea of entitlement reform while refusing to provide any specifics about what they would do to fix Social Security and Medicare, both of which are unsustainable in their current forms. Obama rejected his own Simpson Bowles commission's recommendations. Democrats have treated serious proposals coming from Republicans as grannycide.
Yet the Politico's Carrie Budoff Brown, who must be gaining strength in her arms and shoulders from all of her water-carrying for Obama and his party, wants us to believe that Obama has a "deeply conflicted relationship with entitlement reform." And in case you missed it (I certainly did), Obama has tried "harder than any other Democratic president to tackle the issue" (no Democratic Party president has "tried hard" to tackle the issue). Several paragraphs from her Tuesday dispatch follow the jump (bolds are mine):
New York Times columnist Paul Krugman took a lot of heat from conservatives on ABC's This Week Sunday.
Shortly after Republican strategist Mary Matalin derogatorily asked him if he was an economist or a polemicist, George Will said, "I have yet to encounter someone who disagrees with you who you don't think is a knave or corrupt or a corrupt knave" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
The PBS NewsHour has yet to invite a strong conservative on the program to talk about the fiscal cliff. Tuesday night they had New York Times columnist, left-wing economist, and Obama cheerleader Paul Krugman to detail his view. Wednesday night they had moderately-conservative Sen. Bob Corker ( R-Tenn), but last night was the most interesting. PBS invited the Norquist of the left, Max Richtman, of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, who insisted we shouldn’t be in a rush to reform our entitlement spending.
After all, when the unfunded liability of both programs is around $100 trillion dollars, what’s the big hurry? Where’s the fire? Suffice it to say, none of Richtman's claims were met with skepticism by anchor Judy Woodruff. She continued with her interview, as if what Richtman said was fact.
In an interview with CBS News anchor Scott Pelley last week, Goldman Sachs chairman and CEO Lloyd Blankfein immediately brought up a highly sensitive subject that liberals in the media and highest levels of government refuse to acknowledge: entitlement spending on Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are unsustainable at their current rate and need significant reform to ensure those programs exist in the future.
In response to the clip, MSNBC host Ed Schultz and Teamsters President James Hoffa were beside themselves on Tuesday night's Ed Show -- offended that Blankfein would voice such a "misinformed" view on national television. The only son of the notorious Jimmy Hoffa was ardently opposed to the idea that there is anything currently wrong with the system as is, to suggest otherwise is just "outrageous" he thundered. [ relevant video & transcript below ]
Schlockumentary filmmaker Michael Moore had some straight talk for Barack Obama Monday.
In a letter to the President published at the perilously liberal Huffington Post, Moore advised Obama to "DRIVE THE RICH RIGHT OFF THEIR FISCAL CLIFF" while putting an end to "the s***ting on the poor."
Nuns on the Bus tour leader Sister Simone Campbell appeared on MSNBC's The Cycle on Thursday afternoon to discuss her ministry, which predictably led to her left-wing agenda becoming the focal point of the conversation. The only host to take issue with her talking points was token conservative S.E. Cupp, who was armed with facts and figures that the good sister could not rebut except by adamantly insisting they were "really wrong." That's when it started getting a little tense. [ video below, MP3 audio here ]
Last Friday, in his first post-election remarks on PBS and NPR, New York Times columnist David Brooks downplayed his usual bash- conservatives narrative, and actually castigated liberals for wanting to go over the looming fiscal cliff. He said that liberals are more organized, they’ve won the election, and will get most of what they yearn for if we do go over the waterfall: increased revenue, tax hikes, and cuts to defense spending.
Strangely, his liberal colleagues, Mark Shields on PBS and E.J. Dionne on NPR, seemed to agree with this claim – undercutting the notion that this "cliff" is dangerous to both parties.
The Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, has been running a series of "Why It Matters" items in the run-up to the presidential election purporting to educate readers about important issues.
Reporter Stephen Ohlemacher's contribution to the series concerning Social Security opens with a bald-faced fib, omits the fact that the system's benefit payments and costs have exceed payroll tax collections for several years, and doubles down on the fib at the end. His opening sentence and other excerpts follow the jump:
From the "I thought Social Security was supposed to have solved this decades ago" Dept.: The State of California has just passed a law mandating opt-out pension plan contributions of 3% of earnings for six million workers in the private sector, or roughly half of its private sector workforce.
The targeted population is the cadre of those working at employers of five or more who do not offer a retirement plan. It has the distinct aroma of a bailout, because of who gets to manage the money. Excerpts from a predictably dreadful Associated Press report by Judy Lin follow the jump (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
Previewing the choice of Paul Ryan as the GOP vice presidential candidate, the ABC, CBS and NBC morning shows all used Democratic framing to describe the House GOP budget plan that Ryan championed as a plan to, as CBS’s Bob Schieffer put it, “cut more than $5 trillion over the next ten years.” ABC’s Bianna Golodryga passed along the demagogic rhetoric of liberals: “Democrats, meantime, contest that it will destroy Medicare and Social Security.”
But Ryan’s plan would actually increase federal spending over the next ten years, from about $3.6 trillion this year to just under $4.9 trillion in 2022. The $5 trillion in “cuts” are merely reductions from the much-higher spending anticipated by President Obama’s budget. (See tables starting on page 88.)