"A massive tax increase, no entitlement reform, and no restraint on borrowing," is what President Obama is demanding Republicans sign off on, Fox Business Network's Stuart Varney noted on Friday's Varney & Co. That's precisely why the Democratic plan is not in any way a serious plan, NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell agreed. The only thing is the media absolutely refuse to paint the president as intransigent and bullheaded for his opposition to spending cuts, much less entitlement reform.
Over the past two years we've heard ad nauseam that we need spending cuts and tax hikes as a "balanced" approach to the budget. But now, the Media Research Center founder noted, "we've got the Senate saying that the one problem, entitlements, is now off the table" while the "White House [is] saying we don't have any plans to cut anything." "In other words, there is no plan, that should be the story," Bozell added, not this phony meme that Republican opposition to tax hikes is to blame for a stalemate. [watch the full segment below]
CNN's Ali Velshi labeled anti-tax advocate Grover Norquist a "dangerous man" on Friday for blocking a fiscal cliff compromise between Democrats and Republicans.
"Hey, speaking of the fiscal cliff, there's been all this focus on one dangerous man who stands in the way of a deal that could avert it, Grover Norquist. He is neither elected, nor has he ever run for office, so why is Washington so scared of him?" Velshi introduced his segment on Norquist. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
One bright spot of Barack Obama's re-election was knowing that unemployment rates were about to soar for the precise groups that voted for him -- young people, unskilled workers and single women with degrees in gender studies. But now the Democrats are sullying my silver lining by forcing Republicans to block an utterly pointless tax-raising scheme in order to blame the coming economic Armageddon on them.
Democrats are proposing to reinstate the Bush tax cuts for everyone ... except "the rich." (Why do only tax cuts come with an expiration date? Why not tax increases? Why not Obamacare? How about New York City's "temporary" rent control measures intended for veterans returning from World War II?)
Congress returned to "work" this week (now there's a laugh) to complete its lame-duck session before taking another holiday. Spending other people's money is a taxing experience.
Their task is to avoid the "fiscal cliff," a geological construct of their own making. It doesn't take a genius to predict both parties will try to do two things: (1) reach an agreement that will allow each side to take some credit and (2) require those who work for a living to pay government more while they come up with phony, or inconsequential spending "cuts."
Today, the Congressional Budget Office released a report informing readers that extending unemployment benefits for a year, an outlay which would cost the federal government $30 billion, would, because of its allegedly stimulative impact, generate 300,000 jobs.
Even if true, neither the CBO, nor the Associated Press in covering the report, noted that this result works out to a cost $100,000 per job. Bravely assuming that each new job created pays $40,000 per year, that's a $60,000 loss in value received compared to money spent. The government's tax take at all levels on that amount of earnings is likely about $10,000 or so. All of this is apparently considered pretty smart by the AP's Sam Hananel and a quoted leading Democrat:
A search at the Associated Press's national website on Warren Buffett's last name at about 5 p.m. ET returned two recent items which are still present there. Each item (here and here) mentions the Obama Fan of Omaha's idea to "impose a minimum tax of 30 percent on income between $1 million and $10 million, and a 35 percent rate for income above that." Neither mentions the pathetically small amount such a tax would raise while seriously impacting the ability of high income earners who own or run businesses to expand them -- or in some cases causing them to shrink.
It's the same at other establishment press outlets. Two recent New York Times items found in a search on Buffett's full name (here and here, the latter item being Buffett's own op-ed on Sunday) fail to note how little money Buffett's proposed tax hikes would raise. So how little is "little"?
NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell appeared on the November 28 edition of CNBC's Kudlow Report, in his capacity as chairman of For America.
Kudlow brought the Media Research Center founder on to discuss the fiscal cliff and the need for Republicans to stand firm on opposing tax hikes, especially in light of the liberal media's tag-teaming with Democrats. "I can't hardly pick up a newspaper or website and not see anybody blaming [anti-tax-hike activist] Grover [Norquist]," Kudlow observed. You can watch that full segment below the page break. You can also find a transcript courtesy of Media Research Center intern Ryan Robertson below ( MP3 audio here):
On Thursday's CBS This Morning, new White House correspondent and former Fox News journalist Major Garrett bucked the "militantly non-partisan" label he gave himself over a year ago when he hyped the President's supposed populist stand in the fiscal cliff negotiations with top leaders in Congress: "President Obama is adamant about protecting existing income tax rates for middle-income earners and raising them on the wealthy."
Garrett later spotlighted how Obama "warned Republicans not to ignore his calls to protect middle-income households from higher taxes."
Once again, CNN pressed a Republican to support income tax hikes. On Thursday, Starting Point co-hosts Brooke Baldwin and John Berman tried to paint GOP opposition to tax increases as at odds with the American people and a financial expert.
"So here is one of the biggest guys in finance on the planet saying that maybe a tax rate increase should be part of a deal. Does he have a point? Can't it be part of a deal?" pushed Berman. He cited the CEO of Goldman Sachs, Lloyd Blankfein, who said he "wouldn't preclude" the President's plan to raise tax rates. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
Norah O'Donnell and Charlie Rose tossed softball questions at Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar on Wednesday's CBS This Morning on the looming fiscal cliff, just two days after they hounded Republican Senator Bob Corker on the same issue. Rose casually mentioned to Senator Klobuchar how "the President believes you can't get there by deduction. You have to raise [tax] rates. Is that your view?" O'Donnell merely asked, "Is this posturing on the fiscal cliff, or is there real work being done? What's your sense?"
By contrast, Rose tried to get Senator Corker to "forgo the [anti-tax hike] pledge because it is outdated and the country's problems are too big." O'Donnell followed up by asking the Tennessee Republican if he was "willing to also raise the capital gains rate." The morning show anchors failed to make similar demands of the Minnesota Democrat to cut spending.
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 ]
On Tuesday, Piers Morgan lashed out at "intransigent" Republicans and lectured RNC chair Reince Priebus that now is the time to compromise and increase taxes "to the benefit of the American national interest."
"But you Republicans led by Grover Norquist areabsolutely intransigent about allowing any raise in taxation, and yet the American public want you to do it," Morgan lectured Priebus. Later on in his show, he smacked "implacable" GOP opposition to tax increases. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
The real news in today's new-home sales information published by the Census Bureau is that September's previously reported 389,000 in seasonally adjusted annual sales was written down by over 5 percent to 369,000. Hmm -- The higher figure, aggressively touted as the highest in 2-1/2 years by the Associated Press and other establishment media outlets, was reported on October 24, just 13 days before Election Day on November 6. Now we learn that it was a mirage, and that the revised figure was merely the same as the number turned in four months earlier and barely above February. In fact, the new home market, portrayed throughout the summer and early fall as recovering somewhat nicely, merely treaded water. That trend continued in October, as annualized sales came in at 368,000. Imagine that.
To his credit, the Associated Press's Martin Crutsinger at least acknowledged the major prior-month revision in each of his first two paragraphs; however, the AP's headline writers ignored it. To Crutsinger's detriment, it's clear that he tried very hard to find someone who would pin a major portion of the blame for October's 0.3 percent drop on Superstorm Sandy. When he couldn't, he decided to take it on himself to make the point (bolds are mine):
It’s the Republicans who are in a bind. They’re beholden to the will of the evil genius Grover Norquist. They’re scared to death of The Club for Growth. That's the trite liberal media narrative that CBSNews.com's Brian Montopoli furthered earlier this morning in a piece in which he forecast that the Republicans, and only Republicans, are in for a bruising in the coming weeks should a "fiscal cliff" deal not be finalized. But in doing so, Montopoli conveniently forgets that Democrats have their pressure groups that hold their feet to the fire against any significant spending cuts and/or entitlement reform.
Perhaps Montopoli doesn't watch his own network's evening newscasts. On the Tuesday Evening News, correspondent Nancy Cordes noted that Democrats and President Obama are digging in their heels against any proposed deal which addresses entitlement spending. In fact, forty-two Democratic members of the House have signed on to a bill that explicitly prohibits cuts to the welfare state.
For quite a while now, there has been a media focus (ironic considering the TV reporters and anchors are mostly 1 percenters) on an allegedly growing gap between the wealthiest Americans and those of more modest means. Unfortunately, this is only a partial picture since income is much more predicated on stock market growth and not related to many other facets of the economy.
Writing at the American Enterprise Institute, blogger James Pethokoukis highlights a very interesting report about tax laws and income distribution which shows that when looked at the broader context, it is incorrect to suppose that U.S. tax policy has somehow created a vast disparity of wealth in this country. Two charts from his post are worth reposting here at NB:
It was almost a month ago that the New York and New Jersey coastlines were mercilessly pummeled by Hurricane Sandy. Immediately following the storm, the liberal media spin went into overdrive commending the leadership and compassion Obama displayed in the aftermath. But reports have been surfacing since the election, revealing how conditions in the afflicted regions are still not much improved and the majority of the broadcast media's acknowledgement of their prolonged trials and tribulations has been minimal at best.
For their part however, Fox & Friends welcomed Donna Vanzant on Tuesday morning's program. She just so happened to be the woman President Obama was photographed consoling during his official visit to survey the damage in New Jersey. To say the least, she has not been pleased with FEMA's fickle response. [ video below the page break ]
CNN kept pushing for Republicans to abandon Grover Norquist and his anti-tax hike pledge on Monday evening. Piers Morgan belittled Norquist and ostracized him from the debate over tax hikes.
"Why are you so concerned about protecting the vast wealth of America's small percentage of increasingly rich people? Why do you care?" Morgan pressed Norquist, adding, "Everyone laughing at you from afar." [Video below the break. Audio here.]
Throughout the liberal media's ceaseless coverage of the impending fiscal cliff debacle, they have fixated on hiking taxes on the "rich," even though doing so would come nowhere close to solving America's fiscal woes. Whatever short term gain in revenue from tax hikes will not last the federal government for very long, and another credit downgrade is inevitable if entitlement reform continues to be ignored.
Nowhere is this 'tax the rich' and 'fair share' obsession more blatant than on MSNBC, where the Obama administration's message is amplified on a daily basis. Take Tuesday's Jansing & Co for instance. Host Chris Jansing set up Huffington Post contributor Ryan Grim to advise President Obama and Democrats on the Hill, which amounted to him reiterating that going over the fiscal cliff may not be such a bad thing after all. Democrats can appear to be the tax cutters as a result, by reinstating the Bush tax cuts on all but the top income earners. [ video below, MP3 audio here ]
For the second time in less than 24 hours, ABC's Jon Karl on Tuesday hyped a "newfound willingness" by Republicans to compromise on raising taxes and a possible abandonment of "anti-tax enforcer" Grover Norquist. [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Yet, this didn't appear enough for Karl who lamented that "even Republicans who say they are willing to violate the pledge say they will only do so by closing loopholes, not by doing what the President wants to do, which is raising tax rates." Talking to Norquist on Good Morning America, the journalist quizzed the founder of Americans for Tax Reform on pledges his organization encourages politicians to sign: "If somebody signed this 10 years ago, 18 years ago, 20 years ago, are they still bound by it?"
Billionaire Warren Buffett said Monday that there should be a minimum tax on the wealthy.
Appearing on CNN's Piers Morgan Tonight, low tax advocate Grover Norquist responded, "If he wants to write a check, he should write a check and shut up about what everybody else should do" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
After smiling on Republicans who stepped away from Grover Norquist's no-tax hike pledge, CNN pressured the GOP House Majority Whip to raise income tax rates on Monday's The Situation Room.
Anchor Wolf Blitzer suggested a tax hike on those making over $250,000 a year, noting "those families and those small businesses did quite well during the years of the Clinton administration when the rate was 39.6. Why not go back to that?" [Video below the break. Audio here.]
On the November 25 broadcast of ABC's This Week, former Bush advisor Matthew Dowd continued his shift away from the Republican Party by bashing conservative anti-tax activist Grover Norquist, saying he’s a impediment to good government. For good measure he childishly drew the connection to the name of a Muppet character on Sesame Street.
"Grover Norquist is an impediment to good governing…and the only good thing about Grover Norquist is he’s named after a character from Sesame Street…and that’s the last I hope we hear of him,” according to Dowd. It’s sad that some on the Right feel that fighting for the American taxpayer is “an impediment to good governing.”
Charlie Rose and Norah O'Donnell sung from the same liberal sheet music on Monday's CBS This Morning as they tried to get Republican Senator Bob Corker to commit to higher federal taxes. Rose wondered if the Corker was "prepared, as others are doing, to...say, I'm going to forgo the [anti-tax hike] pledge because it is outdated and the country's problems are too big." O'Donnell asked the Tennessee politician if he was "willing to also raise the capital gains rate."
O'Donnell also cited "independent analysis" by the Tax Policy Center, but omitted that it is a project of two liberal organizations - the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution.
CNN broke out the pom-poms on Monday and cheered the Republicans who reneged on Grover Norquist's no-tax hike pledge. CNN contributor John Avlon lauded them as "profiles in courage."
Avlon quipped that now "people don't fear the Grover. And that's a good thing, you know." Anchor Carol Costello clearly liked the GOP mutiny, asking "how excited should we really be by all of this talk of throwing Grover Norquist under the bust [sic]?" [Video below the break. Audio here.]
Deck the halls! The Obamas were Christmas shopping on "Small Business Saturday," and spurring economic growth with their consumer spending. Economic activity that may come to an abrupt end if we take the plunge off the fiscal cliff.
CBSNews.com reporter Lindsey Boerma wrote on November 24 about the outing detailing how, “accompanied by his daughters Sasha and Malia, the president journeyed across the river to One More Page Books, which the White House described as an "independent, neighborhood bookstore." After consulting his Blackberry for an apparent holiday wish list, he purchased 15 children's books before even browsing the store.” But is President Obama really pro-small business?
This morning the Obama administration's "National Economic Council & Council of Economic Advisers" jointly released "The Middle-Class Tax Cuts' Impact on Consumer Spending & Retailers." Among the howlers in this non-economic political document: "Independent Economic Analysis Clearly Demonstrates Why We Need to Extend the 2001/2003/2010 Tax Cuts for the Middle-class." But not everyone else? Don't high income-earners spend money too?
The primary thrust of the administration's release is that, in regards to negotiations to avoid the "fiscal cliff," is the predictable class warfare clarion call, complete with kidnapping-related rhetoric: "There is no reason to hold the middle-class hostage while we debate tax cuts for the highest income earners." The word "hostage" appears three times in the first two pages of the document. The subtext, of course, is that the hostage-holders are the Republicans in Congress, particularly the House of Representatives. At the Politico, Byron Tau ignored this classless, tasteless partisan tack by supposed professionals:
America has created almost six trillion dollars in new debt in the past four years and Time magazine's Joe Klein wants to "bring back earmarks."
On ABC's This Week Sunday, Klein also said, "I think John McCain did a tremendous disservice to this country by making such a huge campaign about earmarks" (video follows with transcript and commentary):