Partly because this story doesn't fit preconceived liberal storylines and partly because the Democratic Convention is taking up all the oxygen in the mainstream media, you can expect this story to remain buried in your newspaper and be given little if any attention on cable news networks.
From page 17 of today's Financial Times, "US drillers to get $1bn court award" comes news of how federal government red tape often holds up oil companies for drilling on leases they've already sunk billions of dollars into (emphasis mine):
A US federal appeals court ruled yesterday that 11 oil and gas companies should receive more than $1bn awarded to them in 2006 after the government effectively changed the terms of leases to drill off the California coast.
The US Court of Appeals was upholding a 2006 ruling that the government had breached the leases when changes in federal law materially interfered with the companies' efforts to develop the oil and gas reserves off California.
The case points to the difficulties US oil and gas companies have developing oil and gas resources in the US.
Reuters thinks that tax breaks and loopholes "costs" government its tax receipts. This is a perfect example of class hatred ginned up by the media to further class warfare between Americans. The absolute truth is that if people use the tax code to limit their tax burden they are not costing the government anything, but are using legal means to avoid a higher tax burden. Further, our money is NOT the government's property in the first place so a lower tax take is in no way "costing" the government anything. Yet, Reuters still uses this class warfare rhetoric to report its story revealing its attack-the-rich agenda.
The Reuters headline employs the class warfare rhetoric right off the top screaming, Tax loopholes seen costing billions annually. "Costing"? No, if tax receipts are lower it isn't because people are depriving government of due receipts. Again, it is because taxpayers are obeying the law and properly using the tax code as crated by Congress. If there are loopholes in the tax code they were placed there by Congress, whether wittingly or unwittingly, but still it’s the fault of Congress not “the rich.”
It seems like a no-brainer: Raising taxes is bad. It's a shame that Barron's is one of the few outlets to pick up on it.
An economic plan floated out by Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama, Ill., would raise taxes on incomes above $250,000 - with the highest rate at 39.6 percent - and redistribute the wealth to the poor and middle-class. But that would be a big mistake, according to an article by Jim McTague in the August 25 issue of Barron's.
"It's almost as if Obama wants to repeat the mistakes of Herbert Hoover," McTague wrote. "During the Great Depression, Hoover raised the top marginal rate to 63% from 25% and hiked corporate taxes, too, says Michael Aronstein, chief investment strategist at Oscar Gruss & Son in New York. The moves siphoned needed investment capital out of the markets and into the hands of bureaucrats, delaying the turnaround."
To find "experts" on a particular issue, ABC’s Chris Cuomo, first profiled a left leaning organization, but only cited them as "non-partisan." Beginning a series of in depth segments examining Obama’s stance on the issues, Cuomo offered what appeared to be a fair assessment of Barack Obama’s plan.
Although, the "Good Morning America" host featured some criticism of Obama’s plan and offered challenging questions to Obama’s economic adviser, Cuomo identified the Tax Policy Center (a division of the liberal Brookings Institution) as "non-partisan"only featuring them for expertise.
Cuomo featured a family earning $70,000 a year and cited the Tax Policy Center to claim they will receive an almost 50 percent reduction in taxes. That runs counter to the more conservative American Enterprise Institute which found Obama "would raise marginal tax rates for many middle-income tax payers."
So if a government program has been failing for decades, should you A) Privatize it, B) Get rid of it altogether, or C) Throw millions of dollars at it and hope that Americas somehow feel compelled to reenact scenes from "Some Like it Hot."
The answer is C if you were watching CNN this morning.
"American Morning" pointed out that high gas prices were the reason ridership on Amtrak was up 14 percent and then pushed for more funding for the government-sponsored program through a recent Senate proposal.
"The problem for Amtrak of course though is that they haven't had a single new passenger car since 1990," said personal finance editor Gerri Willis on the August 21 broadcast. "Their cars, even the locomotives are old and aging; they're asking Congress for help. Dick Durbin has introduced legislation into the Senate to try and do something about that. Interestingly he says that Thanksgiving is going to be a wake up call for Americans as we all try to go visit relatives for the holidays."
"What they need is new track, because every Sunday it's like this all the way up," said co-host John Roberts simulating a bumpy train ride with his anchor chair.
According the Associated Press, "Ask AP" is "a weekly Q&A column where AP journalists respond to readers' questions about the news."
Given how biased the wire service's news reporting is, you wouldn't expect "Ask AP" responses to be very different. They usually aren't.
Case in point (second question at link) -- Reader Cindy Garcia of Vista, California asked AP about the costs and benefits of illegal immigration:
I hear so many conflicting stories on illegal immigration. Please tell me if you can how much the illegal immigrants contribute to the economy and how much they use in free services. If they all got deported, how would it affect our economy?
Here is the sadly incorrect and incomplete answer from AP writers Laura Wides-Munoz in Miami, Jacques Billeaud in Phoenix, and Suzanne Gamboa in Washington (bolds are mine):
Perhaps it's the pied piper effect, but when Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama speaks, the media follow right along in lockstep.
The word "disaster" can invoke images of the aftermath of hurricanes, tornados or tsunamis. But, on the campaign trail where there are political points to be scored - it's one quarter of a slight economic contraction followed up by two quarters of shallow economic growth, according to Obama.
"Then he started running ads saying oh, Obama's just going to raise your taxes and he'll lead to an economic disaster," Obama told his campaign audience. "Mr. McCain, let me explain to you, the economic disaster is happening right now. Maybe you haven't noticed."
When is an increase in consumer confidence bad news? When ABC reports it.
Network anchor George Stephanopoulos led off the news cast with this gloom-and-doom teaser: "Terrible Tuesday. Inflation surges. Stocks dive. And consumer confidence nears a record low."
But Stephanopoulos left out a key detail: consumer confidence increased according to the network's own measure. "U.S. overall consumer confidence rose last week, according to an ABC News/Washington Post poll released Tuesday," the August 19 Dow Jones Newswires reported. ABC never mentioned that in its report.
Amity Shlaes, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, penned an August 18 Washington Post column examining five of the government's Depression-era mistakes that made financial matters worse. Shlaes, author of "The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression" cautioned today's lawmakers against following in those footsteps.
A study released today by the slightly left-of-center Project for Excellence in Journalism confirmed what many NBers have suspected for a while: the media's negative coverage of the economy affects public opinion.
According to PEJ, the public's concern about the economy as an issue has always outstripped that of the media. That's pretty normal considering that America's economy is one of the few large news stories that affects the average person.
Where things change, however, is in the public's perception. There seems to be a direct correlation between increases in negative media reports about the economy and lower amounts of public confidence in the economy:
The Land of Lincoln had a seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 7.3% in July, up 2.2% from the previous year's 5.1%. That puts Illinois, along with California, in a tie for fourth place in the worst state unemployment rate derby, behind only Michigan (8.5%), Mississippi (7.9%), and Rhode Island (7.7%).
Illinois' 2.2% year-over-year unemployment rate increase is the third largest in any state, behind only tiny Rhode Island's 2.7% and smaller state Tennessee's 2.3%. Over 80% of Illinois' deterioration has occurred in the last three months, as its March unemployment rate was only 5.5%.
Perhaps the media's Obama lovefest isn't as infectious as previously thought - at least in some corners of the financial media. For the second day in a row CNBC's Michelle Caruso-Cabrera noted low taxes - a conservative economic ideal - trumps those of the left, both economically and politically.
"You know what I just love, Doug?" Caruso-Cabrera asked. "Everybody and their mother, whenever they want to endorse their tax plan - they want to cite the almighty Ronald Reagan, right? I mean, everybody wants to dump all over the Republicans, but when they want to tout their economic and their tax plan, who do they go back to? The guy who cut taxes and cut taxes."
It's not often someone in the media challenges the liberal point-of-view - especially on the issue of taxes when they become a means to redistribute income.
CNBC "Squawk Box" fill-in co-host Michelle Caruso-Cabrera wasn't afraid to buck the trend and challenge Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama's senior economic adviser Austan Goolsbee.
Goolsbee appeared on the August 14 "Squawk Box" to defend an op-ed he wrote for the August 14 Wall Street Journal outlining Obama's tax plan. Caruso-Cabrera invoked the name of Milton Friedman, an economist who was a primary defender of free markets throughout the 20th century. Ironically, Friedman taught at the University of Chicago, where Goolsbee is a faculty member.
"WWMD, Austin - what would Milton do? Remember that," Caruso-Cabrera said. "Remember your roots - what got you to where you are."
You would think that someone working for the self-described "Essential Global News Network" known as the Associated Press as an Education Writer might go beyond using the Copy and Paste commands in reporting on national college entrance exam test scores.
From all appearances, you would be wrong.
AP Education Writer Justin Pope's report on the 2008 ACT exam results appears to contain nothing that isn't already in ACT, Inc.'s press release. For whatever reason, Pope missed a shocking set of results out of Michigan that should deeply worry anyone concerned about the future competency of our workforce.
Maybe it was a stab by Charles Gibson to provide a national group therapy session for his 8 million viewers, but the ABC "World News" anchor aggressively questioned ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson on the August 14 broadcast for "obscene" profits and asked him to "justify" the company's success.
"As we said earlier, Rex Tillerson - who is the board chair and CEO of ExxonMobil, doesn't talk often to the press," Gibson said. "His company has reported remarkable profits in the first half of this year. The high price of gas brought ExxonMobil close to $22 billion in profit - in profit - for the first half of this year. I asked him how he justifies that amount, that some see as obscene."
But Tillerson explained to Gibson it was the nature of a large business that performs an incredible amount of transactions.
Last month, it was the Associated Press's Jeannine Aversa's turn to mishandle the reporting on Uncle Sam's Monthly Treasury Statement on the government's receipts, spending, and deficit.
Aversa's usual specialty is hallucinating over "blizzards of pink slips" and "jobs vanishing into thin air" when she does her "report," aka her downbeat propaganda piece, on the government's monthly jobs release.
In covering June's Monthly Treasury Statement, Aversa selectively rounded the data she presented (covered at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog) to make receipts look less impressive and to minimize the true extent of the government's current year spending spree.
If any further evidence was needed to prove that the country is in a recession, the CBS Early Show found it, as co-host Maggie Rodriguez declared: "Coming up this morning, during hard times in some U.S. cities, they're as good as gold. Manhole covers being stolen and sold for scrap." Co-host Harry Smith later introduced the segment on this desperate trend: "Across the country thieves are stealing metal objects like manhole covers because the price of scrap metal has sky rocketed."
Correspondent Priya David reported on the problem: "That's right, thieves are literally stealing the street right out from under you. One area of the nation hardest hit by these thefts is Philadelphia. Typically they'd lose about a hundred manhole covers or grates a year to theft. But in the past year, 2,000 have gone missing." She went to describe how: "When you look at this street, you probably see a manhole cover. But to a thief, this looks like free money." As David later mentioned, that "free money" isn’t much: "Each cover nets a thief a grand total of about $10."
David detailed how the crime wave was starting to take it’s toll: "In Philadelphia, this girl is one of two children who suffered minor injuries from falling into open holes." She then turned to Democratic Mayor of Philadelphia, Michael Nutter: "That can be a very dangerous situation. But, you know, you can never be too surprised at the creativity and the lengths that people will go, you know, when facing, you know, a financial challenge, trying to take care of themselves."
Chris Matthews: Back With an Obamania Vengeance . . .
If Barack Obama makes it to the White House, perhaps he should appoint Chris Matthews Commissar of Gosplan, the Commission charged with developing the economy's Five Year Plans. The Hardball host, back from vacation, displayed the enthusiasm of a dutiful apparatchik in praising an Obama ad that in turn amounted to a pitch for central planning.
During the "ad wars" segment on this evening's Hardball, Matthews first played a McCain ad that hit Obama over his plans to raise taxes and his lack of readiness to lead. After Andrea Mitchell suggested that the ad is "the wrong tone for the [NBC] Olympics," during which it's playing, Matthews wondered whether McCain is "the Grinch that stole the Olympics," and suggested a "taste test," comparing Obama's ad. Here's the ad's text:
VOICEOVER: The hands that built this nation can build a new economy. The hands that harvest crops can also harvest the wind [images of electricity-generating wind turbines.] The hands that install roofs can also install solar panels. The hands that build today's cars can also build the next generation of fuel-efficient vehicles. Barack Obama: a new vision for our economy. Fast-track alternative fuels. Create five million jobs developing home-grown energy technologies. Because America's future is in our hands.
On Monday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Julie Chen introduced a segment on China hosting the Olympics: "Well, the Olympic games are more than a chance for the world's athletes to excel, they also give the host nation an opportunity to shine. For China and it's 1.3 billion people, the Beijing games are feeding a groundswell of pride." Chen then went to correspondent Barry Petersen who declared: "From designer clothes to new cars, China is getting rich. Democracies once bragged that theirs was the only way to economic success. China is doing it the communist way."
Petersen began his report by observing: "Well, China wants to throw a successful Olympics party and so far they're doing just fine. With plenty of enthusiasm spreading from Beijing pretty much around the world." Of course that ignored the heavy pollution in Beijing, constant protests, President Bush’s criticism of China’s human rights record, and the fatal stabbing of the father-in-law of a U.S. coach. Petersen went on to describe how: "Beijing has the welcome banners out to a half million visitors. More foreigners at one time than the country has seen since the Mongol invasion a thousand years ago." So Olympic visitors are like barbarian hordes?
Just one paragraph tucked toward the end of a column. But Judith Warner's words offer a revealing insight into how liberals view economics and the world at large. In the lefty mindset, making it isn't a matter of doing or making something of value. It comes down instead to contriving to get a piece of the action, a share of the wealth that some undefined other has created in some undescribed way.
The gist of Warner's column, Compassion Deficit Disorder, is that Americans have become increasingly cranky and suspicious of how others are gaming the system. She cites Michael Savage's accusations that the reported outbreaks of autism, asthma ADHD are false epidemics, the result of doctors and parents conniving to produce false diagnoses that yield increased services or welfare. Warner also points to high school students applying to college who dream up minority status of one sort or other to work affirmative-action levers to their benefit.
CBS's "The Early Show," reported August 7 that a new stronger strain of the West Nile virus could spread across the country with help from the neglected pools found in foreclosed homes in California.
"Apparently ... as more and more homes are passing into foreclosure and there are many, and many of those homes have backdoor pools, these are being neglected," Dr. Alton Baron of Roosevelt Hospital Center told co-host Maggie Rodriguez. "They're not being maintained and this can become a ripe feeding ground and breeding ground for these mosquito populations."
Baron added that the new strain of the virus "invades the brain and spinal cord" and listed other horrific symptoms including nausea, vomiting, fever, chills, rashes, disorientation, severe muscle weakness, fatigue or even paralysis.
Mosquitoes, which breed in stagnant water, pass on West Nile to animals and humans when they feed off fowl that have the virus in their blood.
Foreclosures in the state of California may have hit a record high, but there are signs of a change-signs "The Early Show" ignored.
If you believe that there's a 50-50 chance that your take-home pay will be cut by almost one-fifth beginning in as little as five months from now, would that belief affect your current spending habits?
Of course it would. But that idea apparently never occurred to the Associated Press's Mark Jewell.
In the course of a 950-word article Monday about how the rich are getting more stingy, he focused on how "the economic slump" and "downturn" are affecting their spending, while ignoring the massive tax hits high-income earners will likely be forced to absorb (illustrated in detail below the fold) if Barack Obama wins the presidency and Democrats retain control of Congress.
Joe Scarborough has estimated that 95% of the elite media will pull the lever for Barack Obama. Even so, evidence continues to mount that the MSM is beginning to view the Dem candidate with a more discerning eye. The latest example comes from an unexpected corner, that occupied by NBC correspondent Martin Savidge. As NewsBusters has reported, on everything from climate change to Jesse Helms to the Jena Six, Savidge has consistently toed the liberal media line.
But on MSNBC this afternoon, interviewing an Obama supporter, Savidge surprisingly suggested that Obama was "a bit of a liar" on the subject of oil industry donations that he and John McCain have accepted.
ABC’s “Good Morning America” hosted Fox Business anchor/managing editor Neil Cavuto on Wednesday morning — by himself with no liberal counterpart! While co-host Diane Sawyer peppered Cavuto with questions based on the idea that the economy was a disaster and Barack Obama was being unfairly attacked by John McCain, Cavuto offered a healthy alternative not typically seen on ABC.
Sawyer suggested Obama’s claim that motorists inflating their tires could create an oil savings equal to the amount that might be obtained by offshore drilling was “factually true” while McCain’s mocking of Obama was a “stunt,” and dourly observed that consumer confidence was at “almost a 22-year low.” But Cavuto rejected Sawyer’s pessimism:
If people have a feeling that things are so miserable, why are they buying $300, $400 IPhones with very expensive contracts. Why are they spending so much at the movie theaters? Why are they still going out in record numbers to restaurants?...When people are surveyed Diane on this stuff, it's very important to distinguish between someone saying we think things are lousy but when they're asked about how are you doing, they say, well, you know, not that bad, not that bad. There is a difference.
As we'll detail below, David Shuster literally laughed in the face of a senior Republican today, and earlier on MSNBC Andrea Mitchell blithely dismissed the McCain energy plan as unrealistic. But there was one point of light, you might say, during the network's afternoon coverage. When Shuster briefly held a Dem congresswoman's feet to the fire on the question of Obama's vote for the 2005 Bush energy bill, what ensued was one of the more hapless—and ergo entertaining—dodges of the political season. Shuster's guest was Allyson Schwartz, a Dem congresswoman from Pennsylvania.
DAVID SHUSTER: Congresswoman, during the event in Ohio today, Barack Obama attacked the Bush-Cheney energy policy. But didn't Barack Obama vote for the 2005 Bush-Cheney energy bill?
Schwartz's first foray was the old politician's standby: ignore the embarrassing question and give your canned spiel on something you want to discuss.
UPDATE, Aug. 6 -- The media fact-checker overview begins here, and continues below the fold:
"..... all the oil that they’re talking about getting off drilling" Obama refers to is NOT just the 200,000 additional barrels obtainable from the "Pacific, Atlantic and eastern Gulf regions." Republican proposals also include Alaska, shale oil, and tar sands.
Just including Alaska coastal at very conservative extraction assumptions leads to a potential of almost 1 million barrels of oil a day instead of only 200,000.
Fully ramped-up production from shale oil and tar sands at very conservative extraction assumptions would lead to a potential of another 27 million (you read that right) barrels a day.
Now that the government has signed off on a $25-billion bailout of home mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the obvious question is: What next?
Steve Forbes, editor-in-chief of Forbes magazine, thinks breaking up is hard to do, but necessary. "The Bush Administration should vigorously push to have Fannie and Freddie recapitalized and broken up into 10 to 12 companies, with their ties to the government completely severed," as he explained in the August 11 edition.
According to Forbes, getting 10 to 12 smaller private companies involved in mortgages "will help revive and reinvigorate that sector."
Is reporter Michael Powell at the New York Times auditioning for Comic Relief?
At next year's event, Powell's headline at his August 2 story (HT Weapons of Mass Discussion) about Obama's repeated hypocritical invocations and charges relating to race (of course, that's not how he sees it), along with his report's first 10 words, would bring the house down:
With Genie Out of Bottle, Obama Is Careful on Race
Senator Barack Obama is a man of few rhetorical stumbles .....
Only someone locked inside the Old Media bubble could possibly believe that Obama hasn't "stumbled" repeatedly, to the point where he's making Bush 41 Vice President Dan Quayle look like a certified genius.
Washington Post business columnist Steven Pearlstein, who won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for commentary, on Friday contended “it is not the protectionists of the AFL-CIO or CNN who are primarily to blame for the erosion of public support” for free trade, instead:
The blame lies squarely with a business community that continues to support Republican politicians who refuse to raise the taxes and spend the money necessary to provide the economic safety net for American workers that a free-market economy has not, and will not, provide.
In his column bannered across the top Friday's “Business” section, “Wave Goodbye to the Invisible Hand” Pearlstein argued that “just as the Gilded Age gave way to the Progressive Era and the New Deal gave way to the post-war era of big government, big business and big labor, the current era of free-market capitalism seems to be giving way to something else” as “the larger truth may be that the social and economic costs of the next increment of globalization probably outweigh the benefits for many people, and that reality has now been reflected in the political marketplace.”