Connecticut Governor Daniel Malloy has called himself the "anti-Christie" because of his willingness to raise taxes to help balance the Nutmeg State's budget. By contrast, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, the object of Malloy's scorn, recently ruled out tax increases, as he has been doing ever since he became governor in 2010.
Malloy's recently passed taxes amounting to an estimated $1.4 billion annually include property tax hikes which according to a recent Wall Street Journal editorial (quoted at link's third item) amount to "$500 a year for the average homeowner."
But Malloy still needs to balance the budget by extracting significant cost savings from the state's recalcitrant employee unions, and guess what? Just like Wisconsin's Republican Governor Scott Walker, he's staring at the need to resort to layoffs if he can't reduce employment costs. But unlike the Associated Press's militant reporters in Wisconsin, the AP's Susan Haigh in Hartford is letting Malloy off relatively easy, as seen in these excerpts from her Tuesday evening report:
According to a USA Today analysis, Americans are paying a lower percentage of income tax rates now than in the 1970s-1990s – and CNN's Jack Cafferty used this fact Monday to ask if raising taxes should be the first priority in Congress's deficit reduction plan. He hinted that the Treasury could use the extra revenue from higher taxes.
Then on Tuesday, CNN Anchor Carol Costello continued the talking points on the 10 a.m. and 12 p.m. EDT news hours, asking if it is time "for the GOP to blink" on the tax hike standoff. "[Obama] toppled Osama bin Laden. But can he slay the budget dragon? Not without striking a deal with this guy, House Speaker John Boehner," Costello ominously declared.
In an interview with Speaker of the House John Boehner on Tuesday's Today on NBC, co-host Matt Lauer fretted over the upcoming debate on raising the nation's debt limit: "...after the news surfaced that Osama bin Laden had been killed there was this – a good feeling in this country....Are we going to see that unity shattered in the coming weeks when we start to debate things like the debt ceiling?"
Boehner explained the importance of addressing the issue: "45 of the last 50 years we spent more money than what we brought in. We cannot continue to do that without imprisoning the future for our kids and grandkids. So this is the moment, now, to address those problems as adults." In response, Lauer quoted Boehner's recent call for cutting trillions in spending and wondered: "When you look at the gut-wrenching negotiations that took place to get $39 billion in cuts for the 2011 continuing resolution, how in the world are you going to get trillions of dollars in cuts?"
The Washington Examiner reports that it's been 768 days since the Democratic-controlled Senate passed a budget. What's the big deal? It's not like the nation is facing financial difficulties or anything.
I realize it's convenient for President Obama to pretend he's a bystander on fiscal matters when it suits him and to pass the buck that never stops with him back to Congress, but how about a little leadership on the issue for a change?
Sunday evening (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I predicted that the press will ignore the likelihood, based on the Congressional Budget Office's most recent Monthly Budget Review, that officially reported federal spending will top $1 trillion for the first time during a three-month period (i.e., for February through April 2010) when the Tim Geithner's gang issues its Monthly Treasury Statement on Wednesday afternoon.
You can also pretty much count on the fact that the press will greet an uptick in April and year-to-date 2011 collections as something impressive. In historical context, as the graphic after the jump will show, it absolutely is not.
There are times when I watch MSNBC and truly can't understand how a major American television news network could possibly have assembled such a group of ignoramuses to act as commentators.
Take for example Lawrence O'Donnell who on Monday's "The Last Word" actually said, "The Founding Fathers would have understood [raising the debt ceiling] would be imperative to maintain the credit rating of the United States of America" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
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":
Early each month, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) issues its "Monthly Budget Review." Its purpose is to estimate and comment on the federal government's budget results for the previous month a few days before the Treasury reports its official results.
CBO's most recent review, issued on Friday (2-page PDF), estimates that Uncle Sam's outlays during April amounted to $330 billion. If that number holds up, or overstates actual results by less than $2.2 billion, it will mean for the first time ever that our government officially spent over $1 trillion in a three-month period (an estimated $330 billion in April plus a reported $672.2 billion in February and March combined). Regardless, February through April is certain to eclipse May-July 2009's previous official all-time high (after TARP-obfuscating accounting adjustments; go here for the detail) of $948.7 billion.
This certainty, the detail behind it, and the federal government's real long-term track record make mince meat of the following off-the-cuff assessment of why federal receipts and spending go up and down made Saturday by Alan Fram at the Associated Press:
A strong economy brings the government more revenue and lower spending. A weak economy in which the jobless and poor need more support does the opposite.
In an interview with Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio on NBC's Meet the Press on Sunday, host David Gregory worried: "There's a purist streak to the Tea Party, right? Don't compromise....As you think about yourself, are you here to legislate? Are you here to compromise?"
Rubio countered: "...we are dealing with major issues in our country, big issues that deserve big solutions....if we don't stand up and say that, who is going to stand up and say that?" Gregory continued to grill the Senator: "But you still have to compromise....you send a statement or you actually compromise and get things done. Which is what Senator Rubio believes in?" Rubio shot back: "To say we just compromised, be, 'Oh, we compromised for the sake of a compromise,' you know, that alone may get you some short-term lauds in the media, but in the long term it didn't accomplish anything."
Today, the news is all about the U.S. military’s successful elimination of Osama bin Laden (go USA!), but for much of the last two weeks the media have preoccupied themselves with demanding higher taxes and scorning proposed Republican budget cuts as mean-spirited attacks on the poor.
The worst of these quotes have been documented in this week’s Notable Quotables newsletter, now posted at www.mrc.org with seven video clips. (PDF) Here’s a sample of the most outrageous quotes:
“This week -- budget blowback,” Christiane Amanpour trumpeted in framing her Sunday look, at reaction to Republican Congressman Paul Ryan’s proposed budget plan, through those hostile to it, asserting: “As town halls across America erupt in anger over a plan to slash spending, Republicans find themselves under fire.” Amanpour maintained: “Congressman Ryan is at the center of the storm. It's his plan, of course, that has sparked the outcry. Across the country, the anger is palpable.”
Instead of adding some light, however, Amanpour fueled the fire by legitimizing left-wing talking points, confronting Ryan: “People who have been studying your numbers very carefully have been saying that the numbers don't add up,” since:
It also says two-thirds of the savings that you want to make in spending cuts come at the expense of programs designed for the poor, for the disadvantaged. And this is reverse Robin Hoodism, if you like – take from the poor, give back to the rich again.
Saturday's World News on ABC highlighted complaints from Democrats about the Medicare reform plan proposed by Congressman Paul Ryan as the Wisconsin Republican seeks to restrain the growth of Medicare spending by having private insurers compete for seniors as customers.
Without delving into the Republican argument in favor of using private insurance, correspondent David Kerley recounted the complaints of angry constituents, showing clips of audience members shouting at Republican members of Congress during town hall meetings. Kerley concluded by passing on Democratic hopes of the Medicare plan being a political "gift" that would hurt Republicans. Kerley: "Democrats believe that Republicans have really handed them a gift with their vote to change Medicare. It's a vote that Democrats are already using in TV ads and fundraising calls as well."
Anchor David Muir then previewed an interview with Congressman Ryan for ABC’s This Week show and brought aboard This Week host Christiane Amanpour, who ended up referring to claimst that the Ryan budget proposal contains "drastic" cuts that other Republicans may need to back away from. After noting that Ryan is committed to the plan regardless of political consequences, Amanpour continued: "And many are now saying that perhaps the Republicans will start running away from the Ryan plan because of the drastic cuts he calls for in Medicare and Medicaid and other such programs."
In an interview with FishbowlNY Wednesday, CNN's Eliot Spitzer dismissed any claim to objectivity in his reporting and answered "I don't know" when asked if he is a commentator or a journalist. This came after he recently told the Media Research Center's Brent Bozell "I don't have a bias," on his CNN show "In the Arena."
Spitzer told FishbowlNY that he doesn't know if he is a journalist or a commentator. "When the issue of objectivity comes up, I don't think there is any such thing as objectivity," he added.
"I don't mean to say you infuse everything with bias and don't try to be rigorously factual, but how you present every fact depends upon the prism through which you see it."
Gosh, after Republican Governors Scott Walker and John Kasich succeeded in championing legislation curtailing many collective bargaining rights of unionized state and municipal employees in Wisconsin and Ohio, respectively, the establishment press had the meme all set. The GOP, conservatives, and Tea Partiers are enemies of labor and the middle class, while Democrats, liberals, and progressives are their champions.
Then along comes bluer-than-blue Massachusetts. As the Boston Globe reports, the Bay State's House "voted overwhelmingly last night (Tuesday) to strip police officers, teachers, and other municipal employees of most of their rights to bargain over health care, saying the change would save millions of dollars for financially strapped cities and towns." It's not a law yet, but it seems to be heading pretty quickly in that direction.
The Associated Press's beat reporters and editors must be beside themselves.
Last weekend, David Ignatius in his Washington Post column made a vital contribution to the debt and deficit debate: "Take the deficit pain now. It's a truth of economics and life that if you have bad news coming, take the hit early and get it behind you. You can't start building until the debris is out of the way."
Ignatius offers various examples from history (e.g., Fed Chairman Paul Volker's 1979 interest rate hikes that caused the recessions of the early '80s, but broke the inflation psychology and (I would add, with Ronald Reagan's policies) built the foundation for 25 years of prosperity.
CBS's Early Show on Wednesday played up how opponents of Rep. Paul Ryan's budget plan shouted down GOP representatives at recent town hall meetings, but downplayed them as "less than friendly," and marveled at their apparently "poignant" questions. The network also omitted how liberal groups targeted these meetings, and trumpeted the "nasty national shouting match" at health care town hall meetings in 2009.
News anchor Jeff Glor noted how "House Republicans are back home for the first time since passing an aggressive deficit cutting plan, including the architect of that plan, Congressman Paul Ryan." Glor used the "less than friendly" label immediately before playing a clip of an unidentified protester shouting, "Ryan, stop lying!" outside a town hall meeting held by the Republican in Wisconsin, and another of a woman who directly accused him of "screwing our generation and the next generation."
CNN's Deborah Feyerick took the offensive Tuesday and emphasized the negative effects of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's cuts to education funding. Feyerick highlighted the plight of an illiterate kindergartner from a "high risk" neighborhood as an example of student who could be affected by budget cuts. The segment ran during the 8 a.m. EDT hour of Tuesday's "American Morning" on CNN.
CNN featured a young girl from a "high risk" school district, who needs a literacy tutor to ensure she can read at her classmates' level. CNN then aired Trenton Public School superintendent Raymond Broach's dour reaction to the $12 million cut from the district's budget last year. "You've just made that race for some learners almost next to impossible," he told CNN.
Paul Krugman, economist turned left-wing folk hero. New York magazine’s Benjamin Wallace-Wells talked with the once respected-economist turned hack New York Times columnist about “What’s Left of the Left,” a title which at least positions Krugman accurately as a left-wing opinion leader who draws cool economics graphs that prove the perfidy of Republican policy (whether or not he once agreed with those same policies). Krugman continued to bash Rep. Paul Ryan as setting American "on a glide path to a much harsher society."
For the first two years of the Obama administration, Krugman has been building, in his columns and on his blog, not just a critique of this presidency but something grander and more expansively detailed, something closer to an alternate architecture for what Obamaism might be. The project has remade Krugman’s public image, as if he had spent years becoming a chemically isolate form of himself – first a moderate, then an anti-Bush partisan, and now the leading exponent of a kind of liberal purism against which the compromises of the White House might be judged. Krugman’s counterfactual Obama would have provided far more stimulus money and would have nationalized Citigroup and Bank of America. He would have written off Republicans and worked only with Democrats to fashion a health-care reform bill that included a so-called public option. The president of Krugman’s dreams would have made his singular long-term goal the preservation of the welfare state and the middle-class society it was designed to create.
Ed Schultz's pattern of accusing Republicans of lying moments before lying himself continued Tuesday evening.
Just moments after calling House Speaker John Boehner (R-Oh.) and Congressman Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) liars, the host of MSNBC's "Ed Show" misinformed his viewers about Medicare (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Not even the light sections of the New York Times Sunday paper offer an escape from politics. In “Social Q’s,” his Sunday Styles column on modern etiquette, Philip Galanes got political when answering a question from Amanda from Grand Island, N.Y., criticizing Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker for teacher bashing during his recent battle to reduce the influence of public-sector unions.
Q: I asked one of my professors if he would write a letter of recommendation for an internship I was applying for. He did, and I thanked him. And I got it. Am I supposed to thank him again? I don’t know the protocol.
The governing class in Washington has no excuse for not having addressed our spending issues and formulating a comprehensive federal debt retirement plan before we approached another debt ceiling threshold.
At every possible opportunity, politicians convince themselves that it's always better to kick the can down the road — Democrats because they aren't remotely serious about debt reduction, Republicans because they're afraid of their own shadow.
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."
Once again, a presumably simpatico guest on "The Rachel Maddow Show" undermined a claim she made on the same show.
This occurred twice in the same week back in March, as I described at the time. It happened again Friday night when Maddow talked about Republican congressmen facing constituents angered by the GOP budget plan. Maddow compared this to the contentious public forums on health reform in August 2009.
Here's what Maddow said about the Republican budget's effect on Medicare, followed by her guest claiming something altogether different (video after page break) --
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:
Everyone but the blind and reckless agrees that the United States faces a dire financial crisis. But only one of the two major political parties is offering a plan that has a reasonable chance of averting this crisis and restoring the nation to financial health.
Obama's ever-changing proposals, allegedly designed to tackle the problem, simply could not work. One of the following must be true: He doesn't agree that the crisis is grave, doesn't understand that his policies can't work, doesn't have the same vision about America as most of us, or doesn't intend for his policies to work. Some people believe he's intentionally damaging America, because they believe he's too smart not to know that we face a crisis and that his policies can't work.
On the April 21 edition of FNC's "Hannity," NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell tackled how the media lapped up President Obama's talking points about the Paul Ryan budget plan and its effect on senior citizens.
"You know, Sean, this is some of the worst fear-mongering I've ever heard, and I think, personally, I find it despicable that this came from the president of the United States," the Media Research Center founder complained, adding:
Why is it that Donald Trump is a creditable candidate with a significant segment of Republican voters? In some polls, he runs ahead of all Republicans save Mitt Romney, and all I have heard him say is that he wants to see our president's birth certificate. Imagine if he would ask to see budget cuts from the president or revenue enhancements.
Frankly, I would like to see President Barack Obama's birth certificate, too. But on the other hand, I have in hand a copy of a notice of our president's birth printed Aug. 13, 1961, from The Honolulu Advertiser. That has to count for something, no? According to the notice, he was born Aug. 4, 1961, but there are a lot of other things about him I would like to know. For instance, I would like to see those aforementioned budget cuts and the revenue enhancements.
Brooks Thistlethwaite -- who previously hit Tea Party conservatives as tribalistic -- apparently believes that politically conservative Christians are trying to serve two masters, Jesus and Ayn Rand (emphasis mine):
If future historians look back on the ruins of the American economy after a U.S. bond crisis struck in the second decade of the 21st century, many causes will be noted. Obviously, it will be seen that for decades before the catastrophe, the U.S. was spending vastly more than it could afford on government health and retirement programs.
And, just as after the Great Depression, Pearl Harbor and Sept. 11, 2011, blue-ribbon commissions will be incredulous that all the telltale signs of the coming disaster were in plain view, yet were ignored.
That could accurately describe Republicans' relationship to the liberal media on budget matters.
While the mainstream media often raise a clamor about GOP plans to cut back on arts funding -- see this article from yesterday's Washington Post -- it seems any move to do the opposite will also face scorn.
Take ABCNews.com's "The Blotter" and its take on Rep. John Mica's (R-Fla.) proposal to expand funding the National Art Gallery: