The April 18 edition of Newsweek trashed Republican Paul Ryan as a "scrooge" who is declaring "war" on poor Americans. The piece by Jonathan Chait ripped the Representative's budget proposal and included this cover headline: "Why GOP Scrooge Paul Ryan Is a Fraud."
The failing publication, which was sold for $1 in 2010, featured an equally vicious headline inside the magazine: "War on the Weak: How the GOP Came to View the Poor as Parasites and the Rich as Our Rightful Rulers."
Asked to comment on the partisan budget speeches Barack Obama delivered this week, NBC's David Gregory asserted the Democratic president is finding his "groove" by criticizing "crazy" House Republicans.
"I think he's finding a groove where he can both speak to the Left but really court the independent voters we talk so much about," posited Gregory on the April 15 edition of MSNBC's "Morning Joe."
In an interview with Transportation Secretary Ray Lahood on Friday's NBC Today, co-host Meredith Vieira exploited recent instances of air traffic controllers falling asleep on the job to bash Republican efforts to curb government spending: "...the House signed a bill – passed a bill, I'm sorry – that would cut $4 billion from your budget. Are you worried about that?"
In response Lahood proclaimed: "Of course we're worried about it. And I think these incidents prove up the case that we can't let money stand in the way of safety....Money will never compromise safety. That will always be our priority for the flying public." Vieira followed up: "But just so I understand, are you saying that that $4 billion cut would negatively impact aviation safety?"
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":
The undisguised bias of a dispatch tonight by Associated Press reporter Laurie Kellman, with help from Scott Bauer, about Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's appearance before a Congressional committee may have as its source two items found at the Newspaper Guild's web site (seen after the jump).
One is an announcement relating to a possible deterioration in the Guild's negotiations with AP, where union members have been working without a contract since November. Immediately below the announcement is an extraordinarily mean and spiteful cartoon produced by "alternative" comic Tom Tomorrow directed at Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan which has no place at the site of a group wishing to at least maintain a fig-leaf pretense of objectivity.
First let's look at several of the sentences seen in the 10:26 p.m. version of the pair's report (saved here at my host for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes) -- after the headline ("Wisconsin governor defends hobbling unions'), with which the AP pair may have had help:
Now that President Obama has put tax increases on the table in order to balance the budget, his media are going to put even more pressure on Republicans to comply.
A fine example of this happened on CNN's "John King USA" Thursday when the host actually asked Sen. Rob Portman (R-Oh.), "Should Republicans now have the open mind and the courage to maybe lose their jobs like President Bush did for the good of the country and at least say entering the conversation, 'We won't flatly, ideologically, reflexively rule out any tax increases?'" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
CNN's Ed Henry and Ali Velshi both think taxes should be raised in order to help reduce the deficit. However, neither gave any credence to the notion that raising taxes is detrimental in the current economic conditions on Thursday's "American Morning."
CNN's senior White House correspondent Ed Henry, reporting on the President's deficit-cutting proposals, remarked that in order to trim the deficit, both spending must be cut and taxes increased. This would mean that both Democrats and Republicans would be forced to vote for measures they wouldn't normally support.
Co-host Ali Velshi also agreed that higher taxes are necessary, and that since President Obama has had to "compromise," so to will Republicans and Democrats have to compromise on fiscal issues. "Just as [Obama] has come around despite what happened the last election, despite the end of the year deals, despite his own debt commission and despite the showdown, the President has come around," Velshi said.
Conservative author S.E. Cupp must have felt like she was getting tag-teamed Wednesday when she opted to go on the "Joy Behar Show" along side Jerry Springer.
The trio debated a number of issues including the Bush tax cuts, but the debate really got heated when the host brought up the Republican desire to defund Planned Parenthood (video follows with transcript and commentary):
On his 3PM ET hour show on MSNBC on Wednesday, host Martin Bashir enthusiastically reacted to President Obama's budget speech: "'We will invest in the future of America,' that's what President Obama just said in a much-anticipated speech on the budget....He offered a series of broad proposals and said it's time for the wealthiest Americans to pay their way and share in taxes."
Moments later, White House correspondent Mike Viqueira joined Bashir and proclaimed: "..the President's speech was part soaring, speaking to the aspirations and character of a nation, if you will." Bashir observed: "Mike, I don't want to sound as if I'm misrepresenting the President, but it appeared to me that he was suggesting that we can't be self-centered as far as fiscal policy is concerned. We can't simply slash programs everywhere without somehow expecting the wealthiest in society to contribute. Is that your impression?"
New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof joined the “tax me, please,” brigade in his Thursday column that is sure to win him new fans the day before tax day: “Raise America’s Taxes.”
President Obama in his speech on Wednesday confronted a topic that is harder to address seriously in public than sex or flatulence: America needs higher taxes.
That ugly truth looms over today’s budget battles, but politicians have mostly preferred to run from reality. Mr. Obama’s speech was excellent not only for its content but also because he didn’t insult our intelligence.
There is no single reason for today’s budget mess, but it’s worth remembering that the last time our budget was in the black was in the Clinton administration. That’s a broad hint that one sensible way to overcome our difficulties would be to revert to tax rates more or less as they were under President Clinton. That single step would solve three-quarters of the deficit for the next five years or so.
So would cutting spending levels to the Clinton era, for that matter.
While previous attempts at reform of Medicare by Republicans were eviscerated in the Times as “big Medicare cuts” or (just this week) a “shrinking” of the program, the paper greeted Obama’s own vague proposals with benign, soothing words like “overhaul” or claims that Obama was merely looking for Medicare “savings.” Thursday’s headline insisted Medicare and Medicaid would be “spared” and the text by reporters Mark Landler and Michael Shear described Obama as only proposing “changes to social welfare programs” and to “strictly limit the growth of Medicare and Medicaid.”
President Obama is "Mr. Prudent," a grown-up heralding "deficit sanity" in a Washington gone mad with "delusional" Republican plans for draconian budget cuts and tax breaks for the wealthy.
That's the predictable leftist talking point-laden take that Time magazine's Joe Klein had after listening to President Obama's hectoring lecture yesterday at George Washington University (emphasis mine):
Yesterday, we noted that the MSNBC analyst was surprisingly respectful to Donald Trump. Today, Halperin offered more refreshingly objective analysis. Commenting on President Obama's budget speech of yesterday, Halperin observed thatif a Republican had called a Dem budget un-American, in the same way that PBO pummeled Republican proposals, the MSM "would be up in arms."
Joe Scarborough added that it was simply bad politics for the president to give Paul Ryan a front-row seat, only to insult his proposals as un-American and lacking courage or realism.
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):
Charles Krauthammer was less than pleased with Barack Obama's speech Wednesday concerning his plan to bring down the nation's staggering budget deficit.
As the panel segment of Fox's "Special Report" began, Krauthammer said, "I thought it was a disgrace. I thought I’ve rarely heard a speech by a president so shallow, so hyper-partisan, and so intellectually dishonest, outside the last couple of weeks of a presidential election where you are allowed to call your opponent anything short of a traitor" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
That's the headline the San Francisco Chronicle gave Washington bureau staffer Carolyn Lochhead's write-up this afternoon following President Obama's "belated embrace of his commission's recommendation to cut $4 trillion in deficits over the next 12 years."
"Even as he reached back to his 2008 campaign lodestar with a reference to Abraham Lincoln, Obama pivoted sharply to a new mantra of 'balance' and 'shared sacrifice,' citing his Democratic predecessor and budget-balancer, former President Bill Clinton," Lochhead gushed.
Two paragraphs later Lochhead noted that "Obama threw down the gauntlet to Republicans, vowing, 'I refuse to renew them again.'"
The great American engine of democracy is beginning to build up a head of steam, and it remains the finest device created by man to organize collective human action.
Two months ago, the conventional wisdom held that Washington would do nothing of consequence to start dealing with our fiscal crisis. Certainly, that was the political baseline for the president's Feb. 14 budget proposal for 2012, which, while roundly condemned as a call to inaction, was seen as politically "shrewd."
It's becoming a habit. The New York Times's chief economics writer David Leonhardt once again called for higher taxes in his column on the front page of Wednesday's Times, especially on “the rich,” in the name of deficit reduction (and also because, hey all civilized countries do it). Wednesday A1, “Do-Nothing Congress as a Cure.”
It’s as if tax increases were a mere technicality in any deficit-reduction plan. In reality, finding a way to raise taxes may well be the central political problem facing the United States.
As countries become richer, their citizens tend to want more public services, be it a strong military or a decent safety net in retirement. This country is no exception. Yet our political culture is an exception. It has made most tax increases, even to pay for benefits people want, unthinkable.
This week marks the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War. But there's another "civil war" of sorts on the horizon, this one between the ultra-liberal wing of the Democratic Party, which has thus far steadfastly refused to accept cuts to entitlement programs in the name of fiscal solvency, and the party's more moderate members (which include, amazingly, President Barack Obama and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi) who recognize that such cuts are all-but-inevitable.
But true to form, most of the media, fond of labeling GOP infighting a civil war, has yet to brand Democrats' budget feud with that label. This despite the increasing uneasiness of liberal legislators and organizations who are worried the president has already caved to conservatives on the budget battle.
Interviewing Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann on Wednesday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer pushed for tax increases in the 2012 budget: "...the President's expected to call for raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans – some estimates say that could raise some $700 billion, why couldn't that money be used to pay down the debt?"
Moments later, Lauer added: "...like Congressman Ryan is suggesting, Medicare needs to be revamped....that affects the elderly and the poor...why shouldn't the burden be equally shared? Why shouldn't we put some of that burden on the wealthy and corporations?"
Reporters are eagerly anticipating President Obama’s budget speech this afternoon, with NBC’s Chuck Todd assuring viewers of Wednesday’s Today show that now, finally, “the President’s going to add his voice to this, debate, essentially, over what to do about the ever-growing deficit and debt.”
But over and over again over the past two years, the media have painted Obama as a leader committed to “slashing” the deficit, only to have the absurdity of such spin later revealed by the administration’s actual policies.
Let’s start the trip down memory lane with coverage of President Obama’s first budget speech in February 2009, which reporters claimed would include steps to aggressively reduce the deficit. ABC’s David Muir began the February 21, 2009 World News by pitching how the President was “slashing the deficit by at least 50 percent by raising taxes on the wealthy, people making $250,000 and above, and cutting war spending by bringing troops home from Iraq.”
Doing it's level best to push the meme that Planned Parenthood is a crucial provider of basic medical services for poor women -- and hence deserving of federal taxpayer support -- today's Washington Post devoted one-eighth of page A5 in today's print edition to a photo entitled "Relying on Planned Parenthood."
Depicted is a 24-year-old woman, one Minah Khan, having blood drawn "during a checkup at Planned Parenthood in Washington."
When Democrat presidential candidate Walter Mondale announced in his October 1984 debate with former President Reagan that he would raise taxes if elected, his campaign was over, and he ended up losing one of the biggest election routs in American history.
As Barack Obama prepares to offer the nation his deficit reduction plan Wednesday, it is widely believed he is going to recommend tax hikes on at least the upper wage earners in this nation.
If this is true, is he repeating Mondale's mistake less than nineteen months before Election Day? Are Americans hungrier for tax increases now than they were 27 years ago?
“Critics say it’s about time” for President Barack Obama to offer his plan to reduce the deficit, CBS’s Chip Reid acknowledged Tuesday night before he proceeded to rationalize Obama’s disengagement, validated by CBS’s in-house political analyst. Reid asserted: “Political analysts say the President had good reason to wait. He wanted the Republicans to go first and they did last week when influential Congressman Paul Ryan released his controversial plan.” CBS News political analyst John Dickerson proposed:
The President needed Paul Ryan's House budget plan to use as a foil for his own argument about what government should do, what government priorities are. He will say that the Ryan plan does not match up with American values.
Indeed, Reid contended the White House saw “an irresistible opportunity to portray Republicans as callous and extreme.”
In a business that is supposed to treat record achievements, dubious or otherwise, as news, it's more than a little curious to note that the Associated Press's Martin Crutsinger, along with Reuters and AFP, all "somehow" forgot to tell readers that March's reported federal outlays, as seen in the Monthly Treasury Statement released today, came in at an all-time record of $339.047 billion, and that this year's spending through six months of $1.849 trillion -- also an all-time record -- is 3.5% higher than last year's comparable figure of $1.786 trillion ($1.671 trillion plus a non-cash credit of $115 billion explained here last year).
This year's six-month spending total annualizes out to $3.7 trillion, an amount that is almost $1 trillion, or 36%, higher than fiscal 2007. Though spending is the self-evident real problem, frontline reporters and their bosses would apparently prefer that news consumers not see how ugly those numbers really are.
The Republicans did not win this budget fight, but the cuts they were able to extract illustrate, ironically, that Democrats are finally on the defensive. Scorekeeping aside, we must build on this non-victory because it was also a Democratic retreat.
Last week, I argued that the GOP should not cave on the budget negotiations for many reasons, including that today is not 1995-96. Things are so much different now, especially because of the existential threat to the republic that the exploding national debt represents.
New York Times reporter Katharine Seelye is the latest Times reporter to defend government spending, this time on a tiny but "life-affirming" radio station threatened by the Republican budget ax - public radio station WMMT in Whitesburg, Kentucky: “A Regional Radio Voice Threatened From Afar.” The story was accompanied by a cutesy sidebar, “88.7 on Appalachia’s Dial,” describing such original programming as “Holler to the Hood,” “which plays hip-hop aimed at the growing prison population in the region.” Sounds vital. Only one problem: The funding is being challenged by "the rise of the Tea Party and with anti-earmark, budget-cutting fervor gripping the nation’s capital."
Seelye handed the mic to a lefty from the “private Community Action Council,” a “private” group that nonetheless gets 95% of its money from the federal government.