It appears that President Obama is about to approve the extension of the Bush tax cuts and this has sent liberals into a frenzy. How to explain it? Well, Frank Rich of the New York Times has a very creative explanation: a weak Barack Obama has been spiritually kidnapped by Republicans and is now suffering from Stockholm Syndrome which allows him to sympathize with his captors. Here is Rich explaining it in "All the President's Captors" at his entertaining best:
During a discussion of the agreement to prevent tax rates from increasing in January, on ABC’s World News Sunday, anchor David Muir and ABC’s senior Washington correspondent Rick Klein fretted that the federal budget deficit would increase - against the wishes of the voters - as a result of both the blocking of a tax increase and the extension of unemployment benefits. But neither acknowledged that raising taxes could depress the economy and cause tax revenue losses. After a full report had run that recounted the agreement to extend the Bush tax cuts, Muir conveyed his belief that the plan contradicts voter concerns about the deficit during his discussion with Klein. Muir:
And, Rick, quickly, this comes after voters in the midterms seemed so concerned about government spending and the deficit, and yet, we’re hearing now about tax cuts and more spending for the benefits.
Klein warned that "everything that Congress is set to do is going to make" the budget deficit and national debt problems "even worse," and complained about less revenue being collected when "you’re cutting taxes." Klein:
New York magazine's John Heilemann said this weekend that President Obama is the only serious adult in the deficit reduction conversation now going on in Washington.
This deliciously came seconds before Heilemann told other guests on the syndicated "Chris Matthews Show," "I have been dispirited by the lack of strategy on the part of the White House since the midterm elections...specifically on this [issue]" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams on Wednesday evening hit presidential deficit commission co-chairs Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles from the left, the New York Times left. Without ever raising conservative criticism of proposals to raise taxes, Williams charged:
It seems to me there's two arguments. There's what you're trying to accomplish and then there's how you're trying to accomplish, and there are, as you know, critics of what you're trying to do. James K. Galbraith writes in the New York Times, “Bowles-Simpson proposal is an assault on the middle class, the working class and the poor.”
This wasn’t the first time Williams has cited a left-wing New York Times op-ed or columnist for what he considered sage wisdom.
There are times when one has to think the Manhattan building that is the home of the New York Times doesn't have any windows, doesn't have any television sets, and doesn't have any doors that allow employees to venture out and actually see what's happening in America beyond the walls of 620 Eighth Avenue.
Consider that after the impact the Tea Party has had on our nation's politics the past 20 months, and the historic elections that just took place on November 2, Times columnist Tom Friedman actually thinks Americans aren't interested in reducing the federal deficit but are instead yearning for higher taxes and greater government spending:
With all but one of the House races now resolved, Republicans have picked up at least 63 seats, the most in a midterm election since 1938. So, it might be fun on this Thanksgiving Day to recall how, just 18 months ago, Time's Michael Grunwald was arguing in a big cover story that demography and its "extremely conservative" philosophy meant the Republican Party could be on the verge of extinction.
Back in May 2009, Newsbusters Brent Baker picked up on Grunwald's piece for the ridiculous way he painted the GOP as extremist:
They are extremely conservative ideas tarred by association with the extremely unpopular George W. Bush, who helped downsize the party to its extremely conservative base.
But re-reading the piece today, it's even more striking how Grunwald's "analysis" was based on liberal wishful thinking that small government conservative policies were like political arsenic, and how Republicans had to drop tax cuts and cultural conservatism if they ever hoped to come back from the wilderness.
In other words, move left. But the GOP instead moved right, and was rewarded by voters. Which is why conservatives should probably not take strategic advice from their ideological adversaries in the media.
The seemingly endless variety of "name that party" stunts has yet another wrinkle.
In this case, Matt Drudge is currently linking to a Des Moines Register story ("Culver OKs state pay raises"; also saved here at host for future reference) about how outgoing Iowa Governor Chet Culver has decided to rush through union contracts granting thousands of state employees 3% raises (before considering "step" raises that occur with seniority) in each of the next two years before Republican Governor Terry Bransted takes over in January.
The headline for Drudge's link is "Lame duck Dem governor in Iowa OKs $100 million in raises for state workers." Actually, it's $100 million a year for the next two years. But the linked Register article by Jason Clayworth never identifies Culver's Democratic Party affiliation, even though he tags the governor's opposition as Republican twice in the first two paragraphs. In other words, not that it was difficult to show that Culver is a Dem, but Drudge had to figure it out and tell his readers -- and we thank him for that.
Very unusually, CBS’s Katie Couric promised a look Thursday night at “how runaway government spending has exploded the national debt,” but between that segment and her show’s lead story, an “exclusive” interview with debt commission co-chairmen Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, Couric illustrated how she and the media are an impediment to rational spending decisions since they paint any decision to not spend more in terms of how that will hurt people. To wit, she despaired:
Also in Washington today, House Republicans blocked a further extension of jobless benefits set to expire on November 30th. If Congress doesn't act, two million Americans will stop receiving benefit checks during the holidays. That would be devastating to a place like Elkhart, Indiana. It had one of the nation's highest unemployment rates when Seth Doane first visited there two years ago and it is only now just starting to recover.
Deep in his empathetic piece, Doane noted: “These benefits can last up to 99 weeks. That's nearly three months longer than any time in U.S. history. They now cost the country nearly $224 billion a year.”
Yesterday the California Supreme Court ruled "that illegal immigrants are entitled to the same in-state tuition breaks that are offered to citizens who attend public colleges and universities."
The Associated Press reports that "[t]he high court unanimously upheld a state law that says any student, regardless of immigration status, who attended a California high school for at least three years can qualify for in-state tuition that's much less than what out-of-state students pay."
The losing party in the case plans an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, so this may not be the final word on the issue.
Given that the Golden State is flat broke and illegal immigration is a hot button issue nationally, this sounds like a story worthy of mainstream media attention.
Yet it appears the story has been largely ignored or buried by the MSM thus far.
As a Monday morning treat for NewsBusters readers, here is a sampling of the quotes from the latest edition of MRC’s Notable Quotables newsletter, a compilation of the most outrageous, sometimes humorous, quotes in the liberal media. All of the quotes, plus past issues going back to 1988, can be found at www.MRC.org.
Forget What Voters Said, It’s Time for Higher Taxes
Host Christiane Amanpour: “There are many economists who simply say the math does not add up, if you’re not going to agree to raising taxes. Do you agree that taxes will have to be raised, as well?” Senator-elect Rand Paul: “Well, I think it’s not a revenue problem. It’s a spending problem.” Amanpour: “But it is a revenue problem according to so many economists.”
— ABC’s This Week, November 7.
UPDATE AT END OF POST: Krugman tries to clarify what he said.
Although he was likely taking a swipe at former governor Sarah Palin with the reference, Paul Krugman on Sunday recommended "death panels" as a means of helping to balance the federal budget.
In a Roundtable discussion on ABC's "This Week," the New York Times columnist said of what recently came out of the President's deficit commission, "Some years down the pike, we're going to get the real solution, which is going to be a combination of death panels and sales taxes" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Glenn Beck has been a favorite punching bag for liberal media members since he moved from HLN to Fox News and started getting huge ratings.
The folks at NBC's "Saturday Night Live" have also been on this Beck bashing bandwagon, which made the following sequence during Saturday's opening sketch rather surprising (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Time Magazine is having some problems with very basic issues of logic. First, it doesn't seem to understand the difference between correlation and causation. The notion that debt is equal to income minus expenditures also eludes the folks at Time.
A blog post on the magazine's website on Wednesday alleged that the Tea Party will cause hyperinflation. If that seems counterintuitive, take comfort in knowing that the post had to ignore basic logic to reach that conclusion.
The article begins by trying to pass off correlation as causation:
According to Good Morning America's George Stephanopoulos, a deficit commission suggesting deep cuts will call the "bluff" of voters who want to severely restrict government spending. The ABC host on Thursday dismissed the plausibility of the panel's recommendations.
Stephanopoulos condescendingly began, "A week after voters seemed to say that they wanted more aggressive action against the deficit, the chairmen of a presidential commission are calling their bluff." GMA featured two segments on the topic, but never once actually mentioned the deficit number, $1.3 trillion.
Reporter Jake Tapper featured Barack Obama's speech from South Korea in which the President attacked Republican campaign rhetoric on the debt: "And unfortunately, a lot of the talk didn't match up with reality." Left unmentioned was the Obama's own record spending.
Despite 9.6 percent unemployment nationally, with some areas of the country suffering far worse than that, the New York Times editorial board believes state governments must raise taxes to balance their budgets:
Bill Press this weekend said Barack Obama has created more jobs in the past 20 months than George W. Bush did in his entire eight years in office.
As readers will see from the actual data compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Press's comments made on the "McLaughlin Group" were so false it's laughable (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Christine Amanpour spent much of Sunday’s This Week arguing with her guests about how taxes must be raised -- a theme also echoed on Face the Nation and Meet the Press -- as she brought aboard the media’s newest hero, tax-hike advocate David Stockman, and also touted Warren Buffett’s quest to hike taxes and how even conservatives in Britain have agreed to do so: “They’re saying there for every $3 in spending cuts, $1 up in taxes.”
Advancing the media-Democratic line against the agenda of victorious conservatives, Amanpour asserted to Senator-elect Rand Paul: “There are many economists who simply say the math does not add up, if you’re not going to agree to raising taxes. Do you agree that taxes will have to be raised, as well?” Rand retorted: “I think it's not a revenue problem. It's a spending problem.” To which, Amanpour countered: “But it is a revenue problem according to so many economists.”
Amanpour soon repeated: “Without making strong entitlement and other cuts, and even if one does, most of the economists say the math does not add up to keep tax cuts on and on and on. Will you agree to some?”
At the top of her show, with “Tax Cut Mantra” derisively on screen, Amanpour touted Stockman: “Their hero may be Ronald Reagan, but his tax man says that [extending the current tax rates] will finish the economy off.”
Apparently that's what the Associated Press's Liz Sidoti (pictured at the top right at this post's home page tease) wants us to believe, as she ended her borderline bitter take on the origins of Congressional Republicans' successful electoral comeback and takeover of the House of Representatives four days ago with this sentence:
Ten months later (after Scott Brown's U.S. Senate race victory in Massachusetts -- Ed.), victorious Republicans met to plan their transition to power in the House - just as it was announced that the economy created 151,000 jobs.
As if one good jobs-added number -- even with the unemployment rate stuck at 9.6% -- proves that the economic recovery is finally in high gear. Zheesh.
On Thursday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith saw Republican goals to limit government spending as antithetical to improving the economy: "How do you unleash the economy and not spend any money, oh, by the way, because that's the other mandate, is don't increase the deficit and don't – don't – 'I don't want one more cent of tax on me.'"
Smith put the question to Time magazine Washington deputy bureau chief Michael Crowley, who was equally skeptical: "I think it may be impossible, frankly. What Democrats would like to do is they would say you actually have to spend more money, have the government put money into the economy to get it moving again." He warned against conservative policies: "Republicans say we're spending too much, maybe cut taxes, but tax cuts aren't free, either, tax cuts increase the deficit. Maybe you could loosen regulations but you saw what happened on Wall Street when things were deregulated. It's really not as simple at this point as doing any of those things without taking a big risk that comes along with it."
On Thursday's Newsroom, CNN's Fareed Zakaria endorsed a predictably liberal solution to get the American economy moving again: enact more taxes and implement new government programs. Zakaria called for a national sales tax and advocated new government spending on "research and technology" and "upgrading the infrastructure." The CNN host also labeled tax cuts "bad stuff."
Anchor Ali Velshi brought on Zakaria during the last segment of the 2 pm Eastern hour to discuss his upcoming cover story for Time magazine, "How to Restore The American Dream." Velshi labeled the article a "must-read" and first asked his guest, "I overheard a conversation between you and someone else the other day where you said you don't even like using the world 'stimulus' anymore. There is an answer that doesn't emphasize consumption. It emphasizes investment. Explain that to me."
The Time editor stated that "as a society, we are over-consuming, and for the last 20 years, we've consumed more and more, not because we had any increase in wages, but because we borrowed more." He continued with his government spending recommendation and his negative labeling of tax cuts:
There is an axiom that is adhered to by conservative journalists that explains at least some of what for liberals is this inexplicable election. It is the Taranto Principle. Coined by the inimitable James Taranto of The Wall Street Journal, the Taranto Principle encourages the worst in liberals by reporting politics with a slavish bias. The conservatives can do nothing right. The liberals can do nothing wrong, and besides, they are always more winsome and more intelligent, and moreover they have an aesthetic and philosophical side. Even Vice President Joe Biden has an aesthetic and philosophical side. His malapropisms and goofball pronunciamentos are to be perceived from an artistic and philosophical perspective, as the artiste Chris Ofili's artful uses of elephant dung are to be perceived from an artistic and philosophical perspective.
I am serious. If the art of Ofili, the British-born hustler, were reported as not art but animal waste, he might have learned the rudiments of art a long time ago and become an acceptable street artiste. If Biden were reported to have bungled yet again, he might not say such idiotic things. According to the Taranto Principle, biased liberal reporting brings out the worst in liberals and makes them ridiculous and often unelectable.
Brian Williams touted New Jersey Governor Chris Christie as a “star” on “the rise” in the Republican Party before adding a “however” and haranguing him from left over his opposition to massive spending for a new tunnel from his state to New York, reciting as an oracle the criticism from far-left New York Times columnist Paul Krugman without ever identifying the source of the supposed wisdom beyond “the op-ed page of the New York Times.”
For Thursday’s NBC Nightly News, Williams traveled to the Garden State to sit down with Christie. Williams contended Christie “took a big hit for saying no to New Jersey's share of a new tunnel beneath the Hudson River, a huge public works project designed to ease congestion. His decision exploded on the op-ed page of the New York Times which called it ‘a blow to national hopes of a recovery.’” That was Krugman’s characterization in an October 8 op-ed, The End of the Tunnel.
When Christie explained how his deep in debt state can’t afford the billions more now demanded for the project, Williams pleaded: “But couldn't you find the money? Isn't there a way if you really wanted it, if you really wanted it for long-term investment?” The anchor continued to display his reverence for the New York Times as he, once again, quoted Krugman:
The Times goes on. Here's how you should think about the decision to kill the tunnel: “It's a terrible thing in itself, but, beyond that, it's a perfect symbol of how America has lost its way.” You're being tied to the nation losing its way by dint of this decision.
On Wednesday's CBS Evening News, anchor Katie Couric described British efforts to curb government spending: "Britain's new conservative government outlined the sharpest cuts in public spending in six decades....to see if that kind of severe belt-tightening can cure an ailing economy."
Correspondent Mark Phillips warned of the fiscally conservative approach: "It's a high-stakes roll of the economic dice involving massive spending cuts and huge job losses." He rolled a pair of dice onto a Monopoly board as he made that declaration. After detailing some of the planned cuts, Phillips explained: "The projected government job losses – 490,000, about one in ten government workers."
There is a simple explanation for President Obama's dismal approval ratings, but ABC's George Stephanopoulos fails to comprehend it. Appearing on the October 13 "O'Reilly Factor," the former Clinton adviser peddled multiple theories to explain Obama's unpopularity, but neglected to consider the possibility that the president has simply failed to connect with the general public.
"As far as the problem with Democrats, they're upset about the economy, but he has also got a problem with liberals, who wish he would have done more on issues like gays in the military, on health care, on other issues," asserted Stephanopoulos.
The argument that Obama's approval rating is suffering because his policies have not been liberal enough shows just how disconnected this political flak-turned-journalist is with the public he ostensibly serves. Obama's approval rating is not hovering around 43 percent, as the latest Reuters poll indicates, because liberal activists, who represent a small percentage of the population, have been abandoning the president in droves. Rather, Obama is floundering because his support among independents and swing-voters has evaporated. In that same poll, according to Fox News host Bill O'Reilly, Obama has a 33 percent approval rating among Ohio voters.
There are times when you have to wonder whether liberal shills in the media are are just ignorant or dishonest.
Monday is one of those times.
Consider Nobel laureate Paul Krugman's most recent column in the New York Times entitled "Hey, Small Spender" wherein the man the Left considers to be one of the economic geniuses of our time argues that federal spending really hasn't increased under President Obama.
Most deviously, the Nobel Prize winner in economics never once actually referred to actual figures from the budget to prove his point:
Just in case anyone mistakenly believes Obama has heard (or gives a rip about) the loud voice of the American people rejecting his socialism, appeasement, unconstitutional abuses of power and unpresidential combativeness and divisiveness, let me share a few tidbits.
--After House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, issued a damning critique of Obama's economic policies, the administration's economic philosopher Joe Biden issued a rebuttal, assuring us it was their predecessor who got us into this mess. That's novel.
--Obama renewed his war on Fox News, saying it is a "destructive" force in American society, while the White House lauded MSNBC's Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow as providing "an invaluable service" to America.
--Rep. Paul Ryan reports that Obama's latest "fiscal year ends in fiscal failure." Congress broke for recess, "prioritizing election over stopping looming tax hikes." It failed to complete any of the 12 annual appropriations bills, pass a budget resolution and stop the tax increases.
George Will on Sunday once again proved how little Nobel laureate Paul Krugman actually knows about economics.
As the Roundtable segment of ABC’s “This Week” approached its conclusion, host Christiane Amanpour referred to French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde’s claim earlier in the program that her country’s economy is already growing and doesn’t need any further stimulus spending.
Krugman, who is always interested in government laying out more dollars it doesn’t have, bashed Lagarde’s view saying, “I think she's got a fantasy, which is a popular European fantasy, which bears no relationship to what's actually happening.”
With the ball nicely teed up, Will smacked a monster drive down the middle of the fairway that would make Tiger Woods proud (video follows with transcript and commentary):