Those following the histrionics of "The Food Stamp Challenge" (previous NewsBusters posts here, here, and here; previous BizzyBlog posts here, here, and here) know that:
Most of those engaging in it claim that the average Food Stamp recipient "only has $21 per person per week to buy food."
The fact is that the program's monthly benefits (often referred to "Allotments"; scroll to the bottom for the monthly benefit table), when converted to weekly, range from $26.81 - $35.67 per person per week, depending on family size:
The late Senator Everett Dirksen had a famous saying on federal spending: "A billion here, a billion there, pretty soon it adds up to real money."
When it comes to the immigration bill currently being considered by the Senate, Old Media apparently believes: "A trillion here, a trillion there, if it's a cause we're okay with, we won't talk about it."
June 19, 2007 (Washington, DC) – The immigration bill being debated by the Senate would allow over two million illegal workers who received Social Security numbers prior to 2004 to receive more than $966 billion in Social Security benefits by 2040.
Have we entered the Twilight Zone? A mainstream media outlet is going after Congress, particularly a Democrat Congress, for not living up to one of their promises?
CNN correspondent Drew Griffin and a team of two staffers and six interns all 435 members of the House of Representatives a simple question - if they get obtain a copy of each representative's earmark request. Even with the Democrats' campaign promise before the last election that they wanted a more "open" government, 330 members of the House never responded to the simple request. Another 67 refused the interns' request. Ultimately, they were only able to obtain the earmark requests from the offices of 31 representatives. Out of the 31, seven said they had no earmark requests in the fiscal year 2008 budget.
CNN aired two different reports about this, one on "Anderson Cooper 360" on June 18, and the other on the June 19 "American Morning." The report on "Anderson Cooper 360" aired the following excerpt from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
DREW GRIFFIN: ...Last week Speaker Nancy Pelosi hailed a new open earmark process saying finally the American people will know where their money is going, and then she said this.
REP. NANCY PELOSI, (D) HOUSE SPEAKER: If I just might direct the record to another place, why don't we just leave this room today forgetting the word earmark? This is legislatively directed spending as opposed to executive spending.
GRIFFIN: And Ms. Pelosi, for the record, a member of your staff told us you would not reveal your "legislatively directed spending requests."
Last night, ABC “World News” sounded a $50 billion call to expand the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).
The June 17 program gave the common media prescription: more money, more government.
“Child advocate believe this problem [uninsured children] could be fixed is the federal government shells out $50 billion over the next five years. But, that is 10 times what the Bush administration wants to spend,” said ABC’s Dan Harris.
Among Tuesday's broadcast evening newscasts, the CBS Evening News uniquely relayed the positive news of a shrinking federal budget deficit, as released by the Treasury Department. As anchor Katie Couric read a brief item on the subject, she described the data as "some good news for a change" as she reported that tax revenues are "way up" and that the budget deficit is almost "35 percent lower than it was last year." Couric: "To the economy now, and some good news for a change about the deficit. It's actually shrinking."
Notably, on the Saturday June 9 edition of CNN's In the Money, during a discussion of the effect of the economy on the presidential race, guest Greg Valliere of Stanford Washington Research Group chided the media for not reporting on good economic news in light of lower budget deficit numbers as he described the overall economy as "okay" and the unemployment rate of 4.5 percent as "a great number." The show's anchor, Christine Romans, defended the media's obsession with the cost of the Iraq war. Romans: "I think one of the reasons why, and I can't speak for the rest of the media, but why there may be the perception, at least, that it's been ignored is there is an incredible amount of spending going on for the war in Iraq, and that is something that, you know, we have to pay for." (Transcripts follow)
On Tuesday, unlike virtually every press organization that did its best to sidestep the issue while covering Cindy Sheehan’s resignation from the peace movement, Kiran Chetry actually said on “American Morning” “she renounced her ties to the Democratic Party.”
You're Hillary Clinton [work with me here] tuning into "Today" the morning after you've voted against funding the Iraq war . What's the one image you dread seeing pop up? But there it was.
This isn't shaping up as Hillary's favorite day. As the Washington Post reports here, two books about Clinton have hit the shelves, and neither paint a flattering portrait of the former First Lady. What's more, Hillary won't be able to blame this one on the VRWC. The authors are, respectively, the very lefty Carl Bernstein of Watergate fame, and a pair of New York Times reporters.
But while the Hillary camp is surely less than thrilled about those books, my sense is that in the long run, her candidacy has more to fear from being stuck with the dreaded Kerry flip-flop label. Imagine the paroxysms of pain for the Hillary camp while watching this morning's "Today." Discussing Hillary's 'no' vote on Iraq funding, the NBC show broke out the dreaded footage of Kerry's "I actually voted for the $87 billion before I voted against it."
As Al Gore and his band of not so merry global warming alarmists in buses and in the press try to convince Americans that they need to alter behaviors in order to save the planet, an inconvenient truth is being cynically withheld: this is going to cost a lot of money.
Of course, one of the delicious hypocrisies is that these are the same people who decry the current economic boom as only helping the rich, and state regularly and fervently that the poor and middle-class are being left behind.
At the same time, such mid- to lower-level wage earners should be saddled with exorbitant additional expenses to shelter them from a wolf that might never come knocking at their doors.
Makes sense, right?
With that in mind, the Chicago Tribune’s Laurie Goering wrote a fabulous piece recently exposing some of the potential costs of this exercise that most media don’t want you to know (emphasis added throughout, h/t Benny Peiser):
Perhaps you read this week that in April, the US Treasury reported all-time-record tax collections of $383.6 billion.
If you did, you didn't read it in the dead-trees version of the New York Times. The Old Grey Lady did not deem Thursday afternoon's news "fit to print" on Friday (requires free registration), even choosing not to carry the related Associated Press report that is the main topic of this post (even though the Time posted it online Thursday evening). A Times search on "April treasury" (not in quotes) shows no evidence of any other coverage since then, nor does Sunday's Business home page.
So, unless you happened to read a brief report from MarketWatch (requires registration) or subscribe to the Wall Street Journal (requires subscription), odds are that anything you read or heard about April's Monthly Treasury Statement came from the aforementioned AP report, written by good old Martin Crutsinger (some previous examples of Crutsinger's demonstrated bias and ignorance are here, here, here, and here).
Crutsinger's full report is here. Before I get to his biggest oversight, here are the report's relatively minor (I'm not kidding) shortcomings:
Last night, CBS "Evening News" and ABC "World News with Charles Gibson" hyped rising gas prices, saying that the national average price was "just two cents short of the record."
Too bad they were both wrong because they didn't factor in inflation. The national average on May 7 was actually 17 cents below the inflation adjusted record high price from March 1981: $3.22 per gallon.
Anthony Mason's CBS report also proved he needs a calculator and possibly a math tutor.
Mason interviewed Mike Gorgia of Staten Island who regularly tracks his area's gas prices for GasBuddy.com. Mason said Gorgia saves a whopping $500 a year by shopping around for his gasoline.
Hold on -- $500? That doesn't exactly sound like a representative example.
The average American uses 500 gallons of gas each year, according to the Energy Information Administration. So if Gorgia is an "average American" he must be saving a full dollar on every gallon of gasoline.
Former Clinton adviser and current “This Week” anchor George Stephanopoulos mercilessly grilled Democrat presidential candidate John Edwards Sunday on a number of issues, including his numerous flip-flops when he was a U.S. senator.
At first glance, one would think that Stephanopoulos must have gotten up on the wrong side of the bed, or, given that there was a Republican presidential debate Thursday, forgot that Edwards was actually a Democrat.
However, upon reflection, recognizing Stephanopoulos’ ties to the Clintons, maybe this was a calculated attack on a political rival.
If you think this might be a stretch, just take a gander at the following questions asked by ABC’s chief Washington correspondent, and consider the last time you saw him or any other liberal media member grill a Democrat like this (video available here):
On Friday, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) spilled the beancounters' beans (PDF report is available at the link) in advance of this next Thursday's release of the Monthly Treasury Statement. The coverage of CBO's report has been very light.
Impressive tax receipts bring in 'low' deficit of $150 billion
Saturday, May 05, 2007
Washington- The federal budget deficit could go as low as $150 billion this year, congressional analysts said Friday.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office had earlier seen a deficit for 2007 of about $200 billion, but continued strong revenue growth has led CBO to lower its estimates.
..... Impressive tax receipts during the April filing season prompted the more optimistic estimates. This year's April receipts ran $70 billion higher than last year's. CBO says receipts are likely to grow at a 9 percent pace over the first months of the budget year.
Through the first seven months of the budget year, which ends Sept. 30, the government posted an $83 billion deficit, about $100 million less than during a comparable period last fiscal year.
The $70 billion revenue increase and the $83 billion deficit mentioned in Taylor's report, plus CBO's note in its report that April's surplus was $176 billion, are enough info to enable an update of a chart of what has happened during the first seven months of the government's fiscal year (the final numbers will differ by very small amounts):
CBS on Wednesday night turned over a full story to promoting the cause of one interest group which wants a 12-fold hike in federal spending on health care for children. As if it were some kind of scoop to hype a report from a group yearning for media attention, CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric trumpeted it as an “exclusive look tonight at a stunning report by a respected children's health care group. It says nearly 24 million children in this country do not have regular access to medical care and that's twice as many as experts believed.”
Reporter Sharyl Attkisson's story was completely devoted to the Children's Health Fund (CHF) study (as of 8pm EDT Wed, not yet on CHF's Web site) that she outlined: “It's estimated nine million children are completely uninsured, but the new study says 11.5 million more kids end up without medical care for part of the year and another three million can't get a ride to the doctor. That's over 23 million children. To close the gap,” the co-founder of CHF, Irwin Redlener, “is on Capitol Hill lobbying for a dramatic expansion of the $5 billion federal children's health insurance program, or CHIP.” Attkisson relayed his quest: “Redlener wants to add nine million more people to CHIP, plus dental and mental health benefits and transportation. The price tag for all that?”Redlener answered: “What we need is $60 billion.” That would be an incredible 12 times more. (More below on CHF connections to NBC News, Bill Clinton and Chris Dodd)
In 1995, Bill Clinton said this to a Houston fund-raising audience about the 1993 tax increase his administration is infamous for:
Probably there are people in this room who are still mad at me at that budget because you think I raised your taxes too much. It might surprise you to know that I think I raised them too much too.
John Edwards, on the other hand, must think that the Clinton Administration and the congress at the time raised taxes too little, because he said on Sunday that he wants to go beyond what was done in 1993 (link requires registration; HT Colorado Right):
Journalists in Washington are supposed to be public watchdogs. But when it comes to the crisis facing Social Security, they act more like lapdogs for politicians determined to shirk their responsibility.
The Washington Post, New York Times and Associated Press all led off their stories on the latest Social Security and Medicare trustees' projections by pointing out that Social Security isn't expected to deplete its trust fund reserves until 2041. This supports the contention of Democratic politicians and the AARP that the day of reckoning is more than three decades away, so reform is not an urgent need .....
On CNN's "American Morning" today, senior medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta warned of proposed cuts to a Federal program. The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program is under assault by - you guessed it - George W. Bush.
Since WIC was founded over 30 years ago, thoughts on nutrition have changed. See, the problem then was malnutrition, not obesity. So most WIC vouchers are for cereal, breads, crackers, milk products. Checks for force (sic) fresh fruits and vegetables don't exist.
So last August the U.S. Department of Agriculture decided to add produce to the voucher system, to give clients a more balanced diet. They're expected to be available next year. But some say that might not happen, because WIC is on the chopping block, slated for a $145 million cut in President Bush's 2008 budget.
Here’s an extraordinarily inconvenient truth the press will likely not report: a “cap-and-trade” program designed to curb carbon emissions in order to "solve" global warming will negatively impact the poor the most.
Think Charlie, Brian, and Katie will do a story on this tonight?
Regardless of the answer, the reality is that as folks like soon-to-be-Dr. Al Gore and his sycophant devotees recommend solutions to a conceivably nonexistent problem, few care to address the negative economic impact of such strategies.
Towards that goal, the Congressional Budget Office released a study on Wednesday that didn’t paint a very pretty picture of the financial ramifications of a cap-and-trade program proposed by Democrats (emphasis added throughout):
For the last few weeks I have been watching two stories that, were they about Conservatives or Republicans, would have been scandals that would have shaken the rafters of the MSM. But, since these stories are about two favored Liberals, one old and one newly minted, we have seen no faux outrage, no shocked commentary, no calls for heads on pikes to be posted at the entrance to Congress, and no calls for resignations. Oh, the stories were reported all right, but all sensationalism was eschewed with the usual extrapolation to the level of a “culture of corruption” cast aside for a straight, newsy style atypical to their normal means against Republicans.
These two stories and the lack of passionate coverage of them by the MSM shows that the MSM employs as much liberal bias in what they chose not to cover as they do in what they chose to go ahead and focus upon.
Leave it to a liberal to claim that Americans are "cheapskates" because our government does not spend enough money on foreign aid. In the L.A.Times for April 13th, that is just what we are treated to with Rosa Brooks' screed titled, "To the rest of the world, we're cheapskates" and subtitled, "The U.S. international affairs budget -- which helps fight AIDS, poverty and more -- is just 1% of total spending." But, by attacking our country over its record on charity and foreign aid spending, Brooks proves that she neither understands the nature of American generosity, nor the American character.
Ben Franklin once said, "In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes."
That truth is even more painful for the increasing number of people who fall into a separate tax structure called the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT). Those qualified for the AMT face a flat tax rate of as much as 28 percent.
Lately, a number of politicians have been crying out for AMT reform to save the middle-class, but the media has a faulty memory when it comes to who is responsible for the AMT monster.
“House Democratic leaders, in an effort to upstage Republicans on the issue of tax cuts, are preparing legislation that would permanently shield all but the very richest taxpayers from the alternative minimum tax,” reported The New York Times on April 9. “Democrats Seek to Lead the Way in Tax Overhaul,” was the headline.
But his report that warned as many as 1.5 billion people "might not have enough water" was no joke. Neither was Andrew Revkin's New York Times piece on the same day.
ABC's Blakemore made it clear at the end of his broadcast that the poorest nations will suffer the most but stopped short of calling for more taxpayer dollars. But Revkin's article called for rich nations to spend even more because "tens of millions" isn't enough.
Wednesday's CBS Evening News with Katie Couric featured another "The federal government is our only hope" segment, this time focusing on the "war on cancer." Couric introduced the segment by arguing that cancer therapies were being thwarted because of "funding cuts that could delay or completely derail promising advances in the war of cancer."
The story, by CBS correspondent Wyatt Andrews, featured only one member of Congress, Iowa's Senator Tom Harkin, who echoed Couric and claimed that the "war on cancer" is in jeopardy due to war in Iraq. The "money" quote:
HARKIN: When you're spending $8 billion a month in Iraq, it's very tough to get the money for cancer research.
Mr. Hunter detailed his opposition to the legislation, pointing out that it ignores military needs while at the same time the bill's backers "did find money for shrimp and spinach." Here he was referring to the almost $4 billion targeted for farm interests that are included in the legislation.
HARRIS: Yes. You are referring to some of the sweeteners in the deal, millions, for example, to make spinach farmers whole again after last year's E. coli episode.
The more things change, the more they stay the same. That was the focus of Bob Franken's report on CNN's "American Morning," which focused attention on the pork barrel spending proposals in the emergency funding bill for the military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The key excerpt:
REP. NANCY PELOSI, (D) HOUSE SPEAKER: "With today's convening of the 110th Congress, we begin anew."
FRANKEN (voice over): "That was the rallying cry from the newly in-charge Democrats, the wheeling and dealing and hidden pork barrel spending would be no more. Fast forward just 10 weeks. Democratic leaders face their biggest challenge so far. The legislation providing $124 billion in war funding, combined with a troop pullout from Iraq next year. And they're using every tool at their command. The same tools they criticized the Republicans for using -- good, old fashioned pork."
Matt Lauer said the right thing. Was it for the wrong reason?
Discussing on this morning's "Today" with Tim Russert the current wrangling between the Bush administration and the Dem congress over a bill to fund the Iraq war and the Dems' attempt to include a "date certain" for troop withdrawal, Matt Lauer said:
"Robert Gates, the Defense Secretary, has said that sometime next month that the funding for troops on the ground will run out. So now we've got a very high stakes game of political chicken. And can you imagine the Democrats getting to a point where they actually stop the funding for troops on the ground? That would be a disaster, wouldn't it?"
Here are the facts: The federal deficit is "down sharply"...
WASHINGTON - The deficit for the first five months of the budget year is down sharply from a year ago as the growth in government tax collections continues to outpace growth in spending.
...and "down sharply" means more than 25 percent over last year.
The Treasury Department reported that the deficit from October through February totaled $162.2 billion, down 25.5 percent from the same period last year.
The federal deficit was up 0.6 percent to $120 billion in February...
That improvement came even though the deficit in February hit $120 billion, up 0.6 percent from last February's deficit of $119.2 billion.
...but that's normal for this time of year as the numbers get skewed up because the government is sending out more money in the form of tax refunds to earlier tax filers.
One factor that contributes to higher deficits in February are the refund payments the Internal Revenue Service is mailing out during the month to people who have filed early tax returns. The February 2006 imbalance was the largest monthly deficit for that year.
Now, as a lifelong resident of the Free State, I can attest that Maryland is a fairly liberal state and it spends at the state and county levels in a fairly liberal manner. Today's Washington Post characterized Democratic Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett's first budget proposal as detrimental to the county's public schools.
"Leggett to Offer Cautious Budget: 6% Increase Would Shrink School Request," read the headline to Miranda S. Spivack's Metro section front pager.
What makes the Leggett budget so cautious compared to the last one sought by his predecessor, former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Doug Duncan?
Perhaps because Duncan's last budget, Spivack noted, increased county spending by 9 percent. Of course both 6 and 9 percent growth rates for county spending well outpace the growth in the U.S. gross domestic product.
Cancer is truly a tragedy in every case, but that was no excuse for ABC "World News Tonight's" shoddy shell game during the February 15 broadcast.
In a segment on reduced federal funding for cancer research, anchor Charles Gibson introduced the story by stating that the National Cancer Institute has seen funding decreases in the past two years and the Bush budget is promoting a third cut.
But by the time reporter Lisa Stark actually did any math she was using the budget cuts from one non-profit organization, but hadn't bothered to explain why. And that wasn't the only thing Stark left out of the segment.
You can find the entire Business & Media Institute story here.