In his rush to flame-broil Burger King as an unpatriotic fast-food joint looking to skip out on paying its taxes to Uncle Sam, MSNBC Hardball host Chris Matthews sought to enlist the famously pro-free market, pro-capitalism Wall Street Journal. The only problem is his claim is 100 percent Grade A baloney.
"The Wall Street Journal lead editorial today came out against it.... The lead editorial today, surprisingly, attacked this tax scheme," Matthews insisted to guest David Corn of the leftist Mother Jones magazine. In point of fact, the Journal editorial board slammed not corporate "inversion" schemes but the current U.S. tax code, which it called "the reigning world champion in punishing investment and discouraging job creation." [MP3 audio here; video embedded below page break]
As news broke on Tuesday of Burger King buying Tim Hortons and moving its corporate headquarters to Canada, the broadcast networks quickly adopted the liberal talking point that the fast food chain was being unpatriotic by avoiding high U.S. tax rates. On Tuesday's ABC World News, anchor Diane Sawyer proclaimed: "Burger King, home of the Whopper, accused of doing something a lot of Americans question, defecting. Heading north of the border to Canada and saving a lot of tax money." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On Wednesday's Today, correspondent John Yang touted "a whopper of a controversy" over the move and announced: "...just the idea of moving the headquarters to Canada has some once-loyal Burger King subjects ready to revolt....On Burger King's Facebook page, nearly 5,000 posts, most critical. 'You abandon the America that made you and we will abandon you.'"
Ever since fast food chain Burger King announced its desire to purchase Canadian coffee and doughnut chain Tim Hortons, CBS has done its best to play up the supposed backlash the company will face as it moves its headquarters overseas to lower its tax burden.
On Wednesday morning, following the news that billionaire investor Warren Buffett is helping finance the merger, CBS This Morning made sure to hit Buffett from the left with fill-in anchor Anthony Mason going so far as to proclaim that “somebody once said Warren Buffett is a capitalist before he’s a patriot.” [See video below.]
On Tuesday's CNN Newsroom, Carol Costello refreshingly complimented Burger King's planned merger with Canadian restaurant chain Tim Hortons as a "very smart business move" that will "save the company money." Costello turned to CNN correspondent Christine Romans, who spotlighted how "corporate taxes are lower in Canada than they are in the U.S.," and that "the stock is up because everyone on Wall Street...thinks this is going to lower the tax bill for Burger King."
The anchor also brought on Curtis Dubay of the conservative Heritage Foundation, who underlined that "our tax code makes it uncompetitive around the world. And so, they're doing something to get out from under that burden. They're doing what's right for their shareholders and their owners....What has to be done is the tax code has to be reformed. We have to have corporate tax reform." This prompted Costello to lament that Congress probably won't do anything to reform the tax code: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
For the second day in a row, CBS did its best to hype opposition to fast food chain Burger King after it announced plans to purchase Canadian coffee and doughnut chain Tim Hortons and relocate to Canada to lower its tax burden.
On Tuesday, CBS This Morning fill-in anchor Anthony Mason introduced a segment by boosting how “Main street and some in Washington are fuming about the fast food giant's move to Canada.” [See video below.]
Tonight's CBS Evening News spent 63 seconds on the Burger King fast-food chain's plan to merge with Canadian donut chain Tim Hortons, a move which would also relocate the new company to Ontario, Canada, for "substantial tax savings" where the corporate tax rate is much more favorable for business (15 percent) than the present federal corporate rate (35 percent).
But while business correspondent Anthony Mason noted that "Burger King could face a backlash if the deal goes through," he failed to present the viewing audience with the rebuttal that conservatives would offer to liberal Democrats -- the rash of "inversion" plans American corporations are executing is proof positive of the need for comprehensive tax reform that lowers the corporate income tax rate -- the better to be globally competitive -- and simplifies the U.S. tax code. Attached below is the transcript of the segment:
President Barack Obama has come out strongly against corporations moving their addresses overseas in an attempt to pay lower taxes – while several of his own donors saved money by employing this very tactic, known as “inversion.” Yet, ABC, CBS and NBC have completely ignored that hypocrisy since the president addressed the issue on July 24.
White House Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz told Bloomberg News that even though Obama called such tactics “unpatriotic,” the president would keep cash from donors benefiting from tax inversion.
The federal government reported a $94.6 blllion deficit in July, only marginally better than the $97.6 figure posted in July 2013.
As has become its habit, the Associated Press's coverage of that result contained omissions, spin and half-truths about government tax collections, spending and the origins of the Obama administration's first four years of consecutive trillion-dollar deficits. Particularly annoying is the wire service's insistence on ignoring the large tax increase in two decades as a factor — in the interest, of course, of supporting the Obama administration's call for more of the same. Veteran Martin Crutsinger was responsible for this month's rendition. Excerpts follow the jump:
Erroneous attacks against the American for Tax Reform’s (ATR) Taxpayer Protection Pledge are nothing new. Liberal Democratic mega-donor Tom Steyer is funding the latest spate of misleading TV ads through his super PAC. The ad wrongfully attacks Iowa Republican Senate candidate Joni Ernst for signing the Pledge, claiming that the pledge protects tax credits for companies that send jobs overseas. Unfortunately for Iowa voters of all parties, Cedar Rapids TV station KCRG has bought the misleading ad hook, line, and sinker, claiming: “There’s at least one example of [ATR] pledge signers being pressured to oppose legislation that restricted tax breaks for multinational companies. We score this claim mostly true.”
Unfortunately striking back at such the inaccuracies is like a game of whack-a-mole. No matter how many times you hit it, it keeps on coming back up again. Errors similar to this one have been debunked by fact-checking organizations and news agencies like the Associated Press time and again. It’s absurd to say this part of the ad is even remotely true.
Here’s something you don’t see every day, a donor for President Obama admitting that America’s corporate tax rate is too high.
Mellody Hobson appeared on CBS This Morning on Thursday, August 7 to discuss pharmacy chain Walgreens’ decision to keep its headquarters in the United States. The CBS News contributor opined that even though she agreed with the company’s decision she acknowledged that in America “it's still the highest tax rate of any developed nation.” [See video below.]
ABC's World News stood out as the sole Big Three evening newscast on Wednesday to not cover the release of Lois Lerner's e-mails, where the former top IRS official slammed conservatives as "a**holes" and "crazies." Instead, the news program devoted full reports to the water main that burst on the campus of UCLA and the controversy over usage charges on cell phone bills.
By contrast, NBC Nightly News and CBS Evening News on Wednesday both set aside about two minutes each of air time to Lerner's "salty language," as NBC's Kelly O'Donnell put it: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
But after the interview was aired, CNBC panelists excoriated the president as "duplicitous" and "disingenuous" for pretending like he has no share in the blame for a lack of movement on tax reform during his tenure in office and for offering an inaccurate, misleading description of what exactly happens to a U.S. corporation's tax obligations after it undergoes an inversion.
Every so often a liberal pundit argues that even though Paul Ryan considers himself Catholic, his beliefs (on economics, at least) are closer to those of Ayn Rand than those of the Vatican. In a Friday piece for AlterNet, atheist writer CJ Werleman, author of books such as God Hates You. Hate Him Back, made a similar but far broader charge, claiming that Republicans in general routinely “conflate…Rand’s Atlas Shrugged with the Bible.”
In his article, Werleman discussed findings from a recent survey in which respondents speculated about the positions Jesus Christ would have taken on current political issues. Werleman opined that 80 percent of Democrats were right to think that Jesus would have backed universal health care (“it’s hard to imagine Jesus would deny care to those who lack the financial means to enjoy the comfort of our for-profit capitalist healthcare industry”) and declared that overall, the poll results showed that “Democrats align themselves more with the values of Jesus than [does] the proclaimed party of Jesus, the GOP.”
At the Associated Press on Friday afternoon, Andrew Taylor, who it should be noted covers Congress and is not routinely on the economics or business beat, relayed an Obama administration prediction that economic growth in 2014 will come in at 2.6 percent.
Taylor noted that this estimate, lowered from 3.3 percent, came about because of "the unexpected 2.9 percent drop in gross domestic product in the first quarter of this year when unusually severe weather dinged the economy." Besides failing to note that the contraction was an annualized drop (the actual contraction was about 0.7 percent), he didn't tell readers how absurdly strong growth will have to be during the rest of the year to hit that 2.6 percent target; it works out to an annualized 4.5 percent during each of this year's remaining unreported quarters. Perhaps the AP reporter isn't economically astute enough to recognize how unlikely that is — or worse, he recognized it and let it pass unchallenged.
One of the reasons President Barack Obama and the left can continue to make their cherished "budget stalemate" arguments against conservatives and Republicans is that the establishment press has memory-holed tax increases, including "the largest tax increase in the past two decades," which have already taken place. It now acts as if taxes on "the wealthy," which are really taxes on "high-income earners," have never been increased during Dear Leader's administration.
Josh Boak's coverage of the June budget surplus yesterday at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, is a case in point. After regaling readers with the administration-manipulated recent history of budget deficits (without mentioning the manipulation, of course), Boak uncritically relayed the Democrats' version of the argument that the standoff between the White House and the House of Representatives is over "sharp cuts on needed government programs" versus "higher taxes on the wealthy." Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post; numbered tags are mine):
In a Thursday evening writeup about how the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will allow a California wind farm to "become the first in the nation to avoid prosecution if eagles are injured or die when they run into the giant turning blades," reporter Scott Smith at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, took a big gulp of his hi-test White House koolaid, and wrote: "Under President Barack Obama, wind energy has exploded as a pollution-free energy source that can help reduce the greenhouse gases blamed for global warming."
As you probably know, the 1980s were boom years for conservatives. Among the most prominent right-wingers back then: Ronald Reagan, Tom Clancy, Casey Kasem…
OK, Kasem, who died on June 15, actually was a staunch liberal, a supporter in that decade of Jesse Jackson and later of Dennis Kucinich. But during the ‘80s, wrote Scott Timberg in a Sunday piece for Salon, “we had a political and economic revolution, spearheaded by a one-time actor who was often massively popular, that did the same thing as” Kasem’s radio show, “American Top 40.”
In a Thursday New York Times op-ed, columnist Timothy Egan, who previously "worked for 18 years as a writer" at the Times, went after Wal-Mart as "net drain on taxpayers, forcing employees into public assistance with its poverty-wage structure." In his view, working at Wal-Mart and receiving its "humiliating wages ... certainly keeps you poor."
At the company's blog, David Tovar, Walmart's vice president for corporate communications, armed with a photocopy of Egan's op-ed and a red pen, ripped Egan's contentions to shreds (portion presented was reformatted to fit the available space; HT Instapundit):
The Big Three networks' Friday evening newscasts finally noticed the latest development in the IRS scandal (they omitted it on Thursday), after Rep. Paul Ryan grilled Commissioner John Koskinen earlier in the day. ABC's David Muir spotlighted "the outrage...involving the IRS claiming to have lost thousands of crucial documents – lawmakers asking, how can the tax man be let off the hook for losing documents, while ordinary taxpayers would never get away with that?"
NBC's Brian Williams noted how Koskinen claimed that the IRS "lost evidence in the investigation into how they handled conservative political groups...and given how long the IRS holds on to things like our tax returns, some members of Congress just aren't buying it." CBS's Nancy Cordes zeroed in on congressional Democrats' attack on their Republican colleagues over the scandal – something that ABC and NBC didn't do: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Democrats control the White House and Senate and won a clear majority of the vote in 2012 House elections, but American Prospect co-editor Robert Kuttner thinks that Republicans might be even less popular if Dems weren’t so shy about advocating economic policies markedly to the left of the ones they now support.
In a Monday post, Kuttner argued that only the rich have benefited from thirty-plus years of “tax cuts, limited social spending, deregulation, and privatization,” which caused him to wonder, “If conservatives offer little that’s credible to the anxious middle class, why aren’t liberals just trouncing them?” His three-part answer:
On Wednesday, June 17 Bloomberg reported that Bill and Hillary Clinton are taking advantage of financial planning strategies to avoid paying a hefty estate tax, even though the Clintons are prominent supports of the tax.
Despite the report, ABC, CBS, and NBC have all ignored the story on both their morning and evening newscasts. According to Bloomberg: “The Clintons are using financial planning strategies befitting the top 1 percent of U.S. households in wealth. These moves, common among multimillionaires, will help shield some of their estate from the tax that now top out at 40 percent of assets upon death.”
Despite the damning new revelations in the IRS scandal, ABC and NBC have failed to cover the story as of Monday June 16, and only CBS This Morning reported on the emails on Monday but their evening news program ignoring the IRS alongside ABC's World News with Diane Sawyer and NBC Nightly News.
BELFAST, Northern Ireland -- In the 1970s, while working as a low-paid cub reporter in Houston, Texas, I always looked forward to the annual Christmas catalogs from Neiman-Marcus and Sakowitz, a local luxury department store. Both contained outrageously expensive things that only the super-rich could afford -- his and hers Thunderbirds stick in my memory. My wife and I couldn't wait to thumb through them and we frequently laughed at how much some of the items cost, wondering if even rich Texans would spend so extravagantly.
Another tribute to conspicuous wealth comes in the annual "Rich List," a guide to the 1,000 richest men and women in Britain, published in a special edition of The Sunday Times Magazine. A fat feline sits proudly on the cover with the symbol of a British pound (in gold) around its neck.
French economist Thomas Piketty’s far-left views on wealth and income inequality are beloved ... at least by the liberal media. So it was no surprise that all three broadcast networks skipped criticism of “errors” in his work over the weekend. Some print media outlets also ignored that story.
When his book “Capital in the Twenty-First Century” rose to the top of Amazon’s best-seller list the media went crazy over the “rock star” economist and his 700-plus page “beach read.” But on May 23, The Financial Times reported that its investigation found his data was “flawed.”
Don't you love it when a liberal concedes your point, then claims that your criticism merely proves what he was saying to begin with? O-kay ...
An example of this occurred on Thom Hartmann's radio show last week when he responded to a NewsBusters post that questioned whether he benefited from President Ronald Reagan cutting the capital gains tax in 1981. (Audio after the jump)
French economist Thomas Piketty has become a darling of the left for allegedly "proving" that, as paraphrased by Chris Giles at the Financial Times, "wealth inequalities are heading back up to levels last seen before the first world war." The Media Research Center's Julia Seymour has described Piketty as a "'rock star' of the far-left," an accurate assessment given praises heaped upon his book and especially his public policy prescriptions by the likes of Alternet and Vox's especially gullible Matthew Yglesias. Seymour also notes that Piketty's work has received a great deal of favorable notice in the establishment press, and that he has met "with the Treasury Secretary" and "(President) Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers."
Of course these "oligarch groupies," as Jeffrey Lord describes them, love him. Piketty favors an 80 percent tax on incomes above $500,000 and a progressive global tax on real wealth (i.e., after subtracting debt). The problem is that FT's Giles, having done a deep dive into the economist's data and spreadsheets, has found serious problems in the professor's work which nullify his conclusions.
Sure looks like it, based on what the liberal radio host recently told his listeners.
Anyone listening to Thom Hartmann won't have to wait long for him to blame the malevolent political monster known as Ronald Wilson Reagan for nearly every pathology to befoul America in the last three decades -- which makes it all the more odd that Hartmann appears to have benefited considerably from Reagan's tax policies. (Audio after the jump)
AP's tallest tale is in ascribing the four annual deficits of over $1 trillion incurred from fiscal 2009 through 2012 entirely to the "deep recession" and the need to "stabilize the financial system," when the truth is that huge increases in government spending not related to those matters are primarily what shot the annual deficits upward — and are still keeping them at historical highs. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
"Millions of Americans could face new state taxes on their Internet access this fall, as Congress struggles with how to extend an expiring moratorium on such levies," the Wall Street Journal's John McKinnon reported in the May 6 paper, noting that the federal moratorium in the Internet Tax Freedom Act expires on November 1, 2014 and has, thus far seen Congress taking "few concrete steps to re-enact it."
In a nutshell, some legislators are seeking to use the deadline as leverage to enact passage of the core provisions of a bill -- the Marketplace Fairness Act --which would permit states to force online retailers to collect sales taxes payable to the customer's state government even if the retailer does not have a physical presence in the customer's home state. Below the page break you can read an excerpt from McKinnon's story (emphases mine) and leave comments on this and/or anything else on your mind. This serves as today's Open Thread post.