While his New York Times columnist colleague Maureen Dowd made liberals nervous with some pungent punches at the Clintons (their "opprobrium and well-known taste for vengeance") in her Sunday Review piece, Thomas Friedman's "It's Not Just About Obama" was surely soothing, as he rose in "partial defense" of Obama's passive foreign policy, saying that the enemy is us and our collective failure to raise taxes to save the environment. And of course, President Bush.
At the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, Martin Crutsinger has pretty much proven that he's been on some kind of workout regimen. If he wasn't, he couldn't possibly have carried so much Obama administration water in his 1:45 p.m. report on the state of the economy (saved here for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes) as he did.
Crutsinger's message: Pay no attention to that lousy GDP report we expect to see tomorrow morning (there's some reason to believe that it may get artificially juiced, which I'll explain later). Starting this month, the economy has been smokin', and this year's going to be just great. Too bad the evidence for his optimism mostly doesn't exist — and to the extent it does, it's not rip-roaring great. Excerpts from Crutsinger's latest crummy creation follow the jump.
The Associated Press's lengthy Monday evening treatment of Toyota's decision to move its U.S. headquarters and consolidate many of its North American operations in Metro Dallas is reasonably good in spots. But Gillian Flaccus and Michael R. Blood were unduly selective in reporting Torrance, California Mayor Frank Scotto's reaction to the news that his town would be losing several thousand jobs, and downplayed the relevance of clearly obvious factors influencing the move.
Let's see what Scotto, a Republican, told the Los Angeles Times, followed by the AP's reporting.
Norah O'Donnell pursued Texas Governor Rick Perry on Thursday's CBS This Morning over the controversial land dispute between Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and the federal government. O'Donnell asked Perry, "What do you make of this standoff? What do you think of Clive Bundy? Do you think what he's done was a good thing?"
When the Republican politician replied that Bundy is a "side story," and that "rather than sending armed troops....I hope our government officials...use common sense when it comes to these issues of conflict...dealing with something...in a substantially-less confrontational way," the CBS anchor followed up by spotlighting the rancher's racially-charged remarks: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Tuesday's World News on ABC stood out as the only Big Three network evening newscast to cover a new "watchdog report" that found that the IRS "handed out more than $1 million in bonuses to employees who were delinquent on their federal taxes." Jeff Zeleny also pointed out how "more than 1,000 IRS workers, who didn't pay their taxes, received not only cash bonuses, but extra time off." [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
By contrast, NBC Nightly News and CBS Evening News on Tuesday both devoted air time to the 50th anniversary of the 1964 World's Fair in New York City. NBC's Brian Williams also gave a 28-second news brief on Prince William and Princess Kate's visit to Ayers Rock in Australia, where they posed at the same spot as the prince's parents during the 1980s:
On the Monday, April 21, PoliticsNation on MSNBC, Al Sharpton began his show by assailing Wisconsin Republican Rep. Paul Ryan for his budget plan as the MSNBC host saw a "brutal Republican budget that guts from the poor."
Sharpton also seemed to channel DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz's history of misusing the word "literally" as he charged that the budget "literally takes from the poor to give to the rich."
There has been the usual tax day-related glut of articles from liberal publications urging a federal takeover of the tax preparation business. As always, the ultra-left wing blog Pro Publica took the lead, followed predictably by outlets such as Slate, Vox, and Tax Analysts, as well as respectable news outlets like Bloomberg View and Yahoo!.
The basic argument is always the same: the IRS has all this information on you anyway, so wouldn't it just be easier and better if they simply prepared your taxes for you? Wouldn't that be better than having to pay some rent-seeking middleman? This flawed line of thinking fools many a reporter this time of year, but it's refuted pretty easily once you scratch beneath the surface. Below are the top seven reasons the IRS should not prepare your taxes for you:
MSNBC's Chris Hayes celebrated Tax Day by standing up for the IRS as the "cornerstone" of the federal government and lambasting Republicans for trying to gut the agency.
"Conservatives recognize that one of the only things standing between us and a genuine plutocracy are thousands of anonymous bureaucrats doing the basic work of enforcing our nation's laws," Hayes said, painting a homey picture of IRS workers holding up democracy instead of targeting Tea Party groups. [Video coming soon. Audio here.]
Tax Day, April 15, is a perfect day for a news organization to publish stories about tax reform debates, including the notion that perhaps we should do away with a national income tax and replace it with a national sales tax. Perhaps instead we should have a flat tax with very few, if any, deductions, credits, and all kinds of other exemptions which gum up the tax code.
A sensible news organization would throw open the doors to such a spirited discussion. But the folks at MSNBC? Well, let's just say they found an occasion to promote their desired goal of nationwide state recognition of -- as well as the licensing for -- same-sex marriage.
On Monday, all three network morning shows found time to worry about IRS budget cuts meaning fewer audits and longer wait times for taxpayer assistance, but not one mentioned the ongoing scandal embroiling the agency, including Congress issuing a criminal referral for former IRS official Lois Lerner. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On ABC's Good Morning America, news anchor Amy Robach warned: "More tax evaders could slip through the cracks this year....we are learning the IRS will have the fewest agents auditing returns since the 1980s due to budget cuts and new IRS responsibilities." On Friday, ABC's World News covered the same story – while ignoring the House Ways and Means Committee calling for Lerner's prosecution.
On Friday's World News, ABC's David Kerley pressed I.R.S. Commissioner John Koskinen about taxpayers who are unable to "get an answer as to how much they're supposed to pay," due to long wait times on the agency' help line. However, Kerley didn't bother to ask Koskinen about the House Ways and Means Committee's Wednesday vote to refer former IRS official Lois Lerner to the Justice Department for prosecution, over alleged targeting of Tea Party groups for auditing.
In fact, as of Friday, none of the Big Three evening newscasts have covered the House committee's criminal referral, nor the House Oversight Committee voting on Thursday to hold Lerner in contempt of Congress. Instead, the ABC correspondent zeroed in on taxpayers' complaints about the IRS help line, as well as the commissioner's YouTube video warning about how to deal with the poor service there: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Dalton Conley is a professor at New York University and author of the book “Parentology: Everything You Wanted to Know About the Science of Raising Children but Were Too Exhausted to Ask.” With his son – Yo Jeremijenko-Conley, a high school student – he has written a piece for the Sunday Outlook section on punishing good parents if they’re rich.
As I noted on Saturday, the idea that a state with about $6 billion in overdue unpaid bills would choose to raise taxes and apply the money to new spending is appalling. But when it comes to describing a state's finances, "appalling" and "Illinois" have belonged in the same sentence for so long, it's hard to remember when that wasn't the case.
Part of the reason that such proposals gain traction is that the press only occasionally reminds its readers, listeners and viewers of the past-due balance situation. As Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan's proposal to increase the income tax on incomes above $1 million by 60 percent (from 5 percent to 8 percent made legislative headway and Govenor Pat Quinn surprised absolutely no one by backing the idea of making supposedly "temporary" income tax increases imposed three years ago permanent, both the local Chicago Daily Herald and the Associated Press predictably failed in this regard.
All three network evening newscasts on Thursday found time to cheer the JFK Library Foundation announcing former President George H. W. Bush would the 2014 recipient of its annual Profile in Courage award. So what specific accomplishment did the organization cite from the Republican's decades of public service? His decision to hike taxes in 1990 that cost him re-election and paved the way for Bill Clinton to become president. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On NBC Nightly News, fill-in anchor Lester Holt proclaimed: "Bush had famously said, 'Read my lips. No new taxes.' His decision to break that promise not only took courage, as the award says, it also may have cost him re-election."
One of the odd things about the weekend pot-stirring by Matt Drudge over his stated inclusion of one-quarter of his estimated 2014 "Obamacare penalty" tax for not carrying health insurance coverage this year — calling it a "liberty tax" — is that few if any of those who criticized him seem to have bothered to consult with a tax practitioner for an expert take on the matter before what we now know were serious misfires. Either that, or they did, decided that they didn't like the answers, and crawled back into their holes. That list includes Jesse Lee, the White House's Director of Progressive Media and Online Response (yes, that's a real position), who didn't even understand that Drudge is paying this year's taxes this year, not last year's taxes.
Thus, I thought it would be useful to publish a note I received this morning from someone who works at a CPA firm in the Midwest who had a chance to read my NewsBusters post on Tuesday and two earlier technical posts (here and here) at my home blog (bolds are mine):
I would say "Only in Illinois," but I suspect that other states have similar problems and would propose "solutions" just as nutty as the Democratic state Speaker Michael Madigan and his party have chosen.
The states has an unpaid bills backlog of $5.8 billion, meaning that vendors are going months before they get paid. We're supposed to be thrilled that this total is down from $8.8 billion several years ago. So when I read that Madigan wants to impose a "millionaire" income tax of 3 percent over and above the steep tax increases on income-earning Illinois residents across the board three years ago, I figured that he would at least plan on using the money to further whittle down those past-due amounts. Silly me. Unfortunately, reporters Ray Long, Monique Garcia and Maura Zurick at the Chicago Tribune didn't even bring the topic of old bills up in covering Madigan's ill-advised plan, which seems to have more to do with swaying the November election results — especially the race for the governor's mansion — than anything substantive:
You reap what you sow. Most MSNBC hosts have excitedly touted ObamaCare over the past four years, despite warnings that the law would increase costs for businesses. Well, now we are beginning to see the natural consequences of what the health care law is doing to businesses, and at least one MSNBC host is upset by it.
On Saturday’s Weekends with Alex Witt, Ms. Witt was incensed that Gator’s Dockside, a Florida restaurant chain, has started charging its customers a one percent surcharge to help cover expected ObamaCare-related costs. Witt fumed, “[I]s it even legal to just add on a surcharge like that? I mean, it’s essentially a tax.” [See video below the break.]
At this rate, Ruth Conniff may not last much longer as political editor of the Progressive magazine, a venerable left-wing periodical.
Last week, for example, while a guest on Ed Schultz's radio show, Conniff became quite possibly the only liberal in America willing to acknowledge the obvious -- that President Obama's much-ballyhooed executive order to raise the federal minimum wage in government contracts will affect a "handful of people".(Audio after the jump)
If liberals have their way the State of the Union will be all about income inequality. That kind of speech would be cheered by many in the press, including several hypocritical millionaires who love to complain about the one percent.
The broadcast networks already took up this banner, promoting left-wing complaints about inequality and arguing for liberal solutions, in recent years. Well-paid, big name network news anchors, like Diane Sawyer and Brian Williams personally know a whole lot about wealth, since they make millions of dollars every year. At least two are worth $60 million each.
Within the past four years, these multi-millionaires have attacked the “mega-rich,” complained on air about “dangerous” income inequality, and promoted President Barack Obama’s “responsibility” to raise taxes and promote tax “fairness.”
Is Joe Scarborough taking tips from NY Governor Andrew Cuomo? Cuomo recently declared that conservatives who are pro-life, pro-Second Amendment and opposed to gay marriage "have no place in the state of New York."
On today's Morning Joe, Scarborough took things a step further, telling rich people who shield money abroad to reduce their taxes "you're not welcome in the United States of America." Thundered the self-righteous Scarborough: "Follow your damn money. Leave! Go!" Wonder if Scarborough's banishment order applies to corporations as well as individuals? If so, say sayanora to Apple, Google, Microsoft, IBM, Cisco Systems, Hewlett-Packard . . . not to mention MSNBC's previous owner, GE, from whom Scarborough took paychecks for years. All are among the 15 US corporations with the most money held offshore. View the video after the jump.
Even as he hailed Bill de Blasio's "progressive revolution," The Daily Beast's Michael Daly sought to downplay fears that the newly-sworn-in mayor was a radical leftist intent on soaking the rich. Instead Daly practically painted a picture of the Democratic politician as a drum major leading the "march" to a more "equal" New York.
While noting de Blasio was a "leader speaking much the same language" as the now moribund Occupy Wall Street movement, Daly insisted the left-of-center David Dinkins acolyte "was only asking [wealthy New Yorkers] to pay 'a little more.'" Heck, de Blasio "suggested that the city’s very wealthiest would be paying only $973 more a year," no big whoop:
Did you know that the left has been almost completely starved for funding all these years? Why, there's almost nobody out there providing seed money for "community organizers," activists, and "advocacy groups" to offset the evil impact of the Koch brothers.
Continuing an establishment press meme going back at least to April, as NewsBusters' Tim Graham noted at the time, that's the impression one would get from reading Evan Halper's coverage of Tom Steyer, the left's most recent addition to what is really a decades-long line of deep-pocketed providers of the mother's milk of politics — and the guy sure knows how to pick 'em when it comes to identifying a pet cause (HT to Gary Hall; bolds are mine):
Kelsey Snell "is a tax reporter at POLITICO Pro." Her output in a column entitled "Indiana lures 'Illinoyed' biz with tax breaks" makes one wonder how she arrived at her current position.
Snell's piece is riddled with striking omissions and lame progressive talking points. But the most jaw-dropping element in her report is her clear inability to detect erroneous numbers which she and her employer should know make no sense.
ABC This Week viewers were treated to a classic conservative versus liberal debate Sunday.
When former Clinton labor secretary Robert Reich tried to blame the increase in poverty in the past five years on Republicans, former Speaker of the House and current CNN host Newt Gingrich called it "baloney" firing back, "Every major city which is a center of poverty is run by Democrats" (video follows with transcript and absolutely no need for additional commentary):
To do so, she reinvented what it is to be "rich" or "affluent." It apparently has nothing to do with how it is normally defined, i.e., based on current net worth (assets owned minus debts owed). Ms. Yen's and AP's yearning is apparently to base it on whether you're in a household which has had annual earnings above $250,000 — ever. Really. The purpose of the piece appears to be to go after this segment of the population, such as it is, because they aren't knee-jerk supporters of limitless government spending, and won't spend money on consumption to improve the economy like Keynesians think they're supposed to. Be on the lookout for a clearly misused word (HT to emailer Alfred Lemire; bolds are mine throughout this post):
Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan made some rather ominous economic observations Sunday.
Appearing on CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS, Greenspan said, “[T]he level of uncertainty about the very long-term future is far greater than at any time I particularly remember.” He blamed it on “government intervention [that] has been so horrendous that businesses cannot basically decide what to do about the future” (video follows with transcript and commentary):
With anti-tax Republicans in control of the House, it’s a little odd that The Washington Post would devote a story on Thursday to liberal Democrat Earl Blumenauer’s proposal to raise the federal gas tax by 15 cents a gallon.
It was stranger that reporter Ashley Halsey III seemed ordered to produce a Blumenauer press release, quoting absolutely no opposition to such a tax hike, instead quoting tax-hike backers like AAA and unions. No one seemed to ask whether the nation's infrastructure was supposed to get a boost from Obama's "stimulus."
The New York Times has been notoriously biased and wrong for a long, long time. On things large and small. The Old Shady Lady is at least consistent - if they want to advance Leftism, no facts shall impede them.
Their Ron Nixon is part of a century-plus-old pathetic tradition.
To a liberal, what's worse than smoking crack? Opposing higher taxes! Admission: I'm libertarian when it comes to drug laws. I believe the War on Drugs has been a big bust, excuse the pun, just like Prohibition was.
That said, I still found hilarious Chris Hayes' statement on his MSNBC show tonight, commenting on the admission by Toronto Mayor Rob Ford that he had smoked crack cocaine, that Ford had done worse things. Among the litany of Ford's failures that were worse than getting on the pipe? Opposing higher taxes and privatizing garbage collection! View the video after the jump.
Kathleen Pender at the San Francisco Chronicle (HT Zombie at PJ Media) had some Obamacare-related financial advice for her readers on Saturday: "Consider reducing your 2014 income by working just a bit less," because doing so could get you a "huge health care subsidy."
This is not news to anyone who has studied Obamacare in detail, and shouldn't be a revelation to anyone in the business press, especially a financial advice columnist like Pender. Among several others, Robert Rector at the Heritage Foundation and yours truly sounded the alarm about Obamacare's work-demotivating impact — as well as how it will encourage marital breakups and discourage couples from getting married — in early 2010. I also wrote related columns here and here in late September. Excerpts from Pender's prose follow the jump (bolds are mine):