We at NewsBusters and the Media Research Center are located just inside the Capital Beltway in Old Town Alexandria. If any place is going to have folks walking around aware of the so-called fiscal cliff -- when the Bush tax cuts expire and automatic spending cuts are set to kick in -- you'd think it would be here.
But MRCTV's Dan Josephfound that most folks on the street were unaware of the "fiscal cliff," with some thinking it's a famous landmark in a national park somewhere (video follows page break):
[UPDATE BELOW] CNN's Christine Romans and Soledad O'Brien teamed up on Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) on Tuesday's Starting Point, pressuring him to renege on his pledge not to raise tax rates.
"So would you be fine doing a compromise where you would go against your signature on that pledge?" O'Brien pressed Chaffetz over Grover Norquist's pledge not to hike tax rates and not to increase tax revenues without enacting equal tax rate cuts. She asked him if he would "say this to the pledge" while tearing up a piece of paper. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
CNBC’s Jim Cramer predicted a possible recession by Christmas if lawmakers didn’t step up and make some sort of deal in regards to the looming fiscal cliff. His prediction came during an Nov. 11 appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
“We can gift wrap a recession by Christmas. We can set it right into place without some agreement,” Cramer told “Meet the Press” host David Gregory. He attributed that week’s stock market drop to that same lack of certainty.
Last Friday, in his first post-election remarks on PBS and NPR, New York Times columnist David Brooks downplayed his usual bash- conservatives narrative, and actually castigated liberals for wanting to go over the looming fiscal cliff. He said that liberals are more organized, they’ve won the election, and will get most of what they yearn for if we do go over the waterfall: increased revenue, tax hikes, and cuts to defense spending.
Strangely, his liberal colleagues, Mark Shields on PBS and E.J. Dionne on NPR, seemed to agree with this claim – undercutting the notion that this "cliff" is dangerous to both parties.
Sounding more like a Democratic strategist on Sunday's Meet the Press than NBC's political director, Chuck Todd urged President Obama to force congressional Republicans into a corner on the fiscal cliff: "...go do it with 65-70 members of the Senate, cut the deal, bring it over to the House....box Boehner in....did the President learn anything from his first term about how to deal with congressional Republicans? Which is don't do it through the leadership."
Moments later, liberal pundit and historian Doris Kearns-Goodwin described how Obama could "build his mandate": "...he has to mobilize that base. That base was energized on election nigh....It's there to bring pressure on obstructionists if they don't get a deal done from the outside in....The Tea Party pressured everybody that summer, why can't his coalition, which is bigger, pressure people from the outside in?"
The Washington Post's Bob Woodward on The Chris Matthews Show Sunday not only called Democrat visions of balancing the budget by raising taxes on the rich a "fantasy," but he also said "there is a way to...raise more revenue and perhaps lower the rates" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Those in the press who claim to completely understand why stock market indices containing 30, 500, or thousands of individual companies went up or down on any given day are at best theorizing and at worst dissembling. The way the press handled this week's decline by blaming it all on the "fiscal cliff," as if it only became relevant on Wednesday morning, definitely fits in the latter category. Leading the pack, as usual, was the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press.
The Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq all advanced modestly on Monday and Tuesday, fell sharply beginning with Wednesday's opening bell through the end of Thursday before recovering a tiny bit on Friday. But if one is to believe the AP's Steve Rothwell, the large tax increases facing the U.S. on January 1 explain the entire week's results, even though the declines didn't begin until this little thing called a presidential election was concluded on Tuesday evening after a Monday and Tuesday when no one really knew which candidate would win:
Proudly claiming the legendary outlaw Robin Hood as their inspiration, liberal groups and past Occupy Wall Street supporters are pushing for a “Robin Hood Tax” on corporate transactions. George Soros’s Open Society Foundation, Bill Moyers’s Schumann Center for Media and Democracy and the liberal Tides Foundation and Proteus Fund have given over $4 million to organizations that support the tax, according to the official Robin Hood Tax website.
Support for The Robin Hood Tax has come from both Europe and the United States. Although they haven’t gotten specific about which corporate transactions would be taxed, advocates claim such a tax would raise hundreds of billions of dollars, which could then be used to promote social programs or climate change prevention initiatives. Many of its proponents also have ties to the Occupy Wall Street movement.
[UPDATED BELOW] CNN's Soledad O'Brien showed her glaring liberal double standard on Thursday, citing a liberal source to debunk Mitt Romney's tax plan while casting its supporters as either "completely partisan" or unworthy sources.
Her source, the Tax Policy Center, is the joint venture of two liberal think tanks, but since the American Enterprise Institute is a "conservative think tank" O'Brien threw water on the credibility of its support for Romney's tax plan. And she herself cited a TPC blog post attacking Romney's plan, but wouldn't accept a defense of the plan because it was a "blog post."
CNN's Anderson Cooper cited the liberal Tax Policy Center debunking Mitt Romney's tax plan on Monday, without noting that one of the authors admitted the plan could still work with different assumptions. He waited until the end of his report to admit that the studies in question were "making assumptions."
"[A] bipartisan panel of three authors for the Tax Policy Center examined the plan and concluded that there's really no way of making the numbers work, that is, unless the middle class pays more," Cooper reported on the night before Tuesday's presidential debate. That is misleading, since the study admitted reliance on "certain assumptions" and one of its authors said the plan could work. The TPC report was released in August.
Reviewing the questions posed at Thursday night's vice presidential debate, ABC correspondent Martha Raddatz clearly favored Team Obama. Out of 48 discrete questions and follow-ups, a plurality (19, or 40%) incorporated a pro-Obama/Biden or anti-Romney/Ryan agenda, vs. 25% (12 questions) that skewed in the other direction and 35% (17 questions) that were neutral or purely information-seeking.
Raddatz showed almost no bias in her foreign policy questions, which split down the middle: eight pro-Romney vs. seven pro-Obama (not counting the neutrals). But on domestic issues, especially on the budget and taxes, she practically joined Joe Biden in pounding on Paul Ryan, with a dozen questions that incorporated liberal campaign themes, compared to just four based on a conservative premises, a stark three-to-one liberal tilt.
As the GOP candidate for vice president in the November 6 national election, Wisconsin Republican Paul Ryan is interviewed by dozens of local and national reporters every day, and most of the discussions are straightforward and informative.
However, one conversation on Monday led Ryan to observe that the last question from Terry Camp, a reporter from WJRT-TV, ABC 12 in Flint, Michigan, was "kind of strange. You're trying to stuff words in people's mouths."
Camp did not try to deny Ryan's accusation other than to say: "Well, I don't know if it's strange."
This election has seen its fair share of tax rhetoric. From Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) accusing Mitt Romney of not paying any taxes for over a decade to MSNBC contributor Joan Walsh insinuating that Ann Romneythrew a “tantrum” over her husband's tax returns, the Romneys have been the target of the political left seeking to use class warfare as a political cudgel. Endless ads and news segments by some in the media obsess over Mitt’s rate of taxation, complaining that he doesn't pay what's fair.
Dr. Thomas Sowell's "'Trickle Down Theory' and 'Tax Cuts for the Rich'" has just been published by the Hoover Institution. Having read this short paper, the conclusion you must reach is that the term "trickle down theory" is simply a tool of charlatans and political hustlers.
Sowell states that "no such theory has been found in even the most voluminous and learned histories of economic theories." That's from a scholar who has published extensively in the history of economic thought. Several years ago, Sowell, in his syndicated column, challenged anyone to name an economist from any economic school of thought who had actually advocated a "trickle down" theory. To date, no one has quoted any economist who ever advocated such a theory. Trickle down is a nonexistent theory. Those who use it simply argue against a caricature rather than confront an argument actually made.
I originally thought that the story of Linda Morrison which will follow after the jump would be all about the Obama campaign completely misreading the situation surrounding a question asked of GOP vice-presidential nominee at a Clinton County, Iowa town hall forum. It turns out that it's actually biased reports from their good friends in the establishment press which led the overeager campaign to do something embarrassing.
Here's how Shushannah Walshe at ABC News described the question Ryan was asked and the answer he gave (bolds are mine throughout this post):
On Thursday's NBC Today, in an attempt to deflect from Mitt Romney's strong debate performance, fill-in co-host David Gregory grilled Romney advisor Ed Gillespie on the Governor's tax plan: "...he wants to extend the Bush tax cuts, he wants to have further tax cuts beyond that, he wants to increase military spending and he rejected a 10 to 1 ratio when it came to cutting spending and raising revenue. So the math simply doesn't add up, does it?"
There have been six studies now that have analyzed what Governor Romney has proposed in terms of lowering tax rates and expanding the base. We've done that in the past in our country's history, it's resulted in economic growth. It would result in economic growth again. And six of those studies says – say that this could be done, very credible studies, without increasing the deficit.
Time's assistant managing editor Rana Foroohar could have been mistaken as an Obama campaign flack during CBS's post-presidential debate coverage on Wednesday night, with her claim that "the key issue is, really, taxes, and I think that you have to wonder whether Romney's math adds up." She asserted, "There's a bigger math issue here, and that's whether or not lowering tax rates actually creates jobs and growth, and I would argue that, factually, it doesn't."
Foroohar also boosted the incumbent's massive stimulus spending, and held up communist China as a model: "I think what the President tried to convince voters, is that investment is going to create growth...and I think that there's a case to be made for that. If you look at where jobs are going - to places like China - infrastructure spending is much higher. There's a lot more investment in those, sort of, basic competitiveness issues. Unfortunately, I don't think the President made that point sharply enough." [audio available here; video below the jump]
A Romney campaign senior adviser blistered CNN's Soledad O'Brien on Wednesday morning, quipping that "I know you have your talking points" before citing an independent study to attack Obama's jobs record. O'Brien later retorted that "Only one person who is spinning at this moment, and that would be you."
Romney advisers and supporters could make a habit of mocking Soledad O'Brien's bias on CNN. Romney surrogate John Sununu has twice gone after O'Brien in such fashion, telling her she should be ashamed to be parroting Obama talking points and that she should put an Obama sticker on her forehead. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
In an item which talks about a "secret retreat" planned by eight senators which is so "secret" that it's getting a two-page story, the Politico's John Bresnahan and Jake Sherman write that "If polls stay steady, (House Speaker John) Boehner will be at the helm of a House filled with Republicans disappointed that Obama will have another four years in the White House."
Uh, last time I checked, pollsters' results can hold steady or go in whatever cooked or uncooked directions they wish, and they still won't determine the outcome of the election. Ballots by voters and the presumably accurate inclusion and counting of such ballots will. Besides, as will be shown, there are even more valid reasons to question poll results now than in the past. Several paragraphs from the rest of B&S's BS, which is apparently designed to get the country ready to accept "revenue" (i.e., tax) increases, follow the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post).
The Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, has been running a series of "Why It Matters" items in the run-up to the presidential election purporting to educate readers about important issues.
Reporter Stephen Ohlemacher's contribution to the series concerning Social Security opens with a bald-faced fib, omits the fact that the system's benefit payments and costs have exceed payroll tax collections for several years, and doubles down on the fib at the end. His opening sentence and other excerpts follow the jump:
Mark Sumner at the Daily Kos demands that reporters point out that supply-side economics is a complete fantasy. "Any politician who promises to right the economy through cutting taxes on the wealthy might as well invoke the Easter Bunny, and any reporter who fails to point this out is failing the public."
Conservatives believe in a supply-side Sasquatch? "There is a difference between believing in the existence of Bigfoot and counting on reducing taxes on the rich as a way to boost the economy. Bigfoot is simply very, very unlikely. Conservative economics are a myth." The Reagan Recovery is a myth?
He clearly doesn't suffer from a shortage of chutzpah.
According to the Politico's Josh Gerstein, President Barack Obama was asked the following question by The View's Barabara Walters in a Monday appearance to be broadcast on Tuesday: "What would be so terrible if Mitt Romney were elected? Would it be disastrous for the country?" His response: "We can survive a lot. But the American people don't want to just survive. We want to thrive. I've just got a different vision of how we grow an economy. We grow fastest when the middle class is doing well."
CNN's Candy Crowley on Sunday oddly went counter to the liberal media meme concerning Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney's taxes.
In a State of the Union discussion on the subject with Senators Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Crowley actually said, "It is the IRS system and he took advantage of it which I do, which I assume both of you do" (video follows with transcribed highlights and commentary):
Repeating a common mythology that a person’s federal income tax rate equals the effective tax rate they actually pay after deductions, ABC’s Jonathan Karl on Friday night forwarded the canard that Mitt Romney’s 14.1 percent rate is lower than what a $75,000 earner pays. NBC’s Peter Alexander, however, correctly noted “the average middle class American family pays roughly 13 percent.”
On World News, Karl reported that Mitt Romney “made $13.7 million last year and paid nearly $2 million in taxes. His effective tax rate, 14.1 percent.” Then, without citing any source, Karl asserted: “That’s a lower rate than an auto mechanic who made $75,000 in pay.”
The more I watch MSNBC's Martin Bashir, the more I believe he has difficulty finding the floor in the morning when he wakes up.
Consider Thursday's program when he actually told his tiny audience that the rich seeing bigger income gains than the rest of country the past 30 years is "redistribution" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
The same networks that have been hyping secret video of Mitt Romney talking about who pays taxes, hyperventilating about the Republican's "seismic" bombshell," have, thus far, completely ignored the revelation from the Congressional Budget Office that "significantly" more Americans will have to pay a "tax penalty" for being uninsured, many in the middle class.
All three evening newscasts on Wednesday and the morning shows on Thursday totally skipped this report. The Associated Press explained, "The new estimate amounts to an inconvenient fact for the administration, a reminder of what critics see as broken promises." Writer Ricardo Alonzo-Zaldivar added, "Nonetheless, in his first campaign for the White House, Obama pledged not to raise taxes on individuals making less than $200,000 a year and couples making less than $250,000."
Patricia Zengerle's coverage of U.S. Senate candidate Tim Kaine at Reuters assumes that the Democratic former Virginia Governor committed the mother of all gaffes today. I'm not so sure. It may be that David Corn's secret video of Mitt Romney commenting on the 47 percent of Americans who pay no income taxes and are dependent on the government is sending polling data in the opposite direction from what was intended and is starting to rattle Democrats.
The New York Times wasn't impressed with the Romney campaign's counterattack on Obama after the media-inflated "47% controversy," judging by the headline over Thursday's brief story by reporter Richard Oppel: "Seeking to Turn Topic To Evils of Redistribution." The online version of the story (excerpted below) included four biased additional paragraphs at the end, but the headline at least left off the implied mockery of the Romney camp for guiding reporters to an old audio clip of Obama saying "I actually believe in redistribution."
After front-page coverage of the surreptitiously recorded (and possibly edited) clip of Romney talking about the 47% of Americans who don't pay income taxes, the Times was in no mood to provide Romney any counterplay. Oppel took pains to point out that the old Obama segment was "carefully clipped," implying it was misleading, before vigorously defending Obama and making liberal bleats about how America "has seen a significant redistribution of incomes over the past generation – from the poor and middle class to the rich, and especially to the very rich...."
Mitt Romney’s traveling press secretary walked to the back of the candidate’s plane midflight on Tuesday and teasingly asked a pair of journalists in an exit row if they were “willing and able to assist in case of an emergency.”
Under the circumstances, it was hard to tell whether it was a question or a request.