Two weeks after ABC's Laura Marquez blamed California's budget deficit on an “unwillingness to raise taxes” tied to 1978's Proposition 13 “mandating an almost unachievable two-thirds vote by the legislature to raise taxes,” on Tuesday night she repeated herself as she lamented “education and social services continue to end up on the chopping block” because “it's a lot easier to make cuts than it is to raise taxes” since Prop 13 requires “the approval of two-thirds of the legislature to raise taxes, a virtual impossibility.”
In fact, though personal income tax collections “dropped 14% last year,” a May 19 Wall Street Journal article noted they “soared 70% from 2002 to 2007.”
World News anchor Charles Gibson emphasized the victims in teasing the upcoming story: “Governor Schwarzenegger's dire warning to California: The poor, the hungry, the very young -- all facing painful cuts.”
On Thursday's Beck program on FNC, actor Craig T. Nelson complained about excessive taxation and spending by the California state government, as well as the federal government, as he suggested that people should stop paying taxes to protest the government's handling of their money. Nelson: "If my children, my grandchildren, and my great grandchild who is about to be here, is not going to be educated properly, then I'm through with it, you know. I'm not going to spend money on these things that you're asking me to. Look, they should be allowed to go bankrupt. What happened to, we are a capitalistic society. Okay, I go into business, I don't make it, I go bankrupt. They're not going to bail me out."
The New York Times is still having difficulty dealing with democracy in California -- namely the state's unique ballot initiatives, which sometimes produces results inconvenient to a liberal agenda. First it was last year's surprise passage of Proposition 8, a ban on gay marriage that threw the Times for a loop. This week it was the rejection of five fiscal measures in a special statewide referendum on Tuesday, notably Proposition 1A, pushed by supporters and the Times as a necessary measure of fiscal solvency that would have raised or extended a variety of taxes in return for a vague spending cap.
A night after ABC's Laura Marquez blamed California's budget deficit on the citizenry's “unwillingness to raise taxes” and a law “mandating an almost unachievable two-thirds vote by the legislature to raise taxes,” on Wednesday's NBC Nightly News George Lewis similarly ignored soaring state spending as he focused on victims of upcoming budget cuts and asserted: “Part of California's problem is that it takes a two-thirds vote in the state legislature to raise taxes.”
Though the ballot initiatives turned down by voters on Tuesday involved raising and/or extending an income tax surcharge, the sales tax and the tax on cars, Lewis euphemistically described them as “a series of ballot measures, backed by [Governor Arnold] Schwarzenegger, aimed at easing the deficit.” Lewis concentrated on potential victims: “$5.3 billion would come out of education in the Governor's proposed budget, $2 billion from health programs and hundreds of millions from the state's prison system” while a college student, Lewis paraphrased, complained they “are in a bind as California hikes fees to make ends meet.”
Here's a CNN e-mail alert I just received a couple of hours ago:
So how did the Associated Press's Jeannine Aversa report the above raw news? As you would expect an Obama apparatchik to do it (reproduced in full as it existed at 3:15 p.m.; bold after title is mine):
Fed sees hopeful signs but downgrades '09 forecast
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Reserve expects the economy to improve in coming months, even as policymakers have downgraded their outlook for all of 2009.
Wow. Just wow. If this New York Times headline isn't an act of advocacy for higher taxes in California, what is? With its May 20 coverage of the vote for California's tax hiking ballot measures, the Times plainly scolds fed-up voters for rejecting them with a headline that pointedly says: "Calif. Voters Reject Measures to Keep State Solvent."
Really? The Times thinks California's voters want a state headed into bankruptcy, that they voted for insolvency? The paper is strangely furious that voters rejected tax hikes, but I hate to break this to the New York rag: voters did not "reject measures" to keep the state "solvent." What voters did was reject wild tax hikes that would only lead to more corruption and profligate spending. The voters weren't fooled and knew that these measures would not lead to any long-term solution to the state's budget woes. If the state house in Sacramento had done its job properly and proposed a sensible budget in the first place, Californians would be happy to vote for it I am sure.
A Tuesday story on ABC's World News, which ignored soaring state spending, reflected frustration with California voters for the anticipated rejection of ballot initiatives to raise taxes as reporter Laura Marquez blamed the Golden State's budget deficit on an “unwillingness to raise taxes” stretching all the way back to 1978's Proposition 13. In fact, though personal income tax collections “dropped 14% last year,” a Tuesday Wall Street Journal article noted they “soared 70% from 2002 to 2007.”
In the story pegged to Tuesday's vote on a series of initiatives to raise or extend an income-tax surcharge, a big hike in the car tax and one point sales tax jump to 9 percent, Marquez fretted that “polls show five of six initiatives aimed at reducing the budget gap are likely to be voted down,” leading Schwarzenegger, Marquez relayed, to warn “the defeat of these measures will mean billions of dollars in cuts to social services and education, and will force thousands of layoffs from the state rolls.” From San Francisco, Marquez rued:
Coast to coast, state governments are swimming in red ink, overwhelmed by the tanking economy. Here in California, the problem is even worse because of its sheer size and an unwillingness to raise taxes. Thirty years ago, Californians passed Proposition 13, mandating an almost unachievable two-thirds vote by the legislature to raise taxes.
"Good Morning America" co-host Diane Sawyer on Tuesday aggressively lobbied for the Obama administration to install a European-style gas tax on the United States. Talking to Carol Browner, Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change, about Obama's plans for increased fuel standards, she began, "Why not just go to a gas tax, for instance, which would accomplish a reduction in the use of gasoline, dependence on foreign oil right away?" Sawyer would proceed to ask variations on this question six times.
Citing calls for a gas tax by New York Times columnist Tom Friedman, she pressed, "If you really want to change the fuel patterns of this country, and if you want to reduce dependence on foreign oil, not by 2015 or 2016, but right now, there is one way to do it. It's the way Europe has been doing it. And that is a gasoline tax." Browner mostly dodged the question and focused on new fuel and environmental standards. Sawyer, however, would not be deterred. She fretted, "Do you think the gas tax approach is right or wrong? Or just politically unacceptable?" Not liking the non-answers, the ABC host argued, "So, no gas tax ever, as far as you're concerned?"
As Californians go to the ballot box to vote whether or not to increase their taxes, government leaders in Sacramento are trotting out "the usual human shields" - kindergarteners, firefighters, policemen and nurses to frighten people into voting.
The ballot initiative, promoted by California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, has little to no chance of passing according to the Los Angeles Times. But that did stop the governor from using fear tactics, as Fox News Channel's Glenn Beck pointed out on his May 19 program.
"What's their plan to turn the state around? They have one?" Beck said. "Yes - the Governator, he proposed $15 billion in cuts. Wow. And he warned that if his, if his propositions failed, California will need to release 40,000 prisoners out on the streets."
What is the idea of the American dream, of working hard and achieving something, and knowing that all, you know, half your wealth is going to someone who didn't do that?
So asked CNBC's Maria Bartiromo Thursday during a stirring discussion with a union advocate who had the nerve to claim the problems in the auto industry were all caused by a lack of a nationalized healthcare system, and that only the top one percent of wage earners in America should pay federal income taxes.
Unlike most media members who would have applauded such sentiments coming from one of their guests, Bartiromo pushed back, with respect and professional courtesy not seen much from journalists these days, and in a fashion that would make many Americans currently concerned about their nation's direction a wee bit nostalgic and tremendously proud.
What follows is a partial transcript of this exchange, as well as an embedded video of the entire segment:
In Part I (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog) of my coverage of Martin Crutsinger's Associated Press report about Uncle Sam's Monthly Treasury Statement and the Obama administration's deficit projections, I noted that the government "miraculously" shrunk the deficit through March, the first six months of its fiscal year, by $175 billion, by employing an "accounting change."
Even though this "accounting change," which does not report TARP disbursements as outlays because they are considered "investments," violates fundamental cash-flow reporting principles, Crutsinger gave the change an unskeptical treatment. He also failed to tell readers whether the administration used the old or new method in calculating its latest full-year deficit projection of $1.84 trillion. If Team Obama used the new method to determine it, the deficit under the old and more correct method will more than likely be over $2 trillion.
Crutsinger also failed to report the steep dive in federal receipts that took place in April, which is the government's highest month for collections, compared to last year's all-time record April haul, which I referred to as the "Supply-Side Stunner," and which Crutsinger and others also failed to report when it occurred last year (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog).
Here is how April 2009 collections compared to April of 2008:
Remember back in March when Congress had the brilliant idea to retroactively tax bonuses paid out by bailed out insurer American International Group (AIG)? The House voted 328 to 93 for the 90-percent tax on the $165 million in bonuses, but it later died in the Senate.
Steve Moore, a member of The Wall Street Journal's editorial board, explained on CNBC's May 13 "Street Signs" that the punitive retroactive tax was just a distraction to divert attention away from the culpability of Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., and Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., for the current financial crisis.
"Remember, Barney Frank was one of the guys right at the center of the financial crisis," Moore said. "I think he had a lot of the blame of this lays at his foot. He said roll the dice on Fanny and Freddie. So the point is I think that these Democrats are trying to redirect the populist storm against members of Congress like Chris Dodd and Barney Frank towards executives. So, I'm not so sure he didn't want that to pass as a way of deflecting criticism."
For whatever reason, CNBC keeps lining up challengers to take on its Chicago Mercantile Exchange floor reporter Rick Santelli over his self-reliance, pro-taxpayer persona - whether it's Steve Liesman, Arianna Huffington or this time, Keith Boykin - editor of The Daily Voice, a CNBC contributor and a BET TV host.
ON CNBC's May 7 "The Call," Santelli took on Boykin in the program's "The Call of the Wild" segment. Boykin was armed with the usual anti-George W. Bush talking points to defend President Barack Obama and his policies.
"Look what he inherited first of all," Boykin said.
"He didn't inherit anything," Santelli said. "He ran for office, it was his choice."
Two days after the death of G.O.P. icon Jack Kemp, Newsweek Senior Editor Michael Hirsh posted a classless obituary on Monday, "The Dangers of Amateurism," calling the football player, politician, and self-taught economist Kemp an "amateur econo-cultist."
One does not want to be disrespectful of the dead, and Jack Kemp was an admirable man in many ways. If the Republican Party had only followed his advice about reaching out to the inner cities and underclass -- and ignored his happy talk about supply-side economics -- the GOP might not be in nearly the fix it is today. Unfortunately the opposite happened. Kemp, a consummate professional as a football player, was a classic case of an amateur econo-cultist whose understanding never reached quite deep enough. In mid-life, when he decided to switch from sports to politics, Kemp became enamored of simplistic free-market ideas, in particular a toxic combination of Arthur Laffer and Ayn Rand. He then sold another gifted amateur, Ronald Reagan, on the idea that drastic tax cuts would so stimulate the economy that the ensuing growth would more than make up for the loss in revenues....Kemp was such an economic purist -- i.e., amateur -- that he argued with Reagan himself a number of times when the president decided that perhaps he'd cut taxes enough.
On Monday, the Obama administration announced a plan to cut down on tax evasion by companies employing overseas workers, and with seeming disregard to the obvious hypocrisy, let Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner -- who has tax problems of his own! -- introduce the President to provide the details.
I kid you not!
When media outlets report this announcement and the proposed reforms to the tax code, will they share with readers and viewers the delicious irony inherent in Obama using Geithner as his setup man?
Before answering, consider the following transcript of Geithner's introduction (video embedded right):
The Associated Press's obituary on Jack Kemp continued two troubling trends found in recent AP death notices.
In July of last year, covering Tony Snow's passing (saved here; covered at NewsBusters here), AP reporters found seemingly everything negative they could think of to write about the former White House press secretary and 2008 Media Research Center Buckley Award winner (examples -- "good looks and a relentlessly bright outlook -- if not always a command of the facts"; "questioned their [reporters'] motives as if he were starring in a TV show broadcast live from the West Wing"; "[he turned] the traditionally informational daily briefing into a personality-driven media event short on facts and long on confrontation"). The wire service also saw fit to include Snow's salary when he was at the White House.
In a March story about a tragic plane crash in Montana that took 14 lives, including seven young children, the AP just had to tell us that the plane's occupants had been en route to a skiing "retreat for the ultrarich." A later report referred to their destination as the "ritzy Yellowstone Club."
Somebody needs to 'fess up. Who put truth serum in Calvin Woodward's coffee this morning?
Whoever it is, they're in a heap of trouble, as Woodward produced a fact-checking critique of Barack Obama that is so good you'd swear most of it was ghostwritten by a conservative talk host.
It will be interesting to see how much distribution it gets. I would suggest not counting on too much, but being open to a pleasant surprise.
Regardless of its distribution, you'd better believe they've read it in the White House, and they're wondering what in the world happened.
Here are key paragraphs from Woodward's rundown, which is really, seriously, a read (and save) the whole thing item (it is saved at my host for future reference; HT to Mark Levin, who excerpted the report on his show tonight):
The Associated Press's Jeannine Aversa, who became infamous last year for her stories of "vanishing jobs" that weren't, sounded hopeful early this morning before the release by Uncle Sam's Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) of its first-quarter report on Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth:
Economy's free-fall probably eased in 1Q The recession's grip on the country may be letting up a bit.
The government is set to release a report Wednesday expected to show the economy shrank at a pace of 5 percent in the first three months of this year. If Wall Street analysts' forecasts' are correct, the figure — while still extremely weak — would be viewed as a hopeful sign that the worst of the recession — in terms of lost economic activity — may be past.
It's a response that might incite laughter, as it did from conservative pundit Monica Crowley and MSNBC paleocon talker Pat Buchanan. According to Newsweek's Eleanor Clift, the current problems facing the country and President Barack Obama are due to capitalism.
"I give him a B+ because there's a lot of outcomes that haven't come in yet," Clift said. "But look, this isn't about the failure of government and the Republicans are on the wrong tact talking about big government. This is a failure of capitalism. He's trying to save capitalism."
On CNBC's April 24 "The Call," Santelli expressed his frustration with an overreaction by the government to solve the financial crisis when Kudlow asked him about the expansion of bailout obligations from the original TARP bailout price tag $750 billion to the $3 trillion.
"Listen - I'm glad I didn't say that, I'm glad I didn't say all that," Santelli said. "Do I disagree with it? Probably not. But, I'll take it a step farther - in the beginning, whether it was the commercial paper program, there was a need just like babies have a need for milk. But I don't need to drink a couple of gallons anymore."
Almost a year ago, I was posting on what I called the "Supply-Side Stunner" (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog).
In April 2008, the US Treasury collected an all-time record $407.3 billion ($403.75 billion after subtracting the first $3.35 billion wave of stimulus checks, which really should have been treated as outlays, that went out just before month-end). It was an indication that, as I said at the time, "many (entrepreneurs, businesspeople, and investors) are thinking, in the face of relentless media harping to the contrary, that 2008 will be at least as profitable (as 2007)."
This year, it's shaping up to be the "Bailout Year Bummer." Uncle Sam's fiscal year began on October 1 of last year, mere days before Congress passed the legislation that has come to be known as TARP, and a bit more than three months after Nancy Pelosi, Barack Obama, and Harry Reid promised to starve the economy of energy and punitively tax its highest producers, creating what I have since called the POR (Pelosi-Obama-Reid) Economy.
Through March, federal receipts were running 14% behind the previous year. Each month during the fiscal year has trailed the previous year, and degree of the difference has steadily increased.
Ladies and Gentlemen, The Lamestream Media The media coverage of the more than 800 Taxed Enough Already (TEA) Party protests that took place in all fifty states on April 15 ranged from disdainful dismissal of their nature, significance and import, to outright hostility towards the events and individual participants, to sexual innuendo-based full-on ridicule.
In this summary, we focused on the three major networks - NBC, ABC and CBS, the two left-of-center cable news networks - CNN and MSNBC and the three major "national" newspapers - the USA Today, the New York Times and the Washington Post.
While not an exhaustively comprehensive oeuvre of TEA Party bias, it contains many, many examples which serve to illustrate the broader antipathetic themes.
When American citizens assert conservative principles, as they did last week with the tea party protests, it has a strange effect on liberals. They get angry. Some get in touch with their inner Beavis and Butthead, giggling endlessly over lame sexual innuendo. Some, like Rolling Stone political reporter Matt Taibbi, just get downright misogynistic.
In a blog post on tax day, Taibbi sleazed conservative writer Michelle Malkin, who supported and wrote about the tea parties. “I have to say, I’m really enjoying this whole teabag thing,” Taibbi wrote. “It’s really inspiring some excellent daydreaming. For one thing, it’s brought together the words teabag and Michelle Malkin for me in a very powerful, thrilling sort of way. Not that I haven’t ever put those two concepts together before, but this is the first time it’s happened while in the process of reading her actual columns.”
Taibbi then paused to slime Ann Coulter (“When you read Ann Coulter, you know you’re reading someone who would f*** a hippopotamus if she thought it would boost her Q rating.”) before really turning on the charm.
Janeane Garofalo embodies "the dark, the very ugly underbelly of the American Left today" which "is on display for anyone to see," Media Research Center President and NewsBusters Publisher Brent Bozell told viewers of Sunday, April 19 edition of "Fox & Friends Weekend." [audio available here]
"This is about hating a black man. This is racism straight up. That is nothing but a bunch of tea-bagging rednecks," the liberal comedian and actress told Keith Olbermann on his Thursday, April 16 edition of "Countdown."
"What gets me [is that] no one on the Left has denounced this woman. No one denounces these people when they go off the deep end like this. This is the dark, ugly underside of the Left today," Bozell added.
The segment -- which aired at 9:15 a.m. EDT -- began with co-host Alisyn Camerota noting the folly of competitor networks dismissively scoffing the massive protests:
As Tea Parties ensued from coast to coast last week, the Obama administration and their media minions depicted attendees as not understanding that the new president has decreed taxes will be going down for 95 percent of Americans.
On Sunday's "Meet the Press," Washington Post business columnist Steven Pearlstein let the cat out of the bag: Tea Partiers are right. Taxes are going up.
This revelation occurred after host David Gregory said to the Post's Pulitzer Prize winner, "There may be doubts about President Obama, but he is cutting taxes."
Despite all the criticisms of the Fox News Channel broadcasted on MSNBC for promoting tea party coverage, one thing hasn't been pointed out - how the NBC networks, including CNBC and MSNBC are given a pass for their shameless promotion of their Green Week and Green is Universal network events.
Jonah Goldberg, editor-at-large for National Review and author of "Liberal Fascism," appeared on Fox News Channel's April 18 "Fox News Watch" and commented on FNC's promotion of the tea parties, but the double standard of MSNBC's criticism of Fox News.
"I think that there's a perfectly legitimate criticism against Fox for not so much the coverage, but the commercials, you know - promoting the coverage, which was in effect advertisements for these things," Goldberg explained. "But, this was all transparent, people knew that's Fox was doing. But let's flashback to what GE, to pick up a point that Jim [Pinkerton] made - that GE basically issued a fatwa to NBC for Green Week, where they did hundreds of hours of environmental messaging in all of their dramas, news coverage, "Today" show - throughout the network and it was all hailed as a wonderful progressive thing. That is a much more pernicious promotion than anything Fox did."
In an outrageous calumny, Chicago Sun-Times columnist Neil Steinberg has decided that the nearly one million Americans that attended the tax day tea party protests all across the country must not care about our military veterans. Considering a large number of these very same protesters were military vets, I'd bet that Steinberg's blinkered figuring would come as quite a surprise to them.
In his April 17 column Steinberg insists that tax protesters are in reality "speaking out against our military and our vets." Ridiculously, he also tries to make it seem like our founding fathers would be unhappy with the tea party movement because he thinks the founders were big government folks. The backflips, illogic, and the obviously illiterate historical analysis by which he arrives at these absurd notions is an act of liberal pretzel logic that is a wonder to behold.
"At some point, I'm still trying to figure this out, we became a nation that honors failure and rewards it, instead of honoring success and rewarding it," actor John Ratzenberger told Fox News Channel's Neil Cavuto on Wednesday's "Your World" program. The "Cheers" alum appeared at the Sacramento Tea Party to register his concerns about government tax and spend policies. [full video by Fox News here. Audio excerpt here.]
"I've always celebrated common sense, it's not a Democrat or a Republican issue," Ratzenberger insisted, to be concerned about the high taxes which are driving small business and the jobs they provide, to leave California.
Ratzenberger's remarks echo conservative sentiments expressed recently by his fellow "Cheers" alumnus Kelsey Grammer, who told CNSNews.com that President Obama's policies punished success while bailing out irresponsible people who took on second mortgages they could not afford: