On Wednesday's "Morning Joe," MSNBC co-host Mika Brzezinski twice made it very clear that she has no interest in the revelation that Kathleen Sebelius, Barack Obama's nominee for Health and Human Services, is just the latest pick for the President's cabinet to have tax problems. During a news brief in the 6am hour, Brzezinski related the story and that Sebelius just paid over $7000 in back taxes. She then editorialized to her co-hosts, "Around the table, does anyone care?" [Audio available here.]
"Morning Joe" regulars Mike Barnicle and Willie Geist both replied no. Geist then added, "Get over it." Despite expressing how much she didn't care, Brzezinski repeated the story in the 7am hour and also the same stunt. After briefly explaining the particulars, she complained, "Again, around the table, does anyone care?"
When the New York Times today told its readers about the massive Henry Waxman-Ed Markey 648-page draft global warming bill, it bent over backwards to report the pros and cons of the proposal.
The March 31 story, supplied by Darren Samuelsohn and Ben Geman of Greenwire:
* Included sponsor Rep Waxman's claim that "this legislation will create millions of clean energy jobs, put America on the path to energy independence, and cut global warming pollution," without a balancing rebuttal or reference to the economic damage passage of the bill would almost assuredly cause.
* Followed that favorable quote by California liberal Democrat Waxman with a favorable quote by California liberal Democrat Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
* Followed those two favorable statements with seven sentences quoting Democrats Rep. Charles Gonzales (D-TX), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), and Rick Boucher (D-VA), who have quibbles on the margins about the proposal but who like the concept.
The budget put together in Albany by New York State lawmakers, packed with skyrocketing tax increases and new taxes, appears to have picked up some casualties two days before it goes into effect. The casualties are the coffers of the Empire State and the Big Apple, which will not be collecting anticipated tax revenue from talk king Rush Limbaugh very much longer.
..... Now, remember Mayor Bloomberg, who opposed this at one point -- I don't know where he stands on it now, but Mayor Bloomberg way back -- said (summarized), "Look, we got eight million people that live here, there are 40 or 50,000 taxpayers -- families, what have you -- that pay so much in tax that they essentially support the city -- and if they start to leave, we've got a big problem." He said, "Even if 5,000 of them leave, we've got a huge problem. We just can't run out there and keep raising taxes on the rich." The governor, Mr. Paterson, didn't hear him. "It's not just people earning over $500,000 a year that are going to get hit. A lower-tier tax increase would increase taxes by 14-1/2 percent for single people between 250 and $500,000 a year, and for married and joint filers earning 300,000 to 500,000. Taxpayers now hit the current top rate of 6.85% when their incomes reach $65,000. The Paterson plan would tax top-tier earners at 8.97%, the second-tier earners at 7.85%.
.....There is no way Governor Paterson's going to raise $4 billion a year on this.
"Metro faces a more than $50 million budget gap, two dozen bus routes are being eliminated, others shortened or put on less frequent schedules," host John King said. "Light rail is also being cut back, leaving riders in the working class community surrounding St. Louis like Darren Berryl, asking, why me?"
You know what President Barack Obama's real economic problem is? He's not raising taxes enough. On top of that he needs to raise taxes not only on the very wealthy but on almost everybody else. That is the opinion of Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne, Jr.. Here is Dionne recommending that Obama in effect commit political suicide even faster than he already is:
The debate on the budget is phony, the howling on deficits a charade. Few politicians want to acknowledge that if you really are concerned about long-term deficits, you have to support tax increases.
That's why the most significant moment of President Obama's news conference on Tuesday was not his dodge of a question on AIG, but his defense of the least popular tax increase in his budget: limits on the benefits wealthier taxpayers get for their charitable contributions and mortgage payments.
Perhaps this post could be headlined "CNBC Continues to Atone for Its Outspoken Obama Criticism."
As if announcing Democratic National Committee chairman and former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean as a "CNBC contributor" weren't enough, CNBC has invited the editor in chief of one of the its biggest critics to guest co-host one of CNBC's most popular shows.
Originally reported in a status update from Arianna Huffington's Facebook page on March 24, and later confirmed by Huffington herself in an e-mail with the Media Research Center, the co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post will co-host CNBC's "Squawk Box" on March 31.
It's the latest ailment of the left - CNBC derangement syndrome.
Since CNBC's Rick Santelli and Jim Cramer took an outspoken stance on the shortcomings of the Obama administration, left-wing storefronts have been popping up all over the place wanting to capitalize on the network after it took a vicious attack from Comedy Central "The Daily Show" host Jon Stewart.
For the second day in a row, CNBC "Squawk on the Street" co-host Mark Haines took on a Democratic congressman over the issue that American International Group (AIG) paid out too much in bonuses for a company that received federal bailout money.
On March 19, Haines took on alleged tax cheat Charles Rangel, questioning whether or not he should be dictating tax policy while the House Ethics Committee investigates him for his tax problems. On CNBC's March 20 "Squawk on the Street," Haines took on Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Calif. on the issue.
Sherman contended the 90-percent tax on bonuses exceeding $250,000 that the House passed 328-93 didn't go far enough. He said a government receivership would have been the proper way to handle AIG, and not the bailout method the federal government employed.
In the wake of the American International Group (AIG) bonus controversy, some have called the plans of congressional leaders to tax those bonuses at a rate of 90-100 percent "legislating with a vengeance."
"When you violate the public trust, different rules apply - the same thing we have in charitable organizations, 501(c)3 when they have excessive payment in certain areas that we're able to penalize them for," Rangel said.
Talk-radio star Mark Levin was so impressed with Daniel Henninger’s Thursday column in The Wall Street Journal – "The Obama Rosetta Stone" – that he read the whole thing to his listeners on Thursday night. Henninger suggested Barack Obama watchers should not only read Obama’s two autobiographies, but the new Obama budget document, 141 pages, printed by the Government Printing Office. Henninger instructed:
Turn immediately to page 11. There sits a chart called Figure 9. This is the Rosetta Stone to the presidential mind of Barack Obama. Memorize Figure 9, and you will never be confused. Not happy, perhaps, but not confused.
Henninger pointed to the source of the chart's data: Piketty and Saez, from 2003. He suggests these names should be better known:
Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez, French economists, are rock stars of the intellectual left. Their specialty is "earnings inequality" and "wealth concentration."
It seems that so-called stimulus package funding is being spread around so widely that some of its beneficiaries can't figure out how to spend it as intended.
When it became clear to a few small cities in California's Los Angeles County that they didn't have appropriate transportation projects for their promised stimulus funding, they decided to sell the rights to that funding to other nearby locales at a discount. The selling city's resulting cash would then go into its unrestricted general fund and could be spent on anything the city wished.
Apparently these transactions aren't that unusual in the topsy-turvy world of California state and municipal finance. But it was a, uh, bridge too far for LA County's Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA). After approving a few stimulus-related swaps (noted in stories here and here), the MTA reversed course and putting the kibosh on those and prohibiting any future deals (noted in stories here, here, and here).
Apparently it hasn't occurred to anyone, including the local media, or the New York Times's Jennifer Steinhauer, that if these municipalities really don't need and can't use the money, US taxpayers ought to be first in line to get it back.
Nancy Pelosi's callous treatment of the United States Air Force has been uncovered by a Freedom of Information Act request from Judicial Watch – and with the exception of Fox and Friends, the morning shows have given it exactly zero air time.
When Rush Limbaugh called a phony soldier a phony, the media frenzy was nearly instantaneous. But when Nancy Pelosi's staffer writes a belligerent email to the Department of Defense, demanding to know the location of every G5S in Air Force service, there is a virtual media blackout.
Fox and Friends reported the staffer as writing:
KAY KING: It is my understanding there are no G5S available for the House during the Memorial Day recess. This is totally unacceptable. The Speaker will want to know where the planes are [...] This is not good news, and we will have some very disappointed folks, as well as a very upset Speaker.
For years NewsBusters and other climate realists around the country have warned that the anthropogenic global warming myth is all a plot to raise taxes.
On Tuesday, the government of Sweden announced it is raising taxes on vehicles and fuel "as part of efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions."
As recent polls have shown Americans far less concerned about "climate change" than the media or those currently controlling our executive and legislative branches, will the press give the following announcement much attention?
Coverage of "tea party" protests in various cities around the country (this March 4 Pajamas Media press release, HT to FreeRepublic, cited 22 locations on February 27 and seven this weekend) has been sparse to non-existent, especially at major establishment media outlets.
Most notably, based on a seach on "tea party" (not in quotes) at its ap.org home page at about 10:00 a.m., there has been no coverage of this weekend's or last weekend's protests by the Associated Press, the self-described "essential global news network":
Here we go again - another Obama administration/media personality feud in the works.
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs has no problem addressing media critics of President Barack Obama - even on an individual basis. Since Obama was sworn in as president, Gibbs has addressed criticism from conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh, CNBC mercantile exchange floor reporter Rick Santelli and now CNBC "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer.
During the March 3 White House press briefing, Tom Costello of NBC News asked Gibbs to respond to remarks from Cramer, who was described as "not a conservative," made on NBC's March 3 "Today" show that he "thought the president's policies, his agenda had contributed to the greatest wealth destruction he's ever seen by a president."
It was news media conventional wisdom during the 2008 presidential campaign: the worse the economy, the better it was for Democrat candidate prospects. But now that they have the legislative and executive branches and the burden of actually governing, that advantage is slowly being chipped away.
CNBC "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer, who first starting connecting that perhaps a Democrat-controlled federal government might not be the best thing for the United States earlier this year, gave something of a downbeat rant on Feb. 2 about Obama's handling of the economy so far.
"Until the Obama administration starts listening, until they start paying attention to what you're watching - to the stock market, until they realize that their agenda is destroying the life savings of millions of Americans - then all I can give you is caution," Cramer said on his March 2 broadcast.
It’s not even April 1 yet, and Keith Olbermann is already expressing fears that President Obama "is acting disturbingly like President Bush," because of a number of recent decisions by the Obama administration to continue policies similar to those of President Bush, which Olbermann recounted on Monday's Countdown while the words "Four More Years?" displayed at the bottom of the screen. The MSNBC host then introduced his guest for further discussion: "Here to help us tell the two men apart, Arianna Huffington, founder of Huffington Post."
Responding to Huffington’s hope that Obama’s decisions would only be temporary, Olbermann queried that if, "after one of these six-month reviews – renditioning, for instance – continues on or other detentions without legal rights? What happens then?" prompting Huffington to convey her willingness to oppose Obama: "Well, everybody who cares about what are the fundamental American values of fairness and justice and due process needs to vociferously and unambiguously oppose the Obama administration. I don`t think there is any alternative to that."
ABC, CBS and NBC reporters over the past two days have relayed how the Obama administration proposes to cut the annual federal deficit from $1.3 trillion to $533 billion in four years by cutting spending on the war in Iraq and raising the income tax rate for those earning more than $250,000. Not considered: How since the Bush tax cuts the revenue paid by the richest -- and their share of total income taxes collected -- have been rising year-by-year. So will a tax hike, from 35 to 39.6 percent, really increase the amount the wealthiest pay, or will they find ways to avoid reporting income and thus the government will see little, if any, additional revenue -- to say nothing about the wisdom of alerting investors during an economic downturn that their tax rate will soon jump?
Monday night, CBS's Chip Reid reported: “Most of the savings would come from winding down the war in Iraq, ending the Bush tax cuts for people making over $250,000 a year and cutting spending.” Jake Tapper, also Monday night, on ABC: “Another source of revenue being proposed -- allowing the Bush tax cuts for a family earning over $250,000 a year to expire in 2011, increasing that tax rate from 35 percent to 39.6 percent.”
Will wonders ever cease? First, a NBC network airs its Chicago Mercantile Exchange floor reporter making a call to action against all the populism that has inundated the political dialogue over the past six months. Now, the same reporter, Rick Santelli, has been invited by White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs to the White House.
On CNBC's "Street Signs" Feb. 20, Santelli told viewers he would accept Gibbs' invitation. And, although his critics thought he was over-the-top, he said he still felt good about his impassioned plea.
"Well, I tell you what Melissa Lee," Santelli said. "It's been a wild afternoon, but I do want to point out - I do believe I was invited to the White House by Mr. Gibbs and I want to let him know, I would love to. I would love to accept and the decaf sounds good, but I prefer tea, but thank you for bring this into the forefront. This is an issue that means a lot to everybody and I'm glad it's getting a high degree of introspection, debate and I think that's essential. I feel really good about that."
Updated below: Lucasfilm rep says Lucas backs Obama's economic policy, tax hikes on rich.
Noting that "the cornerstone of American capitalism is that you can make as much money as you want when you work for a company," filmmaker George Lucas told CNSNews.com*, adding that he thinks salary caps for corporate executives should be decided by corporate boards of directors, not politicians:
I think it would be a good thing for shareholders to unite and say, "We are not interested in paying our executives this much money." That would work. But it's not the government's job to do that. It's the stockholders' job, but of course, they don't seem to mind [high CEO salaries]. I'm not sure why. I wouldn't pay somebody that much money.
Lucas added that he earns his pay based on the success of his movies:
What's really revolting about this is the studio reaction. While it's maybe half-kidding at times, the fact that strong opposition to government policies expressed by Santelli and the traders makes these reporters instinctively think of the them being "putty" in Santelli's hands and of "mob rule" is very, very telling -- especially since I haven't heard a peep out of any reporter worried about "mob rule" in ACORN's civil disobedience campaign designed to prevent the carrying out of lawful foreclosures.
Here's a transcript of most of what was said earlier today (I would add bolds, but I would have to bold almost everything):
For the Chicago Tribune, Romney supporter turned Obama man Douglas Kmiec indulged in quite a litany of name-calling, finger pointing and demagoguery against the GOP that would have been amazing from the same man only one year ago. Hopefully questioning "The Death of the GOP," Kmiec has shown that he no longer cares much how he is viewed, going full Democrat Partisan at this point.
In his Tribune article, Kmiec outrageously says that Republicans don't care about "helping" the country, that they denigrate the "values, hopes and planning of others," and have "no interest in family, work or neighborhood." After heaping such calumny onto the GOP, he then does further damage to poor Mitt Romney by happily reminding us that Romney is a "flip flopper" that should join the Obama administration. Some friend he is!
So where did the Cleveland Plain Dealer's Sabrina Eaton go for opinions on what Michelle Malkin earlier today called "the massive mortgage entitlement campaign launched by President Barack Obama"?
Why, they went to "housing experts," of course.
But the people she quoted aren't builders, realtors, mortgage lenders, mortgage brokers, or economists. Nor, based on the area's results, are they experts in helping individuals and families make smart housing decisions, or in helping communities build property values.
No-no-no. The people Eaton consulted as "housing experts" were an "organizing project executive director," the head of the "Columbus-based Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio," and a county treasurer. Not surprisingly, these alleged "experts" liked Obama's plan, but conditioned their praise with the requisite "there should be more" caveats -- both in terms of money and coercion.
While many Hollywood stars may have raised a champagne flute yesterday to mark President Obama's signing of the stimulus package, actor Kelsey Grammer was not among them. The actor best known for his roles in "Cheers" and "Frasier" told NewsBusters's sister organization CNSNews.com recently that he was a "free enterprise guy" who feared that CEO pay caps included in the corporate bailouts were a "sort of a deal with the devil."
CNSNews.com staffer Nicholas Ballasy caught up with Grammer recently at a ceremony marking the reopening of Ford's Theatre where the actor panned the package as rewarding "evildoers" who have wrecked the economy:
Our friends at the Associated Press and local Portland KGW Channel 8 both note how some Oregon state lawmakers proposed a bill which would raise the tax on a barrel of beer by a staggering 1,900%.But guess what they leave out? The AP's story is brief:
Beer brewers in Oregon are hopping mad about a proposed bill that would raise their taxes by 1900 percent. The state bill would impose a nearly $50 tax on each barrel of beer produced by Oregon brewers.
Lawmakers who support the tax say the bill would fund prevention and treatment programs for those addicted to alcohol, as well as raise revenue for the state.
But brewers say the tax would cost jobs and could force small breweries to shut down. They say it could also mean a two to four dollar per six pack increase in price for consumers.
KGW's article is more in-depth, mentions the lawmakers who have proposed the bill, but leaves it up to the reader to determine their party affiliation:
On Saturday’s CBS Evening News, correspondent Kimberly Dozier filed a report profiling moderate Republican Senators Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, both from Maine, in light of their vote in favor of President Obama's economic plan, and relayed their criticisms that other Republicans should show more willingness to "compromise." Dozier also likened Collins to another former Republican Senator from Maine, Margaret Chase Smith, who is known for being "the first Senator to stand up to McCarthyism."
Dozier began her report: "President Obama owes his stimulus package to three Senators from the losing side. Three renegade Republicans tipped the balance: Senator Arlen Specter from Pennsylvania and two women Senators from the sparsely populated state of Maine – Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins."
Sigh. Here we go again. First it was our capitalist society deemed gone as Newsweek magazine declared, "We're socialists now." This time - it's the death of supply-side economics, according to Newsweek Senior Editor Daniel Gross.
To sum it up, Gross declared tax cuts obsolete, a theory that only works on paper, in a time when employers come and go and institutions aren't stable like they once were. For his "Money Culture" column, in an article headlined "Tax Cuts Won't Work" posted on Feb. 13, Gross made that point using a Harvard professor, thought to have a secure job, as an example.
"Back in the day, and in many of the past episodes of postwar recession, the typical American worker resembled a Harvard professor-not in brains or wit, to be sure, but in the shape of her economic life," Gross wrote. "Many-not all, but a lot-enjoyed long, relatively secure job tenures, steady incomes, and generous employer-provided health and retirement benefits. But the economy has changed significantly in recent decades. And the circumstances that might prod our professor to start spending those tax cuts immediately might not apply to everybody else. The typical worker-white-collar, blue-collar, no-collar-doesn't have anything like tenure or a guaranteed job."
On Thursday’s CBS Evening News, anchor Katie Couric introduced a report on the Democrats’ so-called "stimulus" plan about to pass Congress: "And we'll tell you what's in it for you, including tax breaks...It's designed, in part, to get you spending again by giving you the money to do it." However, in July of 2001, when President Bush was trying to get tax cut legislation passed, then Evening News anchor Dan Rather warned: "...new worries that his big tax cuts, along with a shrinking budget surplus, are re-shaping the political and fiscal landscape of the country."
Following Couric, Correspondent Nancy Cordes touted the benefits of the tax cuts: "For restaurant owner Tom Glascow, and for most Americans, the new stimulus package serves up a variety of tax cuts...The biggest bit is a $400 credit for almost all workers. That comes out to about $13 a week, which may not sound like much, but consider this-" Glascow explained: "The bottom line is, is every little bit will help...Basically, what does my business good is people with disposable income that can spend a little extra on lunch on a daily basis."
How could anyone take a principled stand against the $789 billion economic stimulus bill? Any opposition to this massive expansion of the federal government must be sheer political posturing. Or so said Newsweek magazine's Jonathan Alter.
Alter said on MSNBC's Feb. 11 "Countdown with Keith Olbermann" that congressional Republicans oppose the stimulus bill based on an ill-conceived, low-percentage bet that the proposal would fail.
"Well, they're betting on the 30 percent chance, as Joe Biden put it, that it's not going to work," Alter said. "Then they can say, ‘I told you so, it didn't do any good.'"
A CBS News poll conducted February 2 through February 4 found that 62 percent of Americans believe that tax cuts would do more to get the country out of recession, while only 16 percent thought government spending would. However, when Evening News anchor Katie Couric touted other results from that same poll on Thursday, February 5 she managed to leave out that particular finding. That poll finding has not been mentioned in any CBS News coverage since the poll’s release on February 5.
Instead, Couric focused on the aspect of the poll that claimed that 51 percent of Americans support the so-called "stimulus" bill being pushed by the Obama administration and Democrats in Congress. In addition, later on Thursday’s Evening News, correspondent Chip Reid also cited a poll question that showed 81 percent of Americans saw President Obama as being bipartisan in the debate over the massive spending bill.