In his coverage of the Conference Board's Consumer Confidence report released earlier today, the Associated Press's Martin Crutsinger conveniently avoided using quote marks when he wrote that "Conference Board economist Lynn Franco said the tax increase was the key reason confidence tumbled in January, making Americans less optimistic about the next six months." That isn't what Franco said.
Crutsinger also -- finally -- told AP readers and subscribers what other reporters and commentators have been saying for about two weeks, namely that analysts' estimates of economic growth in tomorrow's government report on gross domestic product are a for a very weak annualized 1%.
Californians will be surprised to learn that the income-tax increase voters approved in November was, according to Doug Ferguson at the Associated Press (HT Steven Greenhut at Reason.com), "the first tax increase in the state since 2004." I had no idea that residents of the once-Golden state have been so lucky in avoiding any tax increases of any kind for so long. (/sarc)
It would appear that Ferguson, in his coverage of golfer Phil Mickelson's mea culpa for having the nerve to observe that California's onerous taxes might lead him to make difficult decisions which might even include retirement, meant to write that California has seen no statewide income tax increase in nearly a decade. But that isn't what he wrote. Maybe I should cut the AP reporter some slack because he's on the sports beat, and in context, one could see that he was probably only referring to income taxes. But I won't, because of the final excerpted sentence seen after the jump (bolds are mine):
Congressman Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) made a comment on NBC's Meet the Press Sunday that is guaranteed to raise eyebrows on both sides of the aisle.
"If we had a Clinton presidency, if we had Erskine Bowles chief-of-staff at the White House, or President of the United States, I think we would have fixed this fiscal mess by now. That's not the kind of presidency we're dealing with right now."
ABC and CNN contributor Donna Brazile - posing as one of Barack Obama's trusted defenders in the media like she always does! - got a much-needed education Sunday about the President's profligate spending.
Countering Brazile's propaganda on ABC's This Week, George Will said, "A dollar spent on A cannot be spent on B...This is our future. We're going to be an assisted living home with an Army. That's going to be the American government" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Washington Post writer Suzy Khimm, a former reporter for far-left magazine Mother Jones, did her best to portray the Heritage Foundation's lobbying outfit, Heritage Action, as an extreme cabal in a Thursday item on the front page of the Style section. Khimm used two variations of "hardline" to label the two-plus year old group, as well as the term "hard-right."
In her article, "The right’s latest weapon: think-tank lobbying muscle," the writer ballyhooed Heritage Action's influence in the halls of Congress, particularly in the continuing budget battle. She first likened the organization to the alter-ego of a well-known superhero:
Raise taxes on everyone. Eduardo Porter, business columnist for the New York Times, previously covered economics as a reporter but now uses his perch to display his mistrust of free markets in favor of government, most recently in his call for socializing health care, pensions, and education. His latest entry is a call for higher taxes on everyone, not just the affluent, in the name of funding still more government programs: "A Tax Bite Tailored To Help All."
Remember then-obscure Senator Barack Obama's speech to the 2004 DNC? All the no blue state, no red state stuff? Fugedaboutit. Now, he's all about killing—figuratively of course—his political opponents.
Ed Schultz sees Obama for what he is: and applauds him for it, of course. On his MSNBC show tonight, Schultz repeatedly claimed--polls notwithstanding--that America is a center-left, progressive country. On Obama's coming battles over his liberal agenda, Schultz said--with a sly grin--that when it comes to Republicans, the president's plan is to "grab the jugular." View the video after the jump.
So the Lefty, better known as Phil Mickelson publicly aired his political grievances in an interview with CBS Sports the other day, noting that federal and state tax policies in California have him strongly weighing whether now might be the time to retire.
The three-time Masters champion said he would have to make some "drastic changes" when more than 60 percent of his future earnings are taken away by the government, due to the passage of California's Proposition 30 and the expiration of the Bush-era tax cuts for top income earners:
"Congress could lower individual rates across the board by 44 percent and come up with the same amount of revenue if it eliminated all tax breaks" Washington Post reporter Josh Hicks noted in a January 10. Given the ongoing battles over taxes, spending, and the national debt in Congress, you'd think this would be worthy of front-page placement in the Post. Editors apparently disagreed, placing it on the bottom of page A13, today's edition of The Fed Page.
"Congress should simplify the tax code to ease the burden on filers, as well as take a hard look at the myriad tax breaks that cost nearly as much revenue as the government generates from individual income taxes," Hicks noted in his lead paragraph, referring to National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson's annual report to Congress. "[T]he existing code of 4 million words imposes a 'significant, even unconscionable' burden of compliance on taxpayers," Hicks noted, quoting Olson.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell tells us the tax issue is behind us and that we can now move on to spending. Really? What makes him think the GOP will succeed this time when it couldn't last time?
The just-concluded fiscal cliff deal included no material spending cuts, which the GOP justified by saying it had achieved locked-in rates for most of Bush's tax cuts, which would force Obama to seriously discuss spending cuts and entitlement reform as part of the upcoming debt ceiling negotiations.
I hate to break it to those deniers who believe that President Obama's tax-guzzling capacity has somehow been diminished by the fiscal cliff provision to fix "permanent" tax rates. You're dreaming.
Several smart columnists and respected conservative editorial pieces tell us that a major silver lining in the crisis deal just concluded is that by agreeing not to reinstitute the Clinton tax rates (and leave the Bush rates in place) for all but the "wealthy" (income of $400,000 for single filers and $450,000 for marrieds), Obama and the Democrats made a major concession. They argue that if Democrats couldn't do better after Obama was just re-elected and when the debt is so high, they'll never be able to. They'll have to realize that they will never be able to sustain their desired welfare state through raising taxes alone and have to come to the table on serious spending cuts and entitlement reform.
HONG KONG -- We read about famous people like French film star Gerard Depardieu, who moved to Belgium to avoid a 75 percent income tax on millionaires proposed by France's Socialist government (a measure rejected last week by a French council, though French leadership has vowed to resubmit a similar proposal). Then there is Eduardo Saverin, who took the extreme step of giving up his U.S. citizenship and could see a savings of $39 million on his Facebook investment, according to the research firm Wealth-X. He says business reasons, rather than high taxes, were his primary motivation.
I had read about financially motivated expatriates but never knew one who had taken the ultimate step until I visited with my longtime friend "Sam" (I'm withholding his real name to protect his current employment). Sam works for a large investment firm. He has lived here for the last 25 years.
Getting reactions to the “fiscal cliff” deal/postponement from Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles – they of the much-cited “Simpson-Bowles Commission” – Meet the Press host David Gregory wistfully speculated on what might have been, had only Republicans agreed a year ago to raise income taxes.
He cued up Bowles: “Had Republicans conceded the point on revenue earlier, say, in 2011, could we have had a broader agreement along the lines that you think is necessary?”
Imagine the situation of poor DUer NCTraveler. He makes a post at the Democratic Underground complaining about the increase in 2013 taxes that now takes a bigger chunk out of his paycheck. No big deal he must have thought. Just another post among thousands. In fact, he probably forgot about the post by the next day...until Rush Limbaugh read it for all the world to hear and laugh at. Now panic sets in and NCTraveler, desperate to avoid more mockery, self-deletes his post so as to remove the "incriminating evidence" of his laughable absurdity.
Too late. Rush Limbaugh not only read out his post on the air but placed a transcript on his website of his comments along with NCTraveler's tax complaint which preserved it in EIB amber for all eternity. Here is what El Rushbo said:
If you think that the DUers at the Democratic Underground or the Daily Kos Kossacks would be mostly outraged over the fact that Al Gore tried to avoid paying his "fair share" of taxes on the wealthy when he attempted to sell his low rated Current TV to Al Jazeera before the beginning of the year, then I have some carbon credits I would like to sell to you. In addition, "Mr. Environment" sold his Current TV to a network that is owned by the oil rich sheikdom of Qatar. So much for worrying about carbon emissions in the atmosphere but, hey, the good news is that Gore can now afford a bigger private jet with his chunk of the $500 million sale which amounts to $100 million.
On Wednesday, as President Obama signed -- er, auto-penned -- the legislation preventing the onset of the "fiscal cliff" passed by Congress the previous day, the establishment press was busy understating its impact. A Friday evening Wall Street Journal editorial (note: not a regular news report) in today's print edition lays out the gory details.
But first, I will cite four examples of coverage which pretended that 99 percent of Americans won't see their income taxes increase in 2013.
The start of the new year always ushers in new taxes that people are expected to pay rather than find ways to keep as much of their money as possible. At least, that's what liberals claim others should do.
But on Thursday, Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly charged that former vice president Al Gore is a hypocrite for attempting to sell his low-rated Current TV cable channel for an estimated $500 million before 2013 brought higher taxes that would diminish the amount of money he'd get from the sale to Al Jazeera.
CNN reporter Ali Velshi thrashed Republicans and conservatives during last weekend's fiscal cliff negotiations. As Tim Graham of NewsBusters already reported, Velshi "clearly doesn't care about looking objective" and showed it when he opened fire on Grover Norquist last week and declared that taxes must go up on the wealthy.
In what became a tired liberal rant, Velshi pushed that argument over and over again last weekend, paddling House Republicans for not "compromising" with Democrats on tax hikes while barely wagging a finger at President Obama and the Democratic Senate. Below is the worst of Velshi from last weekend. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
President Obama will kick off the new year the same way that he kicked off the old year: by demanding that the wealthy pay their "fair share" in taxes. But while millions of small-business owners, struggling entrepreneurs, inventors and investors brace for a double whammy of fiscal cliff tax hikes and new Obamacare taxes, the class-warrior in chief's richest pals are getting a pass.
It's a Golden Pass for liberal millionaires and billionaires who support higher Obama taxes for everyone but themselves. Meet the Democratic tax evaders of the year.
That was not the cry of a dyed-in-the-wool conservative politician. Rather it was Jim Cramer, CNBC’s own host of “Mad Money,” speaking to the upcoming fight in Washington over the debt ceiling. [See video after the jump]
If you are reading this blog post, you are in a minority of your fellow citizens in several ways. Firstly, you actually care about politics. Most Americans do not. Secondly, you care enough about being informed about political issues that you actually are interested in going out of your way to read up on conservative positions. Thirdly, if you are a conservative reading NewsBusters, you are further in the minority because you actually understand that media and culture actually control the political environment.
Unfortunately, most conservatives have failed to understand this. And it is the reason that conservatism or classical liberalism has not gained traction in this country or around the world despite being correct on the merits. In public relations and politics, however, perception is more real than reality.
Think that congressional Democrats are done lusting for the lucre of those they perceive as the filthy rich? Think again. They're far from finished.
Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., signaled yesterday on Ed Schultz's radio show that the road to "fair share" is long indeed with many tolls along the way -- especially for those in limos. (audio clips after page break)
In a late Wednesday column at the Politico, the online website's Steven Sloan wrote that Democrats might be done hiking tax rates, specifically "that they’ve exhausted their ability to raise taxes on the richest Americans by jacking up their rates." But it's clear in later segments of his write-up that Democrats still want to go after "loopholes" and deductions, meaning that they still want to see effective marginal rates -- the ones which motivate high income earners' decisionmaking -- to get "jacked up." Such moves would also mean that the tax owed on a given amount of gross income would go up; i.e., they would be tax increases.
In suport of his misdirecting premise, Sloan quoted many Democrats, but somehow forgot to include Democratic President Barack Obama's stated position after the fiscal cliff mess concluded. In a video for supporters, as relayed by Joel Gehrke at the Washington Examiner, Obama didn't budge from using the same language he has used all along to justify tax increases. Gehrke's accurate headline captures the essence (video is at link; bolds are mine throughout this post):
Al Gore, the man who first introduced the idea of blaming “the wealthiest one percent” for all of America’s ills, is continuing to embarrass himself in the sale of his low-rated Current TV channel to the Al Jazeera.
First, we learned that Current’s management believed that the favorite news channel of Islamic fundamentalist terrorists is closer to its own viewpoints than conservative media mogul Glenn Beck; now comes news that the former Democratic presidential candidate was insistent that the sale to the Qatari channel be completed before December 31. That date was important to Gore because he was trying to avoid the higher tax rates that President Obama has been clamoring for so desperately for years.
New York Times reporter Jonathan Weisman strangely painted the fiscal cliff deal (which displeased conservatives with its tax increases and lack of spending cuts) as a fiscal dream come true for Republicans in his "news analysis" for Wednesday's front page. Weisman also mocked the GOP's historical support for low taxes.
Just a few years ago, the tax deal pushed through Congress on Tuesday would have been a Republican fiscal fantasy, a sweeping bill that locks in virtually all of the Bush-era tax cuts, exempts almost all estates from taxation, and enshrines the former president’s credo that dividends and capital gains should be taxed equally and gently.
Everything that everyone loathes about Washington was present in the "fiscal cliff" bill just passed by Congress. It is 153 pages long; most members probably hadn't read all of it before voting on it; it was delivered in the middle of the night; it was loaded with pork -- the mother's milk (to mix a metaphor) of politicians -- and while the country is already swamped with massive debt, it contains massive giveaways to satisfy interest groups and campaign contributors. Did I mention the bill raises taxes on top of the coming Obamacare taxes, but does nothing -- nothing -- to address the debt problem?
As with previous congresses, this one (again) delayed the debt issue for two months and will have to face it again, along with what to do about the debt ceiling. Only expletives that can't be printed in a family newspaper accurately characterize this bunch, so I'll have to settle for pathetic, unprincipled and irresponsible.
The perilously liberal New York Times columnist Paul Krugman is not pleased with the President's handling of the fiscal cliff negotiations.
So angered is the Nobel laureate that he wrote at his blog Wednesday, "[If Obama doesn't] finally stand up for his side...nobody will ever trust him again, and he will go down in history as the wimp who threw it all away."
On Wednesday's CBS This Morning, Nancy Cordes trumpeted the passage of Senate Democrats' temporary fiscal cliff fix by the House as a "big bipartisan victory", immediately after pointing out that "the votes were about two-to-one Democratic in favor of the bill." Cordes also hyped how the bill is "a milestone, finally settling a decade-long debate over the Bush-era tax cuts," despite the fact the bill raises tax rates on top earners.
The correspondent also likened Congress to a teenaged student: "Well, if this was high school, you'd say they turned in the assignment a little bit late. It was kind of a rush job, but at least they got it done."