Back in the days of our MediaWatch newsletter, we used to have a feature called "Revolving Door" to note reporters swapping their jobs for political appointments or political appointees swapping their jobs for reporting gigs. (See the NB Revolving Door topic for more recent updates.) The Minneapolis Star Tribune announced that its editorial writer Dave Hage is leaving "to become communications director for first-term Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn. Hage, 52, will take over Klobuchar's fledgling press operation," which has already lost its top press aide. Hage, a Minneapolis native, was an economics correspondent for for U.S. News & World Report magazine in Washington from 1991 to 1995, where he drew our attention as he repeatedly attacked Reaganomics and boosted Clintonomics. So the new Democrat job isn’t a shocker.
From our Notable Quotables in March 1993, the myth that health socialism-pushing Clinton would have a "healthy respect" for free enterprise:
“I know that most people are very fearful of Hillary being elected,” Jim Cramer said to Matthews on the October 29 “Mad Money.”
“Well, they ought to be fearful,” Matthews responded. “Democrats raise taxes and Hillary already said she's going to repeal the Bush tax cuts. The Republicans start this election with their hole card, the ace showing – they’re going to keep taxes lower. That’s always a big plus for Republicans.”
A billionaire and a receptionist walk into an IRS bar. They each order a beer. The IRS bartender charges the receptionist $2.50 and the billionaire $2,260. Who got undercharged? If you're Warren Buffett or Tom Brokaw, the answer is . . . the billionaire.
As NB Editor Brent Baker has noted, the NBC Nightly News "decided Monday night to base a story on a four-year-old contention by a professor that the middle class is worse off now than in the 1970s, followed by a piece promoting Warren Buffett's claim the rich don't pay enough in taxes."
NBC was back at it again this morning, with a "Today" segment featuring Brokaw's interview with Buffett and his gripe that the rich are undertaxed. Brokaw seconded Buffett's notion, introducing the segment this way:
When you're the world's third-richest man, you can break some rules. Warren Buffett, the "Oracle of Omaha," is going after a fundamental injustice he says touches all Americans [cut to clip of Buffett]: the taxation system has tilted toward the rich and away from the middle class in the last 10 years. It's dramatic and I don't think it's appreciated."
Without a peg to anything in the news, NBC decided Monday night to base a story on a four-year-old contention by a professor that the middle class is worse off now than in the 1970s, followed by a piece promoting Warren Buffett's claim the rich don't pay enough in taxes. In fact, the federal income tax system remains quite progressive. “Not fair,” Brian Williams teased with matching text on screen, “one of the world's richest men tells Tom Brokaw the taxes he pays aren't fair, meaning: Why is his tax rate so low?” Williams later praised Buffett's “brave campaign,” but first he introduced a story on how “the gap between the super-rich and everybody else in this country seems to be growing. The middle class is caught in a kind of financial squeeze.” Reporter Lee Cowan featured the claims of Harvard law professor Elizabeth Warren, a Huffington Post blogger who wrote a 2003 book about middle class families going broke. She declared: “Today's two-income family actually has less cash to spend than their one-income parents had a generation ago.” Cowan ominously concluded: “A generation ago, the middle class was comfortable. These days, they're comfortable but scared, living on a wing and a prayer.”
Next, Brokaw touted Buffett: “It is well known that Warren Buffett is a contrary billionaire. Unlike most of his fellow billionaires, he believes that they should be paying a higher tax rate Buffett sees a fundamental injustice that he says touches all Americans.” Buffett insisted: “The taxation system has tilted toward the rich and away from the middle class in the last ten years.” Brokaw cued him up: “In your own office...you pay a much lower tax rate with all of your wealth than, say, a receptionist does.”
Despite CNN “American Morning” anchor John Roberts asking tough questions about tax increases from liberal Democrat Rep. Charles Rangel’s tax bill, but an onscreen graphic read “Major Tax Reform,” suggesting the network viewed it differently.
John F Kennedy once defended his stance on lower taxes with the phrase "a rising tide lifts all boats." But, if the New York Times has its way they would change that to a "a rising tax tide swamps all boats." Or at least one would be excused for thinking that upon reading an unsigned editorial that laments "A Dearth of Taxes" in the U.S. today.
Stating that a "zeal" to cut taxes is "misguided," the Times whines that the U.S. government doesn't bring in the kind of tall cash in taxes that European countries do. But, this confiscatory policy that the Times pines for assumes one thing and one thing only: that government will spend that money well. And that is the main reason that Americans are against high taxes in the first palce, government does not spend our money well and everyone but the Times seems to know it.
Notice Norah O'Donnell glancing down? Although the screen graphic refers to the Lewinsky scandal, the MSNBC anchor was at that moment discussing the Democrats's $1 trillion tax proposal with Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY). As Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Rangel is the key mover behind the tax plan.
O'Donnell, obviously reading from a document, described the proposal as a plan "to eliminate the alternative minimum tax and ease the tax burdens of most Americans by asking the rich and some corporations to pay more."
A big individual income tax hike is being pushed by Democratic Rep. Charlie Rangel, chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee, but New York Times economics reporter Edmund Andrews failed to capture the import in a slanted front-page business section story Thursday.
The Times manages not to spell out precisely where Rangel's tax-hike proposal would begin to bite on "the wealthy."
"The House's leading Democratic tax writer will propose a sweeping overhaul of the tax code on Thursday that would increase taxes on many people with incomes above $200,000 but cut them for most others.
"The bill, to be introduced by Representative Charles B. Rangel of New York, chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, would also overhaul corporate taxes by eliminating many major tax breaks and lowering overall tax rates.
We'll have to keep Patterico in mind for hosting duties if we ever decide to throw a NewsBusters game show (although be warned, we're fiscally conservative, so the prize would probably be a cheap Rosie O'Donnell doll).
If you ask the voters to reinstate a tax after it’s been thrown out by the courts, it’s a new tax. But if you beat the courts to it — by convincing voters to approve a slightly lower tax before the higher one is invalidated — is it a tax “reduction”?
The Heritage Foundation's Robert Bluey reported in his Sunday Townhall column that there was disinterest at the hallowed "newspapers of record" in the government's news about the just-ended fiscal year's deficit (links to White House deficit announcement and to Business and Media Institute report are in the original):
The U.S. budget deficit fell to the lowest level in five years last week, but three of America’s leading newspapers -- the New York Times, Washington Post and Los Angeles Times -- couldn’t find the space to mention the dramatic drop.
Journalists who have spent years trashing President Bush’s tax cuts appeared to suddenly lose interest when the budget picture brightened. That’s not surprising, however, considering that mainstream reporters frequently ignore upbeat economic news.
In reality, there were a lot of disgraceful moments during Friday's "Real Time" on HBO, like "The View's" Joy Behar saying "the Republican [presidential] candidates are a bunch of pussies," and calling Michelle Malkin "a selfish bitch."
Despite such lowlights, the most deplorable moment of the evening -- and maybe the most despicable thing Bill Maher has done his entire entertainment career -- was to invite former Mexican president Vicente Fox on his program to bash George W. Bush.
After all, it's one thing to have actors, musicians, comedians, and pundits on your show debasing the most powerful man on the planet who also happens to be a fellow citizen. But to invite a former president of one of America's closest allies and neighbors to participate in insulting your own president is about as low as a member of the media can go.
Harwood asked Clinton to respond to a comment made by GOP presidential nominee frontrunner Rudy Giuliani: “Hillary Clinton … wants to put a lid on us. She wants to put a lid on our growth. We want to give people freedom.”
Jonathan Chait is one of the Founding Fathers of Bush Derangement Syndrome. Way back in '03, the New Republic senior editor authored one of BDS's early, seminal works: "The Case for Bush Hatred," whose very sentence was the subtle: "I hate President George W. Bush."
Ah, but Jonathan Chait isn't a mere one-hatred man. As of this morning, we can conclusively state that in addition to his animus toward our nation's chief executive, Jonathan Chait also hates lower taxes.
I would defy anyone to label Maureen Dowd by party affiliation or ideology. I've known her and worked closely with her for 20 years and I can't tell you the answer to either one -- Andrew Rosenthal, editorial page editor of The New York Times
What would be worse: that when Times editorial page editor Rosenthal claims not to know Maureen Dowd's politics he's not being honest -- or that he is?
Reading Bob Novak's new book about his years as a Washington reporter, I came across his recollection about how back in 1980, when marginal income tax rates stood at 70 percent, political reporters considered it bizarre that then-candidate Ronald Reagan supported the Kemp-Roth plan to reduce income taxes by 30 percent. On page 357 of 'The Prince of Darkness: 50 Years Reporting in Washington' (Amazon's page), Novak related a conversation he had, the week before the 1980 election, with Walter Isaacson, then a new Time magazine reporter. Isaacson eventually moved up the ranks to run the magazine and later CNN:
The connection of Reagan's emphasis on tax reduction to his late  campaign surge was lost on reporters covering the Republican candidate. One of them was Walter Isaacson, a twenty-eight-year-old Time correspondent. The former Rhodes scholar, in his second year with the magazine, was given the plum assignment of covering Reagan. On the campaign trail that last week, he introduced himself to me and started a conversation about Reagan's and my tax-cutting views. He said he believed I was the only journalist he knew who actually supported Kemp-Roth, which accurately reflected the political press corps' mind-set. “I just wonder if you could explain to me how you got there,” he said. Walter sounded like a modern scientist encountering somebody who believed the earth was flat.
Did you realize that Congressman Charles Rangel fully intends to enact a massive tax increase this year?
Oh, you thought that the Harlem representative only wants to fix and/or eliminate the dreadful Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT).
If you know otherwise, it's probably only because you read Robert Novak's September 17 syndicated column, which is the only meaningful coverage of Mr. Rangel's plans I have seen (HT to a NewsBusters e-mailer). In it, Novak revealed what Old Media either doesn't care to cover, or appears to not want you to know (bolds are mine):
This story about Ohio has nationwide application. That's because Ohio's media have been awfully quiet about the tax increases that will be necessary if the Buckeye State's version of "universal health care" comes to pass. The bill was introduced on April 25, according to this Ohio Legislative Services Commission bill analysis, and has flown under the radar ever since. I expect that national Old Media scrutiny of the Second Coming of Hillarycare will also be minimal.
My interest in the so-called "Ohio Health Care Plan" was perked when I heard an ad from the Ohio Chapter of the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) claiming that the plan would cost Ohio taxpayers $50 billion.
$50 billion. With a "b." In one state.
That's over $4,400 for every man, woman, and child in Ohio, or over $17,000 for a family of four.
A separate fiscal analysis by the Legislative Services Commission is pending, so I thought that the NFIB might be engaging in a bit of reckless hyperbole.
Today brings a mixed bag for aficionados of the New York Times. The good news, assuming you enjoy reading the musings of Maureen Dowd, Thomas Friedman, David Brooks et al., is that the Times' house columnists have been freed from behind the paid-subscription firewall of "Times Select."
On the other hand, Paul Krugman has decided that his column isn't enough to contain his wisdom, and that he will henceforth be inflicting his blog on us. He entitles it "The Conscience of a Liberal," which as he notes is also the title of his recent book.
Give Krugman credit for giving us fair warning. He does let us know that "the politics and economics of inequality will, I expect, be central to many of the blog posts." And sure enough, central to today's blog is the chart pictured here, which depicts the percentage of the country's total income earned by the top 10%.
If there's one thing that the New York Times editorial page has inveighed against for the last six years, it's those horrid tax cuts that the Bush administraton pushed through. But now that the economy might be encountering some turbulence, the Times regrets, of all things, that taxes can't be cut more.
Never's a long time, but, "Never Enough" seems appropriate for the state Democrats and their enablers over at the Denver Post. This morning, the paper's Local & Western Politics Blog runs an uncritical story about the desire of state Democrats to raise taxes again under the title, "Seventeen tax proposals under discussion in Colorado." The two liberal groups quoted, the Bell Policy Center and the Colorado Fiscal Policy Institute, are not identified as such. Members of Bell campagned with Ref C supporters a couple of years ago. And the CFPI's parent institute, the Colorado Center on Law and Policy, describes its mission as: "The Colorado Center on Law and Policy's mission is to promote justice and economic security for all Coloradans, particularly lower income people.
1. a. Goods or property seized from a victim after a conflict, especially after a military victory. b. Incidental benefits reaped by a winner, especially political patronage enjoyed by a successful party or candidate. 2. An object of plunder; prey. 3. Refuse material removed from an excavation. 4. Archaic The act of plundering; spoliation.
Something about the weekend seems to bring out the socialist in the New York Times. Last Saturday and Sunday I described how the Times and its Beantown-subsidiary Boston Globe published an op-ed and editorial exemplifying classic liberal-think.
The Gray Lady is back at it again today with its editorial, "The Employment Tea Leaves." In perhaps the most revealing essay of all, the Times makes clear its view that the fruits of Americans' labor, risk and ingenuity are mere "spoils" to be distributed at the whim of politicians.
If a survey found that the overwhelming majority of Americans believe lawmakers are using global warming hysteria to raise taxes, would the climate change obsessed media report it?
Highly doubtful, wouldn't you agree?
Well, Britain's Daily Mail published an article Monday that seems quite unlikely any major U.S. press outlet would dare cover for fear of contradicting the media meme of the debate being over concerning this controversial issue (emphasis added throughout, h/t Benny Peiser):
Yesterday, we brought you a classic example of How Liberals Think. Step one: identify a problem. Step two: propose "massive" government welfare programs to address it. The column was plucked from the pages of the Boston Globe. Today, the Globe's Big Apple corporate parent, the New York Times, gives another good illustration of the mindset.
As the title of its editorial indicates, Help for the $82,000 Family makes the case that families earning that much, or perhaps even more -- in excess of 300% of the poverty level -- should be entitled to participate in a healthcare welfare program known as S-chip.
In a subscription-only editorial yesterday, Wall Street Journal Editorial Board member Stephen Moore notes that many countries in the rest of the world, including a few you'd never expect, are adopting the tax-cutting policies of Ronald Reagan, to their benefit:
Earlier this year the cover of Time Magazine depicted Ronald Reagan with a tear running down his cheek -- the message being that the political class has abandoned the Reagan legacy.....
Ironically, the Reagan economic philosophy of lower taxes, less regulation and free trade has never been more in vogue abroad -- so much so that it has become the global economic operating system.
Add Newsweek's Eleanor Clift to the list of journalists who ludicrously believe opposition to tax hikes has left the nation unable to repair infrastructure. On the McLaughlin Group over the weekend, she blamed crumbling infrastructure on how “now we have this tax-averse society, rallied by the Republicans, tax-averse where everything becomes sort of a right-wing, libertarian refusal to let government spend any money or raise any money.” Conservatives would wish.
In fact, as the Heritage Foundation's Brian Riedl outlined in a March report (PDF of it), “in 2006, inflation-adjusted federal spending topped $23,000 per household for the first time since World War II” as “federal spending has increased by 42% (23% after inflation) since 2001" and “defense and homeland security are responsible for just above one-third of all new spending since 2001.” So it's hardly as if the federal government, with an annual budget of $2.6 trillion, is starved for money. It's just being spent on adding a prescription entitlement to Medicare ($822 billion over ten years) instead of highways ($286 billion over six years).
The culprit is, of course, global warming. Dingell heads the House Energy and Commerce Committee and has been looking for ways to appease the Gore wing of the party without hurting the auto manufacturers Dingell represents. "In order to address the issue of climate change, we must address the issue of consumption," he said in the article.
The Chicago Sun-Times is blaming the Bush administration for what they claim is sure to be a rise in unplanned pregnancies at colleges and universities across the country. It hasn't happened yet, mind you, but they are sure it's gonna! Naturally, the paper cannot imagine we should place any blame on the stupid students who are getting themselves pregnant. I mean, it HAS to be Bush's fault, you see, with personal responsibility being so last century and all. No, the Sun-Times is sure that a cut in the amount of Federal money doled out to our institutions of higher learning for cheap birth control is going to wreak havoc with the student body. Our kids are obviously too stupid to get by without that government spending.
At President Bush's Thursday morning press conference, an Associated Press reporter pressed Bush about raising the gas tax to pay for bridge repairs, an ABC News correspondent described Bush's refusal to hike taxes, while paying for the Iraq war, as in conflict with doing “justice” for “government needs” for bridges and housing and, afterward, CBS's Katie Couric rued how Bush “seemed to dismiss the notion of raising the federal gas tax.” CBS reporter Jim Axelrod observed that Bush sees his “strong record as a tax cutter” as part of his legacy and “so even with something as pressing the imagery of the bridges and the infrastructure needs, he can’t be seen as calling for a tax increase, even to address that.”
In the first question at the 10:30am EDT session, the AP's Terry Hunt cited how House “Transportation Committee members are recommending an increase in federal gasoline taxes to pay for repairs. Would you be willing to go along with an increase in gasoline taxes of five cents a gallon or more?” Later, Ann Compton of ABC News reminded Bush it's “been clear you don't want to raise taxes. Can you do justice to the kind of programs the government needs for bridges, for housing, and also continue to spend as much as you do on the war in Iraq?” As for news reports that Bush wishes to cut corporate taxes, Mark Smith of Associated Press radio turned sarcastic: “Do you believe America's corporations are not making enough money these days?”