"The biggest tab for taxpayers is defense," CBS correspondent Bob Orr reported. "The average American household is paying $2,761 in 2007 - or put another way, enough to cover 12 car payments for a new Honda Accord. Social security is nearly as expensive, $2,663 - enough to heat and cool a home for a year. In total, the average tax bill this year tops $13,000 and most taxpayers have no idea what the government is doing with their cash."
Network journalists have yet to meet a spending hike or regulation that they considered unwise, but any tax cut is always ill-advised and helps “the wealthy.” Living up to the pattern -- and illustrating how John McCain will earn media scorn for any conservative policy proposal -- NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams set up a Tuesday story on McCain's economic plan by emphasizing how “some critics say his economic plan, which centers on more tax cuts, doesn't add up.”
Reporting on McCain's plan outlined in a speech at Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh, reporter Kelly O'Donnell listed McCain's idea for a summer suspension of the gas tax, though that “tax is used to pay for highway repairs.” O'Donnell moved on to McCain's proposal to “double the income tax exemption for dependents to $7,000 a year,” hardly a boon to the rich, before getting to McCain's “core idea” to “lower taxes and make up lost revenue with cuts in government spending.” She then delivered the liberal line: “But critics and some economists argue McCain's math is wrong, that his plan would tilt toward the wealthy, swell the deficit, and not trim enough.”
Well, it's April 15th and we all know what that means. It's tax day, the day when we must pay tribute to the Lords in Washington. And on that day, The New York Times published a new spendaholic, high taxing idea to fool America's taxpayers into accepting more tax by pretending it is something else. Stuffed with bad historic interpretation, Republican slamming, and typical old style Stalinist rhetorical games-playing this editorial by Richard Conniff whimsically dreams the dreamy, dream that we aren't taxed enough and how we might fool Americans into paying more by just using a different name for them. To whit they aren't to be called taxes anymore. They're to be called "dues."
Conniff begins his uninformed rant against people who stand against high taxes by implying that we are even unpatriotic if we don't support confiscatory taxation and that our politicians are just too weak spinned to properly lead us to higher taxes despite public opinion.
To mark Tax Day, Whoopi Goldberg, a strong critic of high taxes, railed against how much the government takes from her paycheck. On the April 15 edition of "The View," Whoopi displayed some of her bills with the many government fees attached to it. She also felt she was being punished for her success even calling it "un-American" and wondering why she never gets a "break."
Co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck asked Whoopi, who admitted to voting for Hillary Clinton, if she would vote for someone who by their own admission, would raise taxes on the wealthy. Whoopi did not directly answer the question only stating "we’re getting screwed either way."
Joy Behar jumped in to hype Denmark’s socialist system. She noted Denmark’s high taxes but seemed to forget she did when she noted healthcare and education are "free." Behar then went off on a tangent when Elisabeth Hasselbeck said "so everybody move to Denmark and see if you like it." Behar screamed "don’t give me that argument. I heard that in the 60's and the 70's if you don’t like it here get your ass out. I don’t appreciate that."
It's deadline day today for filing your federal income taxes -- and Walter Rodgers, a former ABC News and CNN correspondent is thrilled, proclaiming in a recent Christian Science Monitor op-ed: “I'm happy to pay my fair share to the government. It's part of my patriotic duty -- and it's a heckuva bargain.” Rodgers proceeded to scold “chest thumpers who paper their cars with chauvinistic bumper stickers and grumble about supporting the government of the country they profess to love” as they dare to complain about taxes:
There seems to be an inconsistency about people who insist on wearing flag pins in their lapels, but who grumble about paying taxes. My friends grouse about government as though they had minimal financial or moral obligation to support it. Are they not part of "We the people"?
Rodgers insisted that “reluctance to pay one's fair share flouts 'the better angels of our nature'” and “genuine patriots,” he contended, “don't complain about their patriotic obligations.” He concluded: “Pay up and be grateful!”
Do we all get free wooden shoes? Barack Obama didn't say. But he does have an Impossible Dream to cut poverty that would make Don Quixote proud. Put people to work . . . building windmills. His idea came in response to a question at last night's Compassion Forum on CNN from Jim Wallis, a leading member of the religious left whose focus is "social justice." Wallis wanted Obama to commit to a new War on Poverty.
JIM WALLIS: As you reminded us a week or two ago, when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was killed 40 years ago, he wasn't just speaking about civil rights. He was fighting for economic justice. Was about to launch a poor people's campaign. Yet, four decades after the anniversary of his death, the poverty rate in America is virtually unchanged and 1 in 6 of our children are poor in the richest nation in the world. So in the faith community, we are wanting a new commitment around a measurable goal, something like cutting poverty in half in ten years. Would you commit -- would you at this historic compassion forum, commit to such a goal tonight and if elected, tell us how you would mobilize the nation, mobilize us to achieve that goal?
Surely, you'd think, the candidate wouldn't fall into that big-government trap. Think again . . .
Just in time for Tax Day, the April 13 issue of Parade magazine gave readers left-wing talking points on corporate taxation dressed up as objective reporting.
Contributor Gary Weiss cited two left-wing interest groups and liberal Democratic congressman Richard Neal (D-Mass.) in "Are You Paying For Corporate Fat Cats?" By the end of the article, readers are all but left to seethe an angry "yes!" to that question.
Yet at no point were any economists consulted to point out that corporate tax levies are always ultimately paid by the consumer, who bears the final cost of goods and services produced by the taxed corporations. Taxes are yet one more input cost into final goods and services. So simply put, corporations don't pay taxes, individuals do.
Weiss failed to tackle the political slant of the groups he consulted, which were merely tagged as nonprofits. A quick Google search of the groups makes clear the liberal slant of the organizations.
Like characters in a Currier & Ives scene, a gentle snow has covered the Clintons. Make that a gentle Snow . . .
On yesterday's Hardball, Chris Matthews, smelling a rat, was livid when he learned that the Clintons had failed to file or release their 2007 tax return. But on today's Good Morning America, Kate Snow managed to make a silk purse out of the sow's ear of the Clinton's delay. Far from depicting it as a means to evade the promulgation of inconvenient facts, Snow painted the procrastination as proof of the Clintons' humanity. Compare and contrast . . .
HARDBALL APRIL 4TH
DAVID SHUSTER: As far as the details we do not have the details from last year. We don't have those specific consulting fees for last year.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: I was predicting [that] . . . now Joan [Walsh of Salon.com], it seems to me everybody wanted to know where the Clintons got their income. Is there any sticky income? We're not getting that information. The one thing we were promised to get.
On Thursday's "Good Morning America," investigative reporter Brian Ross provided a refreshingly thorough look into the failure of Bill and Hillary Clinton to release their tax records and to the fact that, despite Hillary Clinton's railing against how the wealthy misuse the tax code, the power couple have investments in off shore locations such as the Cayman Islands.
Unsurprisingly, "This Week" host George Stephanopoulos, a former top Clinton operative, appeared after the segment to perform his old duty of defending his ex-employers. As though he was back on the podium talking to the White House press corps, Stephanopoulos first acknowledged that this could be a "distraction" for Hillary Clinton's campaign. He then went into defense mode and regurgitated that the Democratic presidential candidatedoesn't think this is "going to be a bombshell." Without providing any specifics, he spun, "...The bottom line will show that the Clintons did pay their fair share of taxes. They didn't try to evade taxation in any way and that they also gave a fair amount to charity." Of course, no one, certainly not Ross in his report, had mentioned charitable giving. Apparently, Stephanopoulos just felt the need to mention something positive.
The roundtable segment of Tuesday's The Situation Room offered CNN viewers opposite takes on the Bush administration's culpability in the rise of oil prices with Jack Cafferty and David Gergen on opposite ends. Cafferty, who has a history of blaming high oil prices on President Bush, argued that the administration's "idea of an energy policy is to put Dick Cheney in a closed, locked room out of sight of the public with some guys from Enron and some oil company guys, hammer out some kind of a deal, and then sit back and watch oil prices go from $28 when Bush was inaugurated to $111 now."
But Gergen later jumped into the discussion to explain the true origin of oil prices: "I think it's wrong to argue or suggest that somehow the oil companies have been manipulating these prices upward. These prices have not been, you know, rising sky high because of the Bush administration. They've been rising sky high because world demand is up so significantly."
Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Tuesday April 1 The Situation Room on CNN:
The Chicago Sun-Times really pulled a whopper in their March 26th piece about a tax on bottled water that the Chicago City Council passed earlier this year. Chicago levied a 5 cent a bottle tax on each unit of bottled water sold in the city expecting to raise $875,000 a month on the tax. But somehow this windfall to the city has yet to be realized with the tax booty so far only amounting to $554,000. Because of this "below expected" revenue the Sun-Times claimed that this shortfall is "exacerbating a budget crunch" for the city.
I'm sorry Sun-Times but a tax shortfall isn't "exacerbating a budget crunch." The city itself is doing the "exacerbating" not the taxpayers. The City Council created a never before heard of tax and then spent the money it assumed it'd get. But then it didn't get it. How can we blame the taxpayers who avoided the tax -- legally avoided it, I might add -- for any "budget crunch"? The budget crunch is the fault of wild spending by the Chicago City Council, not by the taxpayers not being bled enough.
Some Windy City restaurateurs are kicking bottled water to the curb all in the name, they say, of saving the planet, much to the delight of the Chicago Sun-Times. But it seems to me reporter Rummana Hussain may have washed over a juicier angle by burying a key fact eight paragraphs into her nine-paragraph March 27 article.:
Revenues from Chicago's new nickel-a-container bottled water tax are coming in at a rate nearly 40 percent below projections.
Could it be that the new water bottle tax adds yet another paperwork and accounting hassle for restaurant owners, some of whom would just as soon ditch bottled water than deal with the headache of complying with the law? Hussain didn't consider that angle, accepting on face value that restaurants are ditching bottled water purely out of concern for the environment.
(The Times's international edition headline over Uchitelle's story had the slant of an opinion piece: "McCain sticks to supply-side economics despite evidence it doesn't work.")
Uchitelle's NYT piece began snidely:
When Ronald Reagan ran for president in 1980, he promised to cut taxes in what seemed, at the time, a magical way. Tax revenue would go up, not down, he said, as the economy boomed in response to lower rates.
With the housing market sinking and causing panic about the American economy, Moody's Economy.com Chief Economist Mark Zandi thinks the time is right for the government to invest in the housing market.
"They're very difficult to tackle these - but I think they are coming forward with plans that eventually will have some benefit," Zandi said on CBS's March 14 "The Early Show." "But they do need to do more. I do think this is a very large problem, and it's going to require a big answer - probably taxpayer money at the end of the day and I think we're headed down that path."
Of course, 44 Southern Baptists who buy into the green agenda received a respectful print story in the March 10 Times, widely quoting the church leaders saying things like: "when we destroy God's creation, it's similar to ripping pages from the Bible."
The Washington Post reported Thursday that National Public Radio, long a taxpayer-subsidized sandbox for Sixties-retread liberalism, has decided to keep its headquarters in the District of Columbia -- thanks to a huge 20-year property tax holiday. "Neil O. Albert, deputy mayor for planning and economic development, said that NPR will not pay property taxes on the building for 20 years, saving $40 million. The city has agreed not to raise property taxes by more than 3 percent on the station's Massachusetts Avenue building for two decades, or until NPR sells it."
Reporters Yolanda Woodlee and Miranda Spivack also reported other local property owners were incensed at the special dealing as their taxes multiply:
Nicholas Deoudes, who owns three buildings less than a mile from the future NPR location, said that his property taxes increased last year from $13,614 to $36,151. Deoudes, who has owned the buildings for 29 years, said the city needs to help longtime business owners who stayed when the area was a "ghost town."
Old Media coverage of government budget difficulties usually focuses on the here and now, and all the "tough decisions" that have to be made.
Seldom is there ever an examination of how a state or local government entity got into its current fix. Scratch just a little bit beneath the surface, though, and you'll almost inevitably find that an annoying habit of overspending during the good times has left the state or municipality unprepared for when things go even a little bit sour, as they invariably and eventually do.
Well, that didn’t take long. On CNN Monday night, John McCain was treated like any other conservative Republican, as correspondents and a tilted panel of ex-Clinton officials painted him as irresponsible for opposing a supposedly necessary increase in taxes. In a “Keeping Them Honest” segment on Anderson Cooper 360, reporter Tom Foreman wondered if McCain “can keep that promise” of “no new taxes,” before asserting: “Some economists say not.”
But Foreman’s sole economist was Robert Greenstein of the liberal Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a longstanding proponent of higher taxes. Foreman provided no “liberal” tag nor gave any hint of Greenstein’s agenda, as the latter argued that “the problems in the future are so large that it’s pretty unthinkable we could close those deficits either by just cutting programs or just raising taxes.”
On Sunday’s "60 Minutes," anchor Morley Safer did a segment on Demark being ranked the happiest country in world consistently for the past three decades and wondered: "What makes a Dane so happy? And why isn't he wallowing in misery and self doubt like so many of the rest of us?" Later in the segment, Safer discovered that low expectations of the Danish people was the key to their happiness and he concluded that:
Wanting it all is a bacterium that stays with us from youth to old age -- wanting a bigger house, fancier car, more stuff. And when we get more, there's always someone with even more stuff who's just as unhappy. Some suggest that the unhappiest zip codes in the country are the wealthiest, like the Upper East Side of New York.
It’s interesting that many liberal media figures reside in New York’s Upper East Side.
Call it Today's homage to John Lennon: imagine there're no conservatives. The NBC show so much enjoyed the conservative-free citizens panel it hosted back in November that it brought it back this morning.
As I wrote about at the time, two timid Republicans were pitted against two partisan Dems. In November, one of the "Republicans," Susie O'Neil, claimed that the country is in decline due to the war "and because corporations are totally influencing our Members of Congress and the Senate." Call Susie a Michael Moore Republican.
The other Republican on the panel back then, Sarah Hungerford, said she was thinking of voting for . . . a Democrat. The pair were back this morning, again matched against two partisan Dems who both had apparently become Obama supporters.
Admission: over the course of my NewsBusting, I've actually developed a certain admiration for Bob Herbert. Not that I agree with virtually anything the NY Times columnist has to say, but that I appreciate his directness and the absence in his work of the superfluous sarcasm that marks that of a number of his colleagues.
That said, I offer up Herbert's lament of this morning, "Where Are the Big Ideas?", as the epitome of wrong-headed liberal thinking. Herbert's complaint is that when it comes to the role of government, the presidential candidates aren't thinking big enough. Hillary and Obama's proposals to subject 1/7th of the nation's economy [or whatever the current proportion that health care represents] to government control are small beer in Bob's eyes. He dismisses their plans as "masterpieces of minutiae."
Herbert says that "the essential question the candidates should be trying to answer — but that is not even being asked very often — is how to create good jobs in the 21st century." The columnist gives us an idea of the kind of big-government thinking he has in mind to answer his question:
Joy Behar’s fact-free analysis continued on the February 8 edition of "The View" as she claimed the Bush administration raised taxes on the American people. Perhaps she was too overwhelmed with rage when Elisabeth Hasselbeck dared to take a shot at Hillary Clinton’s fiscal policy.
Hasselbeck joked about taxes on earned income, "just wait until Hillary is in office, you’re going to give it all back." Behar fought back: "That is so not true. Your president has raised taxes! Please! Ridiculous!"
The spat began when the View co-hosts were discussing a recent survey where the majority of women said they would prefer $1 million over a slimmer waistline. Co-host Whoopi Goldberg reminded the audience that in reality that a million dollars would be a lot less because much of that money is taxed.
GOLDBERG: Okay, let me ask you something because you think it’s a million dollars. 50 percent of that goes to the government-
Gross's February 6 story was the third in a slideshow lineup on the magazine's front page today (see screencap at right). But far from merely offering a prognosis on the Bush tax cuts, Gross weaved in his own opinion about how a President McCain letting them sunset would be fiscally responsible:
In the February 4 USA Today, Richard Wolf treated news of Bush's last budget proposal by alternating between liberal Democrats attacking the president and Wolf's own stark language in characterizing the spending blueprint. What's more, Wolf cited two Democrats attacking the spending plan, compared to one Republican depending reductions in spending in the final Bush budget.
On this Super Sunday, it's fitting I suppose that Mike Huckabee would be out there blocking and tackling for Team McCain. Appearing on this morning's Today show, the former Arkansas governor made a pro forma claim that he's still running for president and not the veep slot. But Huckabee certainly seemed to be acting as what Mark Steyn described in a recent Hugh Hewitt interview as McCain's "wing man."
Consider Huckabee's reply to a question from Sunday co-host Jenna Wolfe [a resident, coincidentally, of Chappaqua, NY, home to Bill and Hillary.]
How is John McCain not a conservative? Let Joe Scarborough count the ways. The Morning Joe host thundered out a bill of particulars today that was nothing less than an indictment of McCain's lack of conservative credentials.
It was Mika Brzezinski's reference to Bob Novak's column of today, questioning McCain's conservatism, that sparked Scarborough's outburst.
Covering Hillary's tricked-up "victory" event for a Dem Florida primary that was not supposed to be contested, even MSNBC co-anchor Keith Olbermann eventually got bored and pulled away.
But before he did, the junior senator from New York began to lay out her plans for America. Though sheer ennui eventually drove MSNBC off, the network hung in for enough of Clinton's "victory" speech to give us a taste for what might rightly be called "Hillary's Manifesto."
Warning: remove small children and sensitive pets from room before viewing video here.
In Joy Behar’s fantasy world, an automatic tax increase for nearly all income taxpayers are simply "taking back tax cuts to the rich." And if one calls it a tax increase, one is engaging in "double speak." On the January 29 edition of "The View," the co-hosts chatted about President Bush’s last State of the Union and co-host Joy Behar added this comment on the president’s tax hike veto pledge.
"There was one point where he says, you know, ‘no- we will not-’ basically he’s saying we’re not going to take back our tax cuts to the rich. Which he interprets as ‘tax increases.’ Just because you’re taking it back, he says it’s an increase. See that double speak I don’t care for."
"Uncivil Discourse: Bush pressures Dems to fall in line for his final year."
That's how Newsweek.com teases a Richard Wolffe Web Exclusive analysis of President George W. Bush's final State of the Union address. Wolffe lamented the bitter partisanship in Washington, noting that the Bush-Pelosi-Boehner agreement on an economic stimulus plan was "the rare exception" of "respect and cooperation" that "is hard to find in the halls of Congress at the end of the Bush era."
Too bad, Wolffe gripes, that President Bush used his final State of the Union to chide Congress for failing to make tax cuts permanent (emphasis mine):
“In Heat of Battle, Darman Put Taxes Back on the Table,” read the Saturday “Business” section headline over the “appreciation” piece, by veteran Washington Post reporter Steven Mufson, on the legacy of Richard Darman, the budget director who in 1990 arranged the deal which undermined George Bush's “read my lips: no new taxes” pledge. Darman passed away Friday, at age 64, after battling leukemia. Mufson hailed how Darman's deal, “along with the first Clinton budget...balanced the federal government's books for a decade,” and empathized with how Darman had confronted “the dilemma of contemporary U.S. politics: Republicans have taken taxes off the fiscal table, no matter how sensible they might be.”
Mufson, who currently covers energy for the Post but back in 1990 covered economic policy, presumed the Reagan tax cuts of nine years earlier caused a “budget mess” which had to be fixed in 1990, asserting that “many people thought it was fitting that Darman was at the center of these talks because of his role in drafting the big 1981 Reagan tax cuts.” Mufson quoted David Stockman, the infamous Reagan back-stabber, as quoting Darman: “I don't know which is worse, winning now and fixing up the budget mess later, or losing now and facing a political mess immediately.” But the “fixing” didn't occur for a decade, leading Mufson to postulate:
That summed up not only the Darman dilemma but also the dilemma of contemporary U.S. politics: Republicans have taken taxes off the fiscal table, no matter how sensible they might be. That makes compromise difficult and it could be bad policy, too. In addition to raising revenue, the small gasoline tax increase that conservative Republicans were able to purge from the final 1990 deal "might have been good energy and environmental policy," Darman said in a talk last March.