California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) is proposing a new insurance surcharge to plug a budget gap that conservative critics are calling a tax. And objectively speaking, it really is a tax. But the L.A. Times was careful to avoid attributing the T-word to the idea.
Here's the teaser from the Times Web site's front page:
Gov. urges levy on insuranceBy Marc Lifsher and Evan HalperPlan calls for 1.25% assessment on all residential and commercial property policies to fund firefighting. Foes call it a tax.
A few months after cheering Martin O'Malley's successful push for tax hikes, the Washington Post's John Wagner is lamenting the Democratic governor may have to settle for a "modest" agenda in 2008 due to budget constraints.
Don't hold your breath for similar concern about everyday Marylanders and how they may have to settle for more modest spending thanks to tax hikes, particularly a boost in the sales tax to six percent from five percent.
Well, the New York Times certainly can't be accused of excessive free market idolization. Peter Goodman breaks off from his gloomy economic assessments to cheer for regulation in Sunday's Week in Review story "The Free Market: A False Idol After All?"
In Goodman's telling, there is no question mark, stating the argument against the free market in simplistic liberal terms, right down to echoing the Reagan-era pejorative of "trickle down economics."
That's because Californians relying on Old Media for their news about the Golden State's dire financial situation are being conditioned to believe that only a tax increase will solve the state's problems.
The latest offering in that regard is a Field poll covered at the San Jose Mercury News and the San Francisco Chronicle, headlined "Many voters think deficit fix will require higher taxes" and "Voters resigned to higher taxes to solve budget crisis," respectively. Those headlines conveniently obscure the fact that the margin of those believing that tax increases are necessary vs. those who think that the answer is totally in spending cuts is only 48%-43%.
The media does, and they have with Liberals devised the perfect way to do it. It is the "pay-as-you-go" Congressional budgeting rule -- Pay-Go. It requires every move that Congress makes be "budget neutral"; every new spending initiative must be paid for - no more deficit spending.
How could anyone, Conservatives especially, not be enraptured with such a concept?
When Larry Summers suggested in early 2005 that, as paraphrased by Slate's William Saletan, "innate differences between the sexes might help explain why relatively few women become professional scientists or engineers," the outcry was immediate, furious, and went to saturation level virtually overnight. The controversy ultimately led to his resignation a year later as Harvard President.
On Wednesday, Mr. Summers, a Democrat who was once Treasury Secretary under Bill Clinton, made a recommendation in his area of expertise -- that is, that a tax cut would be a good idea to protect against a possible recession. (Yours truly doesn't believe that a recession is anywhere near occurring. But hey, I've said since May, and several times since [here, here, and here, among others] that a tax cut is needed anyway to keep the economy chugging along at a good rate. So if panicked pols want to enact a tax cut for the wrong reason, I'll take it.)
Old Media reaction to Summers has been virtual silence.
It's a Christmas tradition: Times Watch has selected its worst Quotes of the Year from The New York Times for 2007. Here's a sampling of the categories and some of the most bizarre examples of liberal bias. For all the quotes, plus the picks of our Times-dissecting judges for their "favorite" quote of the year, visit Times Watch.
Oh, Those Awful Conservatives
"Could adversity temper a jurisprudence that critics of the chief justice have discerned as bloodless and unduly distant from the messy reality of the lives of ordinary people who fail to file their appeals on time?" -- Supreme Court reporter Linda Greenhouse's August 1 "Supreme Court Memo," the day after Chief Justice John Roberts suffered a seizure at his house.
Barely four years after California's historic recall of sitting Governor Gray Davis and Arnold Schwarzenegger's landslide election to replace him, the Golden State is, again, in a budget crunch of its own making.
The state's Old Media, as would be expected, is moaning about cuts that might have to be made, obsessing over the possibility that "universal health care" might be derailed, and of course giving visibility to anyone and everyone who thinks even more taxes will solve the problem.
As has been the case for well over a decade, nobody that I know of in California's Old Media is considering the idea that the state is paying the price for failing to sufficiently go along with the rest of the country in aggressively reducing welfare rolls. But the numbers support the idea that if the state had done what the rest of the country has "somehow" done without visible suffering, it would be in a much better situation.
(A table and graphs illustrating the situation are after the jump.)
"[I]f you look at the history of this substance, ["American Morning" co-anchor] Kiran [Chetry] - I think this is very important - we subsidize a lot of corn production in this country," Gupta said. "We've been subsidizing it for a long time to support the corn farmers, which is a good thing. If there is a problem in all of this, it is that maybe we make too much corn and some of that corn gets turned into this high-fructose corn syrup."
On Sunday's This Week, ABC's George Stephanopoulos pressed former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan to agree on the wisdom of raising taxes. Stephanopoulos wondered “what would be wrong with letting the tax cuts for the top one percent expire?” and suggested that to “shore up” Social Security and Medicate that Congress “limit the tax cuts.”
Citing a Congressional Budget Office study, “which was just stunning to me,” Stephanopoulos recounted how “it said that in the last two years -- from 2003 to 2005 -- the increase in income for the top one percent exceeded the total income of the bottom 20 percent. Given that, what would be wrong with letting the tax cuts for the top one percent expire and plowing that money into education?” Following up, Stephanopoulos proposed: “If you have long-term problems in Medicare and then also in Social Security, wouldn't it make sense to, in addition to limiting them as I know you would like to do, to limit the tax cuts and shore up the programs in that way?” Stephanopoulos started the interview by summarizing John Edwards' claim that “average Americans are not winning in this current economy and the policies that we've been following for a long time are part of the reason.” Greenspan retorted: “His remedies will make it worse.”
Yes, the viciousness is being directed at Democrats for not being spendthrift enough.
It's too early to tell whether President Bush and congressional Republicans have outmaneuvered the Democratic congressional majority, but it's looking that way. Old Media doesn't like it, and their inability to successfully buck up their side, one bit.
In the Washington Post's "Dems Blaming Each Other For Failures," Jonathan Weisman and Paul Kane are clearly critical:
After speaking against the death tax last week, "View" co-host Whoopi Goldberg said "people are very annoyed" with her and reliably left Joy Behar attacked with her pro-tax liberal spin. The December 12 edition of "The View" featured country star and politically conservative guest co-host Sara Evans, who also spoke out against the death tax.
Similar to her previous statement on the issue, Goldberg said "I just feel like...I’ve worked very hard...this is something I want to give to my kid and she should be able to accept it." After Whoopi called it a "double tax" Sara Evans exclaimed "I totally agree with you!"
Joy Behar, in using the typical left wing class warfare propaganda claimed that "the very, very rich, not only don’t have to pay it, but get tax cuts." As she has donebefore, Behar gets her facts wrong. In 2005, the top one percent (those making $364,657 or more) paid 39.4 percent, but earned only 21.2 percent of the wealth.
Whoopi Goldberg did call out Joy Behar exclaiming that the wealthiest Americans are "pay ing 50 percent of their income. It’s not like they’re not paying."
Hillary Clinton's performance in her interview with Maria "Money Honey" Bartiromo of CNBC last week was so bad that she must have sent a double (stop shivering at the thought, will ya?).
After all, the genuine Smartest Woman in the World couldn't possibly have said the things she said, as noted at Rush Limbaugh's site last Thursday. It got so bad that Bartiromo, who seemingly has barely cracked a smile since George Bush became president, felt compelled to challenge her.
Here is one of the choice offerings Mrs. Clinton served up:
(There are ) lots of people who come on your show who, you know, are gung-ho, protect the tax cuts for the wealthiest of Americans, that will not work if the economy slows down. You need to get money in the pockets of tens of hundreds of millions of Americans, and that's what I intend to do.
"The Senate's 88 to 5 vote" on a one-year reprieve for middle class taxpayers on the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) "blew a $50 billion hole in the Democrats' promise not to pass any spending or tax measure that would add to the deficit," Washington Post's Jonathan Weisman and Jeffrey Birnbaum reported today. The staff writers then rounded up three "conservative 'Blue Dog' Democrats" from the House of Representatives to rail against the Senate for lacking the courage to "take a tough vote," in the words of Rep. Mike Ross (D-Ark.).
But just how conservative are these "conservative" Blue Dogs? Try slightly left of dead-center.
Previewing her questions next week for her “Primary Questions: Character, Leadership & The Candidates” series in which she runs clips of ten presidential candidates from both parties answering the same question, Katie Couric on Thursday night showed herself asking Joe Biden: “With the country fighting a costly war and going deeper into debt should the American people be expected to sacrifice more, and if so, specifically how?” Couric didn't specifically cite raising taxes, and so maybe by some miracle a candidate will suggest cutting government programs, but “sacrifice” is the common media code word for raising taxes. After the Minneapolis bridge collapse in early August, with a logical implication that taxes would have to be increased, Couric set up a CBS Evening News story by wondering “are taxpayers ready to spend the billions, maybe trillions, it would take to fix all the pipelines, tunnels and bridges?”
Opponents of the Death Tax may have found a very unlikely celebrity spokesperson, "View" moderator Whoopi Goldberg. On the December 4 edition, guest co-host Kate Walsh noted all of the programs Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul wishes to abolish. Goldberg then stepped in proclaiming "I’d like somebody to get rid of the death tax...If I have to give something to my kid I already paid the tax, why do I have to pay it again because I died?"
I'll be live-blogging the press conference (mostly just the questions from the journalists as we're focused on the bias) and if a video update is warranted, we'll post one shortly after the conference concludes:
10:44 closes press conference, leaves podium.
10:41: Mark Silva, Chicago Tribune, says reading Bush's body language he can tell he's "somewhat dispirited." Then he says "the facts have failed you" on things he's telling the American people. Quotes Harry Reid. "Are you feeling troubled... credibility gap?"
10:37: unid'd reporter "Wolf" asks about if Bush's personal relationship with the Democrats in Congress is affecting getting legislation through.
10:35: another unid'd reporter named "Wolf" asks Bush to react to 2008 U.S. presidential race
10:35: reporter asks if he discussed Russian elections with Putin
10:33: unidentified reporter asks Bush if in his conversation with Putin if he asked him to not sell uranium to Iran.
10:30: Baier, Fox News: "What does the vote in Venezuela mean for the U.S.? .... What's your reaction to Chavez opponents winning?"
Have you noticed the genie concerning the real modus operandi behind climate alarmism beginning to peek its head out of the bottle lately?
After the United Nations announced earlier in the week that rich countries - code for America, of course - are going to have to pay billions of dollars to help poor nations deal with global warming, several international press outlets published articles of similar content.
Is it possible media are recognizing that since the Democrat presidential candidates are all advocating a tax the rich platform it is safe to begin discussing the need for developed nations to foot the bill for international global warming solutions?
Consider an op-ed published Friday by Britain's Guardian (emphasis added, reader is strongly advised to hide wallet or purse before proceeding):
As climate alarmists around the world head to a tropical paradise on Bali next week to discuss how developed nations should pay to solve global warming, an inconvenient truth has emerged: many countries that are part of the Kyoto Protocol are going to dramatically overshoot their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions limits.
While it seems a metaphysical certitude that America's green media will largely boycott such revelations so as not to put a damper on the hysterical proceedings, the fact that taxpayers in countries missing these targets will end up footing the bill also appears likely to be ignored.
As reported by Bloomberg Friday (emphasis added throughout, h/t Benny Peiser):
Wednesday night's CNN/YouTube presidential debate for the Republican candidates largely lived up to its promise to be a debate fitting for Republican voters as the vast majority of the questions used were asked from a conservative point of view. But the GOP debate's slant toward conservative questions was less than the July 23 CNN/YouTube Democratic debate's slant toward liberal questions. On Wednesday, out of a total of 34 video questions presented, conservative questions outnumbered liberal questions by 14 to 8, with the remaining questions ideologically ambiguous or neutral. During the Democratic debate, out of a total of 38 video questions, the slant toward liberal questions came in at 17 liberal to 6 conservative, with the remainder ambiguous or neutral.
Are voters sick of taxes? Gov. Chris Gregoire is worried enough about angry voters to call a special legislative session to reinstate I-747's tax limit.
That's how the Seattle Post-Intelligencer website front page teased a November 26 story by state capitol correspondent Chris McGann. The bottom line is that the Democratic governor -- who eked out a narrow victory in 2004 after a drawn-out recount process -- has called the state legislature to convene on November 29 in a special session to address a court ruling that struck down I-747, a tax limitation measure that voters approved six years ago.
McGann found a politicial scientist and a Democratic state legislative leader to suggest that voters are not really all that steamed about high taxes. By contrast, McGann produced just one man, Tim Eyman, to suggest voters in Washington State are fed up with high taxes.
What's more, nowhere does McGann find any conservatives to suggest that Washington State voters might chafe at their legislators failing to do anything to address overreaching or judicial activism by the court that struck down a ballot initiative approved by the voters themselves.
Here's an excerpt of McGann's article, with portions in bold reflecting my emphasis.:
Was that Mike Huckabee on "Morning Joe" today -- or John Edwards? The former Arkansas governor found an odd way to refute charges he's not a true conservative, indulging in some class-warfare rhetoric that would have been the envy of the former North Carolina senator.
Mika Brzezinski hit Huckabee with an excerpt from Bob Novak's column of today. Here are the opening paragraphs from Novak's False Conservative:
Who would respond to criticism from the Club for Growth by calling the conservative, free-market campaign organization the "Club for Greed"? That sounds like Howard Dean, Dennis Kucinich or John Edwards, all Democrats preaching the class struggle.
As NewsBusters has been reporting, Nobel Laureate Al Gore's recent employment by a Silicon Valley venture capital firm puts him in a fabulous position to turn his estimated $100 million net worth into billions.
Upon further examination of the particulars, Gore's fortunes might rest on the defeat of tax law changes currently proposed by Democrats.
Maybe more delicious, as a former congressman whose voting record shows a proclivity towards higher taxes, this could pit Gore's future earnings potential against his legislative history, especially if he ends up not supporting Democrat efforts to close a tax loophole enjoyed by hedge funds and venture capital firms.
As reported by TheStreet.com Wednesday (emphasis added throughout):
For years one of the great unanswered questions along Main and Wall streets has been why, in the midst of 24 consecutive quarters of uninterrupted growth, polls have regularly found Americans sour about the economy.
On Tuesday, a battle between the New York Times liberal economics columnist Paul Krugman and WOR radio's Steve Malzberg offered a clue.
In fact, after 16 minutes of sparring on subjects from healthcare to the Iraq war, a truly inconvenient truth became evident concerning the left's continued bearishness since the economy emerged from recession in the fourth quarter of 2001: too many folks listen to people like Krugman.
As a perfect illustration of just how separated this man, and anybody who reads him, are from reality, when Malzberg asked Krugman where he'd seek medical treatment if he was really ill, the Times columnist said (16 minute long audio link available here):
Yesterday I noted that the Washington Post's John Wagner virtually cheered Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) and the Democratic Maryland General Assembly for its recently-concluded, tax-hiking special legislative session. Well today the hosannas migrated from the front page to the editorial one. The closing paragraphs are rather telling (emphasis mine):
Politically, Mr. O'Malley will have more than higher taxes to show for his gamble. The new revenue will not only close the deficit, it will also help to clean up the Chesapeake Bay, extend health-care coverage to 100,000 lower-income Marylanders, build public schools, and add facilities for state colleges and universities. In addition, and critically, the governor secured about $420 million in fresh annual revenue for transportation, the biggest infusion of new money in 15 years...
Facing a budget shortfall due in large part to overspending in years past, Gov. Martin O'Malley called a special session of the Maryland General Assembly to consider a package of tax hikes and a referendum on legalizing slot machines. Now that the freshman Democratic governor has proven successful in pushing through both, the Washington Post congratulated O'Malley with a front page article replete with pats on the back and attaboys from O'Malley's fellow Democrats. The icing on the cake: a signing ceremony photograph (shown above*) of O'Malley that appears to show him pumping his fist in victory.
Staff writer John Wagner opened his November 20 article with triumphal language that painted O'Malley as a respected statesman:
On Tuesday, "Good Morning America" reporter Bianna Golodryga hyperventilated about high gas prices and highlighted a man who alleged that the cost of fuel is keeping him from going to church and that it could ruin Christmas. Golodryga piled on, suggesting that some Americans would be forced to eat "cheaper foods" such as pasta and peanut butter instead of fruits and vegetables.
Only a few days later, Golodryga, who covers business and economic issues for GMA, proved her journalistic independence by gushing over liberal billionaire Warren Buffet, or "Robin Hood," as she called him. While Golodryga lobbied for holding on to the death tax (or, as she called it, the estate tax), co-host Diane Sawyer rhapsodized over how Buffet is battling "on behalf of fairness in taxes." (The leftist billionaire has claimed recently that he pays less taxes, percentage-wise, than his receptionist.)
What's another $1 trillion here and there among friends - especially when it promotes a leftist agenda?
Throwing around a big number like that obviously isn't a problem for one liberal executive. Woody Tasch, the chairman of Investors' Circle wrote in the November 15 Christian Science Monitor that since we can spend money on Iraq, we can spend $1 trillion over five years for socialist causes.
"Economists project that the cost of the war in Iraq, when all is said and done, will come in at $1 trillion or more," wrote Tasch. "I say: Let's do it again! Let's allocate another trillion dollars - but this time for the good of all humanity and all species. Let's do it with the same moral urgency and vision that has made America great at so many critical junctures in history."