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."
ABC's "Good Morning America" devolved into outright advocacy on Thursday as the morning program openly lobbied for more taxes, misled viewers about how much the wealthy pay and passed off an economic advisor to Hillary Clinton's 2008 campaign as an impartial observer. Correspondent Bianna Golodryga filed a report on liberal billionaire Warren Buffett and his assertion that he pays a lower percentage in taxes than his receptionist. GMA co-host Diane Sawyer turned the story into a class warfare campaign as she promised that the show would be battling "on behalf of fairnessin taxes." The host lauded Buffett for taking "your side over taxes and fairness." Additionally, Golodryga fawned over the billionaire for advocating that Congress should retain the estate tax, another leftist position.
At no point in the misleading report did any GMA host or reporter mention a fundamental fact: The wealthy already pay a disproportionately high amount of taxes. According to information just released by the IRS, the top one percent of earners paid 39.4 percent of all federal income taxes. The top five percent pay almost 60 percent of federal taxes. Golodryga did, however, make time to compare Buffett to Robin Hood, complete with an onscreen graphic, and harass other billionaires over the salaries of their receptionists. Sawyer claimed that most of these wealthy individuals were "hiding" and that GMA would call them on "[Buffett's] behalf."
It's hard to overstate the importance of the study released today by the Treasury Department ("Income Mobility in the U.S. from 1996 to 2005"; press release; full study PDF).
That's because it provides documented evidence of more, not less, economic mobility than in previous eras. Beyond that, taken in combination with an independent report I covered last week, it demonstrates beyond any reasonable doubt that the first four-plus years of the Bush economy were exceptional.
Tuesday's read-the-whole-thing feature editorial at OpinionJournal.com provides a great overview (bolds are mine), plus some tantalizing details:
In a move that must be causing Excedrin headaches at the New York Times and other Old Media outlets, USA Today reports that the Wall Street Journal's new owner expects to tear down its subscription wall:
News Corp. (NWS) Chairman Rupert Murdoch said Tuesday he intends to make access to The Wall Street Journal's website free, trading subscription fees for anticipated ad revenue.
"We are studying it and we expect to make that free, and instead of having 1 million (subscribers), having at least 10 million-15 million in every corner of the earth," Murdoch said.
News Corp. has signed an agreement to acquire Dow Jones (DJ), and the deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter. A special shareholders meeting is scheduled for Dec. 13 in New York.
Murdoch said he believes that a free model, with increased readership for wsj.com, will attract "large numbers" of big-spending advertisers.
In an interview with obscure Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul on Sunday’s "Face the Nation," host Bob Schieffer asked the Texas Congressman: "What is it that you see that the government ought to do besides deliver the mail?" This followed Schieffer’s description of Paul’s limited government philosophy:
Well, let me -- I want to just get your take on what you think the government ought to do. You've already said your anti-war. We know you're anti-abortion. You're anti-drug administration. You're anti-Medicare. I wrote all this down. Let's see. You're anti-income tax. You want to do away with that. You're anti-United Nations. You're anti-World Bank. You're anti-International Monetary Fund. And there must be some other things that you're against.
What could be more timely than a study about debt? With all the networks crying about oil prices and threats to the economy, consumers are feeling squeezed. Director of the Business & Media Institute, Dan Gainor appeared on the Fox Business Channel today to talk about the Culture & Media Institute and Business & Media Institute joint study, "DEBT Who'$ responsible?" That found the broadcast networks blame businesses, not borrowers for spendthrift ways.
"When you look at how the networks cover [debt] what you find is they ignore personal responsibility and flip it around and blame business for debt. Six times more they blame business than borrowers and almost two-thirds of the time they ignore the whole concept of personal responsibility," Gainor told viewers.
The Contra Costa Times has given us an interesting new angle to fool the voters into voting for a new gasoline tax in an article titled, "Calling gas tax a 'fee' may help at ballot." In an opinion laced article, the CCTimes is advising politicians to call the tax hike a "fee" instead of a tax to fool the voters into accepting it at the ballot box. Throughout this piece is the obvious assumption by staff writer Erik N. Nelson that the county governments in and around San Francisco are "cash-starved" and that these taxes... oops, I mean fees... are needed because it is important that the governments "look for new funding" for roads and to "curb global warming." Not a hint that these governments have wasted the money they are already confiscating from the citizens, nor any investigation why some of the highest taxes in the country have not been able to satisfy the needs there.
In the November 7 "Washington Post," in an article reporting on the Virginia General Assembly elections, staff writer Tim Craig adopted the liberal terminology of referring to government spending as "investing" as he relayed that Democratic Governor Tim Kaine hopes to get more support for his "agenda to invest more in education, health care, and the environment." The complete text of a similar article using the same line can be found on the Washington Post's Web site here. In the front-page article "Delays in Counting Slow Results in State, Local Races," after summarizing some of the early election results, including the plight of some Republican state senators running for re-election in Democratic-trending districts, the following one-sentence paragraph ran on page A12:
NewsBusters has been reporting for the last several years that in the midst of the media's fascination with global warming alarmism, the financial ramifications of proposed solutions to this potentially nonexistent problem have been almost universally ignored.
In reality, you couldn't completely tell just how controversial this piece was from the opening paragraph, but it ended up being a clever -- albeit delicate -- foreshadowing of seriously inconvenient truths that folks like Nobel Laureate Al Gore and his media sycophants have been immorally withholding from the public (emphasis added throughout):
Talk about talking down the economy! No fewer than three times today, Matt Lauer invited Barack Obama to declare that the U.S. economy is headed into recession. At the end of a "Today" interview that focused largely on Hillary-related issues and Iran, Lauer turned to the economy and pressed Obama to predict the worst.
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.