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?”
Overall all the tax questions pushed Bush towards hiking taxes. Notice the first question out of the gate was on raising the gasoline tax, not about oh, how the gas tax funds are perpetually raided by Congress for non-infrastructure spending. The question on corporate tax rates and carried interest also come from the left, pushing Bush on the matter of tax "fairness." I particulary find the questions in bold obnoxious vis-a-vis fiscal policy.
11:18: president concludes news conference.
11:14, unid'd reporter: Given the decision to commute Libby, is it fair for people to ask about your commitment to accountability?
11:13, unid'd reporter, citing Libby pardon, Al Gonzales hearings: Can you give clear examples of how you've held people accountable during your presidency?
11:12, Ann, followup: So you're confident you can continue to sustain the level of spending in Iraq?
Keith Olbermann a "fair and balanced" journalist for a day? Did the sweltering Chicago temperatures somehow get to him? The MSNBC host who is notorious for anti-Bush, anti-conservative rants employed a more balanced approach when he moderated Tuesday's Democratic presidential debate, hosted by the AFL-CIO. While audience members posed numerous left-leaning questions to the candidates, Olbermann asked a number of challenging questions, a few even posed from the right. Olbermann not only asked "what should we not be funding" to find the money for repairs to infrastructure, without even suggesting a tax increase, but the MSNBC host also asked about the possibility of an al-Qaeda takeover in Iraq. Olbermann: "If you get us out of Iraq and somehow al-Qaeda takes over anyway, what will you do then?" (Transcripts follow)
As a questioner, along with George Stephanopoulos, of Republican presidential candidates at the Sunday debate in Iowa carried on ABC's This Week, veteran Des Moines Register political reporter and current columnist David Yepsen pressed the candidates to raise taxes. For the last question in the first hour of the 90 minute session from Drake University, Yepsen urged Mike Huckabee: “Is it time we raise the federal gas tax to start fixing up our nation's bridges and roads?” After Huckabee answered it was a matter of budget priorities, Yepsen turned to Rudy Giuliani: “In Minnesota, Governor Pawlenty, who vetoed an increase in his state gas tax, said now he may consider one. Is this Republican dogma against taxes now precluding the ability of you and your party to come up with the revenues that the country needs to fix its bridges?” Giuliani suggested Yepsen's formulation presumed a “Democratic liberal assumption: I need money, I raise taxes.”
On Friday's Countdown, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann charged that the "endless war and endless spending" had "crippled our ability to repair or just check our infrastructure," as he hosted Air America's Rachel Maddow in a discussion blaming the Minneapolis bridge collapse on Iraq war spending and unwillingness by conservatives to raise taxes. Olbermann quoted Minnesota Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar's charge of "messed up priorities" and New York Democratic Congresswoman Louise Slaughter's labeling of bridge collapse victims as "almost victims of war" because "perpetual war depletes the funds available to maintain our infrastructure." Maddow charged that America is "paying this incredible deadly price for a brand of American conservatism that hates and demeans government." (Transcript follows)
Time magazine veteran Margaret Carlson, now with Bloomberg News and The Week magazine, used the Minnesota bridge collapse tragedy as a fresh excuse to tout how the public really wants a tax hike while she regretted the lack of political “will” to raise taxes and that the government can't find more money for infrastructure but can afford “$4,000 a minute on the Iraq war.” Citing a poll conducted a decade ago when Democrat Ed Rendell was Mayor of Philadelphia, on Friday's Inside Washington aired on the DC PBS station, WETA-TV channel 26, Carlson claimed that “nearly 70 percent of people polled would pay more in taxes to actually know that they could cross the 14th Street bridge safely,” a reference to a bridge between Washington, DC and Virginia. “But,” she fretted, “you can't get the will to do it. I mean, we certainly had the wake-up call in Katrina, everyone knows the situation, but can you really get it done when there's, by the way, very little money left?”
A night after CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric, without any consideration for cutting other spending, presumed taxes must be hiked to pay for infrastructure repair, CBS reporter Sharyl Attkisson ludicrously described federal and state governments as “cash-starved” as she relayed the expert view of just one person, a Democratic Congressman, whom she said blames the lack of courage to “collect” more taxes. A nice euphemism for raising taxes. On Thursday night, Couric had asked: “Are taxpayers ready to spend the billions, maybe trillions, it would take to fix all the pipelines, tunnels and bridges?” (My NB item)
On Friday night, Attkisson noted that out “of the $2.7 trillion federal budget, it's estimated only around $50 billion a year goes for infrastructure” while “experts say what's needed is $210 billion a year for five years.” After citing a couple of examples of misguided pork barrel spending for road projects when repair work goes wanting, Attkisson pointed out how “Congress only funds about 25 percent of the nation's infrastructure.” She then absurdly asserted that states and local governments which “pick up the rest of the tab” are “cash-starved too.” For her only expert assessment, Attkisson turned to Democratic Congressman Jim Oberstar, Chairman of the very committee which funnels the pork spending, described as “Congress's leading authority on infrastructure” who “says both Congress and the White House have traditionally had trouble making the tough decision to collect and spend more tax dollars on infrastructure.”
Robin Hood would be proud of the Washington Post’s perverted view of capital gains taxation. If the newspaper has its way, he wouldn’t have to steal from the rich to give to the poor. The government would be doing it for him.
Calling it the “most controversial tax break on Wall Street,” the Post promoted the idea of wrongdoing:
“[It] is not authorized by any law and was never approved by Congress,” wrote the Post.
Neglecting any thought about cutting spending anywhere within the federal budget, for instance some of the soaring entitlement spending, CBS's Katie Couric on Thursday night wondered if taxpayers are “ready to spend” the “trillions” needed to repair the nation's infrastructure. Just the night before, Couric's newscast illustrated why entitlement spending keeps rising faster than inflation and population growth, as she aired a sympathetic look at “getting medical coverage for the millions of American children who don't have it,” a relatively (compared to total entitlement spending) small plan which would hike spending by $50 billion over five years.
Couric's assumption about higher taxes came as she introduced an August 2 CBS Evening News story from Nancy Cordes on the estimate by the American Society of Civil Engineers, a group obviously in favor of additional public works project spending, that it will cost $1.6 trillion to address infrastructure needs. Live from Minneapolis, Couric asked: “Experts have been warning for years that this country's infrastructure is crumbling. But are taxpayers ready to spend the billions, maybe trillions, it would take to fix all the pipelines, tunnels and bridges?” (Comparative budget numbers below)
On tonight's Hardball, Mike Barnicle, substitute-hosting for Chris Matthews, used the tragedy of the bridge collapse in Minneapolis to call for bigger government and wondered, "Does this help the Democrats?" All throughout tonight's show, Barnicle repeatedly pressed his guests to call for an increase in the size of government and at one point even demanded: "Government's gotta get bigger!"
First up Barnicle asked the liberal Barney Frank where he would find the money to pay for bridge repair. After Frank responded that he would "end the war in Iraq" and raise taxes to improve America's infrastructure, Barnicle took the Congressman's cue to advance the tax hike/big government theme for the entirety of the show.
The following are just some of the exchanges as they occured on the August 2, edition of MSNBC's Hardball:
Sounding more like ABC's Sam Champion or Al Gore than a "fair and balanced" news anchor, Fox's Shepard Smith slammed Americans in general and his studio audience in particular in a recent "Studio B" interview with a British man who swam at the North Pole as a global warming-related publicity stunt.
See the YouTube video below the fold. Here's an excerpt of the exchange:
It seems the media know why the stock market declined recent. Some journalists are blaming this recent correction in the stock market on widespread credit problems and point to troubles in the housing market as evidence.
“[B]ut nothing is likely to unsettle the markets as much as more credit woes,” said NBC News correspondent Pat Dawson on the July 29 “NBC Nightly News.” “Any additional problems with mortgage defaults or companies trying to borrow and coming up short is likely to send investors running for the exits again.”
Death and taxes may be the only certainties in life, but journalists’ support for higher taxes is almost as predictable.
Actions that liberals dislike, such as smoking, eating the "wrong" food, and spewing carbon earn media support for tax increases.
Right now, the media are promoting a “bipartisan” bill in Congress that would expand the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) by raising tobacco taxes sky-high.
“Senate Panel Adds Billions For Health,” announced a headline from the July 20 New York Times. The headline sent a positive message that people’s health would be improved, rather than the honest message that the bill calls for a 156-percent tax increase on cigarettes, and a more than 20,000-percent increase on cigars (up to $10 per cigar).
In the lead-up to Monday night’s YouTube debate with the Democrat presidential candidates, CNN ran prime-time specials previewing videos that might be featured during the debate, and most of those featured came from the liberal side. It should be no surprise then that video clips featured left-wing clips by almost a 3 to 1 margin versus the conservative clips - 17 liberal clips to 6 conservative clips, out of a total of 38 video question clips.
Video of 10 of the liberal questions (6:20): Real (4.53 MB) or Windows (3.79 MB), plus MP3 audio (2.15 MB).
As NewsBusters has been reporting this week (see this and this), as the stock market hit new all-time highs, the media have been dour Nervous Nellies carping and whining about gas prices, the low value of the dollar, the housing slump, and the rising trade deficit.
Yet, there are a variety of issues that press outlets have conveniently ignored during this record bull run that not only explain rising stock prices, but also give a more accurate view of what is going on in the global economy.
For instance, Bloomberg was one of the only major media outlets Tuesday which reported record purchases of U.S. securities by foreigners in May (emphasis added):
In last night’s CNN special on their upcoming YouTube debate, Paula Zahn previewed some of the video questions that had been sent in. The topics up for debate last night included faith and values, the environment and gay rights. Zahn led the segment on faith and values with the comment, “we are seeing an amazing variety of questions about faith and values for next Monday’s debate.” Unfortunately the four YouTube questions that followed were anything but a “variety.” The transcript of the questions follows below.
The blogoshpere is full of opinions, but this one you're paying for. Your tax dollars are going to National Public Radio Blogger and Morning Edition commentator John Ridley to editorialize "I'm sorry, but chick fights are sexy" in his new blog on the NPR website called “Visible Man”, which will appear twice a week. Ridley chimes in on why he likes Elizabeth Edwards for his first post:
Ladies throwing down is just plain hot, and that's true whether they're drunk and tussling on the Vegas Strip or if they're doing some verbal mud wrestling in the media. And the woman least afraid to get her li'l dukes up, and therefore currently the sexiest in politics, is Elizabeth Edwards.
The Hill newspaper can be a good read for Capitol Hill coverage. It goes deeper than the superficial treatment the MSM often gives legislative matters.
That said, it seems to me the paper is taking at best a curious tack on an issue dividing fiscal conservatives of late: whether to sew up a federal tax loophole on private equity compensation and effectively raise some taxes as a result.
The Hill is painting the matter as one of conservative activists versus their GOP congressional allies with Jessica Holzer's July 18 article, "Conservatives break with GOP leaders on tax bill." The lede for the article lends the impression that some conservatives are finding a tax they actually like:
On Monday night, CNN aired a special hour promoting the upcoming "CNN/YouTube" presidential debates. CNN is encouraging viewers to record their questions for the presidential candidates and post them on YouTube.com. In anticipation of this historic event, hosts John Roberts and Kiran Chetry shared just a few of the thousands of video submissions CNN has already received. Of the videos aired on Monday, a disproportionate number were distinctly liberal. Of the 19 individual videos shown (excluding some brief, zany clips), 10 were politically neutral, 8 were liberal or critical of conservative and/or Republican policies, and only 1 was clearly conservative.
When Matt Lauer introduced a segment on the booming stock market by asking "is the rising tide lifting all boats?" I braced myself for another MSM excursion into class warfare. But surprise, surprise . . .
CNBC's Erin Burnett narrated the segment, and her opening also made me figure we were in for more bash-the-rich rhetoric. "Another day, another record on Wall Street . . . As stocks rise, it is time to finally ask, who is really making all the money? Who are the winners of the global economic boom?"
Cut to clips of the Dem presidential contenders, including Hillary offering up this bit of class warfare at its pandering worst: "while productivity and corporate profits are up, the fruits of that success just hasn't [sic] reached many of our families. It's like trickle-down economics but without the trickle."
But then came the surprising shift of gears.
CNBC'S ERIN BURNETT: But while the rich are getting richer, you may be too. Here's why: more than half of Americans are invested in the market, whether through a 401(k) plan or buying stocks or mutual funds, and many of those investments are surging. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 12% so far this year, and if your retirement plan invested in oil, that alone is up 21%. It's also worth noting that while politicians talk about "two Americas" [get ready to duck, John Edwards] virtually all Americans are seeing wages rise, and unemployment is at an historic low.
The Washington Post today reported how the White House expects the federal budget deficit to shrink, but placed it in a five-paragraph story below the fold on page A6. Yet a Reuters story on the same development noted something that the Washington Post's Lori Montgomery left out of her story. The new White House figure of $205 billion "is still higher than many private forecasts, which have pegged the deficit at around $150 billion."
What's more, Post reporter Montgomery included a reference to President Bush crediting his tax cuts with the revenue surge, but added "that has been challenged by many economists." Montgomery failed to name any such economist, much less his/her rationale. After all, if tax revenue is growing at unexpected rates following tax cuts, are there many economists who actually expect tax revenues to roll in at a faster pace when levied at their pre-Bush tax cut levels?
It turned out that Robert F. Kennedy Jr., the radical environmentalist, had some strong words for politicians who stand against climate change legislation.
“Get rid of all these rotten politicians that we have in Washington, who are nothing more than corporate toadies … This is treason. And we need to start treating them as traitors,” Kennedy said at the July 7 concert held in New Jersey, according to Newsday.