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.
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.