Talking to chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd on Monday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie enthusiastically touted: "...we've seen a few Republicans peeling off from a pledge they signed to Grover Norquist, who, of course, is a lobbyist, an anti-tax lobbyist, who's been very powerful among conservatives. Is that a significant move?"
Todd replied by urging the rest of the GOP to similarly abandon core conservative principles: "I'll be impressed when you start seeing House Republicans do it....where it looks like Republicans are softening, it's Senate Republicans. If this deal could be cut between the Senate Republicans and the White House, we wouldn't even be talking about this...the fiscal cliff wouldn't be an issue."
This morning the Obama administration's "National Economic Council & Council of Economic Advisers" jointly released "The Middle-Class Tax Cuts' Impact on Consumer Spending & Retailers." Among the howlers in this non-economic political document: "Independent Economic Analysis Clearly Demonstrates Why We Need to Extend the 2001/2003/2010 Tax Cuts for the Middle-class." But not everyone else? Don't high income-earners spend money too?
The primary thrust of the administration's release is that, in regards to negotiations to avoid the "fiscal cliff," is the predictable class warfare clarion call, complete with kidnapping-related rhetoric: "There is no reason to hold the middle-class hostage while we debate tax cuts for the highest income earners." The word "hostage" appears three times in the first two pages of the document. The subtext, of course, is that the hostage-holders are the Republicans in Congress, particularly the House of Representatives. At the Politico, Byron Tau ignored this classless, tasteless partisan tack by supposed professionals:
Ah, Thanksgiving. A time for Americans to come together, be grateful for their blessings—and tell people with different politics to stuff it?
That's apparently Ed Schultz's take on the holiday. On his MSNBC show this evening, gloating over his presumption that taxes will be going up on the top 2%, Schultz sent this warm 'n fuzzy message to John Boehner: "think about it over your turkey and stuffing Speaker Boehner. And by the way, you can put some gravy on that--and you know the rest of the sentence." View the video after the jump.
CBS News political director John Dickerson all but crossed his fingers on Wednesday's CBS This Morning as he forwarded the idea of letting the country go over the looming fiscal cliff so President Obama could gain the political advantage: "There is an argument for actually...letting this happen. The President gets even more leverage."
Dickerson explained that "if the so-called fiscal cliff happens, taxes go up for everybody; then, you have a conversation about – not about raising taxes, but about, then, cutting taxes." So, the President and Congress will look good for supposedly cutting taxes after raising them?
It's been over a week since the Michael Bastasch at the Daily Caller exposed EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson's use of alias email accounts to conduct official business. A Monday evening Investor's Business Daily editorial noted that this practice is more than likely illegal, because "Federal law prohibits the government from using private emails for official communications unless they are appropriately stored and can be tracked" -- something which can hardly be done if non-flagged Jackson accounts are under names like "Richard Windsor."
Despite the obvious journalistic hot buttons of government secrecy and stonewalling (the Competitive Enterprise Institute has been trying through freedom of information requests since May and a lawsuit filed a few months later to get the EPA to reveal the contensts of "certain correspondence on the secondary email account assigned to" Ms. Jackson), establishment press coverage has been virtually non-existent.
During Friday’s broadcasts of the PBS's NewsHour and NPR’s All Things Considered, liberals continued with their narrative about the fiscal cliff, and how it’s not all that bad. Previously, Mark Shields and E.J. Dionne agreed with New York Times-style Republican David Brooks that they would go off the cliff. The Washington Post's E.J. Dionne equated it with the “will of the people.”
But now, the Post’s Ruth Marcus and E.J. Dionne insist that the cliff isn’t a cliff. It’s actually a well-defined “slope." But in the words of Joe Biden, “this is a big f***ing deal.”
The media's preoccupation with tax hikes over spending cuts continued on Sunday's State of the Union, with CNN's Candy Crowley pitching a millionaire's tax hike while not mentioning spending cuts once.
"Senator, there has been some thought on your side as well that perhaps $250,000, that if you could get the House to go along with something, that perhaps $250,000 is too low to be raising taxes, that maybe you could make it a genuine millionaires' tax that might be more palatable. What about something like that?" Crowley pressed Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.). [Video below the break. Audio here.]
Schlockumentary filmmaker Michael Moore had some straight talk for Barack Obama Monday.
In a letter to the President published at the perilously liberal Huffington Post, Moore advised Obama to "DRIVE THE RICH RIGHT OFF THEIR FISCAL CLIFF" while putting an end to "the s***ting on the poor."
In a Friday report at the Associated Press on Friday with a celebratory headline ("2 YEARS AFTER IPO, GM IS PILING UP CASH"), Auto Writer Tom Krisher described bailed-out General Motors as "thriving," but didn't identify one of the important reasons for that characterization.
In paragraphs about the company's profitability and cash stockpile, Krisher failed to note that the company still hasn't paid any U.S. income taxes since emerging from bankruptcy, or why that's the case (bolds are mine throughout this post):
Two ABC News stars have proven, once again, the media’s obsession with raising taxes over any effort to cut a cent of spending. Two days after the election, anchor Diane Sawyer repeatedly pushed House Speaker John Boehner to move away from a conservative position and agree to President Obama’s wish to hike income tax rates, but on Sunday’s This Week, Martha Raddatz refused to press House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi about getting Democrats to shift from their position and accede to any reduced spending.
Instead, she quizzed Pelosi about getting Republicans to accept a tax hike and how to get around such intransigence: “Have you seen any indication that the Republicans are open to raising rates?”
Nuns on the Bus tour leader Sister Simone Campbell appeared on MSNBC's The Cycle on Thursday afternoon to discuss her ministry, which predictably led to her left-wing agenda becoming the focal point of the conversation. The only host to take issue with her talking points was token conservative S.E. Cupp, who was armed with facts and figures that the good sister could not rebut except by adamantly insisting they were "really wrong." That's when it started getting a little tense. [ video below, MP3 audio here ]
Despite CNN correspondent Dana Bash's claim that "neither side has a really clear mandate" from the election, CNN anchors went ahead on Tuesday and Wednesday and pushed Republicans to admit that President Obama has a mandate to raise taxes by virtue of his party's election gains.
On Tuesday night, Piers Morgan called Paul Ryan's denial of a mandate "ridiculous, given President Obama was re-elected, he's got the perfect mandate. The American people have spoken and they've said, we're re-electing you. He can raise taxation if he wants to, can't he?" [Video below the break. Audio here.]
Well, there's one little bit of good news in Martin Crutsinger's final report on yesterday's release of the federal government's October Monthly Treasury Statement (I did a review of his initial take yesterday [at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog]). The good news is that Crutsinger, unlike in most months during the past several years I have reviewed such reports, actually identified the single-month amount of money the federal government spent in October, namely $304 billion. We'll see if he continues the practice of reporting single-month spending amounts in future months.
The rest of Crutsinger's coverage is typically pathetic and predictable. He failed to correctly define what the deficit really is for his readers, understated the impact on fiscal 2013 of any tax or spending decisions the President and Congress might agree on, ignored the likelihood that receipts in teh coming year are likely coming back to levels last seen in fiscal 2007 (meaning that virtually the entire problem facing the country has to do with spending, not collections), and engaged in the seemingly required exercise of blaming George W. Bush for running deficits (not disclosed as far smaller) and conducting wars Congress agreed to fight before Obama came into office. As I said, typically pathetic and predictable.
Unless today is a total surprise and runs contrary to most of what we've seen during the past four years, President Obama will go through another "news conference" without a great deal of difficult or aggressive questioning from the assembled press corps.
Carrie Budoff Brown and Josh Gerstein at the Politico seem to think otherwise, and have produced a lame list of seven questions they think Obama will be asked -- so lame that one of them has to do with recently passed marijuana-legalizing initiatives in the states of Washington and Colorado:
Oh, now they tell us. As Republicans lick their political wounds, Democrats bask in the glory of winning what was suppose to be a highly contested election, and Washington is abuzz about the looming fiscal cliff which will plunge millions of Americans into higher taxes, The New York Times’ Jonathan Weisman wrote today that liberals are now seeing some of Romney’s economic agenda as beneficial to the American middle class. You know, the people ‘Rich Mitt’ wanted to destroy.
Now that the partisan posturing can be tamped down a bit in the wake of the election, some Democrats and their boosters in the media are starting to see Republican policies as plausible avenues to help the American people.
We at NewsBusters and the Media Research Center are located just inside the Capital Beltway in Old Town Alexandria. If any place is going to have folks walking around aware of the so-called fiscal cliff -- when the Bush tax cuts expire and automatic spending cuts are set to kick in -- you'd think it would be here.
But MRCTV's Dan Josephfound that most folks on the street were unaware of the "fiscal cliff," with some thinking it's a famous landmark in a national park somewhere (video follows page break):
[UPDATE BELOW] CNN's Christine Romans and Soledad O'Brien teamed up on Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) on Tuesday's Starting Point, pressuring him to renege on his pledge not to raise tax rates.
"So would you be fine doing a compromise where you would go against your signature on that pledge?" O'Brien pressed Chaffetz over Grover Norquist's pledge not to hike tax rates and not to increase tax revenues without enacting equal tax rate cuts. She asked him if he would "say this to the pledge" while tearing up a piece of paper. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
CNBC’s Jim Cramer predicted a possible recession by Christmas if lawmakers didn’t step up and make some sort of deal in regards to the looming fiscal cliff. His prediction came during an Nov. 11 appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
“We can gift wrap a recession by Christmas. We can set it right into place without some agreement,” Cramer told “Meet the Press” host David Gregory. He attributed that week’s stock market drop to that same lack of certainty.
Last Friday, in his first post-election remarks on PBS and NPR, New York Times columnist David Brooks downplayed his usual bash- conservatives narrative, and actually castigated liberals for wanting to go over the looming fiscal cliff. He said that liberals are more organized, they’ve won the election, and will get most of what they yearn for if we do go over the waterfall: increased revenue, tax hikes, and cuts to defense spending.
Strangely, his liberal colleagues, Mark Shields on PBS and E.J. Dionne on NPR, seemed to agree with this claim – undercutting the notion that this "cliff" is dangerous to both parties.
Sounding more like a Democratic strategist on Sunday's Meet the Press than NBC's political director, Chuck Todd urged President Obama to force congressional Republicans into a corner on the fiscal cliff: "...go do it with 65-70 members of the Senate, cut the deal, bring it over to the House....box Boehner in....did the President learn anything from his first term about how to deal with congressional Republicans? Which is don't do it through the leadership."
Moments later, liberal pundit and historian Doris Kearns-Goodwin described how Obama could "build his mandate": "...he has to mobilize that base. That base was energized on election nigh....It's there to bring pressure on obstructionists if they don't get a deal done from the outside in....The Tea Party pressured everybody that summer, why can't his coalition, which is bigger, pressure people from the outside in?"
The Washington Post's Bob Woodward on The Chris Matthews Show Sunday not only called Democrat visions of balancing the budget by raising taxes on the rich a "fantasy," but he also said "there is a way to...raise more revenue and perhaps lower the rates" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Those in the press who claim to completely understand why stock market indices containing 30, 500, or thousands of individual companies went up or down on any given day are at best theorizing and at worst dissembling. The way the press handled this week's decline by blaming it all on the "fiscal cliff," as if it only became relevant on Wednesday morning, definitely fits in the latter category. Leading the pack, as usual, was the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press.
The Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq all advanced modestly on Monday and Tuesday, fell sharply beginning with Wednesday's opening bell through the end of Thursday before recovering a tiny bit on Friday. But if one is to believe the AP's Steve Rothwell, the large tax increases facing the U.S. on January 1 explain the entire week's results, even though the declines didn't begin until this little thing called a presidential election was concluded on Tuesday evening after a Monday and Tuesday when no one really knew which candidate would win:
Proudly claiming the legendary outlaw Robin Hood as their inspiration, liberal groups and past Occupy Wall Street supporters are pushing for a “Robin Hood Tax” on corporate transactions. George Soros’s Open Society Foundation, Bill Moyers’s Schumann Center for Media and Democracy and the liberal Tides Foundation and Proteus Fund have given over $4 million to organizations that support the tax, according to the official Robin Hood Tax website.
Support for The Robin Hood Tax has come from both Europe and the United States. Although they haven’t gotten specific about which corporate transactions would be taxed, advocates claim such a tax would raise hundreds of billions of dollars, which could then be used to promote social programs or climate change prevention initiatives. Many of its proponents also have ties to the Occupy Wall Street movement.
[UPDATED BELOW] CNN's Soledad O'Brien showed her glaring liberal double standard on Thursday, citing a liberal source to debunk Mitt Romney's tax plan while casting its supporters as either "completely partisan" or unworthy sources.
Her source, the Tax Policy Center, is the joint venture of two liberal think tanks, but since the American Enterprise Institute is a "conservative think tank" O'Brien threw water on the credibility of its support for Romney's tax plan. And she herself cited a TPC blog post attacking Romney's plan, but wouldn't accept a defense of the plan because it was a "blog post."
CNN's Anderson Cooper cited the liberal Tax Policy Center debunking Mitt Romney's tax plan on Monday, without noting that one of the authors admitted the plan could still work with different assumptions. He waited until the end of his report to admit that the studies in question were "making assumptions."
"[A] bipartisan panel of three authors for the Tax Policy Center examined the plan and concluded that there's really no way of making the numbers work, that is, unless the middle class pays more," Cooper reported on the night before Tuesday's presidential debate. That is misleading, since the study admitted reliance on "certain assumptions" and one of its authors said the plan could work. The TPC report was released in August.
Reviewing the questions posed at Thursday night's vice presidential debate, ABC correspondent Martha Raddatz clearly favored Team Obama. Out of 48 discrete questions and follow-ups, a plurality (19, or 40%) incorporated a pro-Obama/Biden or anti-Romney/Ryan agenda, vs. 25% (12 questions) that skewed in the other direction and 35% (17 questions) that were neutral or purely information-seeking.
Raddatz showed almost no bias in her foreign policy questions, which split down the middle: eight pro-Romney vs. seven pro-Obama (not counting the neutrals). But on domestic issues, especially on the budget and taxes, she practically joined Joe Biden in pounding on Paul Ryan, with a dozen questions that incorporated liberal campaign themes, compared to just four based on a conservative premises, a stark three-to-one liberal tilt.
As the GOP candidate for vice president in the November 6 national election, Wisconsin Republican Paul Ryan is interviewed by dozens of local and national reporters every day, and most of the discussions are straightforward and informative.
However, one conversation on Monday led Ryan to observe that the last question from Terry Camp, a reporter from WJRT-TV, ABC 12 in Flint, Michigan, was "kind of strange. You're trying to stuff words in people's mouths."
Camp did not try to deny Ryan's accusation other than to say: "Well, I don't know if it's strange."
This election has seen its fair share of tax rhetoric. From Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) accusing Mitt Romney of not paying any taxes for over a decade to MSNBC contributor Joan Walsh insinuating that Ann Romneythrew a “tantrum” over her husband's tax returns, the Romneys have been the target of the political left seeking to use class warfare as a political cudgel. Endless ads and news segments by some in the media obsess over Mitt’s rate of taxation, complaining that he doesn't pay what's fair.
Dr. Thomas Sowell's "'Trickle Down Theory' and 'Tax Cuts for the Rich'" has just been published by the Hoover Institution. Having read this short paper, the conclusion you must reach is that the term "trickle down theory" is simply a tool of charlatans and political hustlers.
Sowell states that "no such theory has been found in even the most voluminous and learned histories of economic theories." That's from a scholar who has published extensively in the history of economic thought. Several years ago, Sowell, in his syndicated column, challenged anyone to name an economist from any economic school of thought who had actually advocated a "trickle down" theory. To date, no one has quoted any economist who ever advocated such a theory. Trickle down is a nonexistent theory. Those who use it simply argue against a caricature rather than confront an argument actually made.