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.
I originally thought that the story of Linda Morrison which will follow after the jump would be all about the Obama campaign completely misreading the situation surrounding a question asked of GOP vice-presidential nominee at a Clinton County, Iowa town hall forum. It turns out that it's actually biased reports from their good friends in the establishment press which led the overeager campaign to do something embarrassing.
Here's how Shushannah Walshe at ABC News described the question Ryan was asked and the answer he gave (bolds are mine throughout this post):
On Thursday's NBC Today, in an attempt to deflect from Mitt Romney's strong debate performance, fill-in co-host David Gregory grilled Romney advisor Ed Gillespie on the Governor's tax plan: "...he wants to extend the Bush tax cuts, he wants to have further tax cuts beyond that, he wants to increase military spending and he rejected a 10 to 1 ratio when it came to cutting spending and raising revenue. So the math simply doesn't add up, does it?"
There have been six studies now that have analyzed what Governor Romney has proposed in terms of lowering tax rates and expanding the base. We've done that in the past in our country's history, it's resulted in economic growth. It would result in economic growth again. And six of those studies says – say that this could be done, very credible studies, without increasing the deficit.
Time's assistant managing editor Rana Foroohar could have been mistaken as an Obama campaign flack during CBS's post-presidential debate coverage on Wednesday night, with her claim that "the key issue is, really, taxes, and I think that you have to wonder whether Romney's math adds up." She asserted, "There's a bigger math issue here, and that's whether or not lowering tax rates actually creates jobs and growth, and I would argue that, factually, it doesn't."
Foroohar also boosted the incumbent's massive stimulus spending, and held up communist China as a model: "I think what the President tried to convince voters, is that investment is going to create growth...and I think that there's a case to be made for that. If you look at where jobs are going - to places like China - infrastructure spending is much higher. There's a lot more investment in those, sort of, basic competitiveness issues. Unfortunately, I don't think the President made that point sharply enough." [audio available here; video below the jump]
A Romney campaign senior adviser blistered CNN's Soledad O'Brien on Wednesday morning, quipping that "I know you have your talking points" before citing an independent study to attack Obama's jobs record. O'Brien later retorted that "Only one person who is spinning at this moment, and that would be you."
Romney advisers and supporters could make a habit of mocking Soledad O'Brien's bias on CNN. Romney surrogate John Sununu has twice gone after O'Brien in such fashion, telling her she should be ashamed to be parroting Obama talking points and that she should put an Obama sticker on her forehead. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
In an item which talks about a "secret retreat" planned by eight senators which is so "secret" that it's getting a two-page story, the Politico's John Bresnahan and Jake Sherman write that "If polls stay steady, (House Speaker John) Boehner will be at the helm of a House filled with Republicans disappointed that Obama will have another four years in the White House."
Uh, last time I checked, pollsters' results can hold steady or go in whatever cooked or uncooked directions they wish, and they still won't determine the outcome of the election. Ballots by voters and the presumably accurate inclusion and counting of such ballots will. Besides, as will be shown, there are even more valid reasons to question poll results now than in the past. Several paragraphs from the rest of B&S's BS, which is apparently designed to get the country ready to accept "revenue" (i.e., tax) increases, follow the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post).
The Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, has been running a series of "Why It Matters" items in the run-up to the presidential election purporting to educate readers about important issues.
Reporter Stephen Ohlemacher's contribution to the series concerning Social Security opens with a bald-faced fib, omits the fact that the system's benefit payments and costs have exceed payroll tax collections for several years, and doubles down on the fib at the end. His opening sentence and other excerpts follow the jump:
Mark Sumner at the Daily Kos demands that reporters point out that supply-side economics is a complete fantasy. "Any politician who promises to right the economy through cutting taxes on the wealthy might as well invoke the Easter Bunny, and any reporter who fails to point this out is failing the public."
Conservatives believe in a supply-side Sasquatch? "There is a difference between believing in the existence of Bigfoot and counting on reducing taxes on the rich as a way to boost the economy. Bigfoot is simply very, very unlikely. Conservative economics are a myth." The Reagan Recovery is a myth?
He clearly doesn't suffer from a shortage of chutzpah.
According to the Politico's Josh Gerstein, President Barack Obama was asked the following question by The View's Barabara Walters in a Monday appearance to be broadcast on Tuesday: "What would be so terrible if Mitt Romney were elected? Would it be disastrous for the country?" His response: "We can survive a lot. But the American people don't want to just survive. We want to thrive. I've just got a different vision of how we grow an economy. We grow fastest when the middle class is doing well."
CNN's Candy Crowley on Sunday oddly went counter to the liberal media meme concerning Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney's taxes.
In a State of the Union discussion on the subject with Senators Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Crowley actually said, "It is the IRS system and he took advantage of it which I do, which I assume both of you do" (video follows with transcribed highlights and commentary):
Repeating a common mythology that a person’s federal income tax rate equals the effective tax rate they actually pay after deductions, ABC’s Jonathan Karl on Friday night forwarded the canard that Mitt Romney’s 14.1 percent rate is lower than what a $75,000 earner pays. NBC’s Peter Alexander, however, correctly noted “the average middle class American family pays roughly 13 percent.”
On World News, Karl reported that Mitt Romney “made $13.7 million last year and paid nearly $2 million in taxes. His effective tax rate, 14.1 percent.” Then, without citing any source, Karl asserted: “That’s a lower rate than an auto mechanic who made $75,000 in pay.”
The more I watch MSNBC's Martin Bashir, the more I believe he has difficulty finding the floor in the morning when he wakes up.
Consider Thursday's program when he actually told his tiny audience that the rich seeing bigger income gains than the rest of country the past 30 years is "redistribution" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
The same networks that have been hyping secret video of Mitt Romney talking about who pays taxes, hyperventilating about the Republican's "seismic" bombshell," have, thus far, completely ignored the revelation from the Congressional Budget Office that "significantly" more Americans will have to pay a "tax penalty" for being uninsured, many in the middle class.
All three evening newscasts on Wednesday and the morning shows on Thursday totally skipped this report. The Associated Press explained, "The new estimate amounts to an inconvenient fact for the administration, a reminder of what critics see as broken promises." Writer Ricardo Alonzo-Zaldivar added, "Nonetheless, in his first campaign for the White House, Obama pledged not to raise taxes on individuals making less than $200,000 a year and couples making less than $250,000."
Patricia Zengerle's coverage of U.S. Senate candidate Tim Kaine at Reuters assumes that the Democratic former Virginia Governor committed the mother of all gaffes today. I'm not so sure. It may be that David Corn's secret video of Mitt Romney commenting on the 47 percent of Americans who pay no income taxes and are dependent on the government is sending polling data in the opposite direction from what was intended and is starting to rattle Democrats.
The New York Times wasn't impressed with the Romney campaign's counterattack on Obama after the media-inflated "47% controversy," judging by the headline over Thursday's brief story by reporter Richard Oppel: "Seeking to Turn Topic To Evils of Redistribution." The online version of the story (excerpted below) included four biased additional paragraphs at the end, but the headline at least left off the implied mockery of the Romney camp for guiding reporters to an old audio clip of Obama saying "I actually believe in redistribution."
After front-page coverage of the surreptitiously recorded (and possibly edited) clip of Romney talking about the 47% of Americans who don't pay income taxes, the Times was in no mood to provide Romney any counterplay. Oppel took pains to point out that the old Obama segment was "carefully clipped," implying it was misleading, before vigorously defending Obama and making liberal bleats about how America "has seen a significant redistribution of incomes over the past generation – from the poor and middle class to the rich, and especially to the very rich...."
Mitt Romney’s traveling press secretary walked to the back of the candidate’s plane midflight on Tuesday and teasingly asked a pair of journalists in an exit row if they were “willing and able to assist in case of an emergency.”
Under the circumstances, it was hard to tell whether it was a question or a request.
Bob Schieffer all but broke out the death certificate for Mitt Romney's campaign on Tuesday's CBS Evening News and Wednesday's CBS This Morning, emphasizing the negative impact of the secretly-recorded videos released by the left-wing magazine Mother Jones: "I just can't think of anything that he could have said that could have hurt his cause more than what he said."
Schieffer claimed that "this was just an extraordinary moment," and later added that "it would seem to confirm the perception that a lot of people have, and it seems to confirm the image that the Obama campaign has been pushing...that he is out of touch, that...he doesn't have to deal with the kind of problems that other people do...I think it's a very serious thing here."
New York Times reporters Annie Lowrey (pictured) and Michael Cooper issued a hostile account on Wednesday poking at Romney's surreptitiously taped comments at a fundraiser about the 47% of Americans who don't pay income taxes, "Much of Romney's View on Taxes Conflicts With Longtime G.O.P. Stand." Was Romney truly "join[ing] the battle on social programs," as the opening line stated? And can Erick Erickson of Red State possibly just be a conservative activist, as opposed to a "conservative firebrand."
Tuesday's TimesCast on nytimes.com opened with a discussion of the "devastating" and "horrible moment" for Mitt Romney's presidential campaign that was the surreptitiously recorded video of Romney speaking at a fundraiser in Florida in May noting “47 percent of Americans pay no income tax." According to host Megan Liberman, Romney's words "seems to feed perfectly into the Obama campaign's narrative about Romney, that he's just a guy who doesn't care about regular people."
Liberman: "The Romney campaign is playing defense today after the release of this hidden camera video. National political correspondent Jim Rutenberg joins me now to talk about it. So Jim, is this just another gaffe, or is this video really as devastating as a lot of people on both the right and the left are saying that it is?"
NBC and CBS felt compelled Tuesday night to fact check Mitt Romney’s assertion “47 percent of Americans pay no income tax” and both had to acknowledge his accuracy, but then tried to undermine Romney’s point. Noting the statistic had become “Tea Party mantra,” NBC’s Andrea Mitchell allowed “it’s true that approximately 47 percent of Americans do not pay federal income taxes, as Mitt Romney said, but,” she quickly added, “not because they are living off of the 53 percent.”
Over on CBS, Anthony Mason relayed how “Roberton Williams with the non-partisan Tax Policy Center says, to be precise, 46.4 percent of Americans pay no federal tax. But,” Mason insisted, “it’s more complicated than that.”
Liberal Washington Post associate editor Bob Woodward appeared on the September 17 C-SPAN program Washington Journal to hawk his new book The Price of Politics.
In the process, Woodward promoted the same stale narrative that compromise is dead in Washington mostly because of those rascally, conservative Republicans, but sought to import a fair measure of melodrama to the stalemate in Washington using the words of a Biden aide to describe the summer's debt ceiling crisis as “an economic Cuban Missile Crisis."
Like their colleagues on NBC's Today show, Monday's CBS This Morning forwarded a recent Politico report about supposed "turmoil inside the Romney campaign," which was stuffed with unnamed sources. Norah O'Donnell spotlighted "this finger-pointing that's going on...and whether or not they mismanaged the messaging in terms of Romney's big convention speech." John Dickerson hyped that "what's extraordinary about this, is that it's all happening in public."
O'Donnell also touted "four different national polls that show that Obama now has the lead on the issue of taxes over Romney. I mean, that has traditionally been where most people trust Republicans more than Democrats."
Late last week, the campaign team for Wendy Long (R-NY) filed a press release accusing Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) of filing false tax returns in 2010. Long is currently running against Gillibrand for her U.S. Senate seat.
Citing what they refer to as an "impossible transaction", Long's team asserted that Gillibrand's tax return had mischaracterized the sale of 80 shares of Sears Holding Corp. stocks. Additionally, the campaign openly wondered why the New York Times had no interest in the story.
Celebrities have certainly been doing their part to get their beloved President Obama elected – including parroting wild speculations from Democratic politicians about Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s taxes.
Hip-hop artist Kanye West took a shot at Mitt Romney in “To the World,” a song on his new album Cruel Summer. West referenced a speculation by some on the left that Romney is a tax dodger saying: “I’m just trying to protect my stacks / Mitt Romney don’t pay no tax.”
Yesterday, Uncle Sam's Monthly Treasury Statement for August officially confirmed the Congressional Budget Office's Monday estimate of how horrid it would be. The August deficit, driven by $369.393 billion in spending, the highest such single-month total in U.S. history, was $190.533 billion, the largest August deficit ever reported.
Naturally, Daniel Wagner at the Associated Press failed to report either record. Additionally, as seen here (saved at host for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes), the wire service's news prioritizers had already removed Wagner's report from its top ten business stories by 5:05 p.m., only 2-1/2 hours after its 2:32 p.m. time stamp (apparently more important: Microsoft's malware problem in China and a second story on the new iPhone 5). Excerpts follow the jump.
David Gregory teased Sunday's Meet the Press by highlighting a clip of himself pushing Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney to upset conservatives in getting a budget deal, presumably by agreeing to raise taxes. “We go behind the scenes and on the record with Governor Romney less than two months before the election to press him on how he will turn around the economy and solve the nation’s debt crisis.”
NBC then showed Gregory pressing Romney: “Are you prepared to cut a deal with Democrats that would cause conservatives to revolt? Is it that important to get a deal to get us away from this fiscal cliff?”