Rampell’s word choice sent the message (perhaps unconsciously) that income isn’t earned through hard work or talent but is instead passively and undeservedly “received,” distributed by some nameless but powerful entity.
Typically, comments about rising inequality refer to the stark disparities in incomes of the very highest-paid Americans and everyone. We have observed in several posts, for example, that most of the income gains over the last few decades have gone to the very richest Americans. That means the highest-paid Americans have been claiming a larger and larger share of earnings.
Rampell even composed a chart “showing what percentage of all of America’s income (including capital gains) is going to each of several income classes, today versus previous years.”
Within the same sentence, MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell spurned the budget repair law crafted by Republican Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin as "drastic" and celebrated a similar plan championed by Democratic Mayor Antonia Villaraigosa of Los Angeles as "a good deal."
On the March 25 edition of "Andrea Mitchell Reports," the daytime anchor praised the Democratic budget bill in Los Angeles as a "landmark deal" that "greatly increases workers's health care and pension contributions" after mischaracterizing the Republican plan as an attempt to "fight union workers by drastically cutting their pension and health plans."
Former CNBC anchor Donny Deutsch went ballistic Thursday on "Morning Joe" over the situation in Wisconsin. Deutsch called the Republican majority in the state capital "a fascist regime" after they rushed a vote Wednesday night to curb most collective bargaining for public sector workers.
"This is a governor that would not sit down at the table with these people, the Democrats, they walked away," Deutsch ranted. "Now he's doing whatever sleazy, end-run – this is not what this country is built on. This is a fascist regime."
Both Deutsch and MSNBC political analyst Harold Ford were audibly dismayed at the procedural move by the Republicans that caught the opposition in complete surprise, but it was an unashamed Deutsch who doubled down on his criticism by arguing that Gov. Walker and the Republicans were totalitarian.
Less than two weeks into his new gig anchoring the 3 p.m. Eastern hour at MSNBC, Martin Bashir has already called the Tea Party "disingenuous," hailed Obama's response to the crisis in Libya, and supported raising taxes on the rich.
This afternoon Bashir added another item to that liberal laundry list.
While President Barack Obama was delivering a speech on education reform in Boston, the former ABC "Nightline" anchor seized on the opportunity to advance the fallacious narrative that Republican governors across the country are trying to vilify public school teachers.
The Wisconsin public sector unions, in agreeing to compromise on their pensions and benefits in exchange for collective bargaining, have apparently done all they could to negotiate with the state's governor – according to "Morning Joe" co-host Mika Brzezinski Tuesday. The self-confessed Democrat for whom appeal to sentiment is second-nature, Brzezinski painted the governor as "cold" and "mean" in the eyes of Wisconsin voters, to whom the union has "given blood."
"The union has given blood to this guy. They've given everything he's wanted," Brzezinski lamented. "I don't know what more they can do for him."
Brzezinski highlighted polls of Wisconsin voters, which show a majority now have an unfavorable view of the governor. "You know what the voters are saying?" she rhetorically asked. "He's cold. And he's mean. And he doesn't care about the little guy." Wow, it sounds like someone's getting coal in his stocking next Christmas.
On MSNBC's "Daily Rundown" today, Steve Liesman robustly defended raising gasoline taxes as a way to address rising oil prices.
The CNBC senior economics reporter minced no words to show his support for hiking the unpopular consumption tax in the midst of a sluggish economic recovery: "I want to offer that one of the real solutions here is a gas tax."
After positing that the problem with oil prices "is not that they're high, it's how they oscillate," Liesman claimed higher gas taxes "would accomplish two things: one, it would create incentives to use less of it and two, create a little more certainty around the price, which by the way is one of the things making gasoline a bad fuel for the economy."
ABC and NBC touted the Obama administration's new report on women by leading their evening news shows with it on Tuesday. Diane Sawyer gushed over the "huge new report," while NBC's Savannah Guthrie trumpeted the "first comprehensive White House report on women since...Kennedy asked Eleanor Roosevelt to lead a study." CBS also highlighted the report on Evening News and on The Early Show the next day.
NBC's Brian Williams, during his introduction to correspondent Savannah Guthrie's report, proclaimed how "the White House reported some new numbers today about women in this country, and while, in many ways, women continue to pass men by, an old problem is just as bad, just as serious, and it continues to hold women back economically." After noting the gains by women in terms of college attendance, Williams continued that the problem was "the pay gap in the workplace, and that hasn't changed."
Guthrie began with her Eleanor Roosevelt line, and continued that the report "paints a portrait of a modern woman- less June Cleaver, more Liz Lemon" (Tina Fey's character from "30 Rock"). She then spouted some of the figures from the Obama administration document:
Jon Stewart's latest anti-conservative screed included a satirical defense of top income earners and a tongue-in-cheek plea for teachers to pay their fair share, in the wake of the Wisconsin protests. On Monday's "Daily Show," the Comedy Central host offered a shallow assessment of the entire Wisconsin situation with not a single critical look at the state's public sector unions.
Stewart's simplistic take on events is that teachers are being unduly bullied by Republicans and the wealthy to help solve the budget crisis in this country. What could help, he opined, would be boosting taxes on the "top two percent" of income earners.
"Hey you know, one thing we could do – not extend the Bush tax cuts to the top two percent of the country. That would earn us $700 billion over the next ten years," Stewart remarked to applause. "Oh, oh, and maybe also we could close some corporate tax loopholes."
Chuck Todd has developed an interesting device to delegitimize support for Gov. Scott Walker, depicting his backers as uneducated, frustrated, blue-collar people who are willing to "lash out at government workers."
Yup, there's no respectable basis to support Walker and his call for reforms on a collective bargaining system that has nearly wrecked Wisconsin and many other states. No, there's just the irrational reaction of the embittered, ignorant masses.
Todd offered his analysis on today's Morning Joe in explaining that the Obama administration is backing off a bold stand on Wisconsin, given its swing-state status.
James Taranto could be the best columnist around. Every day at his Best of the Web at the Wall Street Journal online, Taranto turns out an original, often unconventional, conservative take on the news, regularly managing to leaven the message with humor.
Rush today rightly extolled Taranto's column of yesterday, in which he made the point that there is a vast, inherent difference between private and public sector unions. In the former case, unions are negotiating against corporate interests. In the latter, unions are, by definition, organizing against the interests of the public itself.
Surely even Cenk Uygur understands this. So when Cenk suggests, as he did on his MSNBC show this evening, that without unions public employees would be "at the mercy" of "corporate executives," it seems fair to accuse him of . . . fraud.
On the February 22 edition of "American Morning," CNN's Carol Costello framed the ongoing budget debate in Wisconsin as a struggle between embattled middle class workers and corporatist Republicans with ulterior motives, parroting SEIU President Mary Kay Henry to warn viewers that "corporate America is about to win big time."
"Henry says corporate America save themselves money in wages by lining the pockets of Republicans running for statewide offices," regurgitated Costello. "According to followthemoney.org, in the 2009-2010 election cycle, business interests donated $878 million to candidates running for governor and other statewide offices across the country, that includes hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations for Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin and John Kasich of Ohio."
While those figures are not in dispute, Costello failed to hold Democrats and their Big Labor financiers to a similar standard: "And Democrats say there is another reason Republicans want to gut unions. Organized labor donates hundreds of millions of dollars to candidates like Barack Obama. So if you weaken the unions, you weaken a traditional moneyed supporter of the Democratic Party."
On Tuesday's CBS Early Show, correspondent Michelle Miller reported on planned closures of 2,000 U.S. Post Office locations: "...in this age of digital communications, online bill paying, and Federal Express, are physical post offices still relevant?" She seemed to answer her own question: "Folks are not going to let this go down without a fight...It's what makes their community whole."
During her report, Miller explained how the government subsidized organization had "a record deficit this year of $8.5 billion, the Postal Service loses a staggering $23 million a day and is facing a growing number of problems." Even so, she played on the emotions of viewers, interviewing an elderly New Jersey man named Harold Schutzman, who explained: "[I] got a friend there at the desk, Gary. I can't get into the paying by e-mail."
Ed Schultz on Tuesday spent a great deal of time blaming the crisis in Egypt on rising food prices tying commodity inflation to former President George H.W. Bush and Wall Street speculators.
Not once in over fifteen minutes of air time were the name Bill Clinton or the two bills he signed into law that deregulated the financial services and commodity futures industries mentioned (videos follow with partial transcripts and commentary):
Since its inception, NewsBusters has informed readers of the tendency of liberal media members to completely make up economic data when it fits their agenda.
Not surprisingly, this happened on Friday's "Real Time" when host Bill Maher brought up Reaganomics and MSNBC's Rachel Maddow proudly told - she even stood up to tell this whopper! - a 100 percent falsehood about income gains during that era (video follows with transcript and commentary):
For Chrystia Freeland, the thought of only taxing wealthy estates 35 percent is "destructive to the fabric of America." The Reuters global editor-at-large went on a ear-piercing tear this afternoon on MSNBC's "Dylan Ratigan Show," stoking the flames of class warfare.
"[The wealthy] were just born–it's the lucky sperm club, right?" screeched Freeland. "I don't think American wealth should be determined by that."
Politics Daily contributor Matt Lewis, for his part, tried to maintain a civil discourse, but Freeland repeatedly interrupted him to interject her inflammatory rhetoric.
"I thought the philosophy was against a landed gentry," asserted an indignant Freeland. "I thought the philosophy was against an aristocracy. I thought the American way was you build it yourself and everyone was born equal."
The Wall Street Journal can't seem to decide whether Sarah Palin is knowledgable on monetary policy or not.
WSJ reporter Sudeep Reddy criticized Palin's "inflation hyperbole" in an article Tuesday, claiming that, contrary to Palin's claims, "Grocery prices haven’t risen all that significantly."
"Do Wall Street Journal reporters read the Wall Street Journal?" Palin shot back in a Facebook post, noting that the Journal itself had raised concerns about grocery prices mere days ago. "An inflationary tide is beginning to ripple through America's supermarkets and restaurants," an article claimed on Thursday.
One of the more egregious results of the Democrat-controlled Congress skipping town without passing a budget, thus failing to address the issue of whether scheduled income tax increases will really go into effect for everyone, the highest income-earners, or no one at all, is that the Internal Revenue Service and employers have been left in the lurch with no idea of how to prepare for next year. As I understand it, at a minimum this is the first time in a very long time that something like this has occurred, and it may be unprecedented.
The issue is getting a half-decent amount of play in the business press, but as a general news item, it's going almost nowhere, even though some employers are already telling employees they will have to withhold more starting on January 1, 2011 if no action is taken in Washington.
At the Associated Press's main web site, the one story about the withholding issue written by Andrew Taylor that went up early this morning plays a shady game of "Y'know, it really won't be all that bad if the increases are only in effect during the early part of next year." See if you can detect what I'm referring to in the following excerpt:
Appearing as a guest on Wednesday’s The Ed Show on MSNBC, Newsweek’s Jonathan Alter applauded President Obama for bringing "poetry" back into the campaign as he cited former New York Democratic Governor Mario Cuomo’s famous saying about campaigning "in poetry" and governing "in prose." Alter: "Look, he (Obama) overlearned Mario Cuomo's famous lesson. Cuomo said you campaign in poetry and govern in prose. And he took that too much to heart. He's been governing too much in prose. Finally, he's beginning to bring some of the poetry back, the poetry that moves people and inspires people. And it's about time."
The Newsweek columnist went on to credit President Obama with preventing another Great Depression after host Ed Schultz lamented that Obama is not receiving credit for recent gains in the stock market. Alter: "He saved them. He saved their fortunes. We were headed for a depression. We were losing 750,000 jobs a month when he took over. If we'd stayed on pace, we would have had another Great Depression in late 2009. He saved them."
So we’re back to this again? We’re 21 days out of the midterm elections and the media are back looking to capitalize on anti-Wall Street sentiments.
On the Oct. 13 broadcast of NBC’s “Today,” host Matt Lauer referenced an Oct. 12 Wall Street Journal report to his guest, CNBC’s Jim Cramer, about Wall Street pay hitting a record $144 billion. Lauer, of course, just looked at the headline without examining exactly why pay on Wall Street reached that level. (The Journal cites “firms, benefiting from low interest rates and strong international markets” as a reason.) Instead Lauer argued that executives were somehow solely responsible for the financial collapse – not the irresponsible borrowers and asleep-at-the-wheel regulators – and therefore not entitled to such pay.
“Well you see, bubble’s a complicated term because a bubble to me implies that you’re never going to get your money back,” Cramer said. “People say that there's bubble in bonds – you will get money back just you may not do that well. Bubble in Chinese real estate – entirely possible. The Chinese economy is a growth economy and can sustain a bubble in one area and not others. The gold bubble is what people talk about. They talk about it when gold’s down for a given day but -- I think as our resident gold expert, I mean you could tell us – finding costs have gone up. There’s just not a lot around.”
Perhaps it was just a publicity stunt for his impending MSNBC show, but Lawrence O'Donnell went Crazy Larry on Morning Joe today. The lefty host of The Last Word unleashed on an unlikely target: AFL-CIO head Richard Trumka.
What ignited Larry's tirade was Trumka's professed concern for the contract-negotiations plight of professional football players. O'Donnell was outraged that the union honcho was spending his time on the millionaires of the NFL rather than workers such as miners who merit more concern. Sample lines: "Exactly how many minutes of your day do you spend worrying about $15-million football players? Is this the biggest waste of your attention that could possibly come your way? Is it embarrassing for you to have to talk about these guys?"
As the not-so "recovery summer" draws to an end, many are scratching heads, wondering what it will take for the economy to pull out of this recession.
According to Maria Bartiromo, host of CNBC's "Closing Bell," it will be political change in Washington, D.C. In an appearance on NBC's Sept. 7 "Today," she said the best stimulus would be a Republican-controlled House of Representatives.
"This is probably the single most important catalyst for the stock market right now," Bartiromo said. "I think that the perception of confidence, the perception that perhaps we won't see tremendous change in terms of higher expenses in 2011 if we were to see the Republicans gain control of the House, it will probably be a positive for the stock market.
Want to see a textbook example of how the left has tried to frame the debate against extending the Bush tax cuts? Take a look at Cenk Uygur, of "The Young Turks" fame, playing the class warfare/populism card.
On MSNBC's Aug. 17 broadcast of "The Dylan Ratigan Show," Uygur was up in arms over the argument that taxes shouldn't be raised by allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire. He alluded to Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett, who made the case in 2007 that the wealthy should give more to society.
"Look at what Warren Buffett said," Uygur said. "He's talking to 400 wealthy donors and he says, ‘Look, the 400 of us pay a lower part of our income in taxes than the receptionists do, than our cleaning ladies do. For that matter, if you're in the luckiest 1 percent of humanity, you owe it to the rest of humanity to think about the other 99 percent.'"
And Buffett has been a long-time advocate of higher tax rates - something easy to be for when you're one of the richest men in the world. However, Uygur says it's not good enough for Buffett to be charitable. According to Uygur, this "giving" must come in the form of "mandatory" higher taxes.
In late July, NB Contributing Editor Tom Blumer busted the Associated Press for neglecting to mention the party affiliations of scandal-plagued officials in Bell, California. The AP piece was one of hundreds of reports on the scandal. Of those hundreds, one solitary report mentioned party labels for the five officials.
Can you guess which party they belong to? I'll bet you can.
The only news outlet that mentioned the officials were Democrats was the Orange County Register. And even that paper noted the absence of party labels only in response to reader complaints. "Our readers noticed one part of the story has been left out by virtually all media sources," the paper's editorial board wrote. "All five council members are members of the Democratic Party."
The most prominent of the officials in question, former Bell city manager Robert Rizzo, resigned after it came to light that he was making $1.5 million per year - in a town with a per capita income languishing at about half the national average.
Ed Schultz on Thursday blamed Republicans for all the unemployed people living in America today.
As he began the most recent installment of the "Ed Show" on MSNBC, the host said, "The Republican Party has been on a crusade against the middle class and the poor for the last 30 years. We're now seeing the wreckage of that race to the bottom line culture."
He disgracefully continued, "Today a government report showed weekly jobless claims at a five-month high. 484,000 new unemployment claims were filed in the week ending August 7th. And you know what folks, you can lay this right at the feet, right at the altar of the Republican Party."
Sadly, he wasn't close to done, claiming, "The people you see flooding the streets begging for help, begging for an opportunity are victims of the Republican agenda just to make sure that President Obama fails" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
While ABC and NBC ignored a Monday USA Today report that found a significant gap in compensation between public and private sector employees, on Tuesday's CBS Evening News, correspondent Sharyl Attkisson provided a full story: "While many Americans have suffered pay cuts or job losses, one group is bucking the trend – federal workers."
Attkisson described how the "analysis finds that federal employees have gotten bigger pay and benefit increases than private employees for nine years straight." She cited numbers from the report: "Federal salaries have grown 33% faster than inflation. Their pay and benefits average $123,000, up 37% since 2000. Private workers average $61,000, up just 8.8% over the same time."
In addition, Attkisson included a sound bite from Cato Institute budget analyst Tad Dehaven: "So you have Wall Street, you have big oil, and now you have federal civilians." She went to note: "And the bonuses are flowing. CBS News has learned your tax dollars funded $95.8 million in airport security TSA bonuses last year. A $35,000 bonus to the head of the agency."
As media predictably pound the table for Congress to allow the Bush tax cuts to expire, an interesting analysis by Washington Post contributor Robert J. Samuelson should raise a caution flag.
Higher taxes inhibit couples from having children which in other developed nations has led to longterm economic paralysis.
In a western civilization that got drunk on entitlement programs in the previous century, population growth is essential as all of these schemes have a Ponzi component to them: they only work if you continually have new people entering the system to pay for those collecting benefits.
As Samuelson outlined in the Post Monday, our federal income tax structure is quite at odds with our best interests as a nation:
In liberal reporters' minds, the "more perfect union" referenced in the Preamble to the Constitution is a more perfect labor union.
In an August 6 ABCNews.com story about pay raises for the middle class, reporter Ray Sanchez found a few reasons for "median wage stagnation" including the decline of organized labor. He also cited a common liberal talking point -- the "erosion" of the minimum wage.