On Saturday, Washington Post reporters Lori Montgomery and Paul Kane fretted, with the help of several leftists they quoted, that sequestration might not cause enough pain. Given that the so-called "cuts" under discussion are really "reductions in projected spending growth," that is a legitimate fear if your perspective is that government shouldn't ever shrink under any circumstances.
Rush Limbaugh was correct on Tuesday when he noted that the Post let the "sky is falling" mask slip in it report. Several paragraphs, followed by a bit of Rush's reaction, follow the jump.
Just three days after the inauguration, a White House official told The Hill's Erik Wasson that the Obama administration would be nine days late in presenting its budget blueprint, going to Congress on February 13 with the multi-volume spending plan instead of the February 4 deadline set by federal law. This marks the third year in a row that the president has missed the budgetary deadline.
Well, yesterday, the deadline came and went, only this time White House press secretary Jay Carney informed reporters that the White House had no firm date on when the budget would be released, refusing to give reporters an approximate release date and turning to predictable talking points in which he bashed congressional Republicans, you know, the guys who actually passed a budget plan last year. From the White House website:
Reporters have repeatedly portrayed Barack Obama as a deficit hawk committed to "slashing" spending, as MRC Research Director Rich Noyes documented in April ahead of the president's much-anticipated budget speech.
While the media touted Obama's budget blueprint, which contained puny cuts, as "deeply painful," CBO Director Doug Elmendorf told Congress the president's framework lacked sufficient detail to be scored as a credible plan.
Since then, Obama still hasn't revealed a serious plan to cut spending, yet correspondents continue to paint the president as a budget cutter.
Jaws dropped across the nation’s capital at the audacious annihilation of the truth on the front page of the February 15 Washington Post. The top headline read “Obama budget makes deep cuts, cautious trades.” It’s another day at the Post, where every day is an April Fool’s joke.
Reporter Lori Montgomery didn’t exactly say “deep cuts” in her first sentence. She explained that Obama’s budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2012 made “surgical cuts and cautious trade-offs.” But two paragraphs later, the reporter admitted “the president’s offer to freeze funding for domestic programs would produce minimal savings in the short term.” That doesn’t match the “deep cuts” headline in large, bold type – because there are none.
"Obama budget makes deep cuts, cautious trades," blared the February 15 print edition headline for Washington Post staffer Lori Montgomery's page A1 story on President Obama's 2012 budget plan. "[The] Focus [is]on education, energy and research," a subheadline approvingly added.
In the lead paragraph, Montgomery hailed Obama's spending blueprint as "full of surgical cuts and cautious trade-offs."
By contrast, a Republican plan for the spending blueprint for the rest of 2011 was cast as a "plan with drastic -- and painful -- cuts" in a page A13 headline*.
The second headline on washingtonpost.com Friday morning highlights "High marks for stimulus package." Oh, who gave it high marks? It explained underneath: "Massive program is coming in on time and under budget -- and with strikingly few claims of fraud or abuse -- according to a White House report."
On page A15 of the paper, the headline is "Positive review of stimulus package." Underneath that in smaller, capitalized type is "White House Report." Online, it's simply "Report gives stimulus package high marks." Lori Montgomery's story reads like a breathy Obama-Biden press release -- and it quotes no conservatives or Republicans.
Montgomery reported Team Obama had support in arguing their so-called stimulus "staunched the worst bleeding in employment and led the economy to rebound late last year. Many prominent economistsagree with that assessment." The Congressional Budget Office estimates it "may" be on track to "meet the administration's goal of preserving 3.5 million jobs by the end of the year."
Right after that, in the tenth paragraph, is where conservatives (and the vast majority of the public) are briefly acknowledged:
In general, there are two major sides to the tax cut debate.
One believes that Americans are entitled to keep what they earn, but that they cede some money to the government with the understanding that funding is necessary to enable the state to safeguard citizens' rights - the state's most fundamental function.
The opposing side holds, in short, that Americans are entitled to their wealth only to the extent that the rule of the majority - i.e. the government - allows them to keep it.
The Washington Post has apparently adopted and endorsed this latter view, also known as liberal tax policy, not only in its editorial stance, but throughout its "straight news" reporting operation.
WaPo reporter Lori Montgomery, for instance, believes that every dollar not collected in taxes is a dollar of which the federal government has been "deprived." Or, put another way in her Wednesday article, she rejects the notion that every dollar collected in taxes is a dollar of which taxpayers have been deprived:
In a recent interview, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said that the Bush tax cuts that affect the middle class should not be considered "totally sacrosanct."
The number two Democrat in the House of Representatives "acknowledg[ed] that it would be difficult to reduce long-term deficits without breaking President Obama's pledge to protect families earning less than $250,000 a year," reported Lori Montgomery in the June 22 Washington Post.
That certainly sounds worthy of front-page placement, especially in the midst of a contentious midterm election year, but Post editors instead parked the 9-paragraph story below the fold on page A13 of the print edition and gave it a snoozer of a headline: "Hoyer: Tax cuts need to be examined."
"Middle-class benefit may not be affordable long-term, he says," the subheader dryly noted.
Is The Washington Post playing favorites with causes that inspire people to exercise their First Amendment rights and take to the streets to protest? When it comes to opposition to Democratic efforts to reform health care versus opposition to wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, it appears so.
In a March 20 Washington Post story headlined "Obama delivers plea to 'help us fix this system,'" Ben Pershing, Paul Kane and Lori Montgomery suggested House Democrats were gaining momentum in their pursuit of the 216 votes needed to pass health care reform legislation, despite "hundreds" of "tea party" protesters rallying outside the U.S. Capitol. (h/t Amanda Carpenter)
"Outside the Capitol, hundreds of 'tea party' protesters rallied against the legislation, jeering Democratic lawmakers as they passed and holding signs reading 'We'll Remember in November' and 'Revolution,' Pershing, Kane and Montgomery wrote.
Some credit should go to The Washington Post on Tuesday for putting Speaker Nancy Pelosi on the front page as she boldly associates the "Democratic" Party with the strange notion of passing bills without a vote. But reporters Lori Montgomery and Paul Kane present the only opponents of this scheme as Republicans. Where are the disdainful good-government gurus? The Post reported:
The tactic -- known as a "self-executing rule" or a "deem and pass" -- has been commonly used, although never to pass legislation as momentous as the $875 billion health-care bill. It is one of three options that Pelosi said she is considering for a late-week House vote, but she added that she prefers it because it would politically protect lawmakers who are reluctant to publicly support the measure.
"It's more insider and process-oriented than most people want to know," the speaker said in a roundtable discussion with bloggers Monday. "But I like it," she said, "because people don't have to vote on the Senate bill."
The Washington Post must dislike tax cuts even more than it likes President Barack Obama. On March 6, staff writer Lori Montgomery warned that the national debt would climb by $9.7 trillion under Obama’s budget.
Relying on the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) for data, Montgomery reported that the debt would be "higher than White House forecast" but not because of spending increases by Obama. Instead, she used the CBO to attack Obama's "tax-cutting agenda" continuing a media theme of portraying him as fiscally conservative despite the largest budget ever.
"Proposed tax cuts for the middle class account for nearly a third of the ($9.7 trillion) shortfall," Montgomery wrote. Her one-sided article relied solely upon the CBO and its director Douglas W. Elmendorf.
On the day after nationwide Tea Party protests, the Washington Post carried this headline in a text box at the top of Page One: "Tax Burden Near Historic Low: The average family sent about 9 percent of its income to the IRS, with the middle-class faring especially well, according to federal data. A12." (The D.C. tea party was noted at the bottom of the page, and readers were sent to B-1, the front of Metro.) But how do the Post’s "tax burden" claims stand up?
Inside the paper, there’s a chart, and the source is the "nonpartisan" Congressional Budget Office, now controlled by the Democratic majority. It measured only the "Effective individual income tax rate." The Post is measuring less than half the federal "tax burden"! Here’s what the CBO director’s blog on the study reported:
The overall effective federal tax rate (the ratio of federal taxes to household income) was 20.7 percent in 2006. Individual income taxes, the largest component, were 9.1 percent of household income. Payroll taxes were the next largest source, with an effective tax rate of 7.5 percent. Corporate income taxes and excise taxes were smaller, with effective tax rates of 3.4 percent and 0.7 percent.