Thursday, April 2, 2009

Media Matters Identifies 3 Media Misrepresentations of the President’s Budget

Please take the time to read this article from Media Matters.  They identify three budget myths that the MSM keeps reporting as gospel. 

1. Obama's budget proposal would increase taxes on a large percentage of small businesses

Many media figures and outlets…have advanced, uncritically repeated, or failed to challenge the debunked Republican falsehood that Obama's income tax proposals would increase taxes on a large percentage of small businesses….

In fact, according to the Tax Policy Center's table of 2007 tax returns that reported small-business income, 481,000 of those returns -- about 2 percent -- are in the top two income tax brackets, which include all filers with taxable incomes that would be affected by Obama's proposals to let portions of the Bush tax cuts for wealthy taxpayers expire and to reduce the tax rate at which families making more than $250,000 could take itemized deductions.

Can we agree that most of these reporters, especially the ones on TV, are making more than $250,000?  It is my cynical belief that they are going to do whatever they can to prevent their taxes from going up.  Therefore, if they can convince the public that their taxes are going up too (they’re not), then public opinion will move to their favor, and their precious 35% tax bracket is saved. 

2. Using reconciliation to pass major policy goals would be an unusual or unprecedented tactic

Media figures and outlets have advanced the falsehood that the Democrats' potential implementation of the budget reconciliation process, which would allow Congress to pass "policy changes in mandatory spending (entitlements) or revenue programs (tax laws)" by a simple majority in both Houses, is unusual, unprecedented, or was not recently used by Republicans….  Republicans used the process to pass Bush's initiatives throughout his tenure, including the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001, the Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003, and the Tax Increase Prevention and Reconciliation Act of 2005.

Additionally, (Sean) Hannity falsely claimed on March 20 that reconciliation would allow the Obama administration to pass legislation "without any Republicans even having an opportunity to vote." In fact, the budget reconciliation process does not deny Republicans or any member of Congress "an opportunity to vote."

Rotten, cheating, thieving Democrats!  Save it.  Earlier in the week, I posted, via Media Matters, how Fox News failed on this same point.  This is revisionist history for folks with ADD.

3. Obama should not attempt health-care reform given the current and projected federal debt

Many media figures have claimed or suggested that given the size of the current and projected U.S. federal debt, the Obama administration's health-care reform proposal is untenable. For instance, Hannity said on March 26 that "Obama wants to expand government. We've got health care, unbelievable amounts of spending -- we're gonna bankrupt the country." However, in making such statements, neither Hannity nor other media figures addressed the argument Obama has repeatedly made in response to such claims: that health-care reform is essential to the long-term economic and fiscal health of the country.

You have heard the one about how Starbucks spends more on health care than they do coffee.  Health care costs are killing American businesses, especially small business.  Reformed health care means lower costs to small business, which results in a stronger, more productive country.  I don’t have hard numbers, but I’d be willing to bet that affordable health care would save as much, if not more, than a tax decrease.  Why then would these guys argue against health care refor…oh, wait, I know why.  The insurance lobby has them in their back pocket.  Got it.

Please take the time to check out the article.  I am not doing it justice here, but it is important to be knowledgeable when you hear these things  coming from the speakers of your window to the world.

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