From the October 22 edition of Fox Business' Follow the Money with Eric Bolling:
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Fox News figures have seized on NPR's decision to terminate Juan Williams' contract following controversial comments he made about Muslims on Fox News, and are using the story to continue their war on NPR and call for its defunding. Fox News figures, particularly Bill O'Reilly, have long crusaded against NPR.
In his documentary I Want Your Money, filmmaker Ray Griggs employs an all-star cast of right-wing misinformation propagators who fill the film with long-parroted and thoroughly debunked conservative myths about U.S. economic history and President Obama's economic policies.
I'm often astonished at what passes for economic analysis on the right. Media Matters has extensively documented hypocrisy, inaccurate reading of history, confusion about basic terms, misreading of government reports, misleading gimmickry, and downright incompetence on the part of right-wing media outlets. Recently, a new meme has appeared on the right, the claim that President Obama has added $3 trillion dollars of debt during his tenure -- more debt in 21 months in office, according to conservatives, than the United States accumulated in its first 214 years of independence. It would be a dramatic and powerful statement about the recklessness of this administration -- if it weren't ludicrous and hopelessly misleading.
On October 18 Terence P. Jeffrey of CNSNews.com reported that "[i]t's official: The Obama administration has now borrowed $3 trillion...." From CNS News:
It took from 1776, when the United States became an independent country, until 1990, the year after the Berlin Wall fell signaling victory in the Cold War, for the federal government to accumulate a total of $3 trillion in debt, according to the Treasury Department. It only took from Jan. 20, 2009, the day President Barack Obama was inaugurated, until Oct. 15, 2010, for the Obama administration to add $3 trillion to the federal debt.
Gateway Pundit's Jim Hoft picked up the story, noting "That didn't take long. The Obama administration has now borrowed $3 trillion, according to the U.S. Treasury Department. But look what we have for it... 9.6% unemployment and a record national deficit." Similarly, Doug Powers, of MichelleMalkin.com, chimed in, under the headline "Miracle Worker: Obama Matches 214 Years Worth of US Debt in Less Than 24 Months" by writing "President Obama, assisted by his willing accomplices in Congress who have helped swipe the national credit card like giddy teenage girls at the mall with daddy's Visa, have made history."
These bloggers' claims that the total outstanding debt of the U.S. government has increased by slightly more than $3 trillion dollars since Obama's inauguration are completely accurate. The accuracy though, ends there.
From the October 18 edition of Fox News' Glenn Beck:
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From the October 12 edition of Fox Business' Bulls & Bears:
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Earlier today, the Washington Post hosted Tea Party Express Chairwoman Amy Kremer for an Online Q&A in which she (theoretically) answered reader questions for about an hour. No Post reporter or editor was on hand to ask Kremer follow-ups, insist that she answer the questions asked, or force her to reconcile or abandon her seemingly-incompatible claims.
Without such supervision, Kremer made a mess of things. Some Post readers, no doubt, will recognize her claims as obvious absurdities. But, absent any effort by the Post to correct the record, many other readers will come away with a deep misunderstanding of the federal budget, and without understanding that the Tea Party agenda as articulated by Kremer is entirely fraudulent.
Throughout the Q&A, Kremer repeatedly insisted that the Tea Party "movement" is about "issues" and "educating" voters:
"We need to stop playing party politics and focus on the issues."
"We do not need to be focused on party politics, but on the issues."
"One thing to understand is that this movement is organic and is issue based. We do not need a leader to tell us what issues are important."
"This movement is focused on education because through educating people, we empower them. … It is our job to educate them."
But for someone so certain that she and her colleagues don't need to be told "what issues are important" and that it is their job to "educate" the public -- and someone who insists her movement is "issue based" -- Kremer was quick to duck calls for specifics by disclaiming any expertise on issues:
The Drudge Report is hyping a report stating that "Democratic leaders called off votes and even debates on all controversial matters" and that "Congress is bolting for the campaign trail without finishing its most basic job -- approving a budget." But Republican congressional majorities have also previously failed to a pass budget resolution.
The New York Times' David Leonhardt begins today's piece with a refreshingly straightforward lede:
In their Pledge to America, Congressional Republicans have used the old trick of promising specific tax cuts and vague spending cuts. It's the politically easy approach, and it is likely to be as bad for the budget as when George W. Bush tried it.
Unfortunately, Leonhardt then shifts into "Praise Paul Ryan" mode, which is apparently mandatory among Beltway media:
The sad thing is, a truly conservative approach to the deficit does exist. You can find strands of it among Republican governors, some of the party's current Congressional candidates and the ranking Republican on the House Budget Committee, Paul Ryan.
[T]he biggest cause of looming deficits is Medicare. Mr. Daniels, a possible 2012 presidential candidate, recently told Newsweek that he favored Medicare cuts. Mr. Ryan has been willing to get specific. For everyone now under 55, he wants to turn Medicare into a voucher program that's much less generous than the program is scheduled to be.
Mr. Ryan's budget blueprint offers an especially pointed contrast with the pledge. The Ryan plan calls for holding taxes at around 19 percent of G.D.P. and suggests specific cuts to bring spending in line. The pledge calls for even lower taxes — while offering almost no detail on spending cuts.
Which seems more credible?
But the Ryan plan doesn't call for "holding taxes at around 19 percent of GDP" -- it pretends that tax revenue will remain around 19 percent of GDP, even as Ryan proposes significant changes to the tax system. The Tax Policy Center's Howard Gleckman has pointed out that Ryan's proposed changes are similar to those offered by Fred Thompson during his presidential campaign -- and that Thompson's "scheme would reduce tax revenues by between $6 trillion and $8 trillion over 10 years."
Ryan specifically instructed the Congressional Budget Office to ignore his actual tax proposals and instead simply assume that tax revenue remains at 19 percent of GDP -- and yet Ryan consistently wins media praise for producing a "specific" and "credible" budget blueprint. Bizarre. It's like he's the new John McCain.
From the September 28 edition of Fox News Channel's Your World with Neil Cavuto:
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Fox business analyst Stuart Varney appeared on America's Newsroom today to comment on the House Republicans' newly released "Pledge to America" and claimed that the plan shows Republicans want "less debt":
VARNEY: What they're really doing here is laying out a statement of intent. And what they're also doing is making a very sharp contrast with what the Obama plan already is. It's a duel of two economic plans. The Republicans want small government, less debt, lower taxes. And President Obama is running on his record of the economic team and the economic policies he's got in place.
In fact, the Republicans pledge to permanently extend the Bush tax cuts, which would reportedly cost $4.9 trillion over the next ten years, including interest payments, but they don't offer any specific proposals that would even come close to making up that loss. They would need to repeal the entire Recovery Act six times over to pay for the tax cuts.
As the Washington Post's Ezra Klein noted, "The document never says that the policy proposals it offers will ultimately reduce the deficit." When asked by George Stephanolopolous how the Pledge to America pays for the tax cuts, Rep. Paul Ryan said, "We'd put 1.3 trillion in cuts right there as well. But the President is also proposing $3 trillion of those $3.7 trillion in tax cuts be extended. So, it's not as if the President and the Democrats aren't saying extend some of them." Got that? Ryan's response to the charge that the Pledge is fiscally irresponsible with tax cuts is that the Democrats are slightly more fiscally responsible with the cuts.
So how can Varney look at the same document calling for almost $5 trillion in tax cuts that aren't paid for and conclude that the Republicans want "less debt"? Oh yeah.
UPDATE: Howard Gleckman at the Tax Policy Center blog Tax Vox takes a look at the Republicans' Pledge and finds:
When it comes to revenues, the GOP reprises its long-term pledge to permanently extend all of the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts. Plus it adds a few more tax breaks, including a proposal to give small businesses a new 20 percent deduction. For those interested in deficit reduction, these tax cuts would dwarf any spending cuts in the GOP agenda. [emphasis added]
Fox News and Rush Limbaugh have repeatedly criticized President Obama for supposedly being responsible for huge deficits. However, both recently attempted to defend former President Bush's policy of not paying for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars or his tax cuts.
There aren't many reasons to take Glenn Beck's new website, The Blaze, very seriously. Indeed, that discussion could begin and end with the fact that it's a website started by Glenn Beck.
But Beck's staff of writers are doing their small part to make sure the website remains firmly disreputable, and Jonathon Seidl's article this afternoon helps to show both why The Blaze is ridiculous and how the conservative media are steadfastly unserious when it comes to matters of fiscal discipline.
Seidl's headline is: "As deficits soar, U.S. commits $50 million for 'clean-burning stoves.' " The implication, of course, is that it's irresponsible for us to spend such an extravagant amount on stupid stoves while the deficit spirals out of control, and in his lead paragraph, Seidl points out that the current deficit is about $1.3 trillion*.
Do the math, and you'll see that $50 million is (rounded up) 0.004 percent of the deficit.
This is what The Blaze chooses to complain about.
And let's take a look at that opening paragraph, because it only compounds the stupidity:
From the September 10 edition of Fox News' Your World With Neil Cavutoo:
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Fox News' Bill Hemmer uncritically repeated House Republican leader John Boehner's statement that he would repeal or block funding for health care reform before it "'bankrupts' the country." Hemmer ignored multiple Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reports stating that health care reform will actually reduce the federal deficit.