Morning Joe's Mika Brzezinski has relentlessly repeated the claim that funding for "welfare programs" and nutrition assistance included in the recovery bill is "not stimulus," even after CNBC's Erin Burnett cited economist Mark Zandi and said that "[f]ood stamps" and "[u]nemployment benefits" are some of the measures that "would increase spending." Other economists have also said that programs that provide aid to state governments and individuals, would, in the words of CBO director Douglas Elmendorf, "have a significant impact on GDP."
Check out of the fine print from yesterday's CNN chron:
Yes, it reads "Stimulus gains $80 billion; are Dems sabotaging it with extras?"
Gee, nothing loaded about that language, right?
Responding to Adam Green's piece over at Huffington Post, which admonished Burnett for her MTP appearance this weekend where she seemed to act more like a spokeswoman for Wall Street firms, and less like a reporter covering them, Burnett's CNBC colleague Jim Cramer came to her defense on the air yesterday.
Meanwhile, Green has invited Burnett to live blog with him and Huff Post readers about the topic of the Wall Street bailout. Let's hope she accepts.
And note to Green: if the debate takes place, please be sure to ask Burnett about her claim on MTP that taxpayer money did not help pay for those recent corporate bonuses for Wall Street execs. It appears she got the facts wrong.
The Wall Street Journal misleadingly claimed in an editorial that the U.S. corporate tax rate "is higher than in all of Europe." In fact, according to the Government Accountability Office, "Statutory tax rates do not provide a complete measure of the burden that a tax system imposes on business income." Additionally, World Bank and GAO data indicate that the U.S. effective corporate tax rate is lower than 35 percent and lower than several developed -- including some European -- economies.
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Responding to criticism of the bonuses paid in 2008 by Wall Street firms -- some of which had received federal bailout funds -- Erin Burnett said during Meet the Press: "The taxpayer money isn't being taken and paid out in the form of bonuses. It goes in a separate pool ... a separate account for banks." However, contrary to Burnett's assertion, money is fungible, and without the federal assistance, Wall Street bonuses would have been much lower, according to several experts.
MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski echoed her disputed claim that funding for "welfare programs" included in the recovery bill, such as "food stamps and helping low income people pay for college," would not stimulate the economy. In fact, economists have said that programs that provide aid to state governments and individuals would, in the words of Congressional Budget Office director Douglas W. Elmendorf, "have a significant impact on GDP."
On his Fox News program, Glenn Beck reported as true the idea floated on Forbes.com that a program the Obama administration is reportedly considering should be called the "Bad Asset Repository Fund." Without noting that the reported program has not in fact been named, Beck then ridiculed the creators of the nonexistent name for failing to recognize that the acronym is "BARF."
James Carville, former Clinton advisor and current CNN Contributor, is up today with an op-ed that eviscerates the laughable economic recovery plan offered up by radio host Rush Limbaugh in last week's Wall Street Journal. In particular, Carville notes:
Limbaugh proposes that because the Democrats got roughly 54 percent of the votes to the Republicans' 46 percent, the stimulus package should be allocated along his definition of ideological lines, i.e. 54 percent towards infrastructure improvement and 46 percent toward tax breaks for Limbaugh and his friends.
Get that? Now that Democrats are in power, they should only get to enact the same percentage of their agenda as they won in the popular vote. Isn't Rush generous? As Carville points out, Limbaugh wasn't nearly as generous when Al Gore won the popular vote in 2000.
Limbaugh must have called for the incoming Bush administration to allocate ideas based on the proportion of election returns. I'm sure President Bush and the Republicans in Congress graciously accepted their 49.5 percent share of everything. (Note: We would be much better off right now had this actually happened.)
With 50 percent of the federal government during President Bush's term, Democrats might have reduced the deficit (a truly Clintonista idea). Wall Street might have been more heavily regulated and K Street's lobbyists might not have been running the Capitol. Democrats might have invested money into infrastructure improvements so that bridges didn't collapse or entire cities flood.
Does it surprise anyone that Limbaugh would offer up something so breathtakingly disingenuous?
Conservative columnist Ruben Navarrette pulls a neat trick over at CNN.com. Dishing out the latest, warmed-over GOP talking points about Obama's proposed stimulus package, the RNC-friendly writer claims to be able to read minds. Specifically, he can read the mind of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi who last week was at the center of a mini-controversy regarding the proposed expansion of Medicaid funding for family planning services.
Navarrette though, was able to spot very nasty, vile and racist undertones to Pelosi's comments:
When you make the argument that contraception is a cost-saving measure for state and federal government, some might think what you're implying is that the babies who would otherwise have been born were destined to become dependent on welfare and other public services. And for those who think wrongly that welfare dependents only come in two colors -- black and brown -- it's easy to see which births need to be controlled. That's how you connect the dots. Now, maybe that isn't where Pelosi was headed with her comments. It doesn't matter.
Did you follow? According to Navarrette, "some might think" that Pelosi was implying that "black and brown" babies are a bad thing. And that if you "connect the dots," that's where Pelosi's comments were "headed."
But did Pelosi ever say or even imply such a ugly thing? According to Navarrette, "It doesn't matter." He's going to smear her nonetheless.
ABC's Jake Tapper uncritically aired a video clip of Republican Sen. Jim DeMint saying of the economic recovery bill: "This is a spending plan, it's not a stimulus plan. It's temporary and it's wasteful." Tapper did not point out that the Congressional Budget Office stated in its January 26 cost estimate of the House version of the bill that it anticipates implementation of the bill "would have a noticeable impact on economic growth and employment in the next few years."
The Washington Times falsely claimed that the House-passed economic recovery bill "allows payment of checks to undocumented immigrants," and repeated the falsehood that "much" of the $4.19 billion allocated for a Neighborhood Stabilization Program in the bill "might go to ACORN." In fact, under the bill, undocumented immigrants without Social Security numbers are not eligible for tax credits, and the bill does not mention ACORN or otherwise single it out for funding.
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