FLASHBACK: Right-Wing Media Who Claimed Govt. "Can't Afford" NPR Funds Now Defending Tax Breaks For Jets

››› ››› CHELSEA RUDMAN

Right-wing media are defending tax breaks for corporate jet owners, arguing that ending them is tantamount to "class warfare" and also would not significantly lower the deficit. But right-wing media have previously claimed that the government "can't afford" to continue to provide funds to NPR, even though these subsidies are significantly lower than those provided through tax breaks for corporate jets.

Right-Wing Media Say Ending Jet Tax Breaks Won't "Make Much Of A Difference"

Drudge: "Ending Corp Jet Tax Break Would Save Less Than 1/10th Of 1% Of Obama's Target." Beginning on June 30, Drudge posted a link to a Bloomberg article that read:

Drudge screen shot

The Bloomberg article to which Drudge linked stated: "President Barack Obama's proposal to end a tax break for corporate jet owners ... would achieve less than one-tenth of 1 percent of his target for reducing the federal deficit. Such a change would put $3 billion into the Treasury over a decade." [Drudge Report Archives, 6/30/11; Bloomberg, 6/30/11]

Wash. Times Op-Ed: Obama "Laid Down The Class-Warfare Marker" In Speech With Proposal That Would "Produce Little Gain." A June 30 op-ed in The Washington Times claimed:

President Obama had laid down the class-warfare marker Wednesday, insisting that tax increases on "millionaires and billionaires" would reduce the deficit and create jobs. In reality, anyone with a combined income of more than $250,000, including small-business owners who file as individuals, would pay more.

The president also would end "tax breaks for oil companies and hedge-fund managers and corporate-jet owners." Senate Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin added on Thursday that the Democrats want to end "the litany of subsidies we've gone through, from yachts, to thoroughbred horses, to jetliners of commercial entities."

Feeling betrayed, union bosses at the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers and General Aviation Manufacturers Association fired off an angry letter to Mr. Obama saying that "such talk may appear to some as good politics, the reality is that it hurts one of the leading manufacturing and exporting industries in the United States. And it adds to the pain so many working families have endured."

That pain would produce little gain. At best, closing this so-called loophole would yield about $3 billion to Uncle Sam over 10 years. All the proposed taxes on U.S. oil companies would generate $44 billion over 10 years -- all of which would be passed along to consumers already suffering from paying $4 at the pump. These measures add up to 0.3 percent of our $14.3 trillion debt. [The Washington Times, 6/30/11]

Fox's Briggs: "It's Really Just A Symbol ... It's Not Going To Make Much Of A Difference At All." On the July 1 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, the guest co-hosts discussed Obama's speech on Wednesday and his proposal to end tax breaks for corporate jets. Guest host Dave Briggs said the gesture was "really just a symbol ... to make Republicans the party of the corporate jets" and that the proposal would not "make much of a difference at all." From the broadcast:

BRIGGS: Let's talk about the president's war on those with corporate jets. That's what he highlighted on Wednesday in that rather partisan speech. Well, Chris Christie, the governor of New Jersey, who tends to speak out on issues, if you haven't noticed -- he doesn't exactly like this idea. An idea, by the way, that would save a whopping $3 billion over 10 years. Here's what the governor of New Jersey says about it.

CHRISTIE (video): This myth that somehow this is a bunch of people on, you know, golf courses and Lear jets, you know, is the type of Democratic misinformation which really is only there to mask their real agenda, which is just to increase taxes in an irresponsible way. [cut] You let them in your pocket for a second, and they're going to keep grabbing for more and more. That's the way it works. So I'm not letting my foot off the throat of that for a second.

CLAYTON MORRIS (guest co-host): Also this morning, Republicans are jumping on the fact that President Obama himself supported these tax cuts for jets in the stimulus package twice. Two different provisions that would actually give these tax breaks to corporate jet owners. The president himself was for it. Now they say he's against it.

MOLLY LINE (guest co-host): And we've seen this historically in the past. You know, these types of issues have come up, you know, regarding yachts in the past, and the idea is that if you're taxing something, less people will buy it, and maybe it won't create as many jobs. You know, people that are building airplanes or building yachts, that sort of thing. So -- really interesting controversy that is much more layered than the initial, you know, should people get a break for buying these products?

BRIGGS: It's really just a symbol, you know, he wants to make the Republicans the party of the corporate jets. It really isn't about fiscal health for our country. I mean, it's not going to make much of a difference at all. He just wants to put that symbol in the voters' minds ahead of 2012.

During the segment, the following on-screen text aired:

Fox & Friends screen shot

Fox & Friends screen shot 2

[Fox News, Fox & Friends, 7/1/11]

But Right-Wing Media Blasted NPR Funds -- Which Are Just $5M Per Year -- As Unaffordable

NPR Received About $5 Million In Federal Funds In 2010. According to a March 17 Associated Press article, NPR received about $5 million in federal funds in the fiscal year 2010. [Associated Press, 3/17/11, via Media Matters]

Doocy Attacked NPR Funding To Defend Oil Subsidies. On the April 20 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, co-host Steve Doocy discussed comments that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi had made about the GOP's budget priorities. After playing video of Pelosi talking about "big subsidies to big oil," Doocy said, "Why didn't she mention the big subsidies to NPR or Planned Parenthood there while she was at it?" [Media Matters, 4/20/11]

For the truth about oil subsidies and NPR funding, SEE HERE.

Williams Asks If NPR Funding Is "More Important Than ... Scholarships ... The Police Or The Fire? You Want To Have That As Your Priority Even At A Time Of Fiscal Constraints?" On the March 18 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, guest host Juan Williams discussed federal funding for NPR with Caroline Helmand, a political science professor at Occidental College. Williams suggested NPR funding was not affordable, saying, "You want to have [funding for NPR] as your priority even at a time of fiscal constraints?" From the broadcast:

WILLIAMS: Oh, so why don't you say that they should just be open to advertising and go into the marketplace like FOX News and every other news organization from the New York Times, The Washington Post, to the L.A. Times?

HELMAND: Great question, Juan. I think that, actually, they provide something that mainstream commercial media cannot provide. They provide news that doesn't come from a corporate slant. And if you want to look at the biggest bias in compromise information...

WILLIAMS: If it's that valuable to you, Caroline, why wouldn't you pay for it?

HELMAND: Well, I do pay for it through my taxes, and that's where -- how I would like to pay for it, in addition to my individual contributions.

WILLIAMS: Oh, I see. But wait a minute. Hold on. So then you're saying it's more important in terms of your tax spending than Social Security? More important than...

HELMAND: Not more.

WILLIAMS: Let's say it's scholarships for college children.

HELMAND: Not more.

WILLIAMS: More important than the police or the fire? You want to have that as your priority even at a time of fiscal constraints?

HELMAND: Well, Juan, our fiscal constraints are the result of tax cuts for the wealthy whose wealth has been growing astronomically since the early '80s while the middle class have remained stagnant.

WILLIAMS: So increase taxes to pay for NPR's budget? That's what you're saying?

HELMAND: No, no. Just restore taxes to an equitable place, and he [sic] will be fine. [Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor, 3/18/11, accessed via Nexis]

Hannity: "We Can't Afford" The "Hyper-Political" NPR. On the March 17 edition of Fox News' Hannity, host Sean Hannity discussed the House vote to defund NPR with Fox News contributor Kirsten Powers. Referring to comments then-Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) had made on the House floor, Powers said:

POWERS: I think [Weiner is] making a great point, which is, why are we spending our time on this, this is ridiculous.

HANNITY: Because we can't afford it.

POWERS: Because that is -- no --

HANNITY: And they're hyper-political.

POWERS: This has nothing to do -- this has nothing to do with the budget. This is completely ideological.

HANNITY: It does so have to do with the budget.

POWERS: It is a tiny, tiny, tiny little thing. And if they're spending their time on this -

HANNITY: You know what? Then if it's a tiny thing, let them go public. Let them make their money off Sesame Street and let's cut somewhere, because we're not going to have any money left, and the country's headed down the tubes.

POWERS: Why don't we cut funding for Afghanistan and bring everybody home? There's some real money.

HANNITY: Because that's called security, liberty, freedom, and we have Al Qaeda, Islamic radicals --

POWERS: And we're losing, and Al Qaeda is not there anymore, and they're in Pakistan.

HANNITY: Uh, excuse me. They're -- they're everywhere.

POWERS: The point is, you know, why are you able to say, oh, let's spend money on Afghanistan, but I can't -

HANNITY: You don't want to cut NPR?

POWERS: No, I don't want to cut NPR. I think NPR is great --

HANNITY: So how much money do you -- are you willing to cut?

POWERS: My taxpayer money has been paying for two wars that I don't support.

HANNITY: It's called freedom.

POWERS: OK, it's not called freedom. It has nothing to do with our freedom. And it's been paying for that. And if I want to have NPR paid for, can I just have that tiny little, tiny little bit of money.

HANNITY: I'll tell you what -- all you and your liberal friends can raise all the money and go out on the street and say, donate to NPR and Big Bird, and they'll donate to you. [Fox News, Hannity, 3/17/11, via Media Matters]

Hannity: Families Are "Struggling To Pay Their Mortgage" And "Send Their Kids To College," So "Why Should Any Taxpayer Dollars Go To" NPR? On the November 29, 2010, edition of his Fox News show, Hannity discussed federal funds for NPR with guests Sally Kohn of Movement Vision Lab and political commentator S.E. Cupp. Hannity asked why "any taxpayer dollars" should go to NPR when families "were struggling to pay their mortgage." From the broadcast:

HANNITY: That is one issue, one argument. Explain to me why the any taxpayer dollars should go for radio when George Soros is donating $1.8 million and they raise, they supposedly claim most of their money on air. Although, there are sources that say they're not quite as honest how much money they get. Why should we pay any money for this? What is the function role of government here?

KOHN: Look, first of all, this is a trifle in terms of amounts of money and really, this is the Republicans trying to demagogue and trying to not have to talk about these serious issues.

HANNITY: How about taxpayer dollars fund my radio show?

[...]

HANNITY: Do you believe in freedom? Do you believe in free enterprise? Families who were struggling to pay their mortgage. They can't send their kids to college. They can't make their car payments. Real unemployment is 17 percent. Why should any taxpayer dollars go to that and we could pay down the debt or help poor people, which is a big liberal cost? Why don't we spend the money on that?

KOHN: You're really trying to rope me in there. Look, we're talking about $440 million, that $1.43 --

HANNITY: $440 million of real money.

KOHN: The United States government spends three-and-a-half times -

CUPP: That is not an argument.

KOHN: On office furniture.

CUPP: Not an argument.

KOHN: It is.

CUPP: The government should not use taxpayer argument to fund non-essentials. Sorry, listening to car talk every night is not essential use of government funding. [Fox News, Hannity, 11/29/10, accessed via Nexis]

Posted In
Economy, Budget, Taxes
Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel, The Drudge Report, The Washington Times
Person
Dave Briggs
Show/Publication
FOX & Friends
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