Fox News Calls For Yearlong Payroll Tax Cut Extension -- After Weeks Of Attacking It

Fox News figures have repeatedly complained about the Senate's two-month extension of the payroll tax cuts, saying that the tax cuts should have been extended for a full year. But Fox News figures themselves have repeatedly attacked the tax cut extension, falsely claiming it won't promote job growth.

Fox Figures Call For One-Year Extension Of The Payroll Tax Cut

Carlson: “The Big Stink Here Is The Timeline On This.” On the December 19 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, the co-hosts discussed the Senate version of the payroll tax cut extension, which would extend the current tax cut for another two months. As co-host Steve Doocy said, “The House is supposed to vote on it tonight ... It is expected that [the House Republicans] will probably kill it.” Co-host Gretchen Carlson later said, “The big stink here is the timeline on this. So this current form only extends the payroll tax cut for two months, and what some of the House Republicans are saying is, 'Let's not continue to kick the can down the road, let's make it a year.'” Guest host and country singer Larry Gatlin then said: “Right. Don't you think that's really big of them to do it for two whole months?” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 12/19/11]

Perino: “I Think Most Reasonable People Wanted A One-Year” Extension Of The Payroll Tax Cut. Later in the broadcast, co-host Steve Doocy summarized the Senate's action on the payroll tax holiday by saying, “Looked like the Senate passed that bipartisan bill to extend the payroll tax cut for two whole months!” He then summarized Speaker John Boehner's (R-OH) recent remarks on Meet the Press by claiming Boehner had said: “Come on, Mr. President, two months? We ought to do a year.” Carlson later acknowledged that Obama did want the tax cut extended for a year. The co-hosts and guest Dana Perino repeatedly called for a one-year extension rather than the short-term deal that was passed, but Perino also called for broader tax reform:

DOOCY: And it sounds like the House is going to kill that, the Senate-passed bill, tonight.

PERINO: Right so, let's see. Two months is like - half of that is the president's vacation [it]self that he's about to take in Hawaii, which I'll get some heat for, but it's not good policy either because if your expression is -- if your policy is that the payroll tax cut helps get money into the economy and helps people -- give them more certainty so they can plan ahead, the year-long tax cut makes a lot more sense because if this -- if we do this two months from now, it is just going to get boiled down into the presidential politics.

DOOCY: Absolutely.

CARLSON: Well, the president wanted a year. I mean, let's be fair. He probably doesn't love this --

PERINO: Yeah, he should want a year.

CARLSON: This two --

PERINO: But now he's supporting the two-month deal because [Senate Majority Leader Harry] Reid it's said that's the only thing they can get done in the Senate.

CARLSON: But what does it say about [Sen.] Mitch McConnell and John Boehner? Because McConnell supported this two-month thing, and now the leader of the House, John Boehner, Speaker of the House, saying no can do.

PERINO: McConnell also wanted the one year. I think most reasonable people wanted a one year. When Reid said the only thing they could get done was a two [month] to avoid a tax increase and make sure people had that certainty, but also the other thing that McConnell and Boehner did was add something I thought was very smart, which was the [Keystone] XL pipeline.


PERINO: I do think that this will all work out. I think that the payroll tax cut will be extended, probably for the year, and then this will be able to move forward. What we really need, if that question is better asked on a bigger picture level, which is we can't have this nickel and dime type of tax reform -- that a leader that wants to actually change things in America would say, let's do something quite dramatic, either a flat tax or a fair tax, do something bigger rather than a two-month extension on a payroll tax cut which will not make a difference in the economy at all. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 12/19/11]

Fox Previously Attacked Payroll Tax Cut As “Far Too Small” And Claimed It Didn't Create Jobs ...

Perino Claims Keystone Pipeline Would Be “Much More Beneficial” For Job Growth “Than A Temporary Payroll Tax Cut.” Previously, on the December 8 edition of Fox News' The Five, Perino, a co-host of the show, dismissed the economic and job benefits of a “temporary payroll tax cut” :

DANA PERINO (co-host): I think though that the Republicans were pretty smart in tying the payroll tax cut to the pipeline, and the reason is the pipeline would be 20,000 jobs plus others for that middle-class blue collar worker, much more beneficial than a temporary payroll tax cut, of which the American Enterprise Institute Alex Brill says only 22 percent of people actually spend that money.


PERINO: Can we hear the sound bite? Can we hear the sound bite? Because a lot of people do know about the pipeline, and we're going to make sure even more of them do now.

OBAMA [video clip]: Here's what I know. However many jobs might be generated by a Keystone pipeline, they're going to be a lot fewer than the jobs that are created by extending the payroll tax cut and extending unemployment insurance.

PERINO: So for the next year, who benefits from a delay in the payroll -- in the XL pipeline? It is white collar lawyers, PR folks, the communicators, and the bureaucrats. It doesn't help the middle-class workers that he said he wanted to help the other day.

BOB BECKEL (co-host): Of course it does.

KIMBERLY GUILFOYLE (co-host): All the wrong people are going to benefit from it. That's the problem. Why not create some jobs and be for it? [Fox News, The Five, 12/8/11, via Media Matters]

Payne Calls Payroll Tax Cut “Far Too Small” And Instead Hypes Tax Holiday For Foreign Profits. On the December 2 edition of Fox News' Happening Now, co-host Jenna Lee asked her guest, Fox Business host Charles Payne, “Will a payroll tax cut extension be key to bringing ... Americans back into the labor force? Is that incentive enough, or will that do enough to the economy to help create jobs moving ahead in the next year?” Payne replied, “No, no, it's far too small.” He later said:

PAYNE: It's interesting that this payroll tax thing is the number one issue in Washington right now, because if we're talking about tax cuts, why stop there? Why not give all hardworking Americans, and forget about what economic class they're in, a tax cut? Why not give businesses a tax cut? ... How about letting American businesses bring money back from overseas? There's almost $2 trillion sitting overseas, offshore. If they were to lower taxes, a lot of that money would come back. [Fox News, Happening Now, 12/2/11, via Media Matters]

For the truth about tax holidays for foreign profits, SEE HERE.

Carlson Downplayed Employment Impact Of Payroll Tax Holiday While Claiming She's Spoken To “Tons” Of Economists On The Subject. During an interview with White House press secretary Jay Carney on the September 8 edition of Fox & Friends, Carlson downplayed the employment impact of a payroll tax holiday, claiming that "[w]e've already had that," and “I see dismal [job] numbers.” From the show:

CARLSON: We'll see if Congress does rally around the president based on what he says tonight. But let me ask you this. Why go before the joint session of Congress if you're going to say stuff that the American public has already heard time and time again in 10 to 12 speeches before? Why say I'm going to go on vacation for a month, and then I'm going to come back and give this grandiose speech --

CARNEY: Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait -

CARLSON: -- if it's going to be the same exact thing that they've already heard?

CARNEY: Gretchen, I'm not sure what -- whose talking points you're reading here, Gretchen --

CARLSON: So please tell me what new thing is the American public going to hear today. What new thing will the American public hear tonight from your boss?

CARNEY: The American people will hear a lot of new ideas. I want to correct you. The folks who went on a month-long vacation weren't the president, it was the Congress. Secondly, the American people will hear a lot of new and innovative ideas that they haven't heard before. They will also hear very common-sense, sensible ideas like a payroll tax cut for every working American that has tradition --

CARLSON: We've already had that. That's not new.

CARNEY: Oh, and is that a bad thing?

CARLSON: No. Well, did it create jobs?

CARNEY: I'm sorry, is that a bad thing because it creates jobs? And it grows --

CARLSON: Did it create jobs?

CARNEY: Absolutely.

CARLSON: When I look at the June job report and the July job report and the August job report, I see dismal numbers.

CARNEY: Gretchen, I'm not sure if you've talked to any economists, but there is not an economist --


CARNEY: -- whose Ph.D. is worth the paper it's printed on who does not agree that when you cut the payroll tax, it has a direct impact on economic growth and job creation. If you're asking me if there were other headwinds that affected this economy, like the tsunami in Japan, like the Arab uprising that affected oil prices and the situation in Europe, that's absolutely the case. But cutting taxes, I used to think --

CARLSON: Yeah, Mr. Carney, with all due respect, we've heard all of those excuses before. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 9/8/11, via Media Matters]

... But Economists Agree That Cutting Payroll Tax Cut Has A Positive Impact On Employment And Economy

Frank: “Perhaps The Most Promising” Policy To Reduce Unemployment “Is A Payroll Tax Holiday.” In a June 25 New York Times op-ed, Robert Frank, economics professor at Cornell University, wrote:

If the economy could generate jobs at the median wage for even half of these people, national income would grow by more than 10 times the total interest cost of the 2011 deficit (which was less than $40 billion). So anyone who says that reducing the deficit is more urgent than reducing unemployment is saying, in effect, that we should burn hundreds of billions of dollars worth of goods and services in a national bonfire.

We ought to be tackling both problems at once. But in today's fractious political climate, many promising dual-purpose remedies -- like infrastructure investments that would generate large and rapid returns -- are called unthinkable, in the false belief that they would impoverish our grandchildren. Yet there are other ways to attack unemployment that could garner bipartisan support.

Perhaps the most promising is a payroll tax holiday. The payroll tax was originally meant to pay for Social Security, and in recent years, employees and employers have each contributed 6.2 percent of total salary -- with no additional levies on salaries beyond $106,800. Congress should both declare an immediate payroll tax holiday for employees and exempt employers from making contributions for newly hired workers -- and keep both provisions in effect until the end of next year. [The New York Times, 6/25/11]

Seidman: “To Boost Private Sector Spending And Jobs,” Congress Should Implement An “Immediate Suspension Of The Entire Employee Payroll Tax.” In a July 17 op-ed in Delaware's News Journal, University of Delaware economics professor Laurence Seidman wrote:

To boost private sector spending and jobs, any budget deal negotiated by the president and Congress should contain an immediate suspension of the entire employee payroll tax through 2012.

Why? Because leaving more money in people's paychecks will cause them to spend more, and in response to their spending, private sector employers will expand production and create private sector jobs. Without this stimulus to the private sector, the economy is likely to fall back into a deep recession.


According to the simulations, if the suspension begins promptly, then in the fourth quarter of 2012 the unemployment rate would be 1 percentage point lower than it would have been without the temporary employee payroll tax suspension. [News Journal, 7/17/11, accessed via Nexis]

Tyson: Jobs Plan Should Include “At The Very Least” An Extension Of “The Temporary Payroll Tax Cut For Employees.” In a September 6 post on the New York Times' Room for Debate blog, University of California Berkeley professor and former Council of Economic Advisers chairwoman Laura Tyson wrote:

The labor market is suffering from two problems: first, an immediate jobs gap, primarily the result of the collapse in demand after the 2008 financial crisis, and second, a long-term gap in rewarding jobs for American workers, primarily the result of skill-biased technological change and global competition.

The jobs gap requires additional fiscal measures to increase private spending and promote job creation. At the very least, the temporary payroll tax cut for employees enacted at the end of 2010 should be extended and a temporary payroll tax cut for employers that increase their payrolls or a tax credit for new hires should be introduced. [The New York Times, 9/6/11]

CBPP: “Failure ... To Extend The Temporary Payroll Tax Cut” Would Remove “Needed Support From The Still-Weak Economy.” In a September 7 post, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) wrote, “Failure by Congress to extend the temporary payroll tax cut enacted last December would reduce all paychecks starting on January 1, withdrawing needed support from the still-weak economy.” From CBPP:

Failure by Congress to extend the temporary payroll tax cut enacted last December would reduce all paychecks starting on January 1, withdrawing needed support from the still-weak economy. The measure, part of the tax cut-unemployment insurance deal between President Obama and Republican leaders, reduces the employee share of the Social Security payroll tax, boosting workers' take-home pay by an estimated $120 billion in 2011. The tax cut is worth $934 to the average worker.


By extending the payroll tax cut -- and the provision of additional weeks of unemployment benefits to workers who have exhausted their 26 weeks of state-funded UI benefits without finding a job -- policymakers can avoid increasing the risk of renewed recession. But they should do more to reduce the probability of a double-dip recession and increase the probability of a sustainable recovery that generates sufficient jobs to shrink the massive jobs deficit. While a discussion of various steps needed to shore up the economy is beyond the scope of this paper, in the payroll tax arena, policymakers should consider strengthening the payroll tax reduction as part of a larger set of economic measures. [CBPP, 9/7/11]

For more economists' and experts' statements on how the payroll tax cut would help job and economic growth, SEE HERE.