President Joe Biden is set to deliver his first address to Congress tonight, during which he will propose his American Families Plan to invest in universal preschool, child care, and education, as well as free community college and paid family leave — all of which would catch America up with the rest of the developed world.
Multiple polls have shown wide support for raising both the corporate tax and income tax rates for people making over $400,000 per year, in order to fund Biden’s proposals — all of which he campaigned on in 2020. But in anticipation of the speech, Fox News has been busy trying to scare viewers into thinking that these proposals are extreme — with a message coming from both the opinion and “news”-side programming.
On Fox & Friends, co-host Steve Doocy mentioned that this agenda, especially raising taxes on the wealthy, is popular with the American public. Co-host Brian Kilmeade responded: “If you ask people do you want to go to Disneyland every day, that’s popular. But is it logical? Is it feasible? Is it practical? No. ... Most American people know you can't be sober and expect all these free things and have a capitalist free-market society.”
Kilmeade and co-host Ainsley Earhardt then declared that policies such as unemployment benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic, publicly funded college, and taxes on the wealthy were “socialism.”
“And that is not a successful economy,” Kilmeade said. “The reason why we work, we have a free-market capitalist economy. That's not what we’re working towards here. Sooner or later, someone’s going to have to work for a living, earn that money, and be willing to give up $7 of every $10 that they earn. And when the American people are forced to look at this holistically, that is not popular.”
Just to be clear, socialism is a system involving government ownership of the major productive industries. Butthe term is so misused in American political discourse that hardly anyone can define it correctly. And despite Fox’s framing, universal preschool and community college aren’t it.
On Fox Business’ Mornings with Maria Bartiromo, the host and Fox News contributor Joe Concha spoke with political consultant Mark Penn about the legislations’ prospects in Congress, with Concha hailing Penn as “one of the best in the game.” During the discussion, Concha painted Democrats as out of touch with a country that’s “center-right,” emphasizing the need for Democrats to compromise. This framing is a continuation of media talking points that put the entire onus for bipartisanship and compromise on Democrats and ignore the well-documented history of Republican opposition.
For example, Penn said: “The question is, if they sat down and compromised and said, ‘Look, we want to move this up, we'll move [the capital gains tax] up to 30%. We’ll do the corporate tax at 25.’ If they got 10 Republicans on for some tax increases … there's a way here to have bipartisan compromises here and then give the Republicans several things.”
If Penn really was “one of the best in the game,” he would know that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has already ruled out any Republican support for any tax increases to fund infrastructure improvements — let alone from 10 of his senators. It is centrist Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia who is negotiating toward a corporate tax rate of 25%, the same number that Penn claimed would be a compromise with Republicans.
Fox’s “straight news” co-anchors Bill Hemmer and Dana Perino kicked off Wednesday morning’s edition of America’s Newsroom by playing a reel of Republican senators attacking Biden for being “woke” and “radical,” plus Hemmer bantering with Perino about taking her wallet for four years.
They then interviewed Fox News contributor Newt Gingrich, to whom Hemmer complained, “I don’t know how that works under a capitalist system.”
“Well, I don’t even know how it works under a socialist system,” Gingrich responded, claiming that “countries that have tried this collapsed,” such as Venezuela, Zimbabwe, and Cuba. Gingrich predicted such calamity as a result of Biden’s proposals on such topics as taxes, unemployment benefits, child care, and education — even though Biden’s proposals would simply align the United States with other industrialized nations.
After the interview — during which Gingrich also peddled another fake Fox News narrative about “woke” schools eliminating advanced math courses — Perino volunteered a final thought on paid family leave, mentioning that Biden will talk about the many women who had to stay home with their children during the pandemic.
“There are so many questions about how it will actually work. But overall tonight, I think that most people will be like, ‘That sounds like a good idea to me,’” Perino said. “They're not thinking Venezuela or Cuba. They think in their minds that the progressive fantasy of what’s happening in Scandinavia is the model.”