Feb
21
2013

When You're Cutting Social Security, 'Wealthy' Begins at $25K

Elderly man on Chicago el train.

Here's a proposal for Social Security that was on the New York Times' op-ed page yesterday (2/20/13): The top third of beneficiaries (by lifetime income) [would] receive no annual cost-of-living adjustment in retirement. The middle third would get half of today’s adjustment, and the bottom third would receive the same annual increase they do now. Such a reform…would reduce Social Security spending by more than a tenth over a decade and fix the program’s long-term financing. This is part of Paul Ryan adviser Yuval Levin's attempt to find "common ground" on the entitlement issue: "Both sides should agree at least […]

Feb
20
2013

Why Does a Climatologist Need to Explain Economics to Joe Nocera?

NASA climatologist James Hansen has tried to explain to New York Times columnist Joe Nocera why he's so wrong about the tar sands, but Nocera's account of their argument makes it seem like explaining anything to him would be an uphill battle.

Feb
20
2013

Tom Friedman's Apple Hunch

Tom Friedman wrote a column about how government policies are harming the recovery. What we need is some kind of grand bargain to, as the headline puts is, "unparalyze" the economy and spur new growth. What's that mean? Cuts to Social Security and Medicare, along with "tax reform."

Feb
07
2013

Millionaires Are–or Perhaps Aren't–Leaving California

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The early headline on a New York Times story (2/7/13) by Adam Nagourney was, "Millionaires Consider Leaving California Over Taxes." At some point they changed the headline, probably because there's nothing in the article that would support it. But the problems with the piece remain. The story it's trying to tell is about a new tax increase on income over $1 million. Combined with federal/state taxes, the tax bill can really start to add up for the super wealthy–an "unpleasant surprise for the rich." I feel as bad for them as you do, no doubt. The point of the article, […]

Jan
18
2013

FAIR TV: France vs. Spain, NYT Erases West Bank Occupation, Wall Street Journal's Tax Graphic

On the new FAIR TV: The Washington Post says France had better slash wages and benefits in order to be more like Spain. Why would they want to do that? The New York Times erases a headline referring to the occupation of the West Bank. And when the Wall Street Journal wanted to show  what the new tax deal meant for "you"–who exactly did they have in mind?

Jan
02
2013

Tom Brokaw and the Not-So-Rich Wealthy

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The December 30 episode of Meet the Press was, of course, devoted to discussion of the "fiscal cliff." And NBC veteran Tom Brokaw was on hand to recycle some of the most tiresome talking points about wealth and taxes.

Jan
02
2013

CBS: Pity the Millionaires

cbs-estate

If the country were to fall off the fiscal cliff, we were told, there were going to be some winners and losers. But CBS Evening News found a different kind of of fiscal cliff victim: people who inherited land worth millions of dollars.

Dec
17
2012

John Boehner–Philosopher?

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Are John Boehner's ideas about tax cuts evidence of his "philosophy"? Or are they just misleading?

Dec
04
2012

CBS, Cliff Jumping and Your Family's Tax Burden

CBS reporter Anna Werner

The notion, coming from CBS reporter Anna Werner, that come January 1 an average family will be stuck with a bill for $3,500 is misleading–a deception in some sense borrowed from the faulty "cliff" analogy in the first place.

Dec
03
2012

When a Tax on the Rich Is Actually a Tax on the Rich

bartiromo

Meet the Press hosted what David Gregory dubbed a "special economic roundtable"  on December 2 that included "CNBC's dynamic duo,"  Maria Bartiromo and Jim Cramer. But Bartiromo's comments about tax increases for the wealthy needed a factcheck. She started by making a familiar conservative point about the so-called "fiscal cliff"– that the White House talks about ending tax cuts for the wealthy, but will not talk about spending cuts: And the fact is that I find it extraordinary that we are zeroing in on this discussion only about taxes, and we do not have this kind of elaborate discussion when […]

Nov
30
2012

GOP's Small Business Tax Talking Point

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Of all the arguments Republicans offer to maintain Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, one stands out: The tax increase would be a blow to small business owners. This is misleading–but you can't count on media to get this right. The CBS Evening News had a segment last night (11/29/12) taking a look at the issue. On its face, there's not much support for the Republican position:  About 2.5 percent of small business owners–a somewhat loosely defined group–would see a tax hike on income above $250,000  (Tax Policy Center, 8/5/10).  This is straightforward; so how do you make it less […]

Oct
16
2012

CBS Factchecks Romney's Tax Plan: Maybe, Who Knows?

cbs-romney

Mitt Romney has a multi-trillion dollar tax cut plan that he says won't add to the deficit. How does that work? He won't say, other than to pledge that he'd close some loopholes and deductions, but that none of those would harm "middle-class" Americans. Analysts have argued that this is not mathematically possible. So how do you factcheck that? That was the task for CBS Evening News last night (10/15/12). And their answer seemed to boil down to: Well, maybe. CBS reporter Wyatt Andrews explained: "Romney argues that lower rates will stimulate the economy and he is emphatic the middle-class […]

Oct
15
2012

CEOs Tout Austerity–Without Being 'Ideological' About It

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This passage from Meet the Press (10/14/12) says a lot about how middle-of-the-road elite journalists think about fiscal issues. Here's NBC veteran Tom Brokaw and host David Gregory: BROKAW:   I was just going to say, I talked to a lot of major business leaders who want Romney to get elected, but almost to a man and a woman, they say, "But you know what, we're going to have to pay some more taxes in our category."  What they want to do, however, is to benchmark them against spending cuts, so that they can get spending down to 20 percent of […]