Category Archives: Media Matters

Media Myth That Cutting Taxes Boosts Revenue Revived For 2012

Media Matters has a terrific post about the myth that tax cuts generate revenues and that bigger tax cuts generate larger revenues.

Media Matters shows how these claims are debunked by not only by those on the Left, like Paul Krugman but also by those on the Right, who actually proposed the claim and sold it to Ronald Reagan and George w. Bush.

Martin Feldstein, a Harvard economist who was the first chairman of President Reagan’s Council of Economic Advisers estimated that a 10 percent tax cut would in fact reduce tax revenue — but only by 3 to 5 percent.

“It is not that you get more revenue by lowering tax rates, it is that you don’t lose as much,” he said. [The New York Times, 3/26/08]


Read … Here

This post I think ties in nicely with the last post from NJPP about what our tax dollars actually pay for.

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Filed under Martin Feldstein, Media Matters, media myth, New Jersey Policy Perspective, Paul Krugman, President George W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, supply side economics, tax cuts, tax revenues

>Right-Wing Blogosphere Downplays Conservative Judge’s Opinion Upholding Health Care Reform Law

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If government can mandate auto insurance, homeowners insurance, flood insurance….Then it only makes sense that government can mandate health insurance. I believe that the Sixth Circuit Court and Judge Jeffery Sutton got it right.

From MediaMatters.org
July 01, 2011

After the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit upheld the constitutionality of the individual mandate provision of the Affordable Care Act, many right-wing bloggers criticized the decision or downplayed its significance. But one of the judges who voted to uphold the statute was Jeffrey Sutton, an appointee of President George W. Bush who was such a proponent of states’ rights during his legal career that he once proclaimed that he became involved in states’ rights issues because “I really believe in this federalism stuff.”

By A 2-1 Vote, The Sixth Circuit Upholds The Constitutionality Of The Individual Mandate. In Thomas More Law Center v. Obama, the Sixth Circuit held by a vote of 2 to 1 that the provision of the Affordable Care Act mandating that individuals purchase health insurance does not violate the Constitution. The majority consisted of Sixth Circuit judges Boyce Martin and Jeffrey Sutton. District Judge James Graham, acting as a Sixth Circuit judge in this case, dissented. [Thomas More Law Center v. Obama, 6/29/11]


Read more HERE

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Filed under health care reform, Judge Jeffery Sutton, Media Matters, President George W. Bush, Right-wing bloggers, sixth circuit court, The Affordable Care Act, Thomas More Law Center v. Obama

>Doesn’t Anyone Remember Christine Whitman?

>In a CountyFair blog post on the website MediaMatters.org, blogger Jamison Foser asks a simple question “ Doesn’t Anyone Remember Christine Whitman?

It’s a great read and analogy of what transpired in the early 1990’s when young Republican Governors were swept into office and faced huge budget deficits after Bill Clinton became President and what is happening today.

“A young Democrat is elected President on a theme of hope and change, does some of the things he was elected to do, Republicans howl and win control of Congress in a landslide mid-term election, and the media becomes infatuated with a new crop of Republican governors who are trying to dramatically reconfigure state budgets.

“That’s a reasonable summary of the current state of affairs, but it also describes the first few years of Bill Clinton’s presidency. But it isn’t the similarity that’s striking: After all, there’s a reason the phrase “history has a way of repeating itself” exists. Or, perhaps more appropriately: “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” See, what’s really striking about the current situation is how few reporters seem to remember what happened in the 1990s.

Most notably, the past few weeks have seen massive media attention paid to state budget deficits, and attempts by Republican governors like Chris Christie to blame out-of-control pension obligations for those deficits (even as they pursue deficit-increasing tax cuts…”

Foser goes on to talk about how NJ Governor Christie Whitman cut taxes and raided the state pension fund in order to close New Jersey’s budget gap even though many critics warned that the State Pension system would see significant shortfall 15-20 years down the road, which of course is what is happening to be now!

“Whitman was one of those star Republican governors of the early 1990s. Like so many other Republican governors who win media attention for innovative approaches, she made her name through the not-so-innovative strategy of cutting taxes. Since she had to offset those tax cuts in order to balance New Jersey’s budget, she reduced payments into the state’s pension system. And that, as the New York Times noted last August, “contributed to the growth of the unfunded liability” that is now widely blamed for New Jersey’s budget shortfall.”

He went on to state that none of this should have come as a surprise to anyone because “when Whitman was defunding the pension system in order to cut taxes, there were warnings that this is exactly what would happen. Here, for example, is a September 5, 1994 Washington Post article:
“The first thing Christine Todd Whitman did upon taking office as governor of New Jersey in January was to cut the state’s income tax. Then in July, as she signed into law her first state budget, the Republican cut taxes again while simultaneously closing the huge deficit left by her predecessor.

This is what her supporters call the Whitman miracle, the fiscal accomplishment that has sent her stock soaring among New Jersey’s voters and transformed her on the national scene from a political unknown into one of the Republican Party’s newest stars.

But the key to the Whitman miracle lies neither in her political philosophy nor in her spending cuts, but rather in the fine print of her budget. Contained there is a series of arcane fiscal changes that some experts say amount to this: Christine Todd Whitman has balanced New Jersey’s books and paid for her tax cut by quietly diverting more than $1 billion from the state’s pension fund.

Whitman calls what she did a “reform” of the pension system that puts it on a more “sound actuarial footing.” Others are less charitable. The one thing that even the actuarial consultants hired by the Whitman administration agree on, however, is that the chief effect of the changes will be to shift billions of dollars in pension obligations onto New Jersey taxpayers 15 to 20 years from now.”


“At best, this represents a gamble that the state’s economy in the early part of the next century will be stronger than it is today and better able to shoulder pension responsibilities. At worst, according to fiscal experts, Whitman’s move represents politics at its most cynical.

In recent years financially strapped governments around the country — including Washington, D.C., and New York state — have raided their pension funds for cash, gambling that when the bills come due their local economies will be in a better position to pay them.

“The New Jersey pension system was highly rated in terms of its fiscal integrity,” said [Henry] Raimondo of the Eagleton Institute. “Now that’s compromised. She has effectively slowed down” the amount of “money going into the system, and in around 2010 the liability to New Jersey taxpayers is going to grow dramatically.”

Foser concluded his post by adding:
“Let’s review: A Republican governor of New Jersey reduced payments to the state pension system so she could cut taxes. Critics warned doing so would cause significant budget shortfalls in 2010. 2010 rolled around, and — surprise! — so did budget shortfalls. And now those shortfalls are used by New Jersey’s current Republican governor (along with many in the media) to justify cutting pensions (while again cutting taxes.)

Basically, conservatives have staged an end-run around having a public debate over cutting pensions in order to pay for tax cuts. Rather than making the argument that tax cuts are more important than pensions, they just went ahead and cut taxes, raiding the pension system in the process, then waited 15 years for predictable — and predicted — deficits, which they now point to as evidence that the pension system is unsustainably generous. And they’ve done it with the help of countless news organizations that fall for this shell game.”

You really need to read the full post, it’s fascinating how history has once again repeated itself.
You can read it >>> here

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Filed under 60 Minutes, Bill Clinton, Bill O'Reilly, budget deficit, Gov. Christie Whitman, Media Matters, New Jersey, pension deficit, Republican Governors, state pension system, tax cuts

Chuck Todd: Media Has "Created This Drama That [Obama’s] Struggling To Get [Health Reform] Done"

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Filed under Chuck Todd, HardBall with Chris Matthews, health care reform, media drama, Media Matters

Despite clear progress, media declare health care reform nearing "life support"

Media Matters

Despite passage of health care reform bills in House and Senate committees and the endorsement by major medical organizations of congressional Democrats’ reform efforts, numerous television pundits have suggested that President Obama’s health care plan is in serious jeopardy.

As The Washington Post observed in a July 20 article: “Cable news programs repeatedly declare the president’s health care program is teetering or embattled despite a week in which [President] Obama’s proposals were endorsed by the doctor and nurses associations and committees in both legislative chambers passed major bills.” Indeed, despite passage of health care reform bills by the House Ways and Means Committee, House Education and Labor Committee, and Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, and endorsements of congressional Democrats’ reform efforts by the American Medical Association and American Nurses Association, numerous television pundits have suggested in recent days that Obama’s health care plan is in serious jeopardy.

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Filed under American Medical Association, American Nurses Association, health care reform, Media Matters, President Obama, Washington Post

Orszag Sets The Record Straight "No Rationing Of Health Care"

Fox News’ Chris Wallace asked OMB Director Peter Orszag this morning if the administration will be “rationing” health care by establishing a commission of doctors and medical experts to oversee medical practices. Orszag, thankfully, called this a “canard” and pointed to the status quo.

“The fact of the matter is, right now, politicians and insurance companies are making decisions,” Orszag explained. “We’re saying, we want doctors to be making decisions.”

Wallace said once these physicians start “making decisions,” they’ll be in the business of telling consumers which medical treatments they can and cannot have. So, Orszag turned the question around: “Do you think that politicians are currently rationing care? Or insurance companies are currently rationing care? There are no set of decisions that this commission would have that is not currently resting with either members of Congress or insurance companies.”
The Washington Monthly, Steve Benen

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Filed under Chris Wallace, Fox News, Media Matters, Office of Managament and Budget, Peter Orszag, The Washington Monthly

>Hannity falsely claimed CBO "say[s]" economic recovery plan is "not a stimulus bill"

>From Media Matters

Discussing the economic recovery bill, Sean Hannity falsely claimed that the Congressional Budget Office “say[s] it’s not a stimulus bill.” However, in analyzing the House and Senate versions of the bill, the CBO stated it expects that either version “would have a noticeable impact on economic growth and employment in the next few years.”

Discussing the economic recovery bill during the February 2 broadcast of his Fox News program, Sean Hannity falsely claimed that the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) “say[s] it’s not a stimulus bill.” However, in analyzing the House version of the bill, H.R. 1, and the proposed Senate version, the CBO stated that it expects the measures to “have a noticeable impact on economic growth and employment in the next few years.” Additionally, as Media Matters for America documented, in his January 27 testimony before the House Budget Committee, CBO director Douglas Elmendorf said that H.R. 1 would “provide massive fiscal stimulus that includes a combination of government spending increases and revenue reductions.” Elmendorf further stated: “In CBO’s judgment, H.R. 1 would provide a substantial boost to economic activity over the next several years.”

Hannity also suggested that the CBO, in addition to Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd C. Blankfein, has stated that money spent “in 2010, 2011, 2012” would be ineffective as economic stimulus, asserting that “[w]hat they’re telling us” is “the infrastructure spending and real spending in this bill comes out in 2010, 2011, 2012. How does that — how do you label that a stimulus plan?

” But as Media Matters has noted, economists, including Elmendorf, have said that fiscal stimulus in 2010 or later would be effective in the current economic situation, in which economic output is projected to remain below its potential long after the technical beginning of the recovery. In his January 27 testimony, Elmendorf stated that, unlike in ordinary “periods of economic weakness” that “are fairly short-lived,” “CBO projects that economic output will remain significantly below its potential for several more years, so policies that provide stimulus for an extended period of time may be appropriate.”

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Filed under Congressional Budget Office, Economic Stimulus Package, leading economists, Media Matters, Sean Hannity