Friday, July 29, 2011

ABC News vs. tax hikes

note: update below.

The video is from the ABC nightly news, "Debt Ceiling Crisis: What Would You Do?"

It really should be titled, "what would you cut?" because it certainly seems that this was how things were presented to these panelists: that addressing the current budget debate requires believing that the budget has to be cut, taking this as received wisdom. Also, we have the sense of the false limit of a "spectrum" that runs from Tea Partier to "Liberal Democrat", i.e., you have to believe in the system(and accept that the Tea Party is part of that system, while anybody to the left of the supposedly liberal Obama is not.)

I note the two GOP types are older and seem more self-assured in their demeanor, in contrast with the other three participants, who seem more sheepish and unsure of themselves; maybe they were selected for this. The diffident three end up being cowed by the tea partier and the other republican regarding raising taxes on the wealthy, while the panel cuts social security, raising the retirement age to 68. Additionally I have to wonder how much this process and their conclusions were steered by the reporter and how it may have been further steered in the editing.

Meanwhile, from Andrew Leonard in Salon(via Duncan):

How to make a bad economy even worse:New GDP numbers should be a warning bell for Obama and Congress. But they're not listening
Yes, we need a deal that avoids default. But if the GDP data proves anything, spending cuts shouldn't be part of it. Shrinking state and local budgets are already a significant drag on growth. Consumer spending is weak. And yet everyone seems to agree: Obama, Republicans and Democrats, that the first order of business should be shrinking government even further, subtracting even more demand from the economy, and likely accelerating our economic decline.

One of the problems with critiquing the shortcomings of mainstream news reportage and figuring out what's really going on is that corporate and agenda-driven journalistic portals are rarely uniformly biased or distorted; if they were they would be reliably unreliable. Salon editors sometimes make excuses for Obama, but to their credit they also provide a platform for Glenn Greenwald. Leonard is absolutely correct here that shrinking state and local budgets are having a harmful effect on economic growth, but he also describes GOP brinksmanship as incompetence, which is highly questionable. This Shock Doctrine-esque behavior has been highly effective in moving the debate to a point where the failure of the 2009 stimulus is now axiomatic and the debate is essentially cutting entitlements a little versus a lot, as opposed to, say, that the stimulus was bungled, or too small. (At least he acknowledges that Obama seems to assent to the hacking away.) Of course it would be nice if ABC's Brian Ross had exposed his panel (and the viewers) to an argument like Leonard's, and discussed the traditional economic position that cutting government budgets in a recession hurts the prospects for an economic rebound.

ABC's panelists in the video above were familiar with the notion that raising taxes on the wealthy hinders job creation, and selecting a college aged democrat to debate this with a self described businessman representing this talking point seems like a tailor made lay-up for the GOP position. (For what it's worth, I tend to think the businessman believes this, and isn't just deliberately misleading the kid. Maybe Brian Ross believe it too.)

see also, Bruce A. Dixon, "Obama & the Fake Debt Ceiling Crisis: This President Is Really Just Smarter Than You Are"(via KFO)

But what if President Barack Obama never intended to fight for jobs or justice? What if he believes the nonsense about Wall Street being “job creators” instead of economic vampires?
What if Obama is not weak, or timid, or vacillating or waiting for us to “make him do it”? What if what we've seen is all there is, all there ever was?

The truth is that Barack Obama's actions are entirely rational, understandable and even predictable if you suppose him to have been a vicious, vacuous and cynical right wing operative from the very beginning.

The historic pattern of post-sixties Democratic candidates has been to come in on the high tide of public disgust at Republican rule, but to push the pro-corporate agenda further than would be allowable under Republicans.

The rest is here and well worth your time.

update: also via KFO, from the Economic Collapse blog: "Broke! 10 Facts About The Financial Condition Of American Families That Will Blow Your Mind"
(incidentally, re no. 7, I think they still want your 2½ percent.)

the above video has moved, here.

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At July 30, 2011 8:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the nod!

At July 30, 2011 12:12 PM, Blogger Jonathan Versen said...

Well now there's anudder link as an update. So there.


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