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Totenberg, Clift Urge Tax Hike; Thomas Recalls Reagan Upped Taxes --9/26/2005


1. Totenberg, Clift Urge Tax Hike; Thomas Recalls Reagan Upped Taxes
A week after NPR's Nina Totenberg, on Inside Washington, urged imposition of a "Katrina tax," on the same show this past weekend she dismissed the idea of cancelling $24 billion of transportation bill earmarks as small change and suggested that "if you canceled the tax cuts, you'd get $225 billion." She rejected the contention that would hurt the economy and forwarded the standard liberal class warfare argument that "if people who are richer in this country don't pay more, we can't take it out of the hides of poor people, which is what the conservative group that is actually in Congress that's put out earmarks of what they think we ought to cut -- Medicaid, Medicare." Evan Thomas, Assistant Managing Editor of Newsweek, soon chimed in to point out how "there's no law in the Bible that says a Republican can never raise taxes." He recalled how "Ronald Reagan raised taxes, you know, he cut taxes, but then he raised taxes. George Bush, the father, raised taxes." On the McLaughlin Group, Eleanor Clift declared: "The obvious solution is to roll back the tax cuts."

2. Russert's Dream Scenario: Bush Realizes He Must "Freeze" Tax Cuts
NBC's Tim Russert brought aboard, for a Meet the Press roundtable, three Washington, DC-based New York Times columnists: Maureen Dowd, Thomas Friedman and David Brooks. He picked up on points made by each in recent columns and asked them to expand on them before leading a discussion about Cindy Sheehan and anti-war protesters and Friedman's proposition that Bush must do a "Nixon-to-China turnaround" and make "a quest for energy independence the moon shot of our generation." But as the session neared its conclusion, Russert forwarded his own dream scenario, inquiring of Brooks: "The President's been very resistant to talk about tax cuts or certainly the repeal of them. Is there any possibility he would say, 'We have these massive deficits. I believe in the war in Iraq. It's going to bring democracy to the Middle East. I believe in rebuilding New Orleans and helping the people of Texas. But to the people in my income bracket, I have to freeze the tax cut I had planned'?"

3. Hollywood: ABC's President Geena Davis Portending HRC Presidency?
At the premiere party Wednesday night in Beverly Hills for ABC's new drama debuting on Tuesday, Commander in Chief, in which Geena Davis plays the President of the United States, actress Sara Rue told USA Today reporter William Keck for a Friday article: "In my mind I'm pretending that Geena Davis is actually running the country because it makes me feel a lot more secure." Keck asserted that Rue, who stars on ABC's Less Than Perfect, summed "up the opinions of the mostly Democratic Hollywood crowd" when she declared: "We all thought of Hillary Clinton when we heard they were making this show. I hope it takes off!"

4. "Top Ten George W. Bush Money-Saving Tips"
Letterman's "Top Ten George W. Bush Money-Saving Tips"


Correction: The September 23 CyberAlert quoted actor Alec Baldwin as declaring on Thursday night's Too Late with Adam Corolla on Comedy Central: "Bush is the little guy that snuck into the theater and he popped the window open so that all these other hooligans could come in and just raid and rip off and plunder the government." The word "raid" should have read "rape." A video clip of the comments, in both RealPlayer and Windows Media formats, is now up on the MRC's NewsBusters.org blog in this node: newsbusters.org

Totenberg, Clift Urge Tax Hike; Thomas
Recalls Reagan Upped Taxes

A week after NPR's Nina Totenberg, on Inside Washington, urged imposition of a "Katrina tax," on the same show this past weekend she dismissed the idea of cancelling $24 billion of transportation bill earmarks as small change and suggested that "if you canceled the tax cuts, you'd get $225 billion." She rejected the contention that would hurt the economy and forwarded the standard liberal class warfare argument that "if people who are richer in this country don't pay more, we can't take it out of the hides of poor people, which is what the conservative group that is actually in Congress that's put out earmarks of what they think we ought to cut -- Medicaid, Medicare." Evan Thomas, Assistant Managing Editor of Newsweek, soon chimed in to point out how "there's no law in the Bible that says a Republican can never raise taxes." He recalled how "Ronald Reagan raised taxes, you know, he cut taxes, but then he raised taxes. George Bush, the father, raised taxes."

On another weekend TV talk show, the McLaughlin Group, Newsweek's Eleanor Clift also looked to undoing tax reductions to pay for Katrina: "The obvious solution is to roll back the tax cuts. It's going to cost $500 billion over ten years to relieve people, couples, with estates of over $5 million. Do they really need that money? I don't think so."

[This item was posted Saturday morning on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: Exposing and Combating Liberal Media Bias. To share your views, go to this node: newsbusters.org ]

The September 19 CyberAlert recounted: On the Inside Washington TV talk show aired on three Washington, DC stations over the weekend, NPR reporter Nina Totenberg suggested that President Bush's Thursday night speech "would have been a great opportunity to say, 'look, I'm for tax cuts, but we need a Katrina tax, we need to really pay, to do this and to pay for it.'" Host Gordon Peterson repeated her point: "You want more taxes." Totenberg chuckled as she reiterated: "I want more taxes, yes." Two weeks ago, Totenberg blamed tax cuts for the levee breakage: "For years, we have cut our taxes, cut our taxes and let the infrastructure throughout the country go and this is just the first of a number of other crumbling things that are going to happen to us." See: www.mediaresearch.org

I caught the latest comments from Totenberg on the Friday night airing of Inside Washington on WETA-TV channel 26, Washington, DC's PBS affiliate. The program is taped at ABC's Washington, DC affiliate, WJLA-TV, channel 7 (actually in Arlington, Virginia), where it airs Sunday morning at 10am after This Week. It also runs Saturday nights at 7pm on NewsChannel 8, the local all-news cable channel owned by the ABC affiliate.

Full recitation of the exchange quoted above, as taken down by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth:

Charles Krauthammer: "Our crisis of today is Katrina, probably a couple of hundred billion, and I think you start by canceling every earmark, all 6,371 earmarks, special pork spending, in the newly-passed transportation bill. It's only $24 billion, lunch money, but it's a rather ample lunch."
Nina Totenberg: "It's lunch money, but, it's lunch money, but if you canceled the tax cuts, you'd get $225 billion."
Krauthammer: "You'd wreck the economy. That's the difference."
Totenberg: "You wouldn't. You wouldn't. I mean, this economy was, is doing just fine, thank you, but it is about to sustain incredible blows because of the energy business, and if we don't, if people who are richer in this country don't pay more, we can't take it out of the hides of poor people, which is what the conservative group that is actually in Congress that's put out earmarks of what they think we ought to cut -- Medicaid, Medicare. That's money we, you know, for the poorest segment of our society."
Host Gordon Peterson: "Even Republicans are getting edgy about this, aren't they?"
Evan Thomas: "Yeah, sort of good. I mean, there's a split in the Republican Party. Republicans used to be, once upon a time, for fiscal conservatism, and there are a few of those left, and they're starting to murmur more, and, you know, people forget Ronald Reagan raised taxes, you know, he cut taxes, but then he raised taxes. George Bush, the father, raised taxes. It's not, there's no law in the Bible that says a Republican can never raise taxes."

Russert's Dream Scenario: Bush Realizes
He Must "Freeze" Tax Cuts

NBC's Tim Russert brought aboard, for a Meet the Press roundtable, three Washington, DC-based New York Times columnists: Maureen Dowd, Thomas Friedman and David Brooks. He picked up on points made by each in recent columns and asked them to expand on them before leading a discussion about Cindy Sheehan and anti-war protesters and Friedman's proposition that Bush must do a "Nixon-to-China turnaround" and make "a quest for energy independence the moon shot of our generation." But as the session neared its conclusion, Russert forwarded his own dream scenario, inquiring of Brooks: "The President's been very resistant to talk about tax cuts or certainly the repeal of them. Is there any possibility he would say, 'We have these massive deficits. I believe in the war in Iraq. It's going to bring democracy to the Middle East. I believe in rebuilding New Orleans and helping the people of Texas. But to the people in my income bracket, I have to freeze the tax cut I had planned'?"

Brooks answered on the September 25 show: "I don't know how many ways to say this -- no, non, nyet. Listen, Bush believes in the tax policy of his administration. I don't. I think in time of war, you don't cut taxes. That's me, personally. But Bush's argument is that we need to grow. That's the most important thing. Tax revenues went up this year by $262 billion, the quickest revenue gain maybe in American history. And his argument is we got to keep that revenue coming in and we need a strong economy, we need low taxes."
Russert: "Maureen Dowd, Tom Friedman, what do you think?"
Friedman: "Well, I think that if you look at the amount of money that we have cut taxes and the incredible contribution it has made to the deficit, you would think we would have gotten a little more buzz in this economy, Tim, than what, three-and-a-half, you know, percent growth, three percent growth. We have gone into debt, OK, at a massive level, and the result of that has not been a great improvement in our infrastructure, in our engineering, in the number of young people empowered and able to compete in the world tomorrow. So I just don't buy that. I think we have, we are now in a position where China has, they're heading for a trillion dollars, okay, of our -- in reserves that they're going to be holding, basically. And the leverage that is going to give China over the United States in the coming years, God knows where -- how that's going to play out. Everyone says, well, it's going to be fine. It's going to be fine, Tim, until it isn't, and you're never going to know when that's going to happen."
Russert then came back at Friedman with a conservative argument: "Would there have been less growth without these tax cuts?"
Friedman: "Probably. But you know, Clinton certainly proved you can grow with a much more responsible fiscal policy than Bush has."

Hollywood: ABC's President Geena Davis
Portending HRC Presidency?

At the premiere party Wednesday night in Beverly Hills for ABC's new drama debuting on Tuesday, Commander in Chief, in which Geena Davis plays the President of the United States, actress Sara Rue told USA Today reporter William Keck for a Friday article: "In my mind I'm pretending that Geena Davis is actually running the country because it makes me feel a lot more secure." Keck asserted that Rue, who stars on ABC's Less Than Perfect, summed "up the opinions of the mostly Democratic Hollywood crowd" when she declared: "We all thought of Hillary Clinton when we heard they were making this show. I hope it takes off!"

Davis herself, however, who Keck reported will be "a Democrat playing an independent," had "clarified: 'We're making this as entertainment. But God willing, if this show stays on and people see a woman in that office for a while, I think it will help people become more used to it. It's certainly about time that we had a few female presidents.'"

[This item was posted Friday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org. To add a comment, go to this node:
newsbusters.org ]

For the September 23 USA Today article: www.usatoday.com

For ABC's page for the new show: abc.go.com

For the Internet Movie Database's bio page on Rue: imdb.com

"Top Ten George W. Bush Money-Saving
Tips"

From the September 23 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten George W. Bush Money-Saving Tips" to pay for the Katrina recovery. Late Show home page: www.cbs.com

10. Reduce White House electric bill by spending more time vacationing on ranch.

9. Armed forces only defend America during normal business hours.

8. Start charging Saddam Hussein for all them Doritos we're giving him.

7. Endangered species need to get off their asses and protect themselves.

6. Sign endorsement deal renaming the country "The United States of Applebee's."

5. For "Hail to the Chief," you really only need one guy with a clarinet.

4. Switch to domestic beer.

3. Instead of foreign aid, Hallmark cards that read "Good luck with your country."

2. For a million bucks, offer Bill Clinton one night with Laura.

1. Don't start a new war until you're done with the old one.

-- Brent Baker