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Stephanopoulos Pushes Greenspan to Agree Taxes Should Be Raised --12/17/2007


1. Stephanopoulos Pushes Greenspan to Agree Taxes Should Be Raised
On Sunday's This Week, ABC's George Stephanopoulos pressed former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan to agree on the wisdom of raising taxes. Stephanopoulos wondered "what would be wrong with letting the tax cuts for the top one percent expire?" and suggested that to "shore up" Social Security and Medicate that Congress "limit the tax cuts." Citing a Congressional Budget Office study, "which was just stunning to me," Stephanopoulos recounted how "it said that in the last two years -- from 2003 to 2005 -- the increase in income for the top one percent exceeded the total income of the bottom 20 percent. Given that, what would be wrong with letting the tax cuts for the top one percent expire and plowing that money into education?" Following up, Stephanopoulos proposed: "If you have long-term problems in Medicare and then also in Social Security, wouldn't it make sense to, in addition to limiting them as I know you would like to do, to limit the tax cuts and shore up the programs in that way?" Stephanopoulos started the interview by summarizing John Edwards' claim that "average Americans are not winning in this current economy and the policies that we've been following for a long time are part of the reason." Greenspan retorted: "His remedies will make it worse."

2. CNN Surprised Oprah Facing 'Backlash' Over Obama Endorsement
CNN's Carol Costello, in a segment on Thursday's The Situation Room, highlighted the reaction of some fans of Oprah Winfrey who expressed anger at the TV host's endorsement of Democrat Barak Obama. At the beginning of the segment, Costello voiced her surprise to this development, and all but deified the daytime TV star: "Who knew that Oprah Winfrey, super celeb, might suffer the same fate as mere mortal celebrities -- backlash." The segment, which aired 43 minutes into the 5pm Eastern hour of The Situation Room, focused on the racial component to the issue. Costello opined that the Oprah viewers' comments were "telling about how many Americans feel about African Americans, even those popular among all races." She later went on to say that some comments left on Oprah's website were "especially interesting," because some said Oprah was "pitting white against black, because of how she stumped for Obama."

3. Christmas Gift Idea: Bozell's New Book on the Media and Hillary
MRC President Brent Bozell's new book on the news media and Hillary Clinton: The Perfect Holiday Gift for Your Favorite Conservative. This Christmas, give your favorite conservative, Mom, Dad, friend or colleague, something you know they will love. Give them Whitewash: What the Media Won't Tell You about Hillary Clinton but Conservatives Will, by the Media Research Center's own L. Brent Bozell and Tim Graham. Listen to Sean Hannity: "This is the defining book that needed to be written on Hillary Clinton, and anybody who votes in 2008 needs to examine this thoroughly."


Stephanopoulos Pushes Greenspan to Agree
Taxes Should Be Raised

On Sunday's This Week, ABC's George Stephanopoulos pressed former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan to agree on the wisdom of raising taxes. Stephanopoulos wondered "what would be wrong with letting the tax cuts for the top one percent expire?" and suggested that to "shore up" Social Security and Medicate that Congress "limit the tax cuts."

Citing a Congressional Budget Office study, "which was just stunning to me," Stephanopoulos recounted how "it said that in the last two years -- from 2003 to 2005 -- the increase in income for the top one percent exceeded the total income of the bottom 20 percent. Given that, what would be wrong with letting the tax cuts for the top one percent expire and plowing that money into education?" Following up, Stephanopoulos proposed: "If you have long-term problems in Medicare and then also in Social Security, wouldn't it make sense to, in addition to limiting them as I know you would like to do, to limit the tax cuts and shore up the programs in that way?" Stephanopoulos started the interview by summarizing John Edwards' claim that "average Americans are not winning in this current economy and the policies that we've been following for a long time are part of the reason." Greenspan retorted: "His remedies will make it worse."

[This item was posted early Monday morning on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

As for the contention the top one percent should be taxed more because the increase in their income exceeded the total income of the bottom 20 percent, the Tax Foundation found the wealthiest already pay far more than their fair share: "The top 1 percent of taxpayers (AGI over $364,657) earned approximately 21.2 percent of the nation's income (as defined by AGI), yet paid 39.4 percent of all federal income taxes [in 2005]. That means the top 1 percent of tax returns paid about the same amount of federal individual income taxes as the bottom 95 percent of tax returns."

Check the October 30 CyberAlert for the Tax Foundation's analysis of IRS data: www.mrc.org

Stephanopoulos on Sunday returned to his tax advocacy of a year ago. The January 22 CyberAlert item, "With Another Candidate, Stephanopoulos Calls for Gas Tax Hike," recounted:

Another Democratic presidential candidate, another chance for ABC's George Stephanopoulos to push for higher taxes on energy. On Sunday's This Week, when just-announced candidate Bill Richardson outlined how his energy policy would be based on conservation and improved technology, listing how "it's going to take more efficient air conditioning, it's going to take green buildings, it's going to take fuel-efficient vehicles," Stephanopoulos jumped in: "Higher gas taxes?" The Governor of New Mexico rejected the plea from Stephanopoulos: "No, you don't have to do it with taxes. You need a conservation effort that every American participates in, inspired by the President." Stephanopoulos remained unpersuaded, proposing: "But aren't higher energy taxes the best way to get people to conserve?" On the December 3 [2006] This Week, Stephanopoulos told Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack, a then just-announced Democratic candidate for President, that "just about every expert on energy says the best way to become energy independent is to raise the price of oil and gas, to have a serious energy tax. Why not call for it?"

For the rundown in full: www.mediaresearch.org #1

A transcript of the beginning of the interview with Greenspan on the December 16 This Week with George Stephanopoulos:

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: I wanted to start out with a response to Senator Edwards. You heard what he said about his defense of his populist rhetoric and his populist approach. He said average Americans are not winning in this current economy and the policies that we've been following for a long time are part of the reason.
ALAN GREENSPAN: He's correct in the fact that there is a stagnation in the middle class economic growth, but his remedies will make it worse, not better. So the critical question that confronts us is to recognize the problem, which is increasing inequality of income which I mentioned in some detail in my book and considered, in fact, a major problem which will be out for an indefinite period of time. We have to address that.
STEPHANOPOULOS: I wanted to get into that because you do talk about it a lot in the book. And there was a statistic that came out this week from the Congressional Budget Office which was just stunning to me. It said that in the last two years -- from 2003 to 2005 -- the increase in income for the top one percent exceeded the total income of the bottom 20 percent. Given that, what would be wrong with letting the tax cuts for the top one percent expire and plowing that money into education, which you think is part of the answer?
GREENSPAN: Well, the problem is fundamentally that our fiscal affairs as we reach out into the next decade are awful and, indeed, the Congressional Budget Office raised very serious alarms this week, but economists have been raising alarms for a long period of time, so I think we can't look at solutions without looking at the full context of how we're going to resolve the very large shortfall in Medicare and a lesser one in Social Security and looking at the total picture, because you just can't look at individual problems without a fuller context of where this country is going fiscally.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, in that fuller context then, if you have long-term problems in Medicare and then also in Social Security, wouldn't it make sense to, in addition to limiting them as I know you would like to do, to limit the tax cuts and shore up the programs in that way?
GREENSPAN: Well, I've always said, in fact, as soon as the budget surpluses disappeared, which was in 2002, I said my support for the tax cut was contingent and on pay go actually taking on meaning that offsetting reductions in spending or other tax adjustments be made in order to finance that specific tax cut. I still hold that true.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So in the Congress this week, and it appears like they're going to finalize it this week, fixes this patch in the alternative minimum tax, a $50 or $60 billion hit, and doesn't pay for it, increases the deficit, that's something you're against?
GREENSPAN: Yes.
STEPHANOPOULOS: That's a straight answer.

CNN Surprised Oprah Facing 'Backlash'
Over Obama Endorsement

CNN's Carol Costello, in a segment on Thursday's The Situation Room, highlighted the reaction of some fans of Oprah Winfrey who expressed anger at the TV host's endorsement of Democrat Barak Obama. At the beginning of the segment, Costello voiced her surprise to this development, and all but deified the daytime TV star: "Who knew that Oprah Winfrey, super celeb, might suffer the same fate as mere mortal celebrities -- backlash."

The segment, which aired 43 minutes into the 5pm Eastern hour of The Situation Room, focused on the racial component to the issue. Costello opined that the Oprah viewers' comments were "telling about how many Americans feel about African Americans, even those popular among all races." She later went on to say that some comments left on Oprah's website were "especially interesting," because some said Oprah was "pitting white against black, because of how she stumped for Obama."

Costello played two soundbites from Oprah. The first came from one of Oprah's stump speeches for Obama. "You know Dr. King dreamed the dream. But we don't have to just dream the dream anymore. We get to vote that dream into reality." In the second, from an interview on Good Morning America, Oprah rejected the accusation that she was endorsing Obama because he is black.

[This item, by the MRC's Matthew Balan, was posted Friday on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

The full transcript of the segment from the December 13 Situation Room:

WOLF BLITZER: Oprah Winfrey is now facing a backlash from some of her fans for lending star power to Barack Obama's presidential campaign. She drew thousands of people to rallies for the Democratic presidential candidate. But now she's drawing angry e-mail. Let's bring in Carol Costello. She's here in 'The Situation Room.' Why are some of her fans apparently angry?

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on-camera): Well, keep in mind, Wolf, these fans were commenting online. And let's face it, people just let it all out, sometimes in the heat of the moment. But their comments are telling about how many Americans feel about African Americans, even those popular among all races.
OPRAH WINFREY, TALK SHOW HOST: Barack Obama!
COSTELLO (voice-over): Who knew that Oprah Winfrey, super celeb, might suffer the same fate as mere mortal celebrities -- backlash. Fans writing into her web site are angry she has gone political. Angry she is campaigning for Barack Obama. 'Oprah,' says one, 'count me as tuned out for now.' Another says, 'It is a turnoff for a lot of your fans.' Yet another says, 'Oprah has crossed a line and lost my trust completely.' We asked people in South Carolina if they agreed.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As a private citizen, you know, she can be involved. But to try to promote a politician, I don't think the involvement is needed.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't think any celebrity should go public with their views.
COSTELLO: Hmmm. What's especially interesting about reading Oprah's website, though, is why many online fans are upset. Some say it seems she is pitting white against black, because of how she stumped for Obama.
WINFREY: You know Dr. King dreamed the dream. But we don't have to just dream the dream anymore. We get to vote that dream into reality.
COSTELLO: Some reaction. 'Winfrey has artfully begun her stump speeches alongside Obama with a negative racial tone. Don't pit blacks against whites.' And this one: 'This is getting so tiring. Are we voting for Obama because he's black?' That's something Winfrey rejected on 'Good Morning America.'
WINFREY: To think that I would just be in support of somebody because of the color of their skin would mean we hadn't moved very far from Dr. King's speech in 1963, saying that we want people to be judged by the content of their character, and not by the color of their skin.
COSTELLO: Winfrey also told us she weighed carefully whether she should get involved in politics, asking herself, 'Am I going to lose viewers? I made the decision that I have the right to do it as an American citizen.'
COSTELLO (on-camera): And Oprah says she welcomes all comments. It's good to vent. It provokes conversation and debate about things we all really need to think about.
BLITZER: Interesting. Fascinating stuff. Thanks very much Carol for that.

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on the Media and Hillary

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