Stimulus Fueled Much of Expansion
The U.S. economy would have turned in a far worse performance in the third quarter without help from the federal government.
Eighty advertisers have reportedly dropped their ads from Glenn Beck's Fox News program since he called President Obama a "racist" who has a "deep-seated hatred of white people." Here are his October 30 sponsors, in the order they appeared:
From Fox News contributor Andrea Tantaros' Twitter feed
There is a scandal brewing on the right-wing media, and sides are being chosen.
Grover Norquist and Americans for Tax Reform claims that the word "shall" appears in the health care reform bill 3,424 times. But the Weekly Standard and Rep. Mike Pence insist that "shall" appears 3,425 times.
Why, the national shame of having a health care reform bill that contains a whole bunch of pages has nothing on this. If conservatives can't agree on how many times the word "shall" appears in the bill, what can they agree on?
Which side will you be on? Who in the right-wing media will get to the bottom of this burgeoning scandal? Let loose the blogs of war!
(Or, you know, maybe somebody just missed something when they copied-and-pasted the bill into Microsoft Word in order to run the "word count" function on "shall.")
Discussing health care reform today on Morning Joe, co-host Joe Scarborough and NBC White House correspondent Chuck Todd agreed that "[t]his week has been a mess for the Democrats." Todd added that "it does seem like they decided to take two steps back after they took one step forward because now they got a trillion dollar bill in the House, which is about $150 billion more than they said, than the President said that he wanted, and now they've got to have this back and forth and figure out how to get six to 10 moderate Democrats and Olympia Snowe on board."
I'm going to have to respectfully disagree that the past week was "a mess for the Democrats." Speaker Pelosi reported out a full House bill, the American Affordable Health Choices Act (H.R. 3962), that achieves a number of key fiscal goals that only this summer many in the media were insisting were out of reach. The Congressional Budget Office found that the bill reduces the deficit by $104 billion over the next decade, and continues to chip away at it in the subsequent decade. Plus it comes in under the magic $900 billion number for the net cost of coverage expansion over 10 years -- a cost that is, in CBO's words, "more than offset." And these achievements are doubly important because they satisfy President Obama's must-have requirement that reform "[w]on't add a dime to the deficit."
If anything, all of this adds up to a big step forward -- arguably a bigger one than has ever taken to achieve comprehensive health care reform in this country.
Today, Fox News' Live Desk continued the House Republican caucus and Politico's silly obsession with the length and size of the House health care reform bill. During a span of less than 45 minutes, co-host Trace Gallagher repeatedly told viewers the health care reform bill is so long, it makes the Russian novel War and Peace "look like a short story."
Live Desk at 1:33pm E.T.:
TRACE GALLAGHER: Well, now to the health care bill that makes War and Peace look like a short story.
Live Desk at 2:10pm:
GALLAGHER: Well, you thought War and Peace was long? Try reading the House health care bill, nearly 2,000 pages. And you're asking what we're asking: How much is this going to cost you?
Live Desk at 2:14:
GALLAGER: Well, are there any speed readers in Congress? It's a skill that could come in handy as the House takes up the 1,990 pages of the newly unveiled health care bill. You want context? Here goes. There are 400,000 words in the bill that weighs 19 pounds. It's almost 9 inches tall, it's got more pages than War and Peace. And oh, by the way, the U.S. Constitution was only six pages.
We've already noted the silliness of the bill size fixation. But here's another note of supposed "context" for Gallagher: According to Amazon.com, English translations of War and Peace clock between 561,093 and 590,234 words - more than the health care bill's reported "400,000 words." (One report pegs the original text at approximately 460,000 words.)
Or, just Journalism 101 at the WashTimes, which swears it's mainstream news org. (And please, pay no attention to the launch of the Times' new, right-wing online hub TheConservatives.com.)
Not only can't the WashTimes find any Democrats to cite in an article that's critical of pending Democratic legislation, but look at how painfully dumb the 'reporting' is [emphasis added]:
The word "report" appears 364 times and "tax" is used 214 times -- and while some of those refer to bookkeeping such as tax years, the bill does raise several key levies, such as a "surcharge" of 5.4 percent on individual taxpayers who earn $500,000 or couples with incomes of $1 million.
Rep. Mike Pence, Indiana Republican, said the bill uses the word "shall" 3,425 times, which he said was an indication that a lot of new mandates are being imposed.
Among them is a requirement that chain restaurants print directly on their menus how many calories each item contains.
It's funny, because not that long ago it was a badge of honor among Beltway journalists, and especially those who covered Congress, to be able to understand the often arcane ways of the legislative process. It was considered an accomplishment for Congressional journalists to under all the details and not be phased by the at-times bewildering ways of Congress.
But suddenly more and more journalists seem to be reveling in the GOP's oh-my-gosh-the-health-care-bill-is-so-many-pages talking point. Suddenly Beltway scribes seems to relish the idea of playing dumb on a national stage and pretending they have no idea what the pending health care legislation means with all those mentions of "shall," and "report" and "tax." It's so confusing.
As Julie Millican previously asked today regarding an equally lame Politico report about the health care bill (i.e. too many pages!), have journalists who are taking their cues from the GOP and suddenly acting utterly befuddled about the bill, never actually tried to read a piece of legislation before?