In order to attack progressive income tax rates, Glenn Beck tried his darndest to educate his followers about the Laffer curve, arguing that higher tax rates necessarily lead to reduced revenues:
BECK: It's called the Laffer curve. The higher the income tax, the less you pay.
He even attempted to illustrate what the Laffer curve would look like graphically:
The curve Beck drew would illustrate a relationship where, as tax rates increased, revenue would also increase approaching an undefined level represented by the Y axis. But since that graphic would completely undermine Beck's words, I'll assume he inverted the variables on either the X or the Y axis in order to show an inverse relationship between tax rates and revenue. But the logical outcome of that relationship would be that maximum revenue is obtained when income is taxed at a rate of zero percent.
The Laffer curve takes its name from economist Arthur Laffer, who reportedly illustrated the relationship between tax rates and revenue on a napkin:
Time's Justin Fox reported:
It's a saga that began in a bar near the White House on a December afternoon in 1974. Huddled at a meeting arranged by Wall Street Journal editorial writer Jude Wanniski were [Dick] Cheney, then the deputy chief of staff to Republican President Gerald Ford, and Laffer, who was teaching at the University of Chicago's business school after a stint in the Nixon White House. In trying to explain to Cheney why a tax hike mooted by the President might not be such a great idea, Laffer drew a chart on a napkin that showed government revenues increasing as the tax rate moved up from 0% but then turning around and heading back toward zero as it neared 100%.
So Laffer's original curve showed revenues increasing along with tax rates up to a certain point of maximum revenue, not -- as Beck indicated -- a more unidirectional relationship. A traditional representation of the Laffer curve is not the curve Beck drew, but rather a parabola:
It should be noted that economists have criticized references to the Laffer curve as a justification for reducing income tax rates in the United States. In Peddling Prosperity: Economic Sense and Nonsense in an Age of Diminished Expectations, Paul Krugman wrote, "Nobody questions that something like the Laffer curve exists; but even the supply-siders are skeptical about whether the U.S. economy is really in the 'backward-sloping' section."
At this point, I guess we have surpassed the information-maximizing point on the Glenn Beck show.
On his Fox News show, Glenn Beck stated, "I read a lot." That may be, but if his interpretation of a recent New York Times editorial is any indication, his reading comprehension leaves a bit to be desired.
Launching an attack on progressive income tax rates, Beck claimed, "The New York Times is doing their best to cover the spending tracks left by President Obama." Beck explained:
BECK: The Times claims that the deficit is a result of cutting taxes on the wealthy. And they offer this stern warning to us little people: "The last thing that government should do is slash spending." Wow. I wish I wasn't such a little person and I could understand that. History tells us taxing the rich and slashing government spending are both progressive lies. But you have to know history. You know, a lot of people will say, "That Glenn Beck, he's just a big, dumb dummy." Well, maybe I am. You can disagree with me all you want. But I read a lot. I read a lot of in-depth history.
The article, Beck said, could win "the gold medal in mental gymnastics" since the Times "will bend, twist, and contort all of the facts into a pretty, little, grimy, little ball of blame-Bush."
The thing is, I also read that New York Times editorial. Even the parts Beck omitted to fit into a pretty little ball:
The deficit numbers -- a projected $1.3 trillion in fiscal 2011 alone -- are breathtaking. What is even more breathtaking is the Republicans' cynical refusal to acknowledge that the country would never have gotten into so deep a hole if President George W. Bush and the Republican-led Congress had not spent years slashing taxes -- mainly on the wealthy -- and spending with far too little restraint. Unfortunately, the problem does not stop there.
See, the Times did not claim that "the deficit is a result of cutting taxes on the wealthy," as Beck claimed. The editorial stated that a combination of cutting taxes largely on wealthy taxpayers and reckless spending under Republican economic stewardship facilitated the current fiscal situation.
Further, when Beck said he couldn't understand the Times' warning that "[t]he last thing government should do is slash spending," this likely was due to his omission of the comments immediately preceding those he quoted:
At a time of high unemployment and fragile growth, the last thing the government should do is to slash spending. That will only drive the economy into deeper trouble.
As it turns out, in reading, context matters.
At least 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 for white people." Here are his February 9 sponsors, in the order they appeared:
Here's the lede of the Washington Post's report on its new poll:
Americans spread the blame when it comes to the lack of cooperation in Washington, and, in a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, most want the two sides to keep working to pass comprehensive health-care reform.
But if you scroll all the way to the end, you'll find that the poll actually paints a rather different picture: A plurality of Americans think President Obama is doing "about the right amount to compromise with Republicans." A majority think Obama is either doing the "about the right amount" or "too much" to compromise. Meanwhile, 58 percent of Americans think Republicans are doing too little to compromise.
I'll say that again: According to the Post poll, 54 percent of Americans think Barack Obama is doing either the right amount or too much to compromise with Republicans, while 58 percent think Republicans are doing too little to compromise with Obama.
And yet the Post writes that up as "Americans spread the blame when it comes to the lack of cooperation in Washington." That may be consistent with the Post's both-sides-are-equally-guilty approach to the lack of bipartisanship, but it isn't an accurate reflection of the poll.
Go read the BradBlog for a truly eye-opneing encounter the blogger had with a Times standards editor after the blogger pressed for an ACORN/O'Keefe-related correction. Specifically, Brad Friedman urged the paper to correct its erroneous reports that suggested O'Keefe, when making his undercover ACORN clips, entered the ACORN offices dressed outlandishly as a pimp.
According to an independent investigation into the ACORN matter, that claim is not true. (i.e. "He was dressed like a college student - in slacks and a button down shirt.") But the Times, like lots of news outlets, has made that dressed-as-a-pimp assertion again and again.
Not only did the Times inform Friedman that no correction would be forthcoming, but a newspaper "Standards" editor, Greg Brock, explained it was because the newspaper believed O'Keefe's claim that he was dressed up as a pimp inside the all ACORN offices he visited. (Good luck finding the video to back up that claim.)
Incredibly, Brock originally cited claims by Fox News and O'Keefe himself as sources for why the New York Times stood by their apparently unverified and apparently incorrect report. "We believe him," Brock wrote, because he said as much on Fox News, apparently.
Fox News has provided yet another launching pad for an aspiring GOP office-holder: Former Fox News "political analyst" turned Mississippi congressional candidate Angela McGlowan.
Back in May 2008, McGlowan announced on-air that she's going back to Mississippi to "beat" Rep. Travis Childers, stating: "That's all right, sweetie, that's my district, and I'm going there soon to beat your Democrat colleague, honey. I'm going soon. 2010 is my year. Announcing it right here."
Despite her announcement, Fox News still employed McGlowan until her contract reportedly expired this month and she officially announced her congressional bid. McGlowan's first campaign release references her former Fox News employment in its first line.
Since announcing her intentions in 2008, McGlowan used her Fox position as an opportunity to appeal to Mississippi voters, and curry favor among conservative activists.
McGlowan is a frequent speaker at tea parties in Mississippi and elsewhere, most recently appearing at last weekend's National Tea Party Convention, where she was identified as "ANGELA McGLOWAN, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR." During her speech, McGlowan bogusly claimed that the 9-12 march had "about two million" protestors -- a change from September when she baselessly claimed that there "was about 400,000 people." McGlowan was apparently so impressive that birther advocate Joseph Farah endorsed her candidacy.
Following her speech, McGlowan appeared on the February 6 edition of America's News HQ -- as a Fox News employee -- where she defended the tea party movement and fished for Mississippi voters, stating: "What I'm doing in essence is I'm concerned about Mississippi and the issues."
Looking for Mississippi votes while getting paid by Fox was nothing new for McGlowan:
MCGLOWAN: Charles, I've worked in Washington D.C. for over a decade. I've talked to veterans in Mississippi. I've talked to (INAUDIBLE) already parties where the American people are tired of being taxed.
PAYNE: Every American probably would agree on that but let's just talk now about people who were saying we have already spent so much on this war to begin with, over $230 billion. In Mississippi that money could have gone to pay for let's say head start for 150,000 kids, for health care for 200,000 people. The person in Mississippi who is struggling right now, wouldn't they say let the rich pay for this because we need to, we can't afford it?
MCGLOWAN: I'm from that state and I know that state. You have true patriots and true Americans there. In essence, you do have the rich and you have the poor, but you have people that want to see a country where we are not taxed. And once you start, where does it end?
Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin, and Newt Gingrich have also used their Fox News employment to stay in the public eye while contemplating bids for office. Former Fox News host John Kasich is currently a candidate for Ohio governor.
To prove how profoundly dumb Les Kinsolving's WND "exclusive commentary" (love that part) is, I'll simply flip in on its head.
Here's the Kinsolving headline:
Didn't Katie Couric ever learn to share?
And the lede:
America is still known as "The Land of Opportunity."
And this made me wonder why CBS' anchor lady, Katie Couric, has not, reportedly, offered to share some of her income to save dozens of her fellow CBS employees - whom the New York Observer and the New York Post, among others, reported are being laid off.
Ms. Couric, reports Drudge, is, instead of any such helping of her fellow employees, facing "a dramatic pay cut at the network."
But the New York Times quoted CBS News President Sean McManus denying any such Couric pay cut.
The Drudge Report noted that she is "the highest-paid TV news personality in history" and "commands over $14 million a year, plus bumps for non-evening news appearances."
Think about that.
The sum $14 million equals, for a 40-hour week, $70,500 an hour; $1,175 a minute; and $19 per second!
Yikes! Couric makes a lot of money at CBS. And yet dozens of CBS employees have been let go recently. Therefore, conservative Kinsolving, suddenly embracing a socialism/communism hybrid outlook, suggests Couric should take her salary and give it to CBS employees.
Okay, but here's the thing. Kinsolving's beloved AM talker Rush Limbaugh, makes way more money than Couric working for Clear Channel radio. And in recent years, it's no exaggeration to say Clear Channel, as it goes through a slow-motion demise, has fired tens of thousands of employees.
So based on Kinsolving's 'logic,' Limbaugh should "share" his earnings with the radio vets, right?
It's a safe assumption that newspapers receive letters to the editor on a daily basis from people who disagree with government policies. There's also no doubt that some are incendiary, hurtful, racist, sexist, homophobic, etc, because, well, some people have those beliefs and aren't afraid to say so in a public forum.
But newspapers have differing standards for which letters actually make it into the paper. So, let's take a stab at guessing The Washington Times' standard. Here are snippets of letters that The Washington Times published, discussing the possible repeal of the ban on gay men and lesbians serving openly in the military.
From today's online paper, in which a reader argued that "homosexual orientation is contrary to human nature":
Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates; and other so-called leaders are working to allow homosexuals to serve openly in the military. Even psychiatrist-commentator Charles Krauthammer is saying that the law forbidding homosexuals to serve in the military should be changed because social mores have changed. That is false.
Homosexual propaganda has prevailed, but the natural law has not changed. The homosexual orientation is contrary to human nature, just as blindness and deafness are distortions of the anatomy/physiology of mankind. Just because some women have children out of wedlock does not mean society gives up on marriage. When will our political and moral leaders bow to the moral law and use it to guide human nature?
And another from yesterday, in which a reader compared military officials who oppose "allow[ing] avowed homosexuals to become Marines" to German soldiers who opposed Hitler:
A small group of German officers opposed the loyalty oath to Hitler despite great political pressure. They courageously honored and respected the moral and institutional values they represented and knew to be right. We who are Marines are proud to see that our commandant has shown similar courage in the face of political pressure to allow avowed homosexuals to become Marines.
A cold chill shivers down the spines of men when they contemplate the physical acts of homosexual behavior. It is important the American people know that their Marines, and our commandant, have spine enough to notice and oppose this folly. I hope they will honor the many generations of Marines who sacrificed for American freedom and will remember to vote for and support those who will work to "keep our honor clean."
Now, to be fair, some newspaper editors do opt to print objectionable letters because they either want to err on the side of inclusion, or they think it's necessary to show that some extreme views exist in the public discourse. For example, John Taylor, former president of the National Conference of Editorial Writers, told The Poynter Institute in 2003 that his paper elects to print some offensive letters because a "viewpoint that many find objectionable is a real viewpoint and it exists in the community. And we ought not to be asleep to that, because if you're asleep to those kinds of views, that's how they prosper." But, he added, the opinion pages are "about presenting divergent points of view, a spectrum of views."
Not so for the Times. Its letters fit right in with the homophobic rants that the Times' purportedly professional columnists like editor emeritus Wes Pruden and Frank Gaffney have published on the opinion pages since the first murmurs of repealing "don't ask, don't tell," emerged. Media Matters has extensively documented the paper's history of anti-gay rhetoric, and since at least the beginning of this year, Times readers have been treated to nothing but opposition to the repeal of DADT on the Times opinion pages. If their readers want divergent beliefs on DADT, the opinion pages certainly aren't the place to see them.
Accuracy in Media's Cliff Kincaid has emerged as perhaps the most full-throated defender of Uganda's proposed anti-gay law, which adds Draconian penalties -- including death -- for alleged crimes related to homosexuality. Most recently, Kincaid has been portraying the views of a pair of anti-gay activists in Uganda as representative of all 30.9 million Ugandans, though without offering any evidence that this is the case.
In a February 3 column headlined "Uganda Confronts 'Loud-mouthed Homosexual Lobby,'" Kincaid claims that a "leading pro-family activist in Uganda says that Christians in that East African country need help resisting the schemes of the international homosexual lobby." This person is the only one he quotes. This was followed by a February 5 column headlined "Uganda Rejects Obama's Pro-Homosexual 'Change,'" in which, again, only one person is quoted, "Ugandan Christian minister Martin Ssempa." Kincaid doesn't mention that Ssempa has been screening images of gay pornography in Uganda to whip up support for the bill.
In the February 5 column, Kincaid writes: "Accuracy in Media's review of coverage of the so-called 'Kill the Gays' bill in Uganda finds that it has been completely one-sided, inaccurate, and distorted beyond belief. Contrary to press accounts, the legislation is not designed to kill homosexuals but discourage and punish homosexual practices which spread disease and death. Christians in Uganda are trying to build a culture of life and avoid the sexual perversions which have devastated families in the U.S."
In fact, one of the offenses of "aggravated homosexuality" that would warrant a death penalty in the bill is being a "serial offender," which the bill defines as "a person who has previous convictions of the offence of homosexuality or related offences." In other words, if you were convicted of previous homosexual behavior -- or even one of the "related offences" such as "failure to disclose" homosexual acts or "conspiracy to engage in homosexuality" -- and were convicted of it again, you could be put to death.
While there has been much discussion of amending the bill, it has not yet been amended. So as the bill currently stands, despite Kincaid's insistence, mere homosexual behavior is a capital offense under the bill, meaning that it will, in fact, "kill the gays."
There are other things Kincaid doesn't mention -- for instance, the fact that the bill applies to Ugandans not living in the country. He's also quiet about another inconvenient fact: In Uganda, HIV has historically been spread mostly through heterosexual or mother-to-child contact.
It seems that, when it comes to his own writing, Kincaid doesn't believe in fulfilling the promise of his employer's name.
Patterico attacks me today and clams I got the facts wrong with regards to the sad tale of conservative blogger Jim Treacher getting hit by a car last week. I've been writing about it to highlight how conservative bloggers made false accusations against the Secret Service without having the facts about the alleged "hit-and-run." And how Greg Pollowitz at National Review now refuses to admit his mistake.
Anyway, Patterico now claims that in my "screed," I falsely reported that Treacher claimed he'd been hit by a Secret Service SUV. "No, Eric Boehlert, that's actually not true. It's actually quite false," scolds Patterico, who then quotes Treacher rebutting me: "I did not claim Secret Service hit me. I said I was I was told Secret Service hit me by people who would know."
So according to Patterico, I owe Treacher a correction because he never, ever claimed he'd been hit by the Secret Service.
Except that, of course, he did.
Here are some of Treacher's tweets from the night of the accident; tweets that conservative bloggers used as the basis of their erroneous 'reporting' [emphasis added]:
Guess what? I just got hit by a car while crossing the street. At a crosswalk. With the right of way. By the Secret Service. Not joking
My knee's broken. I'm staying at my boss Neil's house. I want to know why the Secret Service hit me, crossing w/ the Walk sign, & drove off.
I know the Secret Service hit me because the cops said so. Oh, and so did the Secret Service. No apology, though. Yet.
So yeah, I feel pretty comfortable suggesting that on the night of the accident Treacher claimed he'd been hit by the Secret Service.
UPDATED: BTW, my original critique was not of Treacher and what he wrote about his accident. (I'm not in the habit of going after people who've just been hit by a car.) Instead, I criticized the National Review for its sloppy work. So it's worth noting that Patterico makes no effort to defend's NR's plainly false report about the so-called "hit-and-run."
UPDATED: Here are the actual tweets
UPDATED: In his attack on my reporting, Patterico claims he "will cheerfully issue a correction when shown I'm wrong." Well, prove it. You just insisted Treacher never claimed he'd been hit by the Secret Service. But I just showed, using Treacher's own writings, that he did.
Now, please issue a correction. Cheerfully.
UPDATED: Patterico responds, kinda. (It's a mess.)
To recap, Patterico claimed Treacher never accused the Secret Service of hitting him. But Treacher did exactly that. Note to Patterico: stop digging!