On CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight, Ed Henry falsely suggested that President Obama's proposals to allow the Bush tax cuts to expire and to increase the capital gains tax rate would affect taxpayers in all income brackets. In fact, Obama has proposed allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire -- and increasing the capital gains tax rate -- only for individuals earning more than $200,000 in income and for joint filers earning more than $250,000 per year.
The Washington Times uncritically reported Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's statement that the omnibus bill is part of an ongoing "spending binge," without noting that according to a study by independent budget watchdog group Taxpayers for Common Sense, McConnell himself added 36 earmarks to the bill totaling about $51.2 million.
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The Washington Times' Donald Lambro wrote, "Nine thousand pork barrel earmarks were buried in the $410 billion omnibus budget that passed the House last week," adding that "President Obama told Congress the day before it passed that he was happy it didn't contain any earmarks, eliciting gales of laughter from the Republican side of the chamber who knew better." In fact, during his February 24 address to Congress, Obama praised the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act -- not the omnibus legislation -- for not containing any earmarks.
USA Today uncritically reported Rep. Tom Price's false claim that President Obama's tax proposal would "eliminat[e] tax deductions for upper-income Americans." In fact, rather than "eliminating" itemized tax deductions, the proposal would limit to 28 percent the tax rate at which families earning more than $250,000 can take itemized deductions.
On State of the Union, Dana Bash remarked that the Obama administration has "got a big problem on their hands because if they -- if the president really thinks he's gonna stand up and say, 'No earmarks,' the Senate majority leader and other Democrats said, 'Uh-uh. That's the way we do business, and that's the way it's gonna stay.' " King replied, "They like their earmarks." But while Bash and King have both previously noted that Republicans requested many of the earmarks in the bill, neither gave any indication during the discussion that they did so.
On State of the Union, John King did not challenge Rep. Tom Price's false claim that President Obama's budget proposal "will remove the ability to make charitable contributions deductible." In fact, the provision would, beginning in fiscal year 2011, reduce the tax rate at which families earning over $250,000 can take itemized deductions from the current rates of 33 percent and 35 percent to 28 percent.
ABC News' Jake Tapper, CNN's Dana Bash, and Fox News' Sean Hannity advanced the falsehood that President Obama's plan to allow the Bush tax cuts to expire for wealthy taxpayers would cause a large percentage of small businesses to pay higher taxes. In fact, according to the Tax Policy Center, just 2 percent of tax returns that reported small business income in 2007 are in the top two income tax brackets, which include all filers with taxable incomes that would be affected.
The AP reported that "Republicans assailed" the omnibus bill recently passed by the House as "too costly" and quoted Republicans criticizing the bill as, in the reporter's words, "bristl[ing] with earmarks." At no point did the reporter give any indication that many of the earmarks were included at the request of Republicans.
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During an online discussion today, Washington Post reporter Perry Bacon touted "the Reagan years" as an example of "low spending by the government":
Indianapolis, Ind.: Is the GOP message of no spending by the federal government, which to some extent rests on the idea that the last eight years didn't happen, working. It would seem to me to be a tough sell, no matter who was the Democratic president.
Perry Bacon Jr.: I think Republicans like that message, and Jindal and others want to make sure base Republicans are fired up. The last eight years weren't a great test of low spending by the government; Republicans would argue the Reagan years were a better example and more politically successful.
This is complete bunk. Federal government spending increased under Ronald Reagan. Increased significantly more than it did under, for example, Bill Clinton.
It's obvious why conservatives tell fairy tales in which the wise and noble Ronald Reagan kept government spending in check: they think it helps their political and ideological fortunes. It's less apparent why reporters like Perry Bacon repeat these myths.
Lou Dobbs falsely claimed, "President Obama sign[ed] a $800 billion stimulus package that we now know will come to about $3 trillion with debt servicing over the next decade," echoing a false claim in a Washington Times editorial that the Congressional Budget Office estimated that the full cost of the bill would reach $3.2 trillion by 2019. In fact, more than half of of the $3.2 trillion figure comes from the cost of permanently extending more than 20 provisions in the recovery bill, which the bill does not do.
CNN's Lisa Sylvester did not challenge Tony Blankley's claims on the recovery bill, including that the Congressional Budget Office said the legislation "would actually contract the economy as opposed to doing nothing," and that, according to CBO, "in 2011, they still would not have spent about a third of the money."
The AP uncritically reported that Sen. Mitch McConnell and "other Republicans" stated that the economic recovery bill "allows Democrats to go on a spending spree unlikely to jolt the economy." But the AP did not point out that the Congressional Budget Office "anticipates that implementation of H.R. 1 would have a noticeable impact on economic growth and employment in the next few years," or that CBO director Douglas Elmendorf said the bill "would provide a substantial boost to economic activity over the next several years relative to what would occur without any legislation."