A Fox Business correspondent claimed that it was better to forgo nearly $3 million in additional prize money than to pay the roughly $400,000 in taxes due on it, representing a continuation of the baseless Fox News narrative that the rich have unduly high tax burdens.
Professional golfer Phil Mickelson placed second at June's U.S. Open golf tournament. Fox Business correspondent Lauren Simonetti argued on June 19's edition of Fox & Friends First that it may have been better for Mickelson to have lost the tournament and place second, for he would avoid paying nearly $400,000 in additional taxes.
She explained that had Mickelson won the tournament -- and won the $1.44 million first prize -- he would have had to pay an additional $76,000 more in taxes than he paid by placing second and receiving $700,000. Mickelson would have also had to pay an additional $300,000 in taxes on $2.5 million in bonuses paid to him by his sponsors, had he won. She concluded it's better to avoid paying roughly $400,000 in taxes than to win nearly $3 million in after-tax income. Simonetti said this made Mickelson "$400,000 richer."
This conclusion may stem from Fox's zealotry against additional taxes for the rich: the rich, because of their supposed onerous tax burden, need lower taxes in order to continue amassing wealth, or else they may stop working.
The idea that the wealthiest Americans have a disproportionately high tax burden is a fabrication Fox has pushed for years. However, a February 15 New York Times article reported that incomes for top earners rose more than 11 percent during the recovery from the most recent recession, while the rest saw their incomes decline slightly. As Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz noted in an April 14 New York Times Opinionator blog post, "as the top 1 percent has grown extremely rich, the effective tax rates they pay have markedly decreased." The Center for Tax Justice (CTJ) found that the effective tax rate -- a rate including all federal, state and local taxes paid -- for the wealthiest Americans is not much higher than the effective tax rate for middle class Americans:
In the same report the CTJ found that the precentage of all taxes paid by the wealthy is near the amount of all national income captured by the wealthy.
From this fabrication, Fox has argued that the supposedly high tax burden will make the rich not work or might seek lower taxes in different states. In September 2011, Fox News host Bill O'Reilly equated earnings to achievement and claimed that "if you tax achievement, some of the achievers are going to pack it in." And in September 2010, Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade argued that high levels of taxation, to the wealthy, "robs you of your ambition and your push and your drive."
However, the rich have not been doing this. As Reuters reported, millionaires in high tax states, such as Mickelson's home state of California, have not left the state for low-tax alternatives. Mickelson himself suggested in January he may quit golf due to California's income taxes, walking back the statement a day later. If the 2013 U.S. Open results are any indication, Mickelson is still playing golf, presumably because after taxes he still earns millions and because he doesn't take financial advice from Fox.
Fox Business figures complained that an increased number of children receiving food assistance is evidence that they are part of an "entitlement culture" and attacked President Obama for allowing the food stamp program to expand in order to accommodate more children.
Fox Business' Varney & Co. devoted several segments to reports that one-quarter of children are now enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Fox Business anchor Nicole Petallides claimed that while children should receive meals at public school, "we are raising a group of entitlement nation children. I know as a parent, I go out of my way to teach our children how they have to earn each dollar." Fox News anchor John Stossell agreed, saying that expanding SNAP "encourage[s] the handouts" because "once you give away free stuff, people always want more."
In a later segment, Fox Business contributor Jedediah Bila claimed more children on SNAP is an indication that America "is becoming an entitlement culture" and warned that children receiving food assistance are "going to be entering a job market and in their mind are going to have this sense of entitlement coming along with them." Fox Business contributor Charles Payne agreed, saying people could "grow up and never even tap some of the potential that they have" because "if you make poverty too comfortable, people can't escape it."
From the January 8 edition of Fox News' The Five:
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From the January 7 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:
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Fox News guests have repeated House Speaker John Boehner's claim that raising taxes would slow down the economy and hurt job creation. In fact, independent research shows that raising tax rates on the wealthy would have little to no impact on the economy and would decrease the deficit, while lowering taxes for the rich does not boost the economy or create jobs.
Conservative media figures attacked Americans for reelecting President Obama, with most claiming that those who voted for Obama did so because they see him as Santa Claus and just "want stuff." Others, like Fox News' Greg Gutfeld, likened Obama voters to "the wife who ignores a horrible husband because she can't imagine an alternative."
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney threw his right-wing media cheerleaders under the bus when he stated that his comments about 47 percent of Americans were "completely wrong." Prior to this statement, the right-wing media had embraced Romney's comments and even encouraged them to be used on the campaign trail.
From the August 3 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:
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During the July 13 edition of Fox & Friends, Fox's Gretchen Carlson claimed "[s]ome people have a big problem" with President Obama noting that giving the American people "a sense of unity" was a major part of his job as president, claiming Obama is responsible for "the divisive nature that this administration has evoked throughout society. But Carlson and her colleagues at Fox News have resorted to charges of "class warfare" throughout Obama's first term as president in order to protect the wealthy, disparage the poor, and attack the president.
In a recent interview with CBS's Charlie Rose, President Obama noted that he has shifted from "thinking that this job was just about getting the policy right" to understanding that "the nature of this office is also to tell a story to the American people that gives them a sense of unity and purpose and optimism, especially during tough times. Upon hearing Obama's statement, Carlson said the following:
CARLSON: Unity? Unity? Some people have a big problem with that word based on the last year and the allegations of class warfare and the divisive nature that this administration has evoked throughout society. That was an interesting choice of a word . Also what I find amazing is that make no mistake about it, this man has the best oratory skills ever as a man running for the president united states. His greatest strength is communication. In the same breath he says his biggest mistake was communication.
Carlson and her colleagues at Fox News have made class warfare a primary facet of their attacks on the president. Just last week, Fox Business' Charles Payne fabricated an attack on wealthy Americans from President Obama's praise of middle class values.
Although Carlson never mentioned the source of the "allegations of class warfare" which she took as evidence that Obama is evoking a "divisive nature" in society, she wouldn't have to go far to find examples: Carlson herself has been at the forefront of Fox News' campaign to attach the "class warfare" label to Obama.
From the July 13 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
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From the July 9 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
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From the July 6 edition of Fox News' The Five:
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Fox Business' Charles Payne repeatedly claimed Obama demonized success and attacked the wealthy during a July 5 campaign stop. But despite Fox News' ongoing campaign to portray Obama as engaging in "class warfare," the president's comments were limited to praise for the middle class.
In his July 5 campaign appearance, President Obama noted that being part of the middle class is "not just about income, it's about knowing what's important, and not measuring your success just based on your bank account. It's about your values and being responsible and looking after each other and giving back." Despite the fact that Obama never criticized the wealthy during his praise of middle class values, Payne claimed Obama's comments were "despicable" and "sickening," and that they "demonized success" during a July 6 appearance on Fox News' Fox & Friends.
After playing a clip of Obama's speech, co-host Brian Kilmeade suggested that Obama claimed that "[i]f you're upper class, you can't possibly have any values." Payne responded:
PAYNE: Let me tell you, this is what's so disappointing about it and despicable about it. Talking about people doing the right thing. Imagine you go to college, you work your way through college, you get out and you meet your girlfriend there and you guys get married and you both come out of school and you're saddled with a couple hundred thousand dollars worth of debt. You work your way through the corporate system and you have a couple of kids and you sacrifice, who knows, maybe 10, 20 years later, you have made it up the ladder of success. You've made all the sacrifices. You go to church but in the president's eyes because you make a certain amount of money you don't have values? You don't have principles? That is sickening stuff right there. It's divide and conquer and it's also demonizing success. Why isn't the job market moving? You're demonizing success.
Payne is hardly the first Fox employee to suggest that Obama is demonizing success or engaging in class warfare. This is a frequent Fox narrative that has made its way through the GOP as a standard talking point. Only in Fox's world does praising middle class values count as "demonizing success."
A Wells Fargo whistleblower has testified that during the housing bubble, her bank steered minority loan applicants into subprime mortgages even if they actually qualified for better terms. This testimony highlights the fact that media should be investigating banks and Wall Street to determine whether their malfeasance was the leading cause of the subprime mortgage crisis rather than casting blame on minorities.
After the housing bubble burst and the nation slid into a recession, the right-wing media deflected blame from Wall Street and the banks and placed it onto minorities and the government programs that aided them. That claim was false. Economists, the Federal Reserve, and the Financial Crisis Inquiry Report all agree that minorities and these government programs are not to blame, but right-wing media have made this argument over and over, and continue to make this claim to this day.
The testimony by a whistleblower, former top-performing Wells Fargo subprime loan officer Beth Jacobson, is further evidence that the right-wing media narrative is false. According to Jacobson, because of the influence of Wall Street, her company pushed subprime loans on minorities who might have qualified for better mortgages and approved those loans even when they were clearly unaffordable.
Here's a description of what was allegedly going on at Wells Fargo:
In sworn court testimony, [Beth Jacobson] described watching loan officers comb through heavily African American areas such as Baltimore and Prince George's County, forging relationships with churches and community groups to sell their members shoddy mortgages. She says she processed loans for homeowners with sterling credit ratings with higher interest rates than they needed to pay. And she says she pumped out millions of dollars in mortgages to people with no paperwork and low incomes, becoming Wells Fargo's top-producing loan officer.
Subprime loans were so lucrative, she testified, that many of her counterparts selling traditional mortgages realized they could make more money by referring borrowers to her than by making their own loans. That meant customers were offered subprime mortgages even if they qualified for better interest rates, she said. Other times, brokers encouraged buyers not to provide a down payment or income documents, automatically funneling them into the more profitable subprime division, she said.
"There was always a big financial incentive to make a subprime loan wherever one could," Jacobson wrote in her affidavit.
Wells Fargo has strongly denied the loan officer's claim, and is currently defending a lawsuit regarding this matter. No matter where this current lawsuit against Wells Fargo leads, Wells Fargo itself, as well as other banks, have settled lawsuits alleging that they engaged in similar practices.