Barnes baselessly cited opposition to "hiking the minimum wage" as evidence of Democratic partisanship

››› ››› BRIAN LEVY

On The Beltway Boys, Fred Barnes baselessly asserted that congressional Democrats opposed a bill that would have increased the minimum wage because "Democrats have decided, 'We're not going to help Republicans on anything. ... We're going to object to it ... even when they're offering us things like hiking the minimum wage that we like.' " Barnes did not mention that House Republicans tied the wage increase to a bill that would cut the estate tax, a proposal Democrats vehemently opposed for providing a disproportionate benefit to the wealthiest Americans.

On the August 12 edition of Fox News' The Beltway Boys, co-host and Weekly Standard executive editor Fred Barnes baselessly asserted that congressional Democrats opposed a bill that would have increased the minimum wage because "Democrats have decided, 'We're not going to help Republicans on anything, on any issue at any time. We're going to object to it ... even when they're offering us things like hiking the minimum wage that we like.' " But Barnes did not mention that House Republicans tied the wage increase to a bill that would cut the estate tax, a proposal Democrats vehemently opposed for providing a disproportionate benefit to the wealthiest Americans; indeed, the official short title of the minimum wage bill was the "Estate Tax and Extension of Tax Relief Act of 2006." Further, Roll Call executive editor and Beltway Boys co-host Morton M. Kondracke failed to challenge Barnes's assertion even though Kondracke has previously described the Republican tactic of linking a minimum-wage increase and an estate tax cut as an "obscenity" and a "fraud."

This is not the first time Kondracke and Barnes have discussed the Republican effort to link a minimum-wage increase and an estate tax reduction:

  • On the July 28 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Brit Hume, Kondracke told Barnes, "The House Republicans want to go home and say, 'We voted for the minimum wage,' knowing full well that it's tied to this estate tax, which is an obscenity unto itself. ... [A]nd they know that that won't pass the Senate, so it's a fraud."
  • On the July 31 edition of Special Report, Kondracke referred to "this package deal that they're trying to work out in the Senate, minimum wage, end of the inheritance tax." Though Kondracke and Barnes agreed the bill would not completely eliminate the estate tax, Barnes argued that the bill would pass because "the Democrats will want to vote for the minimum-wage increase and the truth is the public wants to get rid of or minimize the estate tax -- the death tax -- not because they're going to benefit from it necessarily, because they think it's wrong to tax death."

Moreover, in commenting on this issue, Barnes ignored the fact that, as Media Matters for America has noted, congressional Democrats have long supported a minimum-wage hike and Republicans have long opposed such a measure. Most recently, on June 21, the Republican-controlled Senate defeated a Democratic amendment calling for a minimum-wage increase. Not a single Democrat voted against the measure.

From the August 12 edition of Fox News' The Beltway Boys:

KONDRACKE: What's happening is that the middle is -- is falling away, and this -- the politics in the country is becoming all -- all the more polarized every election it seems.

BARNES: Yeah. Yeah, but some Democrats -- what's his name with the New Democratic Network? [President] Simon --

KONDRACKE: Rosenberg.

BARNES: Simon Rosenberg wrote afterwards that this -- that the meaning of the [Connecticut Democratic Senate nominee Ned] Lamont victory is that we must be more partisan, harder partisans than ever. No accommodation and so on. And here's a guy who's supposed to be a moderate in the party. That was what his conclusion was. You know, you said earlier that -- that you wished and [President] Bush and [Republican National Committee chairman] Ken Mehlman were pleading for unity. They could get no unity. Democrats have decided, "We're not going to help Republicans on anything, on any issue, at any time. We're going to object to it even when they're -- even when they're offering us things like hiking the minimum wage that we like." They're not going to go along with that. So, I -- I don't -- I mean, you're asking them to do something that -- that wouldn't help at all. It would sound nice, but it wouldn't do any good.

KONDRACKE: You know what I hope Lieberman does in the -- in the general election is to -- is to frame that picture of Ned Lamont on that podium with who? With Jesse Jackson, with -- [Rep.] Maxine Waters [D-CA] was there somewhere -- with Al Sharpton.

From the July 28 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Brit Hume:

KONDRACKE: Look, we've got full employment, right? And it's not as though there -- workers are going to get fired if they're paid more.

BARNES: Yes, they are.

KONDRACKE: Oh no, they're not. Fred -- all right, better go out and look for illegal aliens then and pay them under the table. Look. This minimum wage has not been raised for almost 10 years. CEO pay at the biggest 100 corporations goes up 25 percent a year, and you know, it is -- and they -- what the Republicans are trying to do is cover themselves here. They're trying -- the House Republicans want to go home and say, "We voted for the minimum wage," knowing full well that it's tied to this estate tax, which is an obscenity unto itself, elimination, for that's for the very highest, richest, fattest cats in the world, and they know that that won't pass the Senate, so it's a fraud. It's a political fraud. And the Republicans ought to be ashamed of themselves.

From the July 31 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Brit Hume:

KONDRACKE: Short-term, the president said that he would -- indicated that he would sign this package deal that they're trying to work out in the Senate, minimum wage, end of the inheritance tax --

BARNES: It doesn't end the inheritance tax.

KONDRACKE: It doesn't end the inheritance tax, but for people like you, in your category, it does.

BARNES: It does not. I'm poor.

KONDRACKE: You're not poor.

BARNES: Poor people like me; we don't have to pay any.

KONDRACKE: Anyway -- anyway, it's been sweetened with a lot of tax extenders, which benefit all kinds of corporations, and I guess, maybe, some individuals as well, but mainly corporations, and it's got in it a couple of mine safety provisions. Actually, they're bailouts for the mining industry transferring to the government, which are designed to get the vote of [Sen.] Robert Byrd [D-WV].

MARA LIASSON (National Public Radio senior political correspondent): But it hasn't been passed yet, Mort. It hasn't been passed yet, Mort. That's the problem. He'll sign it if he gets it, but --

WILSON: Now, it doesn't look very good in the Senate, does it?

KONDRACKE: I think it's going to pass.

BRIAN WILSON (guest host): Do you think so, really?

KONDRACKE: Why shouldn't it? People in the White House think it is. I hope it is.

BARNES: It's going to pass because the Democrats will want to vote for the minimum-wage increase and the truth is the public wants to get rid of or minimize the estate tax -- the death tax -- not because they're going to benefit from it necessarily, because they think it's wrong to tax death.

Posted In
Economy, Jobs, Wages, & Unemployment, Taxes
Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Person
Fred Barnes
Show/Publication
The Beltway Boys
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