There's been a lot of hand-wringing from the right-wing media this week about a possible "double-dip" recession. See Dick Morris on yesterday's Fox & Friends, during an epic rant about how President Obama can't possibly win a second term:
MORRIS: I think that Obama definitely can be defeated and will be defeated. I think that the -- it is impossible for him to avoid blame for this economy. At some point, does this guy look in the mirror and understand that everything he's done about the economy is wrong? That he's causing the second housing crisis by cutting out the mortgage interest deduction, that he's causing this double-dip recession by threatening tax increases on consumers? Doesn't he understand that he's causing the deficit with this gigantic government spending?
Or witness this exchange between guest host Martha MacCallum and Fox Business host Stuart Varney on the June 2 broadcast on America Live:
MacCALLUM: A lot of folks in the financial world very concerned that the economy is actually getting weaker at this point. They're dropping words like meltdown, double-dip recession and even depression. Just today we got word out for the new unemployment claims. They dropped by about 6,000 last week. Economists were expecting those claims to fall by almost twice that number. So here is the big number for today -- 422,000 people walked into unemployment offices and filed for claims for the first time last week.
Stuart Varney joins me now, of the Fox Business Network. Stuart, what's going on here? Why are we still struggling so much?
VARNEY: All of a sudden, the economy seems to have hit a brick wall and is weakening on all fronts. Let's go through them. Housing prices down 33 percent from a couple of years ago and still falling. Manufacturing orders falling off a cliff very recently.
[A]nd this economy is growing at less than 2 percent per year. That's almost at stalling speed for an economy which is supposed to be roaring out of a recovery. Martha, that is why you've got people like Robert Reich, former labor secretary under President Clinton, saying that we are, indeed, heading towards a double-dip recession. Big negatives on the economy.
It is indeed true that economist Robert Reich recently penned a gloomy Financial Times op-ed, though what he wrote was, "It is unlikely that America will find itself back in recession but the possibility of a double dip cannot be dismissed."
What does Reich, who served in three administrations and was Secretary of Labor under President Clinton, think is causing our economic woes? From his op-ed (emphasis added):
From the June 1 edition of Fox News' Happening Now:
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From the May 26 edition of Fox News' Happening Now:
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Right-wing media have continued to attack energy standards that will phase out inefficient light bulbs by 2012, claiming the bill will "ban" incandescent light bulbs and force consumers to instead purchase either $50 light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs or "dangerous" compact florescent lights (CFL). In fact, the bill only bans inefficient incandescent light bulbs, and efficient bulbs -- whose prices vary considerably depending on the type of bulb and are also projected to drop -- will save consumers money in the long run; experts have also said that concerns over mercury in CFL bulbs are overstated.
In the midst of their coverage on a 8.9 magnitude earthquake and devastating tsunami in Japan, Fox News found an opportunity to push their message of "drill, baby, drill." During today's edition of Happening Now, host Jenna Lee cut away from the show's coverage on Japan to host Fox Business' Chris Cotter and then Wall Street Journal's Steve Moore to discuss President Obama's then-upcoming remarks on the "rising energy prices." The segment quickly became a platform for Steve Moore to push for oil drilling in the United States.
Moore stated that opening the Strategic Petroleum Reserve would only decrease the price of oil at the pump by "ten cents." In fact, his own plan to "drill for oil here in the United States" would have virtually no effect on the price of gas at the pump. From today's edition of Happening Now:
STEVE MOORE: The president has been on the fence on that, about that about whether to tap the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. But I would say this, Jenna, for consumers out there. I don't think that that has a big impact on the gasoline price. If the president were to tap into the Strategic Reserve it might lower gasoline prices by five cents at most, ten cents a gallon and very temporarily. I think the bigger issue is, Jenna, what are we doing longer term? As I said, why aren't we drilling everywhere where we have a potential to develop our own gas and oil resources? I mean, the way I put it is Jenna is that every time we can drill for oil here in the United States every barrel, that's one less barrel we have to get from these countries like Saudi Arabia, like Iran and Iraq, like Libya that some so much turmoil.
On Fox News today correspondent Carl Cameron claimed that "as a consequence" of House Republicans' push to repeal the health care reform law, Democrats are "beginning to see the things that should be modified." Cameron specifically cited a proposal to amend the requirement that businesses "report on a 1099 IRS tax form any transaction with a vendor over $600."
From the February 2 edition of Fox News' Happening Now:
JENNA LEE (HOST): Do we expect them to agree on anything when it comes to the health care bill?
CAMERON: Yeah, one of the things that's happened here as a consequence of the discussion of the repeal is a number of Democrats -- there are 23 Democrats in the U.S. Senate who are up for re-election next year. And as a consequence of all this discussion of repeal, they have been forced to really focus on some of the things that many Americans and the federal judges have found objectionable. And as a consequence of that there are a number of Democrats that are actually talking about something that will pass today.
A Republican amendment originally proposed by Mike Johanns of Nebraksa has now been essentially co-opted by Michigan Democrat Debbie Stabenow and the President supports it. It would repeal the paperwork requiring businesses to report on a 1099 IRS tax form any transaction with a vendor over $600. All sides agree that that's onerous. Changes are underway, not a repeal, but Democrats are beginning to see the things that should be modified.
In fact, Democrats including Ben Nelson, Mark Begich, Max Baucus, and Scott Murphy worked to change the 1099 requirement last year. President Obama also called for changes to the 1099 requirement before the midterm elections. Even Nancy Pelosi was on board. So it's simply not accurate to credit the GOP's repeal push for Democrats' willingness to alter the provision, try as Carl Cameron might.
Responding to a NABE survey anticipating improvements in employment, Steve Moore of the Wall Street Journal said on Fox News that the tax cut extension was a major factor in the recovery and that the stimulus had a "negative" effect. But the NABE survey itself found that most respondents do not think the tax cut extension will spur hiring, and independent economists have said the stimulus boosted GDP and employment.
Fox News correspondent Doug McKelway falsely suggested that increased offshore drilling would prevent high gas prices. In fact, even the Bush administration Energy Department said that expanded offshore drilling would not substantially affect oil prices any time soon.