Conservative author Michael Reagan displayed a complete ignorance of government statistics and inflation, falsely claiming that median income during the Reagan administration was twice the current rate. He did so by using an inflation-adjusted figure -- and adjusting for inflation again.
In a September 18 Newsmax.com post titled "Obama's Median Income Half of Reagan's," Reagan discussed the latest Census report on income, poverty, and health insurance coverage, which showed median income for 2012 was $51,017. Reagan used this figure to criticize President Obama's economic policy, claiming that this number represented half the median income in 1989 after adjusting for inflation:
But that figure understates the magnitude of the Obama administration's economic failure. When we account for inflation during those 23 years the disparity is shocking. Using the handy calculator at westegg.com, we find that simply allowing for inflation, with no economic growth, the median household income would have to be $94,234 to equal what Americans were earning under my father, the man [MSNBC host Ed] Schultz slanders as "Mr. Trickle-Down Economics."
But if Reagan had taken the time to examine the first footnote in the Census report, he would have realized that the figures for median income have already been adjusted for inflation:
All income values are adjusted to reflect 2012 dollars. The adjustment is based on percentage changes in prices between 2012 and earlier years and is computed by dividing the annual average Consumer Price Index Research Series (CPI-U-RS) for 2012 by the annual average for earlier years.
While real median income in 2012 is in fact slightly below the 1989 value, Reagan completely ignored the effects of the recent catastrophic recession and the fact that after years of decline, the figure is finally reversing that trend.
From the October 31 edition of Fox News' America Live:
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Fox News continues to push the idea that Americans aren't "better off" than they were four years ago, ignoring that the U.S. economic situation has improved from the economic free-fall occurring at this time in 2008.
On the October 22 edition of Fox & Friends, a segment featuring Michael Reagan was prefaced by a clip of his father, President Ronald Reagan, asking in a 1980 debate, "Are you better off than you were four years ago?" Michael Reagan argued that Mitt Romney should point out that "the only people really better off today than they were four years ago is Barack Hussein Obama and, of course, the vice president of the United States, Joe Biden."
Fox News has a history of asking the "better off" question regarding this year's presidential election -- 26 times in August alone. And more often than not, Fox fails to provide the background needed to answer that question.
Indeed, neither Reagan nor the Fox & Friends hosts mentioned that the economy was rapidly contracting at this time four years ago. Gross domestic product declined by an annualized rate of 8.9 percent during the fourth quarter of 2008, and more than 3.2 million jobs were lost from September 2008 to January 2009. Today, the economy is on the rise, supported by steady job growth.
From the October 22 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
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Fox News figures have routinely invoked Ronald Reagan while discussing Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his running mate, Congressman Paul Ryan. Most recently, Fox compared Ryan to the former president by splicing together their quotes and saying that Ryan and Reagan are physically and ideologically similar.
In a June 21 column, conservative radio host and frequent Fox News guest Michael Reagan compared the Obama administration's recent decision to allow some young undocumented immigrants to stay and work in America to the scandal at Penn State involving allegations of sexual abuse against children by former football coach Jerry Sandusky. From Reagan's column:
Emperor Obama obviously could not care less about helping the Latino population. When Democrats had control of both houses of Congress he did absolutely nothing for them.
Now he's doing to Latinos what Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky allegedly did to the children of Pennsylvania -- using and abusing them. With his short-sighted politicking, Emperor Obama has hurt the Latino cause in the long run.
"Fair and balanced" Fox News informed its viewers that Ronald Reagan loved America, and Barack Obama doesn't.
In a segment Tuesday during one of its "news" shows, America Live, Megyn Kelly hosted pollster Scott Rasmussen and President Reagan's son Michael Reagan to discuss comments from Rick Santorum that Obama "doesn't believe America is a source for good." The segment featured a Rasmussen poll purporting to show that Americans agree with Santorum's assessment. The segment went on to falsely claim that Ronald Reagan never apologized for America, and insinuated that President Obama doesn't love the country that elected him.
The segment began with a clip of Rick Santorum speaking in Ronald Reagan's hometown of Dixon, Illinois, in which he declared: "We have a president who doesn't believe that America is a source for good. Ronald Reagan quoting John Winthrop's shining city on a hill. To President Obama, we are a source of policy that required this president to go around the world and repeatedly apologize for America and what they did -- we've done in this world. Ronald Reagan would never apologize for the greatest country in the history of the world." Then Kelly spoke:
KELLY: Santorum's enjoying that husky voice thing, isn't he? That was former Senator Rick Santorum speaking yesterday in Dixon, Illinois, Ronald Reagan's hometown, in front of a statue of Ronald Reagan on a horse. And a new poll suggests that a majority of Americans agree that this country is fair and decent, that shining city on a hill. In a new Rasmussen Reports poll, 64 percent of Americans say they think we live in a fair and decent society, 26 percent disagree. But take a look at this. The majority of Americans, when asked, believe thatPresident Obama sees this country as unfair and discriminatory.
Kelly then asked, "So what's up with the discrepancy?"
If Kelly wanted to know where Americans might have acquired such a notion, she should watch her own network. Fox News has repeatedly promoted claims that Obama is "selling out America," that he "has contempt for the history of America or America or Western civilization," that all he likes about America is that we elected him, that he has "malevolence" toward America, and that he has an "un-American, almost anti-American mentality."
From the March 20 edition of Fox News' America Live:
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From the February 7 edition of Fox News' America Live:
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Fox News has been attacking Senator Barbara Boxer non-stop for saying that a provision delaying an EPA rule will "kill 8,100 more people than otherwise would have been killed from pollution." On Fox Business, radio host Michael Reagan suggested Boxer's comments were over the top before calling Boxer a "job killer in America" and saying "every time she votes, it kills jobs."
No one on Fox found time to note the basis for Boxer's reference to 8,100 lives. Fox's Steve Doocy said, "I don't know where she comes up with that" number and Sean Hannity incorrectly suggested Boxer was referring to Keystone XL on his radio show. A minimal amount of research would reveal that Boxer was referring to an EPA rule that regulates hazardous air pollution, including known carcinogens, from industrial boilers under the Clean Air Act, which the EPA estimates would prevent as many as 8,100 premature deaths a year, among other health benefits.
Conservative media are once again ignoring these benefits of EPA's pollution regulations, and exaggerating the costs to industry for complying with the rule. Fox & Friends' Brian Kilmeade said on that the boiler rule would be "another economy killer" and Michael Reagan said that the rule would "kill 230,000 jobs," apparently referencing an industry-funded study. That study, prepared for the Council of Industrial Boiler Owners (CIBO) in 2010, estimated that the Boiler MACT (Maximum Available Control Technology) rule would put anywhere from 152,553 to 798,250 jobs "at risk." However, the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service concluded that "little credence can be placed" in the study. One of the several problems with the study is that it failed to estimate jobs that would be created by the regulation -- for instance, the boiler rule benefits companies that build boilers. Fox regularly cites industry-funded estimates of the jobs impact of EPA rules, even though retrospective studies find them to be unreliable.
From the October 6 edition of Fox News' Your World with Neil Cavuto:
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Following Texas Gov. Rick Perry's announcement that he will seek the GOP nomination for president, Fox News has relentlessly hyped his campaign, from promoting his policies to asking whether he would "ride his horse" rather than fly on Air Force One and defending his comments about Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.
Following Gov. Rick Perry's comment that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke would be "almost treasonous" if he "prints more money between now and the election," Fox figures have defended Perry by claiming that he's "passionate," using his "Texas swagger," and that the "fundamental point he makes is totally true."
When progressives argue that very wealthy people should be paying a greater share of taxes, Fox and others on the right accuse progressives of pushing "class warfare." Fox has also repeatedly attacked the progressivity of our current income tax structure.
Today, however, Fox's Your World with Neil Cavuto, celebrated the upcoming 30th anniversary of Ronald Reagan's tax cuts by airing graphics saying the following about Reagan:
I guess Reagan was a big class warfare guy.
It's actually kind of impressive how quickly Michael Reagan accelerates from zero to crazy in his latest anti-Obama diatribe.
Under the remarkably unremarkable headline "Obama's So-So Presidential Speech," Reagan begins with a series of run-of-the-mill complaints: The president's Libya speech left viewers "in a state of confusion" and seemed ambiguous about the president's "ultimate goal in Libya." And, of course, there's a boilerplate passage on President Obama's insufficient belief in American "exceptionalism." Then, out of the blue, Reagan suggests America will not "survive intact" the remaining two years of Obama's term:
As I have said previously, Gadhafi must go. But to make that happen in a way that will benefit America, President Obama needs to have a coherent plan, and he must be able to communicate the "big picture" to the American people.
One is forced to wonder if this nation can survive intact for the final two years of his term in office.
In Latin, the word is "oremus" — it means "Let us pray."
Wow. From "so-so presidential speech" to dire warnings of the end of America in fewer than 600 words. Like I said: Michael Reagan needs a vacation. Or at least a nap.