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May 06, 2009

Why Are Reporters Pretending They Don't Know Obama Will Raise Taxes on the Middle Class?

Matthew Yglesias is part of the JournoList liberal pundit/reporter listserv.

Indeed, the advantage of JList, members say, is that it provides a unique forum for getting in touch with historians and policy people who provide journalists with a knowledge base for articles and blog posts.

Yglesias, who writes an eponymous blog hosted by the Center for American Progress, noted that “the combined membership has tentacles of knowledge that reach everywhere,” adding that “you can toss out a question about Japan or whatever and get some different points of view.”

And what is on Yglesias' mind lately? What "tentacles of knowledge that reach everywhere" is he spreading out? As caught by Mickey Kaus (in yesterday's 4:02 PM entry)...

While some Obama supporters deride "Tea Party" tax protests on the grounds that Obama hasn't increased taxes on the bottom "95 percent of working families" yet, the diligent Matt Yglesias is already trying to figure out which ones to raise. ... 4:02 P.M.

Following that link, we find Yglesias arguing with another liberal about the best way to to secure "broad-based" new tax revenues in order to pay for Obama's health care plans...

[A]s I’ve been saying, the case for such taxes [on unhealthy habits like smoking] rests on the claim that raising revenue through some source or other is going to be necessary when the recession ends. As you can see, Obama administration’s budget (demarcated with the dotted lines) leaves revenue as a percent of GDP far too low to pay for the government services we need:

That dotted line already assumes you’re repealing Bush’s tax cuts for the rich. You could—and we probably should—raise taxes even further on the rich. But I don’t think there’s a realistic way to get all the way to where we need to go purely through that mechanism. So the isse becomes that if you’re going to have broad-based sources of revenue, it makes sense to obtain a decent chunk of that revenue through taxes that, at the margin, encourage healthier behavior rather than through taxes that, at the margin, discourage economic activity.

Now Yglesias is not exactly the most influential reporter or pundit in DC. But he is a member of the secret liberal JournoList, which includes other, not-really-super-important people like Jonathan Alter who, despite their relative lack of genuine importance, are nevertheless completely reflective of standard-issue left-liberal thought.

From which we deduce that most reporters and pundits in DC are aware of the simple math involved in this problem, and know for a fact that Obama's spending plans absolutely require new "broad-based sources of revenue" and that while the rich may be taxed even more, their contributions alone will not be enough to get us anywhere near a balanced budget.

But while liberal reporters and pundits debate the coming tax hikes -- usually in private and in secret -- their public announcements tend to simply repeat Obama's claim that he's not raising taxes on anyone -- "not a dime" from any sort of tax -- except the top 5% of earners.

Which they know is completely false.

What they say to the public -- scoffing at the Tea Party rebels for protesting tax-hikes that, supposedly, do not exist and never will -- is in complete contradiction to what they actually know -- know -- is underfoot and on Obama's agenda.

It's an open secret that Obama is going to raise taxes on the middle class. Every liberal in the press corps knows this.

How the hell can they justify failing to report it? The President is lying -- and the numbers prove that without any doubt whatsoever -- and instead of going after that easy-to-write scoop, they act as his press deputies, regurgitating a line they know is 100% false.

And even worse -- we know the more wonkish among them are plotting precisely which taxes to raise on the middle class, and when, and by how much. They're engaged in these arguments while hiding the mosot basic truth from the public.

Obama seeks to get the public "a little bit pregnant" on increased tax hikes for the middle class, by jacking up spending so high they become more or less necessary. (The possibility of cutting spending is always unlikely; especially for Mr. Transformative.) But we know even as we spend ourselves into ruin that such tax hikes are necessary-- and liberal reporters know it too.

When Obama finally springs this shocking revelation on us, after the 2010 midterms or after he's been safely reelected to a second term in 2012, he will, of course, claim that the deficit situation has deteriorated far more than he expected (due, no doubt, to the evil Bush economy) and that he's utterly surprised to learn that he will, reluctantly you understand, have to ask for more sacrifice from the middle class than he ever, ever anticipated.

Will the media feign shock and surprise along with him?

PS: Will they also claim that President Toxic Asset has a mandate for raising taxes, because the public went along with the huge spending that made such increased taxes a necessity?

That would be the double-whammy -- they support Obama in his lies as he promises to not raise taxes on the middle class, and then claim the middle class gave its blessing for such tax hikes because they knew all along what they were getting into.

I imagine they'll be quite a few reporters -- including those on JournoList -- making that argument.



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posted by Ace at 01:51 PM

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