Fox News Surrenders: Domestic Recovery Forces Narrative Shift To Foreign Policy For 2016 Election

The Republican News Network (aka Fox News) is taking a hard turn away from domestic issues in advance of the 2016 election cycle. For the past several years Fox and the rest of the Right-Wing Media Circus has focused heavily on matters that hit close to home like the economy, unemployment, immigration, marriage equality, education, and relentlessly, healthcare – or more accurately, opposition to it.

Unfortunately for the GOP, every one of those issues has been trending favorably for the Obama administration and the Democratic Party. The economy has grown by historic rates. The stock market has hit record highs. The deficit has declined by two-thirds. Unemployment dropped from 10.1 to 5.7 percent and wages are beginning to rise. The majority of the public support the President’s positions on immigration. Marriage equality is being affirmed by courts across the country. Both academic and financial education reforms proposed by Obama are hugely popular. And ObamaCare reached new plateaus of success signing up more than 11 million new people this year.

Fox News

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Also influencing the right is a Gallup poll released this week showing that terrorism has jumped in importance to the electorate. Fox News immediately began promoting this poll as evidence that Americans are convulsed with worry about being blown up in a cafe on Main Street. What they don’t mention is that terrorism in the poll shot up to a mere 8% and is still in fifth place behind four domestic issues. Also not mentioned is that another Gallup poll released the same day shows the President’s standing is on the rise. The poll shows him making significant gains with independents and even Republicans. And those gains are seen both personally and for his stance on issues.

So what is an obsessively hostile cable TV “news” network with a mission to promote conservative policies and Republican candidates to do? Of course, they have to pivot to foreign policy in a desperate bid to find a narrative that will advance their political goals. That is what’s happening now as this exchange from Fox News yesterday demonstrates:

Charles Krauthammer: This is going to be be one of those rare presidential runs in which foreign affairs is one of the dominant issues […] That is a very ripe field for the Republicans.
Ron Fournier: Charles is right. This is going to be a foreign policy election. I think that’s going to be really tough for Hillary given her last job.

Huh? Fournier didn’t elaborate on why Hillary Clinton’s last job as Secretary of State would make things harder for her if foreign policy were to take precedence. Running the State Department for four years would ordinarily be seen as a prime resume enhancement in an environment that prized international experience. Presumably the right is hankering for an opportunity to beat the Benghazi drum some more, but since they have failed to produce any evidence of wrongdoing after three years and dozens of investigations (including findings that exonerate Clinton and Obama by the GOP led House Intelligence Committee), it seems rather far-fetched that they can make an issue of it now. And when the election heats up Clinton will have a strong record of achievement about which to brag.

More to the point, the effort by Fox to divert attention away from the positive domestic news is bound to fail for three reasons. First, whatever plausible case they have to make against Obama and/or Clinton on foreign policy, they aren’t making it. Instead, they are wasting breath on such ludicrous trivialities as whether or not the word “Islamic” is appended to every mention of terrorism. Their mantra on this is that you have to “call it what it is” in order to win. They seem to believe that just changing the rhetoric all by itself would cause the bad guys to throw in the towel. That, of course, is absurd. The truth is that tarring all Muslims with an association to terrorism would only alienate the Islamic allies we need to prevail. The only parties who insist on this language are GOP/Fox News conservatives and the terrorists themselves. So why is Fox taking their side? That’s a question that Fox News will answer by shouting as loudly as possible, “Benghazi!”

The second reason that latching unto a foreign affairs campaign theme would fail is that, in addition to not making a negative case against Clinton, Republicans are also not making an affirmative case for themselves. Their fierce condemnations of Obama as being weak and incompetent (besides being somewhat unpatriotic by their own definition) imply that their alternative would be to recklessly leap back into a war footing around the world with fronts ranging from Iraq to Iran to Syria to Afghanistan to Ukraine, and even to Russia and North Korea. That would be a hard sell to the American people. What’s more, Republicans are already leaning on the same people that so profoundly wrecked the nation’s international relations as the would-be architects of the next GOP administration’s foreign policy.

Finally, after failing to make a foreign policy case against Clinton or for themselves, Fox and the GOP are forgetting the universal truth about presidential campaigns. As immortalized by James Carville, “It’s the economy, stupid.” No matter how much the right wants to avoid the domestic progress the nation has made in the years since George W. Bush and his cronies cratered the economy, that will always be the primary driver in voting for a national leader. And on that subject Republicans have nothing but failure to point to, while Democrats under Obama have an increasingly prosperous country and an agenda advocating on behalf of the middle-class. In addition, Clinton happens to be married to the last president to balance the budget while producing strong economic growth and job creation.

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It’s no wonder that Republicans don’t want to run on domestic issues. And as their PR division, Fox News is valiantly striving to help them to change the subject. But no matter how hard they pray their wishes will not be realized. 2016 will be decided by an economic debate, just like every other presidential election. That fact, however, won’t deter the right from trying to elevate foreign policy because it’s all they have. And in a presidential election year, when turnout is higher, demographics favor Democrats, and the GOP has more at-risk seats than their foes, the outlook for Republicans is filled with the gloom that they have been trying to project on Democrats ever since the black guy moved into the White House.

Glenn Beck Exposes Obama’s Plot To Incite Revolution By Raising The Minimum Wage

Once again Glenn Beck has used his unique ability to see through the clandestine schemes being perpetrated by nefarious government conspirators. It’s a vision that only he possesses. And this time the plan he’s uncovered is so insidious that it exploits some of the most benign projects to beget national catastrophe.

Glenn Beck

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The devious design is one that Beck describes as “really dark” and is associated with historical figures like Woodrow Wilson and the nineteenth century European band of Fabian Socialists. On his Internt blog yesterday (video below), he reveals that Obama’s initiatives to raise the minimum wage and send more kids to college are really a backdoor tactic to produce civil unrest and revolution. Let’s let Beck explain it himself…

“All revolutions need the youth. You need an unrest in the minority populace and in the youth. So if you get everybody to go to college, you promise them all kinds of stuff, go to college, and they are mired in debt that they cannot get out from under. Then they can’t even get a part-time job because they’ve been priced out of a part-time job.”

See? It’s so simple. Obama gets young people to seek higher education, which Beck and many conservatives regard as indoctrination into an evil cabal of intellectuals, and before you know it they are slaves to debt and ripe for radicalizing. Never mind that education is the pathway to full-time jobs that pay significantly more than minimum wage, and that the Obama administration has been fighting Republicans to ease the college debt problem by reducing interest rates on loans, offsetting tuition with public service, and making community colleges free. In Beck’s analysis better educated kids will only result in disaster. Beck continues…

“Then all of the unskilled labor force, the immigrant and everyone else, they come in. They can’t get part-time work because they’ve been priced out of it too because they don’t have skills, it’s not skilled labor.”

Exactly. And Beck’s proof for this is his ability to say it out loud. He offers no evidence that minimum wage increases have ever priced anyone out of the job market. In fact, it generally improves the prospects for employment that pays enough to bring workers closer to a living wage with which they can support themselves and their families. There have been plenty of minimum wage increases over the past several decades that show no harm to the economy or job availability. To the contrary, raising the minimum wage has proven to be a huge benefit. It pulls millions of American families out of poverty while injecting billions of dollars into the economy. But what only Beck is brave enough to tell us about it is that…

“Then you have a whole population that is ripe for unrest. You have a whole population ready for revolution. […] They’re only trying to raise this minimum wage, not because they believe it is going to help people, but because it will lead to unrest.”

And certainly everyone recalls all of the bloody revolutions that ensued following the minimum wage increases of the past. The civil unrest engaged in by people who were better paid is a notorious stain on our history. Although that recollection may be clouded by the actual data that shows economic growth and job creation was more pronounced in states that did raise wages.

Don’t let facts lull you into a false sense of security. That’s a trap that is made all the more dangerous by the sort of higher education that Beck has already warned us about. Right-wingers like Beck are correct to be worried about education because the more of it that people have, the fewer people that will follow grifters like Beck and vote Republican.

The only thing that is necessary for you to remember, according to Beck et al, is that Hillary Clinton loves Saul Alinsky and President Obama belonged to the church of Rev. Jeremiah Wright. If you stay focused on important matters like that you will be shielded from the inconveniences of reality as you stock up on survival seeds and gold bullion.

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Fox Nation vs. Reality: Billions In Tax Hikes Are Actually Cuts For Most Americans

In the upcoming State Of the Union speech, President Obama is expected to call for a variety of tax reforms aimed at helping the middle-class to finally participate in the nation’s historic economic recovery. The proposals comprise a common sense approach that recognizes the harm caused by income equality and are supported by a majority of the American people. They include…

  • Closing the “Trust Fund” loophole that allows billions of dollars of the ultra wealthy to go untaxed.
  • Raising the capital-gains tax rate from 23.8% to 28% (the rate in effect during the Reagan administration) for couples with annual incomes above $500,000.
  • Imposing a new fee on financial firms that engage in high volume trading. Not only will this raise significant revenue, it will discourage the sort of trading that makes the stock market unnecessarily volatile.

The funds raised from these measures would be used to provide enhanced benefits for middle-class taxpayers. For instance, there would be a new $500 credit for working families, improved retirement savings plans, an increase of the tax credit for childcare to $3,000 per child, and free tuition at community colleges.

So how does Fox News present this plan to the readers of their Fox Nation website? They shamelessly spin it to portray the measure as exclusively tax hikes and ignore the tax cuts and other benefits that most citizens will receive: “Still Not Paying Your ‘Fair Share’? Obama To Seek Billions In New Tax Hikes”

Fox Nation

Fox fails to point out that those who would pay more under this proposal are the few one-percenters who have benefited most for the last six years as the stock market has soared to record levels and corporate profits exceeded all previous highs. They can certainly afford these modest increases and they owe it to the country to let the other 99% enjoy some of the success for which we are partly (mostly) responsible.

Throughout most of the 2012 election season, Republicans, along with their PR allies at Fox, were quick to point to the one economic metric that has failed to keep pace with the rest of the recovery: middle-class wage growth. They tried to use this as as evidence that Obama’s policies were not working, despite all of the other evidence of unparalleled progress. And even as they made this disingenuous argument, they opposed any solutions that would actually address the problem. They obsessed over Benghazi and Ebola and gay marriage and repealing ObamaCare, rather than getting behind infrastructure funding to create jobs or raising the minimum wage, two obvious initiatives that would directly improve the lot of the middle-class.

Now Republicans are already declaring Obama’s tax reforms to be “dead on arrival” in the newly fortified GOP Congress. They are just as obstructionist as ever when it comes to helping working Americans. And they are just as obstinate as ever when it comes to protecting the wealth of the corporations and individuals who shower them with campaign cash. Consequently, it is unlikely that these measures will pass any time soon, but they will become fodder for debate during the 2016 presidential election cycle.

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So which side do you think the people will be on? Especially if the GOP nominee is the Original Bankster, Mitt Romney, or the next in line in the Bush Dynasty, Jeb Bush (whom the overlord of Fox News has already endorsed)? The remainder of the field aren’t any better on matters of economic fairness. They are a cabal of extremist Ayn Rand disciples who regard the less fortunate members of society as scum who deserve their lowly place. And with the way that the Fox Nationalists are characterizing the President’s proposals it’s clear that they mean to actively assist the GOP/Tea Party in misleading their flock and advancing the interests of the super-rich.

ObamaPay: Fox News Concocts Another Crackpot Controversy

We have already seen the blockheads on Fox News wax idiotic about several political issues that they named in honor of our President Barack Obama. They must have thought it was funny or somehow disparaging to call everything Obama-Something. And each time it was characterized as some sort of raging controversy.

The Big Kahuna, of course, was ObamaCare. That was followed up with the ObamaPhone. Then they went totally Looney Tunes with my personal favorite, ObamaCars. And now, get ready for the coming horror of ObamaPay.

Fox News ObamaPay

What is ObamaPay? Well, according to reporting that Fox News sourced to right-wing author Sean Higgins of the Washington Examiner, it is a proposal by Obama that will “try to force employers to pay their workers more overtime by limiting which workers can be called managers.” Higgins says that…

“The administration in February is set to announce a proposed new rule under the Fair Labor Standards Act that would designate who is an ‘exempt employee’ who cannot claim overtime for working more than 40 hours a week.

“The president and administration officials have indicated they plan to increase the $23,000 minimum amount a worker must make before his employer can opt to exempt him from federal overtime rules — also known as the ‘white-collar exemption.'”

In short, current regulations state that an employer can slap a “manager” tag on someone earning only $23,000 a year and then force them to work 50, 60, 70 hours a week or more without paying any overtime. For the record, the poverty level for 2014 is $23,850 per year for a family of four. So these rules can result in a warped definition of “white-collar” that includes living near or below the poverty line. What Fox News is calling ObamaPay is actually just adjusting federal limits so that people who work overtime actually get overtime pay, and employers cannot use loopholes to exploit low-wage workers.

The Fair Labor Standards Act gives the Labor Department the authority to set the definition of an exempt employee. And despite the fact that George W. Bush last raised the threshold to $23,000 in 2004, Obama is being portrayed as attempting “to enact his agenda by circumventing Congress.” That’s because it’s always OK for a Republican to do these sort of things, but if a Democrat tries it he is a dictator.

In the ten years that has transpired since the last increase, the current threshold has not kept up with inflation. What’s more, the Obama administration has advocated an increase in the minimum wage from the current $7.25 per hour to $10.10. For reference, it would need to be closer to $11.00 to match the buying power of the minimum wage fifty years ago. But Republicans in Congress have obstructed every effort to provide this long overdue relief.

The economy under Obama has skyrocket by most measures. The stock market is at new highs. Unemployment dropped from 10.1% to 5.7%. Corporations are reporting record profits. Home sales have rebounded from the devastating lows caused by the Bush economic collapse six years ago. One of the few areas that has not enjoyed the prosperity seen elsewhere in the economy is average wages. Republicans continue to point to that failure as being the fault of the President. But they are the ones denying Americans a higher wage, as well as refusing to fund needed infrastructure projects that would create thousands of jobs.

Now that the administration is exploring another option that would benefit some 3.5 million American workers, the GOP is predictably kneecapping the initiative and complaining that the tyrannical President won’t work with Congress. Having established that as the right’s response to this perfectly reasonable proposal, Fox News is jumping aboard with their PR machine and labeling it ObamaPay.

The funny thing is that every proposal that has had Obama’s name attached to it by wingnuts whose intention is to disparage it, has been something that genuinely sought to help average Americans to improve their lives during difficult times. They are policies that people will recall with gratitude and appreciation for something that government did right. In the end, Republicans and their PR division (aka Fox News) will regret naming all of these beneficial programs after the President because people will remember who it was that was looking out for them, and who was looking out for the wealthy, corporate, greedy one percent.

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Glenn Beck Wants Americans To Pay More For Gas To Help Russia And Saudi Arabia

Welcome to the Bizarro World of Glenn Beck. Two years ago, when gas prices were soaring, Beck engaged in conspiracy theorizing that blamed President Obama for deliberately causing the spike as some sort of plot to advance social justice or environmentalism. Beck asserted that the high cost of fuel would lead to war with the Middle East as a collapsing America became desperate for cheap energy.

Glenn Beck

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Guess what happened in the past two years? Gas prices have plummeted and Beck now regards that as a portent of doom. He says that it is “not good for America,” and will lead to war with the Middle East and Russia (video below).

Beck: When oil goes under the $80.00 a barrel mark, and it’s sustained there for very long, it puts pressure on the economic viability of all the countries that produce crude oil, for instance Russia and Saudi Arabia. When that happens their economies begin to destabilize and when you destabilize the world even more, it causes more problems.

It’s awfully compassionate for Beck to be so concerned about the stabilization of two countries for which he has previously expressed nothing but hate. But it is curious that his interest in their economic viability comes at the expense of American oil consumers. So why would Beck propose that Americans pay more at the pump in order to help out a couple of countries that he doesn’t much care for?

Beck: We’re not far from war as it is and the economy is in real trouble here. When you have people like Saudi Arabia (unscrupulous) and Russia (totally unscrupulous) and they want their money, they’ll get it.

So according to Beck, expensive oil was going to send us to war, and cheap oil is also going to send us to war. Either oil has to level at just the right price for Goldilocks Beck or we need to dispense with it entirely. But then those options may also lead to war. Beck hasn’t specifically addressed them yet.

What’s more, Beck’s admonitions about the pressure on the economic viability of countries that produce crude oil will also affect the United States, which happens to be the world’s largest producer of crude oil. Consequently, his theory that such countries would become economically destabilized applies more to the U.S. than it does to Russia and Saudi Arabia. Maybe his real concern is associated with the welfare of oil companies like his pals the Koch brothers. If they become economically destabilized who would bankroll the wars on women, voters, the environment, seniors, and Christmas?

If all of that seems just a tad bit insane, you have the disadvantage of a rational mind and the unfortunate ability to engage in critical thinking. These are mental hardships that Beck and his disciples never have to worry about. But as Ricky Gervais so brilliantly put it…

“Ignorance might be bliss for the ignorant, but for the rest of us it’s a fucking pain in the ass.”

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Hillary Clinton Smeared By Fox News For Correctly Analyzing Trickle-Down Economics

During the 2012 presidential campaign President Obama gave a speech wherein he paid tribute to the American people who collectively created an environment for business to prosper. That environment included paying for the roads, bridges, water and electricity facilities, and other infrastructure necessities without which the economy would whither.

However, one sentence fragment was lifted out of context from that speech by Mitt Romney’s campaign, and his friendly media cohorts, and used to unfairly clobber the President. That sound bite, you may recall, was when Obama reminded the proprietor class that “You didn’t build that,” meaning that every business has benefited from the investments made by our society and government.

Well, here we go again. Yesterday on Fox News the curvy-couch potatoes of Fox & Friends hosted a segment that focused solely on a sentence fragment that was part of a speech by Hillary Clinton.

Fox News Trickle Down

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Clinton was speaking at a rally in support of Massachusetts gubernatorial candidate Martha Coakley. The comment in its sliced-up form was “Don’t let anybody tell you, that, you know, it’s corporations and businesses that create jobs.” In essence it is barely different than Obama’s comment two years ago. But it is just as deceitfully excised from its original context. Here is what Clinton actually said:

“Don’t let anybody tell you that raising the minimum wage will kill jobs. They always say that. I’ve been through this. My husband gave working families a raise in the 1990s. I voted to raise the minimum wage and guess what? Millions of jobs were created or paid better and more families were more secure. That’s what we want to see here, and that’s what we want to see across the country.

“And don’t let anybody tell you, that, you know, it’s corporations and businesses that create jobs. You know, that old theory, trickle-down economics. That has been tried. That has failed. That has failed rather spectacularly.

“One of the things my husband says, when people say, what did you bring to Washington? He says, well I brought arithmetic. And part of it was he demonstrated why trickle down should be consigned to the trash bin of history. More tax cuts for the top and for companies that ship jobs over seas while taxpayers and voters are stuck paying the freight just doesn’t add up.”

It’s plain as day that Clinton was referring to the discredited sham known as trickle-down economics. She also hammered Republicans for opposing a pay raise for America’s workers while simultaneously pushing for a tax cut for America’s wealthy. That is exactly the reverse of what is needed to stimulate the economy. When the middle class has more money in their pockets they spend it, increasing profits for businesses and creating the demand that spurs employers to hire. Conversely, when the rich get more money it is typically directed to Wall Street or retirement accounts which have no productive impact on job growth.

Particularly disturbing were the comments by Fox’s business maven, Maria Bartiromo. For someone who should know better, she offered an ignorant appraisal of how the job market works. She accused Clinton of calling business evil, which never happened, and turned the whole debate into a political drama saying…

“Everybody knows that businesses create jobs. I mean, this is not brain surgery. We know that businesses, people that run business actually create the jobs. And I think Hillary knows that as well. […] Here we are a week away from the midterms, she’s gearing up for 2016, she’s firing up the base.”

Apparently Bartiromo knows even less about economics than she does about brain surgery. Businesses do not create jobs. They create products and services. But there are no jobs until there is consumer demand. That means people have to want the products and have the funds to pay for them. If a company has such demand for their product they will hire new employees. If there is no demand they will not hire anyone, no matter how many tax breaks they get.

[For a deeper look into who the “Real Job Creators” are, see this article and infographic]

The big fallacy about business is that it focused on creating jobs. But that isn’t true and the proof is that no business sits around trying to figure out ways to increase its expenditures on staff. To the contrary, they spend a great deal of time trying to find staff they can cut. Since their mission is to increase profits, their goal is to reduce expenses, and personnel are generally first on the list of cost-cutting measures. That’s one of the reasons that businesses are so drawn to outsourcing to foreign labor.

So businesses, rather than being job creators, are more often job destroyers, trying to operate with the fewest number of employees possible. And when Clinton says not to let anyone tell you that corporations and businesses that create jobs, she is spot on. It is, and has always been, consumers that create the demand that creates jobs. Trickle-down economics was a fat-cat scam from its inception. Fox News and other right-wing deceivers will perpetually mislead their ill-informed flock, but the truth is available for those clear-eyed enough to want to see it (which means no Fox News viewers or Tea Partiers).

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Stupid On Purpose: Fox News Demonstrates Willful Ignorance Of Economics

There is a very good reason why Fox News viewers have been shown in numerous studies to be less informed than consumers of other media, or even those who consume no media at all. The reason is that Fox News deliberately misreports and distorts facts in order to advance their right-wing ideology. A perfect example of this was demonstrated in an article that Fox posted today on their community website, the lie-riddled Fox Nation. The article was titled “OBAMANOMICS IN ACTION: Typical US household Worth One-Third Less Than Under Bush.”

Fox Nation

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The source for the highly inaccurate assertion in the headline was a study performed by the Russel Sage Foundation (RSF) and published by the Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality: Wealth Levels, Wealth Inequality, and the Great Recession (pdf). The RSF describes itself as “the principal American foundation devoted exclusively to research in the social sciences.” The study itself is a well-researched and scholarly examination of the effects of the Great Recession on wealth inequality in the U.S. It took a fair degree of determination and willful ignorance for Fox to twist the report’s well-founded and non-partisan conclusions into a criticism of President Obama’s economic policies. And yet, Fox managed to do so, and they began by proving that they don’t know the difference between “median” households and “typical” households.

For the record, median, in this context, is referring to the dollar value of the subject’s net worth. It has nothing to do with the number of subjects in that value range. In fact, there are many more people on the lower end of the wealth spectrum than the upper end. Therefore, median does not translate to typical. As an example, if Bill Gates (net worth approx. $50 billion) were in a room with ten people whose net worth were $1 million each, the average net worth of the people in that room would be about $4.5 billion. Obviously, that is not the typical net worth of those people.

What the study shows is that wealth increased among the richest Americans throughout most of the Bush years, beginning with the GOP tax cut for the rich in 2001. That cut, along with two off-budget wars, also produced the massive deficits that sprung from the budget surplus Clinton left for Bush. During the same time period the rest of the country languished. Those in the 25th percentile actually began to decline in 2005, before the Great Recession hit. Following the Bush Debacle at the end of 2008 everyone lost money, but those at the bottom lost a far greater percentage of their net worth than those at the top.

Also, the characterization by Fox that things were so much better while Bush was president is based on measuring the difference from the beginning of the Bush term in 2001. But by using that as the starting point it diminishes his responsibility for the economic collapse over which he presided in 2008, and places more of the consequences of it on Obama. A more significant measure would start with the Great Recession in late 2008. From that point on there has been steady progress. The RSF report stated that…

“The housing, stock and job markets have all improved since 2009, but at very different rates. The stock market rebounded relatively quickly and returned to prerecession levels by the middle of 2013. The July 2013 unemployment rate of 7.4 percent was below the recession peak of 10.0 percent, but was still substantially higher than the 4.7 percent rate of mid-2007. However, the most important source of wealth for most Americans is their home, and by mid-2013 home prices were still 20 percent below their mid-2007 values.”

Indeed, it was home ownership that had the biggest impact on the wealth of the middle class because it is such a large portion of their net worth. For the wealthy their homes represent only a portion of their total worth, and it may not even be the largest portion. They may also have millions in investments, retirement funds, and other financial assets. And since the Great Recession resulted in millions of foreclosures on the middle and lower classes, many of which were unwarranted, or even fraudulent, those on the bottom of the scale were hurt the most. This had the effect of making an already historically prominent level of wealth inequality even worse. This was also noted in the conclusions of the RSF report:

“While large absolute amounts of wealth were destroyed at the top of the wealth distribution, households at the bottom of the wealth distribution lost the largest share of their total wealth. As a result, wealth inequality increased significantly from 2007 through 2013; by some metrics inequality roughly doubled.”

Anyone giving this report a fair reading would come away with the impression that wealth inequality has risen to dangerous levels, and that much of the reason is the Bush recession. But the folks at the falsely named “fair and balanced” network brought their own biases to the table and delivered a preposterous mutation of the study’s findings. Their intention is clearly to deceive the public by persuading them of the fiction that Obama’s economic policies have failed, and that Bush’s were superior. However, you would have to be pretty stupid to buy that argument. Therefore, there are at least a couple of million Fox News viewers who will eat up with relish.

Stupid GOP Tricks: Slash The IRS Budget As Revenge For Phony Tea Party Scandal

Anyone looking for idiotic ideas from the Tea Party Republican Congress wouldn’t have far to travel before stumbling over a mountain of them. Some of the more obvious examples include denying reproductive health care, cutting taxes for the rich, suppressing the vote, shutting down the government, and promoting creationism. But wait, there’s more.

Ayn Rand Wet Dream Act

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Since the do-nothing GOP-run House isn’t doing anything else, they have had plenty of time to come up with ever more asinine initiatives in a committed effort to advance the cause of stupidity. The latest step forward in that regard is their bill to cut the budget of the IRS by 25 percent:

“The GOP-controlled House has voted to slash the budget for the Internal Revenue Service’s tax enforcement division by $1.2 billion, a 25 percent cut that would mean fewer audits of taxpayers and make it more likely that people who cheat on their taxes will get away with it.”

Brilliant! This is a win-win for Tea-publicans who hate government in general and the IRS in particular. This bill would make it harder for the IRS to carry out its responsibility for collecting revenue that the nation needs in order to function. Thus, it would open up the agency to criticism for inefficiency that was created by this budget cut. It would also create inefficiencies in every other branch of government that is starved for revenue by the reduced tax receipts which, in turn, would make them subject to criticism. It would increase the federal deficit by leaving untold billions of legitimately owed taxes uncollected. This, of course, would incite additional fury by the pseudo-deficit hawks of the GOP who would ignore the fact that they created this problem in the first place.

At the same time, a crippled IRS would be unable to audit the corporations and millionaires who routinely practice – shall we say “creative” accounting. Consequently, these folks, who are the benefactors of the Republican Party, would have free rein to rob the American people of billions of dollars necessary to run critical federal programs including Social Security, the military, public safety (food, water, consumer products, etc.), transportation and infrastructure, medical research, criminal prosecution and prevention, and so much more.

The severity of these cuts will disrupt detection and prevention of criminal activity such as fraud and identity theft, leaving average Americans more vulnerable to victimization. They would also hamper the agency’s ability to provide service to every taxpayer seeking assistance with common filing questions.

So these cuts would have the triple purpose of weakening vital services upon which every American relies, granting amnesty to tax cheats everywhere, and artificially creating excuses to lash out at Big Government. They should call it the Ayn Rand Wet Dream Enhancement Act of 2014.

For the record, these Wet Dreamers are proposing cuts that have a demonstrably negative impact on the nation’s finances. And they come on top of previous cuts that have already impeded the IRS from performing its duties. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) in a detailed and enlightening analysis

“[P]olicymakers should not ignore the damaging effects of the significant cuts that have occurred in IRS funding, which remains well below its 2010 level even before adjusting for inflation. The cuts have led the IRS to reduce its workforce, severely scale back employee training, and delay much-needed upgrades to information technology systems. These steps, in turn, have weakened the IRS’s ability to enforce the nation’s tax laws and serve taxpayers efficiently”

Even worse is the impact on the federal deficit caused by an understaffed, underfunded IRS. The CBPP report also reveals that…

“…from a fiscal perspective, starving the IRS makes no sense, as the return on the investment is high. Each additional $1 spent on IRS enforcement yields $6 of additional revenue from collecting taxes owed.”

Where else in the federal government can the allocation of funds generate that kind of return on investment? It is an act of profound folly to kill such a productive and beneficial pathway to economic sustainability that doesn’t rely on new taxes or program cuts. So what would inspire House Republicans to behave so foolishly?

“The cuts reflect GOP outrage over the agency’s scrutiny of tea party groups seeking tax-exempt status and frustration over the agency’s failure to produce thousands of emails by Lois Lerner, the official formerly in charge of the IRS division that processes applications for tax-exempt status.”

That’s right. A trumped up scandal that has elicited nothing but partisan animus and lie-riddled accusations is the impetus for choking off funds that would protect and benefit every citizen. It is the height of petty politicking that comes at the expense of the nation’s economic viability. It is transparent pandering to wealthy special interests.

In the end, it is law abiding Americans who will have to shoulder the burden for these deadbeats. So the question is: Are the GOP really stupid, or they shrewdly executing their mission to starve the government, crush the middle-class, and enrich their benefactors?

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While Suppressing Good Jobs Data, Fox News Slams Obama For Trying To Create More Jobs

This morning the new unemployment report was released showing that 288,000 jobs were added during the month of June and the unemployment rate went down to 6.1%, the lowest since September of 2008. Not surprisingly, Fox News virtually ignored this report as they do with anything that might reflect positively on this administration. And in their abbreviated coverage they made sure to focus on whatever negative spin they could muster.

Making matters worse, Fox Nation chose this day of uplifting economic news to criticize President Obama for paying too much attention to improving the economy. Yes, you read that right. Fox is very upset that Obama has made economic renewal a key part of his agenda. It’s just another reason for them to commence impeachment hearings.

Fox Nation

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The Fox Nationalists posted an article from the Washington Examiner that took the President to task for raising the issue of our nation’s crumbling infrastructure and urging Congress to act on his proposals to fund the repair of roads, bridges, and other public works projects. The Examiner’s story began sarcastically by saying…

“When the going gets tough, and it seems like everything is falling apart, everyone likes to retreat to their safe place. Some find comfort in their faith. Others find comfort in family. For President Obama, it’s a ‘pivot’ to jobs and the economy.”

Setting aside the clumsy backhand at Obama’s commitment to faith and family, the charge that he is seeking to exploit the issue of jobs and the economy as a refuge from other more pressing matters couldn’t be more ridiculous. It would require one to be so dense and/or dishonest that they fail to recognize that jobs and the economy are consistently the most important issues to the American people in poll after poll, including the latest Fox News poll. And Obama addressed this in his latest speech highlighting what he called “Economic Patriotism.”

“It’s not crazy, it’s not socialism. It’s not the imperial presidency — no laws are broken. We’re just building roads and bridges like we’ve been doing for the last, I don’t know, 50, 100 years. But so far, House Republicans have refused to act on this idea. I haven’t heard a good reason why they haven’t acted — it’s not like they’ve been busy with other stuff.”

Obama and Do-Nothing Congress

The fact that Fox regards jobs and the economy as distractions, and downplays positive economic news, tells us that they have a weak grasp of what’s important to the American people. And instead of taking these issues seriously, Fox obsesses over IRS emails, and Hillary Clinton’s book tour. The result is that Fox and their mush-brained viewers will be caught off-guard again, just as they were in 2012 when they were certain that Romney would crush Obama in a landslide.

When you construct a fantasy dream world of heroes and villains and contrived realities, it will always end badly when you wake up and learn that you were lied to by the media storytellers in whom you put your faith. So thank you, Fox News, for keeping your audience mired in myths and irrelevancies while the rest of the country tries to move forward. And in November, if the Democrats make unexpected gains in the congressional midterm elections, you can console yourselves with the knowledge that you built that.

What’s The Difference Between Wealthy (Koch) Republicans And (Soros) Democrats?

The billionaire Koch brothers have been corrupting democracy for decades. Their labyrinthine web of front groups toil 24/7 to distort the facts on issues like climate change, voter suppression, gun control, and taxes. And if that collection of topics sounds familiar, it’s because the Kochs almost single-handedly created the Tea Party (with PR help from Fox News) to push their views on those subjects unto a gullible sector of the American populace.

Koch Bros. Fatcat

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One of the right’s favorite knee-jerk responses to criticisms of the Kochs is to point to wealthy Democrats who contribute to candidates and causes that lean more to the liberal side of the political spectrum and claim that the Koch’s critics are hypocrites. However, there have always been some obvious distinctions between the right and left wing upper-crusters. The false argument of equivalency falls flat when given scrutiny.

For one thing, the Republican rich can usually be found bankrolling people and projects that benefit them personally or professionally. Thus the Kochs’ fixation on opposing unions and denying climate change is closely aligned with their exploitative and polluting business interests. Well-off Dems, on the other hand, commonly finance more philanthropic endeavors (civil rights, environment, aid to the poor) that aim to improve the quality of life without necessarily enriching themselves.

It is also notable that conservatives advocate for less regulation of money in politics, creating an environment where the rich get ever more power to bend society to their will. Liberals, conversely, spend more of their cash on trying to remove money from politics. As an example, it was conservatives, including the Kochs, who pushed for Citizens United so that they could fund their self-serving projects without restrictions or even identification. But Jonathan Soros, the son of the right’s favorite wealthy liberal George Soros, created the Friends of Democracy PAC, a SuperPAC aimed at ending the influence of SuperPACs.

A new survey was just published that affirms these distinctions between the rightist rich and the lefty leisure class. Conducted by the Spectrem Group for CNBC (Wall Street’s cable news network) the Millionaire Survey “polled 514 people with investable assets of $1 million or more, which represents the top 8 percent of American households.” Among the sometimes surprising findings was that more than half of the respondents agreed that “inequality of wealth in our nation is a major problem.” Also, 64% favored higher taxes on the rich. A similar number (63%) support an increase in the minimum wage. And only 13% said that unemployment benefits should be reduced. Remember, these are all millionaires in this survey.

Digging a little deeper into these numbers, another interesting trend takes shape. It turns out that there is a marked difference in the views expressed by the millionaire class depending on their political affiliation.

“Democratic millionaires are far more supportive of taxing the rich and raising the minimum wage. Among Democratic millionaires, 78 percent support higher taxes on the wealthy, and 77 percent back a higher minimum wage. That compares with 31 percent and 38 percent, respectively, for Republicans.”

CNBC Millionaire Survey

So the breakdown reveals that it is the Democratic wealthy who are the most conscientious and concerned about their country and their fellow citizens. While the Republican rich are selfishly and characteristically concerned mainly with themselves. It’s the difference between Patriotic Millionaires and Ayn Rand sociopaths. That’s not a particularly surprising revelation, but it is nevertheless useful to see it validated by hard data.