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Voodoo Economics Redux

Reported by Nancy - December 16, 2004 -

Hume is batting .830 (or 2.5 out of a possible 3) so far this week with his extended one-on-one interviews -- & that's only because his guest last night (12/15) was one of the architects of Reagan's trickle-down voodoo economic policies. Hume still asked pretty decent questions; the answers were less than inspiring.

The first half of the program was pretty typical, & about what you'd expect. In brief:
--Bret Baier reported on Iraq (it's a mess, Allawi opened his campaign, defense minister accused Syria & Iran of interference, Bush met with Berlusconi [comment: yes, he included that in this report, ostensibly because Italy is a "coalition" member, but really just to show a clip of the meeting], Zarqawi is hiding in Baghdad, "Chemical Ali" will go on trial next week)
--Jim Angle reported on Bush's economic summit (Bush met with Berlusconi [comment: yes, again], problems with the weak dollar, long-term & short-term deficits [comment: ALERT! here's where FNC frames the debate according to the GOP party line: the only "real" problem is the long-term deficit, which is blamed on Social Security & Medicare, with a clip of Bush saying we can't "sustain" the "promises" that were made]
--Major Garrett reported on Bush's economic summit [comment: are we sensing a theme here?], & showed a lot of clips from today's activities [my personal fave was a clip of Bush saying, with his usual smirk, that "we want a legal system that is fair & balanced." I expect this will be replayed on FNC quite often -- or maybe Murdoch will sue him for "trademark infringement"]
--Molly Henenberg reported on "happy Pakistan"; she was "embedded" with a Congressional delegation & visited a madrassa that teaches both men & women, & teaches secular subjects as well as religious ones. She included clips from a teacher at the school, the principal, 2 students & 2 members of the Congressional delegation (Mike Pence & Jeff Flake, both GOPs)
--Jonathan Hunt did a (relatively) toned-down attack on Kofi Annan [comment: compared to what aired earlier that day on FNL]

At 6:21pm (ET), Hume showed an ABC poll asking how people thought the economy was doing; responses were split approximately into thirds, with most saying "not sure", slightly less saying "bad" & even less saying "good". Hume then interviewed Dr Martin Feldstein, currently a professor of economics at Harvard [comment: I guess the ivory-tower elites are "okay" if they say what you want your viewers to hear] & formerly chair of Reagan's Council of Economic Advisers. Feldstein has a boatload of credentials & years of experience, he is articulate & has a wealth of info at his fingertips, but he still clings to the failed economic theories floated by the Reagan administration. He claimed he doesn't understand why people don't think it's a good economy, citing a 3.7% growth rate & increased employment [comment: here's a clue, Professor: when people can't get decent-paying jobs with decent benefits, & the cost of daily living becomes an endless struggle, the economy sucks, no matter how you slice it -- unless, of course, you're a war profiteer or the CEO of Enron]. Feldstein wants even more tax cuts for the wealthiest, & waxed poetic about the joys of being an "entrepreneur" [comment: he doesn't seem to have experienced this joy first-hand; being an entrepreneur doesn't appear anywhere on his curriculum vitae]. When Hume asked him point-blank if he wasn't talking "trickle-down economics", Feldstein smiled & said it works.

Comment: Feldstein has written more than 300 scientific papers & is the author or editor of several books, including
Inflation, Tax Rules, and Capital Formation;
Taxes and Capital Formation;
The United States and the World Economy;
Reducing the Risk of Economic Crisis;
The Economics of Art Museums;
American Economic Policy in the 1980s;
Costs and Benefits of Achieving Price Stability;
Privatizing Social Security;
International Capital Flows;
Risk Aspects of Investment Based Social Security Reform (with John Campbell);
Distributional Aspects of Social Security Reform (with Jeff Liebman);
Economic and Financial Crises in Emerging Market Economies.

Just look at that list & you'll know that Feldstein is not someone who will provide an unbiased opinion about the economy.