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Big Story guest Mary Matalin extolls Bush and economy - no opposing voice

Reported by Chrish - December 9, 2005

Former Cheney advisor Mary Matalin got unopposed airtime to praise Bush, the economy, and the war in Iraq on the Big Story Thursday 12/8/05. According to her, the "conservative" tax cuts during war time must remain permanent for the economy to keep improving and for the deficit to keep shrinking.

Gibson introduced the segment with some poll numbers that showed Bush's approval ratings moved UP to 40% and approval of his handling of the war in Iraq moved UP to 36%. While he and Matalin demurred that Bush cares not for polls, only for the American people and what's right for us, they referred back to the poll numerous times.

To start the segment Matalin made an inappropriate and untimely religious greeting to show solidarity with Gibson in his War on Secularism, and told him "you're winning". It was downhill from there.

Her mantra for the opening piece was "tax cuts work." It's the fastest growing economy in over two years - woo hoo! She says that when people feel good about their own economic situation it's reflected in the polls, (not that that matters...) and claims that gas prices are down, housing starts are up, productivity is up, and consumer confidence is up.

According to the Houston Chronicle , "Productivity growth rose at the quickest pace in two years in the third quarter, the Labor Department reported todya, but lofty energy prices erased any wage gains by workers." And according to Business Week, Americans, Working Longer for Less: U.S. productivity is soaring while real wages decline. ..very little of the efficiency gains is being directly passed on to workers. Since the end of 2003, average real wages have fallen by 3.2%, while productivity is up by 5.1% .

Her comment about gas prices might reflect the 11 cent/gallon drop in recent weeks, but ignores the increase today in oil prices which pushed the stock market down, effectively wiping out the year's gains. Home heating gas prices are expected to be anywhere from 30% to 70% higher this winter. While housing starts may be up at the moment, that is not the trend, as was verified later in the show by Fox Senior Business Correspondent Terry Keenan. Keenan said the housing bubble is coming down for a "soft landing" as interest rates creep up and speculators start getting out of the market.

Ironically, as Matalin speaks in glowing terms about the economy the video shown is of an auto manufacturing plant. This must be small solace to the 30,000 GM workers who will be losing their jobs this month and in the coming months. They're not alone: according to Marketwatch.com,

U.S. corporate layoffs up 22% in Nov. to 99,279
By Rex Nutting
Led by sharp cuts in the automotive industry, planned job reductions by major U.S. corporations increased 22% in November to 99,279, according to a monthly tally released Wednesday by outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas. Planned layoffs have increased three months in a row. Layoffs were down 5% from November 2004's 104,530. So far in 2005, corporations have announced 964,232 job cuts, up 3.6% from the year-to-date total a year ago. More than 10% of the job cuts this year have come from the struggling automotive sector, which has announced 105,886 cuts this year, including 16,870 in November.

Matalin positied that what will hurt Republicans in the mid-terms (because on FOX it's always about Republicans)
is if they abandon "conservatism", which she narrowly defines as continued tax cuts "which have produced this enormous and robust growth in the economy", if they waiver in their resolve to defeat Islamo-fascism*, and if they "don't restrain spending in ways that make them look like not what we voted for in the first place."

Comment: Am I missing something? Good jobs are increasingly difficult to come by, necessities like gas, heat, and groceries are all getting more expensive, higher education costs are skyrocketing, and the deficit is growing by the second. Insurance and healthcare are out of reach for more people every day. Economic indicators and GDP don't mean much to ordinary people trying to get by, so talk of a "booming" economy rings hollow. Who's feeling good about their personal situations?

Check out these numbers:
[unless otherwise specified, all figures are from Aug 2004 - Aug 2005. Compiled by News Hound Nancy from the NYTimes, the LATimes, and the Quicktakes column in the Chicago Sun-Tribune. Many thanks!)]

* Corporate CEOs who sent jobs overseas last year received an average pay increase of 46%, while CEOs who kept jobs here received 9%.
* Citigroup CEO's pay for 2004: $111,000 a day.
* Delta Air Lines, which gave its outgoing CEO a $16 million retirement package, announced the layoffs of as many as 7,000 workers as a cost-cutting measure. Non-management workers who remain had their pay cut 10%.
* Pay for corporate CEOs increased 15% last year while pay for workers increased 4%.
* Delphi Corp, which last year paid its CEO $5,959,138, is "on track" to lay off 6,000 workers as a cost-cutting measure.
* The number of US billionaires rose from 262 to 313 last year while 1.3 million more Americans fell below the poverty line.
* US workers who are laid off by corporations & watch their jobs shipped overseas are now said to be participating in a "low-cost global delivery model."
* Bank of America, which paid CEO Kenneth D Lewis $20 million last year, announced it will cut 4,500 more jobs in an effort to run the business more efficiently.
* Franklin Raines, forced out as Fannie Mae's CEO in an accounting scandal, negotiates a pension of $1.3 million a year for life.
* Tiffany & Co reported a 12% increase in holiday sales as the Agriculture Dept reported a 26% increase of American families going hungry.
* Cher made $28 mil. in 2004
* Combat pay for our soldiers in Iraq is $7.50 a day.
* Playtex Products will cut 20% of its US work force while moving its glove production to Malaysia.
* The number of millionaires in the US increased 37% over the past 4 years while applications for food stamps increased 41%.
* The Senate rejected attempts to raise the $5.15 minimum wage for the first time in 8 years, while a study showed that if the minimum wage had increased at the same rate as corporate CEO pay since 1990, it would now be $22.50 an hour.
* Hewlett-Packard welcomed a new CEO with a $20 million package, including a $2 million signing bonus & a $2.75 million cash "relocation allowance."
* California-based Ingram Micro, the world's largest computer products distributor, announced it will send another 20% of its jobs overseas.
* UnitedHealth CEO pay increased 32% in 2004.
* Gillette CEO pay increased 12% in 2004.
* 3M CEO pay increased 19% in 2004.
* Home Depot CEO pay increased 28% in 2004.
* Pfizer CEO pay increased 72% in 2004.
* Lilly CEO pay increased 55% in 2004.
* Electronic Data System CEO pay increased 28% in 2004.
* Hormel CEO pay increased 86% in 2004.
* Wage increases for average worker lagged behind the 2.7% inflation rate in 2004.
* Viacom paid its top 3 execs $160 million in 2004.
* Real wages in 2004 fell at the fastest rate in 14 years.
* CEO fired by HP for "subpar business performance" received a $21.4 million severance package.
* Hewlett-Packard welcomed a new chief information officer with a pay package worth at least $15.3 million, including a $2.2 million signing bonus & a $1 million "relocation allowance."
* Hewlett-Packard announced it will lay off 14,500 workers to save money.
* Kodak CEO received 12.8% pay raise & bonus of cash & stock options & Kodak announced it will lay off up to 25,000 workers to cut costs.
* Kimberly-Clark tripled CEO's bonus to $2.4 million & announced it will lay off 6,000 workers to cut costs.
* Honeywell boosted CEO's bonus 25% to $2.4 million & announced 2,000 layoffs to cut costs.
* Chief execs at CA's largest 100 companies took home a collective $1.1 billion in 2004, an increase of nearly 20% over the previous year; the average CA worker saw a 2.9% raise last year.
* For every additional dollar earned by the bottom 90% of the US population between 1950 & 1970, those in the top 0.01% earned an additional $162. For every additional dollar earned by the bottom 90% between 1990 & 2002, each taxpayer in that top bracket brought in an extra $18,000.
* Under the Bush tax cuts, the 400 taxpayers with the highest incomes -- a minimum of $87 million in 2000, the last year for which the government will release such data -- now pay income, Medicare & Social Security taxes at the same percentage of their incomes as people making $50,000 to $75,000. Those earning more than $10 million a year now pay a lesser share of their income in these taxes than those making $100,000 to $200,000.

Since Sept. 2005:
* The average American CEO earned 431 times the pay of the average worker last year, up from 301 times the pay of the average worker the year before.
* The wealth of the 400 richest Americans increased 13% last year while the average earnings for workers increased 2.7%.
* Delphi Corp gave top execs a 50% increase in severance packages while asking its workers to take a 50% pay cut as it prepared to declare bankruptcy.
* Senate Republicans promise an investigation later this year into charges of war profiteering by Halliburton & other companies, after voting down an amendment to authorize an investigation into charges of war profiteering by Halliburton & other companies.
* Tom McMahon's blog (www.tommcmahon.net) reminds us that in the 21 years since AT&T was broken up into the 7 Baby Bells ... the 7 Baby Bells have quietly come back together into 2 Big Bells again, AT&T & Verizon, with only 2 Baby Bells, Bell South & Qwest, remaining.

Matalin's last words were Democrat-bashing. Wherever [Bush] is, the Democrats are always worse: they have no economic policy, no national security policy, and finally, conservatives have something to run on and be proud of and Democrats don't. Gibson of course supports this nonsense, saying that the Democrats are having a hard time capitalizing on this (Bush's low approvals), with Howard Dean being shrill and the party suffering a schism. Matalin reiterated the talking points above and added "no energy policy." Her final words were "there's no rationale for being a Democrat."

Apparently she didn't get the memo today from Harry Reid.

The media likes to repeat the Republican talking point that Democrats have no agenda--you and I know that is simply not true. Across the country Democrats are participating in dozens of events and with one voice saying it's time to reform: together, America can do better.

In Washington, DC, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi unveiled a new piece of legislation to eliminate tax giveaways for energy companies. Frank Lautenberg spoke in New Jersey about how America can do better than a Medicare prescription drug bill that confuses and shortchanges seniors by providing giveaways to drug companies.

In Wisconsin, Herb Kohl addressed the need for America to do better than an economy that kicks families out of the middle class and how we can help everyone achieve the American dream. While in New York, John Kerry discussed a plan to do a better job protecting Americans from terrorist attack. Patty Murray held four events across Washington State focusing on issues ranging from affordable housing to full funding of veterans' programs. And Chuck Schumer and Robert Byrd both addressed energy independence with members of their local communities.

Today Barbara Mikulski, Paul Sarbanes and I held a town hall meeting in Baltimore with nursing students to highlight the Democratic Party's commitment to reform. While we are working to increase opportunities for higher education, Congressional Republicans are slashing financial aid and curbing opportunities for students to get ahead. Christopher Reed, Patrice Pantin, and Julie Story, students at the John Hopkins School of Nursing, told us about their own struggles to get the training they need.

Each of these events focuses on an important part of the Democratic agenda that will guide us towards taking back both the Senate and House in 2006. We can have a government with open, honest elected officials--it's a matter of priorities. Democrats believe the government works for people, that issues such as student loans, high energy prices, safety and security, should be our top priority not handouts for the well connected.

Comment: No opposing view, no one to point out her errors, no one to defend Democratic principles and policies. Fair and balanced? HA!

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