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Fox Guest: "Everybody Has Moved Up to Be Rich Now"

Reported by Melanie - December 29, 2005

Tom Adkins, a realtor/investor and the founder of Common Conservative ("taking on liberals wherever he finds them"), was a guest on Your World w/Neil Cavuto today (December 29, 2005). Adkins is a very frequent guest on Your World and he regularly appears on Fox's Saturday morning "business news" programs. Today Fox identified Adkins only as a realtor with "Re/max Fairlawn" but I have seen him identified only as the founder of Common Conservative too. Apparently the topic at hand is the deciding factor in how Fox identifies him -- when they need a realtor, he's a realtor, when they need a conservative commentator, he's from Common Conservative.

Adkins appeared today with Gary Kaltbaum, President of Kaltbaum & Associates, to talk about the affordability of homes. The segment was based on a New York Times article titled, Twenty Years Later, Buying a House Is Less of a Bite. Substitute host Stuart Varney, doing his Foxy part to build on the "liberal media" myth, opened the segment with, "I was shocked, truly shocked, to see something positive about the economy on the front page of the New York Times in a Republican administration. It happened today. They were saying that, look, housing is now more affordable for more people."

Kaltbaum was guarded in his enthusiasm because of the uncertainty about interest rates and the prevalence of "interest only" mortgages, but Adkins cheered the news:

Twenty two years ago people bought homes with four bedrooms, two and a half baths, maybe a basement, a one or two car garage, and a quarter acre of land. "Now, it's a four or five bedroom, three and a half bath, three car garage, you know, an acre of property and people can afford it. The reason why is there's no more middle class. Everybody has moved up to be rich now. You're either poor or you're rich. In the past 20 years, especially the past five [what a coincidence], gross income has risen, net income has risen, interest rates have come down, taxes have dropped and mortgage prices have gotten to be fantastic.

Every year we keep creating four, five, six, seven percent more net income and as long as the cost of borrowing doesn't change much, and it won't because we have no inflation...as long as we have a productive economy...if we have no inflation, the net cost of borrowing won't change. Capitalism rules!

Comment: Adkins' enthusiasm was designed to portray life under the Bush administration as particularly prosperous and rewarding. His passion ignored public fears about such things as a decrease in the standard of living due to high credit card debt, frighteningly high health care costs, the lack of job security, and an inability to save for retirement. Nonetheless, Adkins may have inadvertently spoken a sad truth when he covered for the obviously ridiculous statement that "everybody's moved up to be rich now," and said, "You're either poor or you're rich." Unfortunately, the middle class audience Adkins was talking to has not moved into the rich category, despite his insinuation that it had. Instead, it is sliding toward the poor category but, maybe, just maybe, if we keep watching Fox long enough, we'll be able to convince ourselves that Bush's economic policies have made us rich.

1-28-06: Fox's "Senior Business Correspondent," Brenda Buttner let the cat out of the bag today: she and Tom "Mr. Buttner" Adkins are married. Got conflict?

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