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FOX feeding fire of partisan fighting over economic issues

Reported by Chrish - January 4, 2007 -

Rich Lowry of the National Review and Dagyn McDowell were guests of John Gibson's Big Story today 1/4/07, to discuss the economy and the Democratic Congressional majority's impact on it. Read this loaded intro by Gibson that blatantly frames the debate with an anti-Democratic tone:


"Now that the Democrats have taken control of Congress, what does that mean for the future of the US economy? The Democrats have long criticized the economy under the current Republican administration, the left claiming the rich are only getting richer while the poor are getting poorer. But in truth, our economy has never been better, and it is benefitting all Americans. So with the Dems in charge, will they continue to say our economy is a mess when it's really not?"

To underscore the FOX position, the banners below read "Land of the Rich" and "Why do Democrats criticize our booming economy?"

Not that they're taking sides or anything.

Before we go to Lowry's and McDowell's comments, let's review what the Comptroller General of the US, David M. Walker, says in "GAO Chief Takes to Road, Warns Economic Disaster Looms ": (Snippets; reading whole article is recommended)

"This is about the future of our country, our kids and grandkids." "We the people have to rise up to make sure things get changed."

...The vast majority of economists and budget analysts agree: The ship of state is on a disastrous course, and will founder on the reefs of economic disaster if nothing is done to correct it.

There's a good reason politicians don't like to talk about the nation's long-term fiscal prospects. The subject is short on political theatrics and long on complicated economics, scary graphs and very big numbers. It reveals serious problems and offers no easy solutions. Anybody who wanted to deal with it seriously would have to talk about raising taxes and cutting benefits, nasty nostrums that might doom any candidate who prescribed them.

To show that the looming fiscal crisis is not a partisan issue, he brings along economists and budget analysts from across the political spectrum. In Austin, he's accompanied by Diane Lim Rogers, a liberal economist from the Brookings Institution, and Alison Acosta Fraser, director of the Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank.

"We all agree on what the choices are and what the numbers are," Fraser says.

Their basic message is this: If the United States government conducts business as usual over the next few decades, a national debt that is already $8.5 trillion could reach $46 trillion or more, adjusted for inflation. That's almost as much as the total net worth of every person in America -- Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and those Google guys included.

A hole that big could paralyze the U.S. economy; according to some projections, just the interest payments on a debt that big would be as much as all the taxes the government collects today.

And every year that nothing is done about it, Walker says, the problem grows by $2 trillion to $3 trillion.

But on FOX the economy is "never better" and Democrats are being partisan when they try to call attention to some looming problems.

Lowry believes Democrats just want to blame Bush for a bad economy and use it to justify their liberal economic policies, including the liberal agenda item of raising the minimum wage ("a non-solution to a non-problem").

"Objective" host Gibson asked if Democrats didn't have an interest in making the economy worse, to make their predictions come true? Lowry wouldn't go that far, but said they will indirectly do that if they go too far, i.e. if they raise taxes on the rich, or if they start "taking whacks at 'free trade'".

McDowell chimed in to say that just talking about it and sounding negative can hurt confidence, and Democrats are running out of things to criticize because ordinary Americans (non-management) in the last year have seen a "big jump " in their paychecks, more than 2% even after adjusting for inflation. People are financially better off than they were a year ago and they can credit the "very healthy job market." Finally, as the job market tightens, wages are going up.

So how can the Democrats criticize? asked Gibson. Lowry proposes that "there's just a sour mood out there" driven by the Iraq war, anf Gibson interrupts to say that people always want more. McDowell added that people tend to look at manufacturing jobs, and they're down, but look at all the service industry jobs: technology companies, hospitals, consulting....

The pseudo-financial panel concluded by unanimously condemning Rep. Barney Frank's intention to introduce legislation, the Protection Against Executive Compensation Abuse Act, "that would require not just greater disclosure, but also shareholder approval of pay and benefit packages, with separate shareholder votes on any golden parachute agreements." (1) Lowry went so far as to say (laughing) "..that's a general rule...Barney Frank does not get involved. Whatever the question, that's the answer as far as I'm concerned," before launching into a paean to the free market.

More partisan banners throughout ignore conservatives who are in agreement:
Democrats: The middles class is shrinking
Democrats criticize US economy under Bush

Even though long-range forecasts from respected economists, accountants, and analysts say that we cannot keep up this pace without consequences (much like the global warming situation) FOX prefers to misinform and soothe its viewers while praising the Republican administration that's brought us to the brink. Scarlet O'Hara syndrome anyone?