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On Fox News, Tax Cuts Are Great – Except For The Lower And Middle Class

Reported by Ellen - April 11, 2010 -

Co-authored by Brian

Remember when the Forbes on Fox panel mostly voted for tax cuts over food stamps? When tax cuts were touted as the way to help the middle class? Apparently, what the Fox News pundits really wanted was tax cuts for the upper class, only. Now that the Tax Policy Center has projected that about 47% of Americans will pay no federal income taxes, those very same Forbes on Fox folks are up in arms with accusations that the lower and middle classes are not paying their fair share. One panelist even suggested this will lead to increased youth suicide. With video.

“That nanny state is already here!” Host David Asman began in his introduction to the discussion, before adding, “more Americans are getting more handouts than ever before…Less folks paying, more folks receiving, hello nanny state!”

As usual, the “fair and balanced” line up included three conservative voices plus Asman, who obviously fell into the conservative camp, and two somewhat progressive voices.

Victoria Barrett said "We're living in a nanny state already. You’ve got half of the American people, tax filers, essentially paying for the other half…."

Elizabeth MacDonald said, "What we're talking about is no taxation with representation. So we’re talking about people who get to use federal government services like the Federal Highway system. They get their security provided for them by our Armed Forces."

Asman said, “Bottom line is when you’re not paying for something, you don’t care how much it costs and you don’t put more in the basket.”

Neil Weinberg made a good point. He noted, “We’re all living beyond our means. He added, "Over the last 20 or 30 years, it’s true that… the rich have gotten richer, the poor have gotten poorer… The income tax is progressive, but the other taxes on things like gasoline and all of our consumer taxes are regressive. In other words, the poor people pay more. So it's unfair to say that this is purely a nanny state based on taxes."

Funny how Asman missed that point, as did the Fox News chyrons which kept repeating, “Hello Nanny State!” But instead of conceding Weinberg’s point, Asman quickly moved away and asked Rich Karlgaard, “The average recipient of government handouts is getting $26,000 a year… This nanny state is growing tremendously, isn’t it?”

Not surprisingly, Kargaard agreed. He even suggested that the situation might lead to higher youth suicides because New Zealand, with its “very generous welfare programs… (is) falling way behind Australian growth, they’ve got horrible, runaway youth unemployment, and they lead the western world in youth suicides!” He added, “So these things really are ruinous to a culture over time.”

Barrett said, "What I fear is all the things that we've been doing in this administration, as well as in prior administrations in recent history, have a tendency to dole out benefits to those who aren't taking risks, like small business people, entrepreneurs, and make it harder for those people who are taking risks." She called the whole thing “dangerous” and "un-American." (Query: Did Barrett really mean to say that small business people and entrepreneurs were the ones not taking risks?)

Quentin Hardy, the other progressive voice, said we have a "self-loathing nanny state." He noted that Alaska gets a disproportionate share of federal dollars while “someone from the state of Alaska complains about the government and people go to tea party rallies and talk about, ‘Don't take away my Medicare, but cut down big government.’"

Elizabeth MacDonald brought the point back home. After she noted that more American households are not paying income taxes than before, she said, “About 10%, that’s upper bracket, pays ¾ of the income tax in this country and it’s getting skewed even more toward that way.”

“Doesn’t that trend bother you?” Asman asked Hardy.

Even Hardy said that the income tax system is corrupt and “we should scrap that.”

Media Matters has pointed out that this meme has been widely repeated elsewhere on Fox News and by other Fox News pundits.