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CNN Perpetuates Liberal Talking Point on 'Cost' of Extending Tax Rates

On Thursday's Newsroom, CNN's Brooke Baldwin continued her network's liberal spin on the proposed compromise between President Obama and congressional Republicans to extend the current Bush-era tax rates, treating it as government spending. Baldwin hyped the apparent "two-year cost of this new cut" and how letting taxpayers keep their money would supposedly add to the deficit.

The anchor raised the "cost" issue during an interview of Democratic Congressman Jay Inslee six minutes into the 3 pm Eastern hour:

BALDWIN: Congressman, we're scratching our heads a bit over these numbers, and I'm hoping you can help me out here, because they're kind of all over the place. The latest we are getting is this two-year cost of this new tax cut, it's somewhere in the ballpark between $800 billion and $900 billion- that is just specifically the tax cut- and then, the top 2 percent would take up about 20 percent of that $800 billion to $900 billion pie. So, Congressman, how close is that to what you're hearing? How close is that to reality?


Seventeen minutes later, Baldwin brought on correspondent Jessica Yellin to discuss the tax compromise. After playing a sound bite of Senator-Elect Rand Paul expressing his concerns about keeping the current tax rates without cutting spending, the CNN anchor used the liberal talking point that merely keeping the current tax rates would contribute to the deficit:

BALDWIN: I want to bring in a voice of someone who has not quite started his job on Capitol Hill just yet, but he's already talking about it: Senator-elect Rand Paul. He says he doesn't like this- listen.

SENATOR-ELECT RAND PAUL: Well, I think the most important thing government can do right now for the economy is to extend the Bush tax cuts. I would be for extending them permanently, so that's my first problem with this. The other thing is, is one of my biggest concerns is the deficit. So, I think, if you're going to extend and add new tax cuts, you should couple them with cuts in spending. Instead, we're coupling them with increases in spending, and I think that's the wrong thing to do.

BALDWIN: Jess, you touched on this the other day, the whole concept of- you know, perhaps, a credibility problem-

YELLIN: Right.

BALDWIN: You have the Republicans who say- you know, fiscal responsibility, but then, we're adding, like, more than a trillion dollars to the deficit here. To some, it doesn't make sense.

YELLIN: Right, and this is really in the eye of the beholder, Brooke, because there are people like incoming Senator Paul and Senator Jim DeMint who say- look, this adds to the debt and we can't stomach that without some changes. But some other Republicans who are on board with the plan will say: it's true- none of this was included in our current deficit projections, so now the deficit will be bigger, but the government shouldn't have planned on having all that extra money, because these are taxes you're taking from the American people anyway. We shouldn't have counted on taking those taxes. It's the American people's money. It's not the government's money. Do you follow that logic?

BALDWIN: Kind of.

YELLIN: It's a little-

BALDWIN: So it's the American people's money, so they're saying, we didn't have it to begin with.

YELLIN: Right- in other words, don't ever count on getting any tax revenue from the American people-

BALDWIN: Yeah.

YELLIN: You have to start fresh every year. The truth is, it does increase our deficit projections, and if you want to bring down the deficit, you have got to find a way to cut spending, and this isn't doing it.

BALDWIN: Oh, wow, that is an interesting perspective, indeed. (Yellin laughs) Jessica Yellin- it's one perspective of many that we're hearing from these days- Jess, thank you.


On Tuesday's Newsroom, Baldwin and Yellin raised the apparent "contradiction" of promising to cut spending while agreeing to this tax rate compromise that, in her words, would "increase spending dramatically," thus treating taxpayers' income as if it belonged to the federal government.

- Matthew Balan is a news analyst at the Media Research Center. You can follow him on Twitter here.