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ABC's Martin Condemns "Yuppie Tax Cut" for "Starving" Government --5/27/2003


1. ABC's Martin Condemns "Yuppie Tax Cut" for "Starving" Government
ABC News reporter Michel Martin delivered another sermon on Sunday's This Week against the tax cut. During the roundtable segment, she denounced it as "a yuppie tax cut bill" because it reminded her of yuppies who "deny their children everything and themselves nothing." Though federal spending continues to grow and the tax cut, in static analysis, will reduce federal tax revenue by merely one percent, she preposterously claimed that tax cut supporters are "depriving the government of resources" and "starving the government of money."

2. "Play of the Week" from CNN's Schneider: Tax Raisers in Oregon
Instead on awarding any one or all of the players in the House-Senate agreement Friday on a tax cut, CNN's Bill Schneider trumpeted a tax raising decision in Oregon. On Friday's Inside Politics, Schneider championed how in the Western state "many voters are celebrating a tax hike" after the electorate of Multnomah County voted to impose an income tax. Schneider noted that while "the federal government's cutting taxes," states "are having to raise taxes." They have to?

3. Couric & Koppel Treat Warren Buffett as Wise Anti-Tax Cut Sage
A billionaire the media like -- because he's against the tax cut. Friday morning on Today NBC's Katie Couric quoted favorably from Warren Buffett, identifying him as a non-partisan critic, and two nights before that ABC's Ted Koppel turned over the entire Nightline to a conversation with Buffet which Koppel set up by noting that, though the House and Senate wished to pass the tax cut before Memorial Day, "they haven't passed it yet. And before they do, we thought you might like to hear from the man they call the 'sage of Omaha.'" Neither Couric nor Koppel noted that Buffett has been a regular donor to liberal Democrats.

4. Scientology Drove Actress Kirstie Alley to Vote for Bush
Belonging to the Church of Scientology, which opposes the use of pharmaceuticals for psychiatric problems, drove actress Kirstie Alley, "Rebecca" on Cheers, to vote for George W. Bush for President in 2000 even though she preferred Al Gore on most issues. In an interview with Washington Post "Reliable Source" columnist Lloyd Grove, Alley revealed she voted for Bush because, "although I love Al Gore and I like many of his ideas, I just had a problem with his wife," Tipper, who supports using drugs to correct mental problems.


ABC's Martin Condemns "Yuppie Tax Cut"
for "Starving" Government

ABC News reporter Michel Martin, part of the Nightline corps, delivered another sermon on Sunday's This Week with George Stephanopoulos against the tax cut. During the roundtable segment on the May 25 show, she denounced it as "a yuppie tax cut bill" because it reminded her of yuppies who "deny their children everything and themselves nothing."

As opposed to the moral high ground of selfish government spending addicts who want to take ever more money from those who earn it to redistribute it to others.

She charged that the tax cut "raises serious questions about social equity. I mean, who paves the streets that we drove here on? Who teaches the kids to read?" George Will answered: "The rich, who pay the taxes." (See the May 23 CyberAlert for a look at how the wealthy pay nearly all the income taxes: www.mediaresearch.org )

Though federal spending continues to grow and the tax cut, in static analysis, will reduce federal tax revenue by merely one percent, she preposterously claimed that tax cut supporters are "depriving the government of resources" and "starving the government of money." We wish.

Martin's remarks in full, along with retorts from Will and Newsweek International Editor Fareed Zakaria:
"It's a great political victory for the President and for the Republicans. I'm mindful of a novel I read last summer where a man undergoes a powerful religious conversion. And he says one of the things he can't stand about yuppies is that they're people who deny their children everything and themselves nothing. And by this standard, this is a yuppie tax bill. Sure, there's going to be, it's quite possible that there will be a short-term economic gain from this. Because you know, the tax cuts go to families with children. Families with children have a lot of things to buy. That's fine. But the majority of the money goes to people who are, who probably already have everything they need. Very unclear whether it will have any stimulative effect over the long-term. And plus it raises serious questions about social equity. I mean, who paves the streets that we drove here on? Who teaches the kids to read?"
Will: "The rich, who pay the taxes."
Martin: "Who pays the taxes, well, that's the question, you're depriving the government of resources. That's in part why it is such a great political victory for Republicans, George, because it's starving the government of money that it could use to do a lot of things. You can't have it both ways."
Martin's ridiculous notion of "starving" the government was too much for Zakaria: "But you know, that's, that's always been the theory that I've heard about these strategic deficits, that we'll starve the money of government."
Stephanopoulos: "Well, it did work in the late '80s, early '90s."
Zakaria: "Well, how did it work? It worked because of another President George Bush, who actually imposed spending cuts to his political detriment. In other words, it doesn't happen by magic. Somebody at some point has to actually cut spending. And if you look at what Republicans have been doing at the state legislature, all the way up to President Bush, they've been engaging in an orgy of spending. President Bush has outspent President Clinton by a wide margin, including the, you know, non-terrorism related things."

The week before, on the May 18 This Week, Martin lamented: "It's not about class warfare, it's about values. What's the appropriate use of this very rich country's resources? And I think the argument comes down to tax cuts for a segment of the population versus other services." See: www.mediaresearch.org

"Play of the Week" from CNN's Schneider:
Tax Raisers in Oregon

Bill Schneider A week after awarding the Texas Democrats who fled the state in order to shut down the legislature the "Political Play of the Week," as he marveled at how the "renegade representatives ended up looking like heroes," CNN's Bill Schneider on Friday turned his attention to a tax policy victory. But instead of awarding any one or all of the players in the Friday House-Senate agreement on a tax cut, such as President Bush, Vice President Cheney, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bill Thomas, Speaker Denny Hastert of Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, Schneider trumpeted a tax raising decision in Oregon.

On Friday's Inside Politics Schneider championed how in the Western state "many voters are celebrating a tax hike" after the electorate of Multnomah County voted to impose a 1.25 percent income tax. Schneider noted that while "the federal government's cutting taxes," states, he asserted, "are having to raise taxes."

They have to?

Without bothering to point out how Oregon state spending has soared much faster than inflation and population growth, Schneider claimed that the decision of Oregon voters earlier this year to not raise the state income tax left the schools in "desperate shape."

Schneider's story even featured a man castigating opponents of the new tax as "un-American." The man charged: "'Everybody else's taxes are too low and mine is always too high. Everyone else makes too much money, except for me, and my wages are never high enough.' It's like, that kind of thinking, I find it un-American."

Throughout the May 23 Inside Politics story viewers saw this line on screen: "Tax Celebration."

Anchor Judy Woodruff set up Schneider's piece: "Bill Schneider is with me now for a look at a recent vote on the West Coast that flies in the face of conventional wisdom here in Washington."

Schneider began his celebration of a tax hike: "Judy, here in Washington, the White House is celebrating a tax cut. But at the other end of the country, many voters are celebrating a tax hike. A tax hike? Can that be true? Yes. And it can also be the 'Political Play of the Week.'
"In January, Oregon voters turned down a statewide tax increase. Public schools in Oregon are funded mostly by the state. That left the schools in desperate shape."
Unidentified woman: "We've lost reading teachers, music teachers, media teachers, honors programs."
Schneider: "Portland teachers agreed to work for ten days without pay. But Portland area schools still faced cuts of up to 17 more school days. The plight of Oregon schools made the Doonesbury comic strip, showing students not too unhappy at the prospect of 17 fewer school days. But parents had a little different reaction."
A parent at voting place: "You have to educate your kids. You can't have a bunch of dumb kids running around."
Schneider: "On Tuesday, voters of Multnomah County, Oregon, which includes Portland, defied the state and voted to impose a county income tax."
Portland Mayor Vera Katz (D): "We need to take the matters in our own hands, because Salem has refused to act. And today, we did it!"
Schneider: "Fifty-five percent of registered voters turned out and 58 percent of them voted for the tax hike, many to make a statement."
Man: "'Everybody else's taxes are too low and mine is always too high. Everyone else makes too much money, except for me, and my wages are never high enough.' It's like, that kind of thinking, I find it un-American."
Schneider: "The county chair was exultant."
Diane Linn, Multnomah County Chairwoman: "We can avoid the prospect of immediate massive teacher layoffs."
Schneider: "Happy activists marched to the governor's office carrying Doonesbury signs. And the kids, believe it or not, they were grateful."
Johnell Bell, Benson High School Student: "Just because the state won't support you, we will still support you -- it means a lot when we have adults say that to us."
Schneider: "It means enough to win the 'Political Play of the Week.' The federal government's cutting taxes, but many states around the country are having to raise taxes. The feds giveth and the states taketh away. And there's nothing new under the sun."

A report published by the Cascade Public Policy Institute in Portland noted that three-quarters of the new county income tax "will go into largely dysfunctional public school districts. Most will go to the Portland Public Schools where even though student enrollment is dropping, and the general inflation rate is just 2 percent, the superintendent believes he will need nearly 13 percent more general fund revenue to maintain current services next school year. Such runaway spending is not surprising within a bureaucracy whose anachronistic seniority and work rules put teacher welfare before that of the students."

A PDF of that report is online at: www.cascadepolicy.org

And in a report titled, "States Face Fiscal Crunch after 1990s Spending Surge," by Chris Edwards, Stephen Moore and Phil Kerpen of the Cato Institute, the authors pointed out that between 1990 and 2001 the Oregon government benefitted from a 112 percent increase in tax revenues when population plus inflation growth over that time period equaled only 66 percent.

For a summary of that report on all the states: www.cato.org

For a PDF of the full report with the table containing the aforementioned numbers: www.cato.org

For more about Schneider's May 16 "Play of the Week" admiring the obfuscating Democrats: www.mediaresearch.org

Couric & Koppel Treat Warren Buffett
as Wise Anti-Tax Cut Sage

A billionaire the media like -- because he's against the tax cut. Friday morning on Today NBC's Katie Couric quoted favorably from Warren Buffett, identifying him as a non-partisan critic, and two nights before that ABC's Ted Koppel turned over the entire Nightline to a conversation with Buffet which Koppel set up by noting that it wasn't too late to stop it since, though the House and Senate wished to pass the tax cut before the Memorial Day holiday, "they haven't passed it yet. And before they do, we thought you might like to hear from the man they call the 'sage of Omaha.'"

Neither Couric, who painted Buffett as a non-partisan critic, nor Koppel, informed their viewers that Buffett has been a better friend to liberal Democrats than to any conservative Republican. While he has donated to liberal Republican House member Chris Shays of Connecticut, Center for Responsive Politics records show he is a regular contributor to the campaigns of prominent liberal Democrats, including Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton, Chris Dodd, Russ Feingold and Tom Harkin.

Nonetheless, check out how Couric boosted his credibility on the May 23 Today during an interview with Commerce Secretary Don Evans, as taken down by MRC analyst Ken Shepherd:
"Well, as you well know, there are a lot of critics out there who don't agree with you. Tom Daschle for example said, 'it gives away billions to those who need it least and does very little for those who need it most.' Perhaps that's not so surprising since this has been along party lines, but people like Warren Buffett have said, 'what it has put in motion is clear. If enacted, these changes would further tilt the tax scales towards the rich.' He further goes on to say in a Washington Post editorial: 'Overall, it's hard to conceive of anything sillier than the schedule the Senate has laid out. Indeed, the first President Bush had a name for such activities: voodoo economics. The manipulation of enactment and sunset dates of tax changes is Enron-style accounting and a Congress that has recently demanded honest corporate numbers should now look hard at its own practices.'
"And finally, according to a recent poll, Secretary Evans, most people, NBC/Wall Street Journal, poll believe by a 2-to-1 margin that there are better ways to achieve economic growth than through a tax cut. So how do you respond to all these critics who obviously believe this is not the way to go?"

Two nights before, Koppel opened the May 21 Nightline: "So you'd think the second richest man in the world would support ending tax on stock dividends. Think again."
Warren Buffett: "I have a hard time reconciling that with my idea of what America's all about."
Koppel: "Tonight, a conversation with Warren Buffett."

Koppel introduced Buffett by stressing how there was still time to stop the tax cut from passing: "He has doubts about the President's tax cut plan. In particular, he considers the plan to eliminate taxes on dividends 'voodoo economics.' He said so only yesterday. Mister Buffett's criticism may be a case of 'too little, too late.' Only this afternoon, House and Senate tax writers struck an agreement on a $350 billion tax cut, which Republican leaders now reportedly believe they can pass in the House and Senate before the Memorial Day holiday. Still, they haven't passed it yet. And before they do, we thought you might like to hear from the man they call the 'sage of Omaha.' That's where Warren Buffett lives and works, although he joins us tonight from Redmond, Washington."

A check of the OpenSecrets.org Web site run by the Center for Responsive Politics, determined that FEC records show a "Buffett, Warren" of Omaha, Nebraska gave $1,000 donations since 1996 to the following campaigns: Senator Bob Kerrey, Senator Chris Dodd, Congressman Chris Shays (twice), Senator Russ Feingold, Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Congressman John Dingell, Senate candidate Mel Carnahan, Senator Tom Harkin, Senator Richard Durbin, presidential candidate Bill Bradley and two $1,000 donations in 2000 to Hillary Rodham Clinton.

All but Shays are Democrats and the Democratic total exceeds $11,000, which actually is pretty miserly considering Buffett's wealth.

For the Center for Responsive Politics' Web site: www.opensecrets.org

Scientology Drove Actress Kirstie Alley
to Vote for Bush

Belonging to the Church of Scientology, which opposes the use of pharmaceuticals for psychiatric problems, drove actress Kirstie Alley, "Rebecca" on Cheers, to vote for George W. Bush for President in 2000 even though she preferred Al Gore on most issues. In an interview with Washington Post "Reliable Source" gossip columnist Lloyd Grove, Alley revealed she voted for Bush because, "although I love Al Gore and I like many of his ideas, I just had a problem with his wife," Tipper, who supports using drugs to correct mental problems.

An excerpt from Grove's piece in the Sunday, May 25 Post:

Before we get to Kirstie Alley's issue -- enacting a federal law to prohibit schools from pushing parents to medicate "problem" children -- let's get to Kirstie Alley's love life.

"When I come to Washington in June" -- to lobby for Senate passage of the Child Medication Safety Act, which passed the House overwhelmingly last week -- "I might just look for a husband," the 52-year-old mother of two told us from Los Angeles. "I would like to be married again. I can't have a conservative, and he can't be on psychotropic drugs....He would be my third. I love marriage. I love monogamy."

Other specifications?

"I want him to be from 40 to 50 years old," said Alley, who starred in the hit sitcom "Cheers" and now is seen everywhere umpteen times a day in a series of amusing Pier 1 Imports commercials....

Okay, let's get to Alley's issue. She's touting it under the auspices of the Scientology-supported Citizens Commission on Human Rights. A longtime member of the Church of Scientology, which is unalterably opposed to psychiatric medications of any kind, Alley has been speaking out against mental health professionals who think psychiatric drugs can sometimes help people.

"I'm an absolutist," Alley said. "I'm very adamant against drugs. When teachers and school administrators talk about problems with attention span and left brain, right brain, I say '[Bleep] the left brain, [bleep] the right brain!' We're talking about a whole human being, not one side of the brain or another side!"

Alley's convictions are so strong, she said, that in the last presidential election she voted for George W. Bush instead of her preferred candidate, Al Gore. "My personal reason was that, although I love Al Gore and I like many of his ideas, I just had a problem with his wife," Tipper, a mental health advocate who, during the campaign, candidly discussed her own bouts of depression and how she was aided by therapy and drugs. "I know I'm going to get myself in trouble," Alley confided. "Look, I have a loud mouth."

END of Excerpt

For the May 25 Post item in full: www.washingtonpost.com

For a photo of Alley, who after Cheers starred in the NBC sit-com Veronica's Closet, check her page on the Internet Movie Database Web site: us.imdb.com

You may not recognize her at first since the picture shows her as a blonde when in both TV shows, as well as in a Star Trek movie in which she starred, her hair was brunette.

Another constituency for Karl Rove to court, Scientologists.

-- Brent Baker