Hear the audio version here (segments older than 3 weeks may be unavailable)
I absolutely loved the AP headline attached to yesterday's tax filing deadline. There, in big bold letters, it screamed: "Super rich see federal taxes drop dramatically." Fits the template nicely, doesn't it? The same time frame where the president is speaking about how the evil Republicans want to starve Granny while paying off the super rich, the AP runs a story like that. Coincidence? Right.
Even more telling is what the headline COULD and SHOULD have been. Consider what the story's first paragraph revealed:
As millions of procrastinators scramble to meet Monday's tax filing deadline, ponder this: The super rich pay a lot less taxes than they did a couple of decades ago, and nearly half of U.S. households pay no income taxes at all.
Umm...did you catch that last part? In the same sentence that boasted the lead, we see this little jewel: "nearly half of U.S. households pay no income taxes at all." Isn't that somewhat noteworthy? Couldn't the headline of this story been, "Half the Country Pay No Income Taxes, as Wealthier Bear Heavy Burden?"
It's all in the perspective you bring to the story. And might I also ask, which of those two realities seems to be the most concerning? The fact that the job creators (aka "the super rich") aren't having to pay as much to the government...or the fact that while still reaping the benefits and services of the government, half the country's households aren't contributing a dime to its operation?
For anyone interested in the sustainability of our way of life, the latter is of utmost concern. But since our bitter partisan-in-chief is trying to get re-elected, he needs to do some high profile demagoguery, and ragging on the job creators has always been a go-to formula.
That's why you see headlines like this, while bearing the lead. It's why you see CBS News Sunday Morning reporting the talking points dutifully:
"All the data are overwhelmingly showing that for the last 30 years money has been flowing upward. It's not trickle down economics. It's Niagara up."
What they leave out is the fairly obvious reality that hiking taxes on the wealthiest is going to do nothing to stem this concerning trend. In fact, it's only going to exacerbate it. If you want to expand the tax rolls, the best way to do it is to cut taxes on everyone - particularly those whose wealth creates jobs. That puts more people to work, giving more people incomes, meaning more people contribute to the government, and shazam, the government revenue increases.
But none of that fits the current caricature of the right that the President is trying to paint right now. Which means none of it will see the light of day in the mainstream media.