Once again monitoring NPR and still confirming they are just as anti-Obama/Democrat, pro-Republican as Fox, CBS Radio, or ABC Radio News. They have been framing their “fiscal cliff” reporting as the problem we have here is a lack of respect between the two political parties. If only one of them would be the grown up in the room and negotiate in good faith and be willing to compromise like the parties did in the old days, this would be settled quickly.
NPR loves going into how all the spending cuts are going to hurt us all, but they give no context or history as to how this whole thing came about, not even when they bring their so-called analyst Cokie Roberts–one of the biggest hacks with a most undeserved reputation–to talk about it. No one brings up that the Republicans brought this all about with the acquiescence of the Democrats last year. In return for voting to raise the debt ceiling the Republicans demanded spending cuts in “entitlement” programs while the Democrats hang tough for defense spending cuts. The idea was that if budget and tax reform talks ever got stalemated these spending cuts would kick in. Other middle class staples like the payroll tax holiday would end as well. These changes were considered so draconian that no Congress in its right mind–meaning THESE guys–would ever allow these spending cuts to tax place. Obama dutifully signed this legislation–which also brought you the dead-on-arrival Super Committee–probably knowing all the time the Republicans would take us over that very cliff the following year.
But NPR insists on giving its listeners none of this context. They hold their reporting to “oh some terrible things are about to happen if Congress doesn’t start acting its age”, again attempting to create a false equivalency between the two sides. There is not one mention that the Democrats have put forth a serious plan with specific measures to increase revenue by raising taxes on the top 2%, but they do report Republicans insist on closing unspecified tax loopholes, which NPR then claims would raise more revenue than the tax increases, which really aren’t tax increases so much as ending the George W. Bush tax cuts. They also insist on “entitlements reform” although it’s been proven Social Security adds not dollar one to the deficit and Obamacare has already mandated Medicare provider payment reforms. If the Republicans would agree to allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices—which their Medicare Part D prohibits—that alone would save hundreds of billions of dollars over the next ten years. To lend themselves credibility, NPR quoted talking heads from two economic policy think tanks without telling us anything about these think tanks—such as if they were right or left wing or middle oriented, or if they were sponsored surrogates for the Koch Brothers or George Soros or the like. Or they interview Tom Wilson, president and CEO of Allstate Insurance—universally regarded as the worst insurance company in the country—to comment on the Congressional budget impasse. His astute observation? Both parties lack respect for each other and we still need entitlements reform. He also admitted that after we go over the fiscal cliff no one in the insurance industry will lose their jobs because profits are still up. That should come as no surprise to any Allstate policy holder who has filed a claim and tried to collect what they were promised while Wilson pocketed a 20% pay increase in 2011, raising his salary and compensation and bonuses to $11.2 million.
They ended their fiscal cliff story today with Obama’s scheduled visit to Detroit and that “some Republicans say” Obama is still acting like he’s on the campaign trail. Of course NPR didn’t add that Detroit is expected to go broke by the end of the month, which might kick in Republican Governor Rick Snyder’s Emergency Manager law where he takes over the governing of a city through a hand-picked surrogate. NPR also failed to add that Michigan Republicans have passed legislation that Snyder is about to sign into law that will kill the union movement, lower wages and reduce or end benefits that union members and non-members working in union shops enjoy. Obama has every right—in fact an obligation—to stand with workers in Detroit and rally them to support his budget and support the right of unions to exist for the protection and benefit of workers.
You would think that with the resounding Obama and Democratic victories of last month NPR would see that their bread is buttered on the left side and no longer on the right, but they don’t. And this could be bad news for them as NPR heads into its annual holiday pledge drive. Alienating liberals—who historically are much more generous individual donors than conservatives—is not a good idea unless NPR is confident that its Republican-leaning corporate sponsors are already in the bag.