By Tom Johnson | April 28, 2016 | 10:22 PM EDT

New York magazine’s Jonathan Chait admires Bernie Sanders’s willingness (eagerness?) to raise taxes so as to “finance the kind of social benefits American liberals would prefer.” That’s why Chait is disappointed that Sanders opposes Philadelphia’s proposed three-cents-per-ounce tax on sugar-sweetened drinks, revenue from which would fund citywide pre-kindergarten and other programs.

In a Tuesday post, Chait wrote that Sanders “has received justifiable credit for breaking the taboo on middle-class taxation and asking just why it is that Americans must be denied public services taken for granted elsewhere…But where does this leave his opposition to the soda tax? His position is strange and ironic because taxes on specifically defined, unhealthy goods has long been the loophole through which Democrats escape the pressure of their own no-taxes-on-the-middle-class vise…What’s more, the proceeds of the soda tax finance a vital liberal social goal (in this case, early education).”

By Tom Blumer | April 21, 2016 | 9:18 PM EDT

As the Washington Free Beacon reported today (confirmed here in a chart published two weeks ago), the number of Americans enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), traditionally known as Food Stamps, dropped below 45 million for the first time in almost five years (actually, 57 months) in January.

This is hardly cause for cheer, and does nothing to change the fact that in the vast majority of states, the Food Stamp program has been fundamentally transformed during the past eight years into a guaranteed income program. But to former longtime Washington Post reporter Eric Pianin, who has toiled at The Fiscal Times web site during the past six years, it was cause to go after House-led budget "cuts" and efforts at structural reform in an April 14 report riddled with laziness, errors and bias.

By Walter E. Williams | April 20, 2016 | 1:49 PM EDT

Here is what presidential aspirant Sen. Bernie Sanders said: "I believe that health care is a right of all people." President Barack Obama declared that health care "should be a right for every American." The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops: "Every person has a right to adequate health care." President Franklin D. Roosevelt, in his January 1944 message to Congress, called for "the right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health."

By Tom Johnson | April 12, 2016 | 6:05 PM EDT

There’s a crucial difference between the Loch Ness Monster and any Republican health-care-reform plan worthy of the name: Nessie almost certainly does not exist, but the GOP plan cannot exist. That, essentially, was the message of a Monday blog post by New York magazine’s Chait.

“It is impossible to design a health-care plan that is both consistent with conservative ideology and acceptable to the broader public,” asserted Chait. “People who can’t afford health insurance are either unusually sick…unusually poor…or both…You can cover poor people by giving them money. And you can cover sick people by requiring insurers to sell plans to people regardless of age or preexisting conditions. Obamacare uses both of these methods. But Republicans oppose spending more money on the poor, and they oppose regulation, which means they don’t want to do either of them.”

By Tom Blumer | April 10, 2016 | 11:55 PM EDT

On Tuesday, shortly after Governor Jerry Brown signed California's $15-an-hour minimum wage legislation, the Associated Press's Michael R. Blood and Don Thompson called the move "a victory for those struggling on the margins of the economy and the politically powerful unions that pushed it."

As seen in a NewsBusters post on March 31, it's definitely a win for union members whose wages are set at a multiple of the state's minimum wage. But it's not a "victory" for "struggling" workers who will lose their jobs or not be able to become employed at the higher rate. The AP pair would only concede that "the overall goal of helping the working poor might be lessened if some employers cut jobs or, worse, leave the state." Forget the "if" on employers cutting jobs, guys. That's because, as Jeb Graham at Investor's Business Daily reported on Friday (HT Hot Air), two states which have only raised their minimums to just over $10 have already seen seasonally adjusted job losses (bolds are mine):

By Brad Wilmouth | April 7, 2016 | 8:44 PM EDT

Appearing as a guest on Thursday's CNN Newsroom with Brooke Baldwin, PBS host Tavis Smiley claimed that GOP candidates Donald Trump and Ted Cruz are "running segregated campaigns" as he asserted that they are "not campaigning to my community." After repeating his claim that Trump has been a "racial arsonist," he declared that the Republican Party has been "self-sabotaging," and additionally attached to the GOP the words "anti-American," "Orwellian," and "Shakespearean."

By Tom Johnson | March 27, 2016 | 2:20 PM EDT

Conservatives have objected in droves to a remark President Obama made this past week during his visit to Argentina. Addressing a gathering of young adults, Obama said, “In the past there’s been a sharp division…between capitalist and communist or socialist…but I think for your generation, you should be practical and just choose from what works.”

The right’s hostile response, contended The Washington Monthly's David Atkins in a Saturday post, is indicative of its longstanding “failure to acknowledge policy realities…The leadership and media organs of the conservative movement remain obsessed with promoting ideology over practicality so much that [Obama’s comment] somehow becomes a fundamental betrayal.” Long ago, wrote Atkins, “capitalism won the war of ideas and appropriately so—but that doesn’t mean it’s a perfect system. Modern Republicans have totally lost sight of that fact.”

By Tom Johnson | March 14, 2016 | 9:42 PM EDT

These days, one of the biggest meta-debates in politics concerns apportioning blame for the staying power of the Donald Trump circus. How much of Trump’s popularity is attributable to, say, the mainstream media? To conservative talk radio? In a Sunday post, The Washington Monthly’s Martin Longman pointed the finger at Republicans and absolved President Obama.

Apropos of Trump’s economically dislocated blue-collar backers, Longman maintained that Obama has “done what he could for them, and it’s been considerable,” whereas Republicans “have ignored them…[A] population that makes up the core of the Republican base has been committing suicide, overdosing on opioids, and drinking itself to death at a rate comparable to the AIDS epidemic. And the Republicans not only spent zero time trying to help them during the Bush and Obama years, they didn’t even seem to know that this was happening to them.”

By Tom Blumer | March 7, 2016 | 9:06 PM EST

Since the economy finally began consistently regaining jobs in early 2010, the establishment press has had a consistent, predictable and annoying reporting (and non-reporting) pattern.

It starts with the Friday morning jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics at or near the beginning of the month. Virtually without fail, it has spit out positive and sometimes even very positive seasonally adjusted increases in overall payroll employment (one small exception: the Census hiring season in mid-2010). Later that day, or in some cases a week later, but in either case in the late afternoon when most reporters are thinking about their weekends instead of their jobs, the USDA releases its report on enrollment in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), aka Food Stamps. If you didn't know that the economy was adding jobs, the Food Stamp figures would lead you to believe that it wasn't. Somehow, this is never news.

By Tom Blumer | February 29, 2016 | 5:34 PM EST

It appears that there's an effort underway to expand the definition of "deniers" beyond the realm of climate change/"global warming."

Ideally, in leftists' minds, a "denier" would be "anyone who doesn't accept leftist dogma without reservations." That definition would apparently extend to anything relating to the economy, if Associated Press White House reporter and dedicated Barack Obama groupie (yes, I mean "groupie") Darlene Superville had her way. Her story's headline, as she covered President Obama's remembrance of the wonders of the "Recovery Act" — formally known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and informally known as the "stimulus plan — directly targeted those who dare to disagree with Obama, and even attempted to concoct another phony version of "consensus" clearly intended to eventually stifle historians' dissent:

By Brad Wilmouth | February 25, 2016 | 1:02 PM EST

Appearing as a guest on Wednesday's CNN Tonight, liberal CNN political commentator Marc Lamont Hill provided a glimpse at the caricature of Democrats having over the top expectations of what government can accomplish in improving their lives as he recommended that black voters in South Carolina, when deciding between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, should "think beyond a limited sort of political imagination" and "say, 'Who has the capacity to make our dreams come true?'"

By Tom Johnson | February 23, 2016 | 8:52 PM EST

Ronald Reagan’s admirers called him the Great Communicator, but to his detractors he was more like the Great Demonizer, crystallizing hostility toward groups ranging from the poor to left-wing protesters at UC Berkeley. In a Sunday post, Esquire's Pierce argued that Donald Trump has a similar talent for focusing outrage, and because of it, he’s attracting the same kind of supporters that Reagan did.