In January, in response to the Sago Mine tragedy, editorials at The New York Times charged that the Bush Administration had let mine safety deterioriate and had let up on its mine inspection efforts. A few minutes of looking at the government's own statistics by yours truly (here and here) and others showed that deaths and injuries had both decreased substantially during the Bush administration, even after considering workforce reductions, and that on a per-mine and per-miner basis, there had been no slacking off on inspections.
Now The Times, that former national media powerhouse that seems intent on becoming Manhattan's quaint little alternative newspaper, has done it again. In an article about IRS reductions in estate tax auditing, it shows that it doesn't understand something you and I instinctively know -- when there's less work to do, you need fewer people to do it. It also didn't do the basic research that would have shown that the reductions are not only justified, but that they should have begun several years ago.
And this will sound familiar to Times watchers: They think they have this incredible scoop because some of the people being let go leaked internal documents:
Someone get Lou Dobbs a dictionary. He certainly needs one.
Interviewing the anti-free trade liberal Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) on his July 24 program, Dobbs told viewers his guest was "no protectionist."
Below is an excerpt. You can find the full article of my story at the MRC's BusinessandMedia.org:
Nothing can put a bigger smile on an old cynic’s face than the normally predictable throwing a twelve to six curveball. Such is what occurred this morning when I opened up a Newsweek article by Robert Samuelson entitled: “Utterly Shameless; How could President Bush publicly brag about a federal budget with a $296 billion deficit?”
After seeing that head and sub-line, I prepared to do battle with what I expected to be the usual liberal mantra concerning budget deficits. Unfortunately, Samuelson didn’t cooperate, for scattered throughout his text was more sense coming from a Newsweek columnist not named George Will than I had seen in decades.
Now, I must caution the reader ahead of time to be prepared for some almost unprecedented sanity from this unlikely source (emphasis mine):
Somebody's got it wrong. In explaining the lower-than-projected deficit, President Bush today gave credit to his tax cuts.
Anybody that has read the Declaration of Independence knows that taxes were a big issue for our Founding Fathers. Certainly, this has been lost on most media in our country as they regularly advocate a higher and higher financial burden on the citizenry to pay for government programs.
No finer example of the divide between the media and the intent of our Founding Fathers was demonstrated than in an op-ed published in today’s Washington Post entitled “Tax Inheritance, Not ‘Death.’” In it, authors Maya MacGuineas and Ian Davidoff – fittingly from the New America Foundation, as their ideas certainly go contrary to the America our colonists fought and died for – proposed that estate taxes in America should be replaced by inheritance taxes for everybody that tries to pass on more than $10,000 to their heirs.
Yes, they really said $10,000: “A far better approach would be to tax people equivalently on all the income they receive, whether it be from earned or inherited income, by replacing the estate tax with an income tax on inheritances. Under such a tax, inheritances would be treated the same as other forms of earned income and taxed in the same manner.”
The article foolishly continued:
Not that there's been any doubt as to the politics of NPR and PBS - home to world-class Republican haters such as Bill Moyers. Still, it's instructive to see just who has launched a massive organizing effort to ensure continued taxpayer funding of the two organizations. Turns out . . . it's none other than the far-left MoveOn.org.
On the NBC Nightly News, Chip Reid recounted how Republicans claimed tax cuts have helped the economy before he picked up the left-wing numbers without offering any context about the dollar amounts of the cuts compared to the rate paid at various income levels, but at least he identified the source as “liberal.” Reid highlighted how “Democratic critics say the overall bill is heavily tilted in favor of the very wealthy" and passed along how “according to the liberal-leaning Tax Policy Center, those earning more than $1 million a year would save an average of about $42,000 a year. But families earning between $50,000 and $75,000 would save only $110 a year. And the savings are even smaller for those making between $40,000 and $50,000." (Transcripts and tax burden facts follow)
For the rest of us, from a subscription-only Wall Street Journal editorial, here's more confirmation (bolds are mine):