March 08, 2007

Why I Don't Watch CNBC

...Because they allow people to spout drivel like this:

KUDLOW: Gentlemen, can you give me a lightning-fast one thought response ....
on... AMT reform.
Mr. STEVE MOORE (The Wall Street Journal):
Well, Bob Reich, this is a big, big tax time bomb that's about to explode. But I don't understand the politics of this, Larry. I mean, this is the Democrats' problem. They created the AMT 30 years ago. Bill Clinton raised the AMT back in 1993. Bill Clinton vetoed a bill that would have repealed the AMT back in 1999. This is Charlie Rangel's problem. It's Hillary Clinton's problem. Why would George Bush come up with proposals? I want to see what the Democrats come up with.
These are serious, serious charges. Let's take them in order:
1) "They created the AMT 30 years ago. " Absolutely true, but hardly something to be ashamed of. The Democrats did, in fact, create the AMT back in 1969. It was designed to act as a backstop to the regular income tax, to ensure that a small number of super-wealthy tax avoiders paid their fair share. And it did a bang-up job.
2) "Bill Clinton raised the AMT back in 1993." This is your classic half-truth. President Clinton did push through an increase in the AMT rate-- as an eminently sensible accompaniment to an increase in the regular top rates. The two tax structures (regular and AMT) were calibrated to work in tandem. To keep these parallel structures working in tandem, the rates ought to follow each other: if the regular rate goes up, the AMT rate should to. Moore conveniently omits this fact, and also forgets to mention that Clinton shepherded through an increase in the AMT exemptions to help shelter middle-income people from the AMT. Did I say "half truth?" This is a third of a truth, max.
3) "Bill Clinton vetoed a bill that would have repealed the AMT back in 1999. " See point #1. He vetoed it, and he was right to veto an effort to simply repeal this important backstop to the regular tax.

Equally frustrating is that the talkshow guest spouting this claptrap, the Wall Street Journal's Stephen Moore, was paired with a lefty adversary, Robert Reich, who certainly knew that Moore's blame game exercise was nothing but spin-- and chose not to debunk Moore's arguments. Why? He was too busy trying to say something entertaining. Reich and Moore are apparently regular guests on Kudlow's show-- Kudlow refers to them as his "dynamic duo" repeatedly-- so the two of them have to work together and riff off each other. It's not a debate-- it's performance art.

You can scream at the TV all you want, but it won't stop the lies.

And that is why I don't watch CNBC.


Post a Comment

<< Home