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Fox News stirs for America’s next class war

As foreshadowed last week, President Barack Obama introduced the millionaires “Buffett tax” in his plan for the wealthy to pay a fair share of the almost $3 trillion budget shortfall. That sent Fox News into DEFCON 1.

All yesterday and today Fox News has been running the headline: “Is The White House Inciting Class Warfare?” Early morning anchor Steve Doocy introduced the topic today with: “The President is talking about raising taxes and … you know, effectively class warfare.” It continued all day until even Democrat guests were using the martial language. “He’s just declared war on the job creating class in America,” declared former Clinton advisor Dick Morris. When anchors and Democrat guests uses that kind of martial language, the network’s more shrill commentators have nowhere to go but Illuminati land.

With no natural disaster to divert attention, Fox News racked up a collection of claims that Obama simply resents wealth creators, wants to punish achievement, and destroy the business community to pander to his base: the 50% of lazy Americans who pay no tax at all.

One would probably expect that sort of over-the-top rhetoric from a political opponent set to run against the president in 2012. But it wasn’t. Those were the claims that originated on Fox News from network staff and paid contributors before any Republican presidential candidate joined in.

Before a single business owner could be interviewed came the claim that businesses would simply stop hiring people if capital gains was taxed at a higher rate. Growth would stop. US currency would collapse. It’s all over, man. Better go buy collectible gold coins to protect your wealth.

Warren Buffett’s claim was that no investor would stop investing just because their 15% capital gains rate was made equitable with marginal income rates of their employees, typically 35% to 40%.

Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson responded by saying Buffett was trying to mislead Americans, insisting capital gains are not income, and therefore the comparison with his secretary’s taxable income is apples and oranges. It was accompanied by black and white footage of Obama, in campaign mode, saying “the last thing I want to do is raise taxes in a recession”.

Bill O’Reilly made the claim that capital gains are being taxed twice, first as income, and that taxation is strangling America: “If you tax achievement, some of the achievers will pack it in. I like my job but there comes a point that taxation becomes oppressive.”

If any of these claims are justified, their evidence was not aired.

White House officials were forced to respond on other networks and newspapers, meekly suggesting that if they can’t win the argument in Congress, then they’ll just have to win the argument with the American people in 2012.

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  • 1
    Posted Tuesday, 20 September 2011 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    But does anyone take any notice of Fox. What about the NY Times or Wall Street Journal?

  • 2
    Cyndi
    Posted Tuesday, 20 September 2011 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    This morning Radio National’s Fran Kelly used the news of Obama’s proposal as an excuse to lob softballs to a breathless dweeb from the oxymoronic right-wing US think tank, The Heritage Foundation. He parroted the same talking points. We are doomed.

  • 3
    Posted Tuesday, 20 September 2011 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    Yes, I was mystified by that choice of commentator. Couldn’t they get anyone decent?

  • 4
    Cyndi
    Posted Tuesday, 20 September 2011 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    The ABC routinely falls back on right-wing commentators for their US coverage - Politico.com is another regular source. I can only imagine that in their twisted world they consider it ‘fair and balanced’.

  • 5
    Bill Hilliger
    Posted Tuesday, 20 September 2011 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    Sadly, but to a lesser extent the same sort of megaphone rhetoric is starting to surface here. The resources rent tax, carbon tax, the flood levy. Yes; Abbott, Bernardi, Mirrabella and some of the other childish wingnuts in the Liberal/National Coalition (no, not you Malcolm T) telling us we’ll all be ruined. Whole towns will dissapear doom and gloom everywhere - head for the hills. Some of the wealthy mining barons are helping to push that barrow too - to point out the more prominent: a plump woman from WA, a corpulent coal baron from Queeensland, and a WA man always dressed in a high visibility vest for photo oportunities. Combined net worth “Billions” we’re not sharing it either! These people too are chipping away and peddling same type of B.S to Australians - like the Murdoch “Fox News Network” is serving up to the people of the formerly most poweful nation on earth. Give it time, and we too will have a “Fox - we report you decide” news as a pay TV channel. Yes and at this rate there will be ultimate success for the wing-nuts to to bring racour and a divided Australia made up of the “lucky haves” and the “unlucky have nots”. After-all we love all things American! Mr Bernardi has just returned from the land of the free armed with the knowledge of “how to do it here in Aussie”, he will have plenty of helpers no doubt - I can think of a very loud mouthed and ugly broadcaster as well as a sinister columist whose parents came as boat people from the land of windmills.

  • 6
    jaywhar
    Posted Tuesday, 20 September 2011 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    if higher taxes result in Bill O’Reilly packing it in, what’s not to like?

  • 7
    juan vesa
    Posted Tuesday, 20 September 2011 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    now that the coalitions locked in rescinding the carbon tax (barring the obvious about face), i can’t wait to see how they’ll sell reducing pensions and raising taxes, along with news ltd. spruiking the party rhetoric, it should make for almost laughable reading. in the mean time, for a taste of the truly bizarre, see jon huntsman’s brilliant tax plan: raise taxes on lower/middle class to pay for tax cuts for the richest 0.1%. truly amazing:

    http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2011/08/31/309249/huntsman-taxes-rich/

  • 8
    Rodger
    Posted Tuesday, 20 September 2011 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    The sociopathic billionaires who run the USA have got Fox News so well trained that they spew out their “don’t tax the rich or the sky will fall in mantra” reflexly when ever it is suggested.

  • 9
    Tomboy
    Posted Tuesday, 20 September 2011 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    Maybe we should just allow most of the population to avoid tax, like Greece. I wonder what would happen if there was no tax? Could our nation-state raise an army to defend the rich from an enemy who wants what they have? Who’d finance roads, rail, anything? The rich should be grateful that they live in a stable society - I wonder how they’d like to live in fortress suburbs like those in South Africa?

  • 10
    Rodger
    Posted Tuesday, 20 September 2011 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    Pakistan collects virtually no tax.
    Our billionaires would not get nearly as rich there.
    Except the miners could still dig stuff up and sell it overseas.

  • 11
    Sam L
    Posted Tuesday, 20 September 2011 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    I find it amusing that the same people so vehemently opposing tax increases for the rich are also opposing cuts to payroll tax. So maybe they’re not all that keen on job creation after all.

  • 12
    MLF
    Posted Tuesday, 20 September 2011 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    Gav Moodie “but does anyone listen to Fox?”.

    You’re kidding, right? Don’t answer, I’m sure you’re kidding. 2m people a day read WSJ. Less than a million read NYT. That aint much in a country of 250m. Over 4m people a day watch O’Reilly. Multiply that out by however many different shows are on Fox trumpeting the same message and you start to get a bit depressed.

    The entire population of people who will be better off if the Buffet tax comes into play (and of course is well-spent) listen to Fox. All those same people who would have benefited from universal health care but rejected it listen to Fox. All those who might get better educations listen to Fox.

    And they’ll all be walking around saying “Obama wants to raise taxes and drive America into the ground”.

    Such is the power of Fox.

  • 13
    MLF
    Posted Tuesday, 20 September 2011 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    Rodger, that’s because the “sociopathic billionaires who run the USA” are the same “sociopathic billionaires” who run Fox.

  • 14
    klewso
    Posted Tuesday, 20 September 2011 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

    There you go, there I was thinking it was “Rupublicans” sponsored by “FUX News” (or vice versa)?

  • 15
    Sense Seeker
    Posted Tuesday, 20 September 2011 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

    Every time I hear about US politics I think: “This must be the limit. Even Americans can’t be so stupid to believe all the lies they get thrown at them by vested interests.”

    True enough, they did elect Obama. But on the whole it seems that they allowed the system to be stacked against them to such an extent as to be beyond recovery. From rules around campaign donations to media ownership to the educational system. Simply too far gone.

    I agree with comments above that Australia is not all that far behind. The Lib/Nats do a pretty good job as Republicans and the role as Democrats is skillfully imitated by the ALP. A difference is that the system here allows a role for a third party, and I am really happy with the Greens.

    But I doubt they will ever be strong enough to stop the decline and ensure a decent education for every child, a diverse press and strict rules around donations to political parties and election campaigns.

    Underlying all this I believe are rising inequalities, which allow the rich to stack the rules in their favour in a process of gradual corruption of society. We’ll see how gullible Australians are.

  • 16
    AR
    Posted Tuesday, 20 September 2011 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

    One of the ole time faves is “the poor can’t be helped by making the rich poorer”, obviously unproven in that it’s never been tried. I’d be willing to give it a red hot go.
    (In case some shill from IPA, or worse, is reading this, don’t proffer Argentina as an example - that’s not even comparing apples & camels).

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