Thursday, February 24, 2011

Media Complicity in Wisconsin

Have you noticed how corporate interests always manage to get in front of the microphone when there is something they want? These links show how Republicans and our for-profit media help corporate America by controlling the narrative. If you don't take a little effort to learn the larger story, you might even believe the shit going down in Wisconsin is about the state's deficit.

Amanda Terkel writes how unions are being largely frozen out of the weekend talk shows. Republican governors? No problem.

Meanwhile, David Kay Johnston writes about some really bad reporting in Wisconsin.
Gov. Scott Walker says he wants state workers covered by collective bargaining agreements to "contribute more" to their pension and health insurance plans.

Accepting Gov. Walker' s assertions as fact, and failing to check, created the impression that somehow the workers are getting something extra, a gift from taxpayers. They are not.

Out of every dollar that funds Wisconsin' s pension and health insurance plans for state workers, 100 cents comes from the state workers.

How can that be? Because the "contributions" consist of money that employees chose to take as deferred wages – as pensions when they retire – rather than take immediately in cash. The same is true with the health care plan. If this were not so a serious crime would be taking place, the gift of public funds rather than payment for services.
The real story on taxes, who pays, and why we have deficits, is obvious to anyone with even a hint of scholarly self-respect. That leaves out Glenn Beck, but you can click here for one article from the Journal of Economic Perspectives showing how corporate America and the wealthy have shifted the tax burden towards the middle class.

As the authors say in the abstract: "The progressivity of the U.S. federal tax system at the top of the income distribution has declined dramatically since the 1960s. This dramatic drop in progressivity is due primarily to a drop in corporate taxes and in estate and gift taxes combined with a sharp change in the composition of top incomes away from capital income and toward labor income."

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