Okay. Rationalize This.
If you get your news from Fox… please stop doing that

So the news today is that Obama has pushed for an extension of the Bush tax cuts for the middle class for a year.  As before, he favors allowing them to expire for those making more than 250K/yr.

Key to his address was the point that failing to extend the middle class tax cut will be drag on the economy. 

This isn’t about whether or not you like Obama, or feel that all the tax cuts should be extended, or believe that Nancy Pelosi is Satan.  This is about the degree to which Fox News distorts the news to fit a narrative.

Following are the headlines from various CONSERVATIVE news outlets as they reported this news (emphasis added):

Wall Street Journal: Obama Intensifies Tax Fight:  President Obama is launching a push to extend tax cuts

 

Christian Science Monitor: Obama Tax-Cut Plan:  easing risk of “fiscal cliff”?

Forbes:  Obama Opts For Replay Of Dismal Debate on Taxes From Last Year: President Obama today urged Congress to extend the 2001/2003 tax cuts for households making $250,000 or less…

 

Washington Times: Obama seeks tax-cut extension for the middle class

New York Post: Obama extends tax cuts for middle class

And… then there’s Fox News: 

Obama Pushes Top Earners Tax Hike

Understand, I’m not comparing Fox News’ version to CNN, or MSNBC, or Reuters.   The sources cited are ALL conservative outlets.  Most of them, understandably, highlighted a conservative viewpoint for the story… that Obama was trying to distract from the dismal jobs report (true), that he didn’t propose an extension of all the cuts (true), or that he could have bundled it with some other mechanism for deficit reduction (sure).   But Fox is the only one who managed to take a story about Obama pushing for a tax CUT, which is what happened, and make it into Obama pushing for a tax HIKE.  Because THAT’S the story Fox News wants to tell.  Obama and tax CUTS don’t fit the narrative.

The point is, if you rely on Fox News to find out what is happening (let alone what you should think about it), you’re being lied to.  They are not telling you true things; they are manipulating you into thinking what they want you to think, by telling you things that are not true.

Yes, news bias is everywhere, but bias is a spectrum.  Fox News gets away with this by pretending that they just “balance out” the bias of the rest of the mainstream media.  But it’s one thing to give more airtime or column space to a particular point of view; it’s another to blatantly misrepresent the facts.  What Fox does is different, worse, and evil.  But you know what?  It doesn’t matter if you believe me that CNN and MSNBC and the other networks actually DON’T do the same thing.  Just please… PLEASE… don’t let Fox News be your primary news source.  Use it as a data point if you must, but I’m begging you—as someone who regularly peruses both Left- and Right-slanted news sources—find out  what’s really happening from somewhere else.  Or at very least, INCLUDING somewhere else.   And don’t believe Fox’s version, unless it’s corroborated by other sources.  Because they lie.

It’s a tax. So who cares?

So, before I start, this post isn’t about defending ObamaCare.  That might be another post sometime, but for now, suffice it to say that I understand there are legitimate concerns and arguments against the ACA, and reasonable people could disagree about the net effects.  So let’s stay on topic, people. 

Which is this:

The SCOTUS has determined that the mandate is a tax, and therefore within the constitutional authority of the federal government. 

The response by both Left and Right to this is just… perplexing.

From the Right: 

"HA!  See?!?  We TOLD you!   Obama just wants to raise taxes!   This is a MASSIVE TAX INCREASE ON THE MIDDLE CLASS!!!  It’s a tax!   Tax!  Tax!  Oooh, ooh.  Tax!!  Taxer!!"

From the Left:

"Um, no, um, really, it’s… it’s, we MEANT for it to be a PENALTY… it’s not really a tax, it’s not… I mean, well, it’s not… not REALLY… a… um, tax."

Really?

Here’s what the Left SHOULD be saying:

"Are you stupid?  Okay, yeah… the SCOTUS has determined that the mandate meets the legal definition of a tax.  WE honestly considered it a penalty, that’s how we wrote it, but okay.  Fine.  Yep, you got us… it’s a tax.  A "tax increase on the middle class" that amounts to 2.5% of the income of what will likely be in the neighborhood of 1% of taxpayers, based on results in Massachusetts.  Let’s see, that means if we average that out across the middle class, we’re looking at an increase of 0.00025.  Or put another way, for every $1000 of middle class income, the mandate will increase taxes by… wait for it… 25 *cents*.   It’s not even a rounding error.   But wait!  It gets better!  Assuming you aren’t a freeloader who waits to get sick and then shows up at the ER on someone else’s dime, you will pay zero additional ‘taxes’.  Glad we could clear that up for you."

The size of this tax, and the absurdity of calling the ACA “a massive tax increase on the middle class” on the basis of this ruling, is obvious to anyone who thinks about it for more than 4 seconds.  But the Dems aren’t even *making the case*.  They choose to wring their hands and cower and deny that it’s a tax, squandering the opportunity to resoundingly debunk a ludicrous argument.