The Responsibility of the Media to Debunk The Buffett Rule

Very rarely does something on television prompt me to literally stand up and cheer, especially when it comes to a news program. Yet, that’s exactly what I found myself doing Tuesday night when watching a panel discussion on FOX News’ Special Report. The topic was President Obama’s continued endorsement of what he calls The Buffett Rule. The Buffett Rule is term that was coined by the president last year as a way of defining his desire to increase taxes on the rich as an answer to deficit reduction, and promote a sense of fairness in our tax system. It got its name from avid Obama supporter and ultra-successful businessman, Warren Buffett who has helped the president promote the concept.

The moment that got me fired up was when regular panelist Steve Hayes voiced his disgust over the media’s complacency with the notion that The Buffett Rule is a legitimate solution.

“Don’t reporters have a job to do here?” he asked. “Isn’t it the job of the media to put this in perspective?” He went on to accurately explain that over one year, The Buffett Rule would raise $4 billion in increased tax revenue for the federal government. That is roughly the same amount of money that the U.S. government accumulates in debt in a single day. He continued by saying, “It’s not a plan. There’s nothing serious about it.”

He’s of course right. The Buffett Rule is an absolute joke. It might as well be named after Jimmy Buffett, rather than Warren, because its only purpose is to get the electorate drunk and wasting away in Margaritaville so they won’t have a clue as to what’s going on with the American economy.

For the past seven months, the President of the United States has traveled throughout the country touting a plan for deficit reduction that would fund the federal government for only ONE DAY each year. That’s absolutely pathetic. He has stoked class envy within our culture, created public unrest that became the Occupy movement, and vilified the rich all under the premise that squeezing more money out of our wealthiest citizens would somehow fix our economic problems. The reality is that it would do no such thing.

Hayes’ frustration mirrors that of my own, and it’s about time someone made the point as bluntly as he did. I would be willing to bet that not a single national news network, aside from FOX News, will point out the numbers that he did. That’s a serious problem. The media has an ethical duty to scrutinize the rhetoric that comes from our president, especially on a topic as important as the debt crisis. Yet, they’ve been MIA on The Buffett Rule this entire time, concentrating their attention on Buffett’s secretary’s tax rate instead of how it would affect our country.

By making a conscious decision not to debunk the president’s deficit reduction claims, the media has portrayed The Buffett Rule as a legitimate, alternate vision to the bold and sound entitlement reform proposals introduced into legislation by Republicans. Thus, what should be one of the most serious national debates in our history has once again been reduced to a battle of bumper-sticker slogans – the type of battle that President Obama rarely loses. It’s that sort of unchallenged power that has made his class warfare message so successful.

It is absolutely dire that the public understands just how important the national debt issue is because it not only affects each and every one of us, but also our children… and their children. The media can’t make the public care about it if they don’t want to, but they have an obligation to treat the issue with the respect it deserves. Otherwise, how is the media any different than glorified press secretaries for the administration?

Author Bio:

John Daly couldn't have cared less about world events and politics until the horrific 9/11 terrorist attacks changed his perspective. Since then, he's been deeply engaged in the news of the day with a particular interest in how that news is presented. Realizing the importance of the media in a free, democratic society, John has long felt compelled to identify media injustices when he sees them. With a B.S. in Business Administration, and a 16 year background in software and web development, John has found that his real passion is for writing. His first novel, entitled "From a Dead Sleep", is now on sale! He lives in Northern Colorado with his wife and two children. Like John on Facebook. Follow John on Twitter.
Author website: http://www.johndalybooks.com/
  • cmacrider

    John:  I usually read your articles to discern whether I consider them to be valid.  However, when I see “Wil” whining and crying with some disconnected disorientated verbiage,  I KNOW you have made some cogent points and go back an re-read the article.  Your commentary is always worthy of serious consideration.

    • John Daly

       Thank you. 

  • Michael

    Something about Bluffit makes me think “dirty old man.” 

  • TERRY FLANIGAN

    BUFFET RULE:   SAME SNAKE OIL IN A DIFFERENT BOTTLE.

  • http://www.facebook.com/michael.o.r.jackson Mike Jackson

    John, BHO may well be yanking Buffett’s chain along with the rest of us.  Than again, Buffett could well be hoping to be the last eaten by the crocodile of big government.  If Buffett feels so bad about not paying higher taxes. He is, of course, welcome to write a larger check.

    (FWIW, I refuse to refer to Buffett as “WB” as that would be an insult  Daffy Duck, Bugs Bunny, Elmer Fudd, and other intelligent cartoon characters .)

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_DGT5LFXDWHPKRWLSI2WPBXIGXE Wil

    John Daly, So now the wealthy are the victims. My heart goes out to
    them!! They must have a lot of work related injuries doing the dangerous job of
    stacking their money.
     

    • Glen

      Creating wealth is not easy, but we better hope it continues to happen or the 99% is in for a much ruffer ride.  Wise up Wil!

      • Glen

        “rougher” that is

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_DGT5LFXDWHPKRWLSI2WPBXIGXE Wil

        These tax cuts to the wealthy did nothing to create jobs over the past 10
        years. As a matter of fact, an article written in the WSJ showed GW had the
        worst “jobs record” on record. More private sector jobs were created in the 1st
        nine months of 2010 because of the Obama Stimulus than were created in all 8
        years of GW Bush. 

        • Jeffreydan

          Wil,

          First of all, why won’t you answer John’s question? (How the middle class stand to benefit under the Buffett Rule.)

          If not, then why don’t you just quit posting comments that have nothing to do with the column’s topic? 

          Wait, I know the answer to both: because that would be the intelligent, mature, unobnoxious thing to do.   

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_DGT5LFXDWHPKRWLSI2WPBXIGXE Wil

            Jeffy, I’m sorry, I make you cry!

    • John Daly

      Victims? Wil, did you even read my column?

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_DGT5LFXDWHPKRWLSI2WPBXIGXE Wil

        John, All you do is gripe. How about an article about how great it is, to live in America? And remember, the economic crisis (Housing & Bank collapse)  the Iraq War &
        Afghanistan war and the national Debt didn’t all begin on January 20, 2009 . 

        • Jeffreydan

            Again, not pertinent to the column, kiddo.

            It might help if you step away for a while. Go to your pediatrician and address your ADD issues, and please: TAKE. YOUR. TIME.
            Perhaps by the time you’re back one of us will post a column discussing the irony of people suddenly liking this country only after a couple who despise it are in the White House. 

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_DGT5LFXDWHPKRWLSI2WPBXIGXE Wil

            Little Jeffrey is trying to be funny. Grow up! Your heroes Bush’Cheney trashed our country, Obama is trying to repair the damage! 

          • Jeffreydan

              Now Wil, just because President Bush and VP Cheney are far better than BO (not a hard standard to meet) doesn’t necessarily mean they’re anyone’s heroes.

              Despite your evidently (look it up) being born with some weird gene that causes petulance (look it up) and fear of honest debate, it might actually be a good thing that you come here and interrupt the grown-ups. Enough contact with honest, rational (look it up) people and you might start voting for good Americans.  

    • Will Swoboda

      Hey Wil,
      Most wealthy people work hard for what they have, except the Kennedys of course. I’ve never worked for the government except during the Vietnam War and have never cashed a check from a poor guy.
      Thanks, Will

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_DGT5LFXDWHPKRWLSI2WPBXIGXE Wil

    Since, Bush gave the wealthiest the tax breaks 10 years
    ago, they have not created any jobs. They outsourced all of our
    manufanufactoring jobs to other countries and destroyed the middle class. What
    about some of the richest said that they wanted to pay more taxes.

    • John Daly

      Wil, Please explain to me how the middle class will benefit in any way from the Buffett Rule.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_DGT5LFXDWHPKRWLSI2WPBXIGXE Wil

        Please explain to me how and where  you came up with the figures you quoted in you article?

        • John Daly

          You first.

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_DGT5LFXDWHPKRWLSI2WPBXIGXE Wil

            Just as I thought, you pulled them out of your …!

          • Jeffreydan

            Ooooh, that reminds me: is it now painful for you to sit since you got out the ”George Zimmerman called Trayvon Martin a c**n” claim and posted it on this site?

              Now, be a good little lad and answer the nice man’s question.

          • John Daly

             Since you’ve clearly conceded defeat on this one, I’ll be a good sport and answer your question though you didn’t answer mine:
            The number came from The Joint Committee on Taxation. Here’s a link which I’m sure you won’t bother with:
            http://money.cnn.com/2012/03/20/news/economy/buffett-rule-analysis/index.htm

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_DGT5LFXDWHPKRWLSI2WPBXIGXE Wil

            The White House has called for the Buffett Rule to replace the Alternative Minimum Tax, which would only exacerbate the government’s deficit problem, Hatch said. The Alternative Minimum Tax is projected to raise roughly $2 trillion in revenue over 10 years.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_GC36UFUX3FP57OIQ74YHHQUL3M wally

      You say they, meaning Bush outsourced jobs. No! Outsourcing is done by companies and corporations that experience low to negative profits in the operation of their business. Outsourcing has been happening since the 1950′s and continues today except at a faster rate. You should know this. You are  partially right that government is responsible for the shift to foreign sources. The government is the one who along with your support taxes the companies under the guise that  it is the fair thing to do. Don’t you realize that higher taxes, burdensome regulations,higher energy costs and other government interference result in higher product costs to the consumer since all these costs must be passed on to the consumer? Maybe you should read some of economists Milton Friedman’s  books on capitalism so you would have a chance to understand.
        Foreign competition is good. It results in lower cost to the consumer on many products. I think you would agree that the US and companies should not reduce the wages of workers in order to compete. However, there are things that the government can do. First it must promote US drilling and all existing energy production to enable the US to be the in lowest energy costs and not place restrictive regulations on existing energy to favor the higher cost green energies. Green energies need to stand on their own to become competitive with existing ones. Also, please tell me why the POTUS gave tax payer money to Brazil to help them develop their oil production and promised to purchase oil from Brazil. That doesn’t make any sense and proves that the president doesn’t either. The government should lower corporate taxes and regulations that prove economically restrictive. I hope this helps you. 

      • Jeffreydan

          Wil’s not likely to pick up any books by Dr. Friedman, Wally. They’re heavier than the ones he’s used to holding, contain many words with more than 2 syllables, and aren’t chock full of pictures.

         

           

  • PatriotBelle

    Sure would be great if your article reached the people being swayed by Obama and his communist regime and media but it isn’t being read by them. I bet if you find a speech by a communist leader and compare it to one of Obama’s, one would see that’s the playbook being used to brainwash the masses. All the minions listing to him can only see that $4 billion in their pockets; placed there by the annointed one. Every dirty trick in this book is being used. When will the Republicans wake up and smell the coffee and know they cannot win playing fair with these evil people; trying to bring down American and replace it with Communism!!!!!!!

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_DGT5LFXDWHPKRWLSI2WPBXIGXE Wil

      It’s good to know you listen to Sean Hannity for solutions, just remember
      you don’t make his money.

  • Michael

    What about the responsibility of the Resluglican Party to get off their @##$# and debunk the Bluffit Rule?  Is the GOP even considered to be in opposition to the Democrat Party anymore?  Does Boehner do anything other than smoke and work on his tan?  What about the almost three hundred GOP members of Congress?  Are they all so busy getting into the pants of staff members that they can’t keep the Democrats out of ours? 

  • Kathie Ampela

    This is a fabulous column, John. I’ve read your bio, why are you not a professional journalist? The Buffet Rule (and the lack of serious anaylsis of it) shows us just how shallow both the MSM and the general electorate are. Obama will win re-election on class warfare and the media are the enablers egging on the message. I live in NY, I see Occupy Wall Street cheerleading on NY1 (a local cable news channel) all the time. I don’t know how to make people understand how serious this is, but an honest media would be helpful. You are far too kind in calling the media mere press secretaries for the WH..Pravda would be more accurate.

    • Michael

      “Pravda would be more accurate”

      Why don’t more people see this?

    • Glen

      Any “serious analysis” would reveal that the “Buffet Rule” is based on a complete lie, her taxes from salary and his on investment returns with all the deductions available.  If he were sincere, he would have no trouble structuring it such that he paid many times her taxes.  The whole thing is a dishonest charade. 

      If the Buffet Rule is imposed on regular business folk, not only will it fail to help with the deficit, it will cost many such as his secretary their opportunity for a job.

      • http://www.facebook.com/michael.o.r.jackson Mike Jackson

        The Buffett rule is designed to help central planners like Buffett expand their possessions and earnings, not help the little guy who may be in competition with him.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_DGT5LFXDWHPKRWLSI2WPBXIGXE Wil

      The wealthy have the lowest rates since 1955..The top 400 pay an effective rate
      of 16.6% which is down from 1993 when it was 30%! Who was in charge of the
      Congress in 1993 to 2007! Who deregulated the financial markets— gave
      loopholes out the kazoo to corps and the wealthy–allowed the media to merge and
      run small markets out of business—and allowed OFF SHORE DEPOSITS TO GUT THE
      Nation!

      IT IS a matter of gouging..THe Gouging of the middle class, poor,
      elderly, children , women and workers to support the corporations and the
      Wealthy..

      • Glen

        You can never “gouge” anyone for what is not theirs to begin with.

        • John Daly

          Isn’t it sad how illogical the liberal argument is on this? If the media ever chooses to debunk the Buffett Rule, they should also go ahead and explain to Americans that people who create wealth aren’t stealing it from others.

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_DGT5LFXDWHPKRWLSI2WPBXIGXE Wil

            Do you conservatives ever wonder who pays for the wealth created, it doesn’t fall from the sky!

          • John Daly

             Paying for wealth created? You really haven’t a clue, do you? Wealth is created by people who risk their own capital to provide a product or service that people want. If they’re successful in doing so, they earn wealth.

            You act as if wealth is created by confiscating money from people against their will.

            My children apparently learned more about the economy from a garage sale they helped me with last week, than you’ve managed to acquire in your lifetime.

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_DGT5LFXDWHPKRWLSI2WPBXIGXE Wil

             Wealth
            Also, is created by people who inherit it, steal it, use cronyism and
            swindling.  By working and investing, I’m probably worth more then you could
            ever dream of becoming! The only different is, I gladly pay my taxes and don’t
            bitch about it! As for, you children’s snide remark, I’ll just let that
            go.

          • Jeffreydan

            “Wealth Also, is created by people who inherit it, steal it, use cronyism and swindling.”

            Now, let’s not be bringing Solyndra into this! Please stay on topic.

      • DanB_Tiffin

        Oh, bring out the sad violins for Wil, again.  Cry, Wil, cry for those poor victims you see around every corner and behind every tree.

      • http://www.facebook.com/michael.o.r.jackson Mike Jackson

         And if you had a larger (positive) balance in your checkbook, what would you do with it?

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_DGT5LFXDWHPKRWLSI2WPBXIGXE Wil

          Pay my taxes and not constantly bitch about it, unlike you people!

    • John Daly

      Thanks Kathie. I feel fortunate to have a platform on Bernie’s popular website, and am flattered that you think I can do this professionally. ;)

  • Glen

    It’s as though the media are willing to suspend any other concern, including existential threats in favor of presenting Obama in as positive light as they can manage.  This transcends unethical and unprofessional requiring some new definition of insanity.

    Are they true-believing dupes or justifying some utopian greater good delusion?  Either way it’s complete dysfunctional breakdown of their role in society.