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The Balance Sheet

The Media Research Center

Free Market Project - Auditing the media's coverage of the free enterprise system

Volume 2 Issue 2 January 11, 2006

In this issue:  Mining Tragedy • Econ 101: Tax Cuts • 2 Million Jobs • Good, Bad & Ugly
  Energy • Economy • Taxes • Education • Events

New from the Free Market Project

Media Quick to Blame Industry for Mining Tragedy
Reporting on the Sago mine accident has been too hasty from the beginning. With the explosion’s cause unknown and the investigation stretching out ahead, journalists haven’t wasted any time in blaming the International Coal Group and its head, Wilbur Ross, whom ABC called “cheap.” The media have opted to go with readily available and opinionated union sources instead of waiting out the facts.

Econ 101: How Do Tax Cuts Work?
History is clear: tax cuts create economic growth. Dr. Gary Wolfram explains why tax breaks “for the rich” aren’t the class-warfare evil the media portray them to be.
Ask the professor: Do you have a question about an economic issue covered in the news?

NBC Glosses over Strong 2005 Job Growth
The U.S. economy created more than 2 million jobs last year, and unemployment has dropped below 5 percent. The Free Market Project continues to track jobs reports and show you how the media downplay such positive news. Stay tuned for an upcoming report on coverage of jobs in 2005.

The Good, the Bad & the Ugly
The Good, the Bad & the Ugly tracks the best and worst media coverage of business and economics. Readers are invited to submit suggestions or news tips to staff writer Ken Shepherd.
This week:  Post finds banks bending over backwards; Media ride Willie Nelson’s (biodiesel) bandwagon; CNN anchor vows to throw himself in front of a bus.

Also from FMP:

‘In the Money’ Crew Rams Viewers with Anti-Banking Bias

NY Times and AP Portray Shopping Season as So-So at Best

On the Inefficient Road Again

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Research, News & Commentary


News: Peter Ford of the Christian Science Monitor finds that fears of “greenhouse gases” are starting to overcome 1980s-era fears of nuclear energy as “Europe Warms to Nuclear Power.”


News: “Poverty now comes with a color TV,” reports Mark Trumbull of the Christian Science Monitor. Based on US Census data, “The computer has surpassed the dishwasher as a standard household appliance,” while even the “poorest Americans have posted a sharp rise in access to air conditioning.” Trumbull quotes bemused University of Dallas economist Michael Cosgrove: “it amazes me the number of people who are at or near the poverty line that have color TVs, cable, washer, dryer, microwave... the conveniences they have are in fact pretty good.”


Research: With a new year comes another dreaded tax filing season, and just in time, the Tax Foundation has published a look into “The Rising Cost of Complying with the Federal Income Tax.” The study’s researchers found the cost of tax compliance is a tax in itself, which disproportionately affects the poor: “When examined by income level, compliance cost is found to be highly regressive, taking a larger toll on low-income taxpayers as a percentage of income than high-income taxpayers.”

News: Rick VanderKnyff of MSN Money reports on the best and worst states for taxes.

Commentary: “In recent years, while countries from Ireland to Estonia have been cutting corporate taxes to attract new jobs and investment, the U.S. has fallen drastically behind the wave of corporate tax reform,” write the Tax Foundation's Chris Atkins and Scott Hodge, who offer a New Year’s resolution for President Bush and Congress: cut the federal corporate income tax to around 25 percent.

Commentary: “With a combined federal and state tax rate of 39.3 percent, the U.S. taxes corporations at a rate that is 10 percentage points higher than the average of other nations in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development,” writes Kevin Hassett. Describing that 10-point deficit as a “humongous” in a competitive global economy, the AEI scholar concludes that “Congress should adopt legislation to lower the tax, and the president should push for the move in his State of the Union address later this month.”


Commentary: Reacting to a recent court decision striking down Florida school vouchers, Cato's Andrew Coulson writes that “come this June, the more than 700 mostly low-income students currently in Florida's Opportunity Scholarship voucher program may be herded back into the very public schools that vouchers allowed them to flee.”

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Scientific Talent and U.S. Economic Leadership
American Enterprise Institute

Jan.13, 2 p.m.

Advancing Economic Freedom in the Middle East
Cato Institute

Jan.18, 12 p.m.

Educational Choice Speaker Series hosted by the Heartland Institute
The Metropolitan Club, Sears Tower, Chicago, Ill.

Jan.19, 12 p.m.

Warriors for the West: Fighting Bureaucrats, Radical Groups, and Liberal Judges on America's Frontier
The Heritage Foundation

Jan. 23, 2 p.m.

Join Us in Telling 50 Million Americans Every Week About Liberal Media Bias!

Editorial Staff
Dan Gainor, Free Market Project Director
Amy Menefee, Balance Sheet Editor
Charles Simpson, Research Analyst
Ken Shepherd, Staff Writer

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