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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 3 January 18, 2006

In this issue: Pensions Going South • Retirement • Prescription for Trouble • Good, Bad & Ugly
  Pensions • Wal-Mart • Taxes • Eminent Domain • Economy • Events

New from the Free Market Project

Pension Promises: The Death of the American Dream?
More companies are realizing that “guaranteed” pension benefits aren’t as guaranteed as they once thought. As workers live longer, programs are strained and more businesses are moving toward employee contributions and away from company-funded plans. The media’s conclusion? We’ll all have to work at Wal-Mart in our old age, as “loyal” workers have their pensions yanked from them by big business.

Herman Cain: Own Your Own Retirement
Despite media skepticism, American workers are capable of handling their own retirements. They just need the tools available to save and to take their savings with them from job to job. The decline of the traditional pension only makes this need more evident. The problem is the same whether it’s Social Security or IBM’s pension fund – you can’t rely on someone else to take care of your future. The good news is, we’re up to the challenge.

Media Portray Drug Plan as Boondoggle
The media are correct that senior citizens are getting lost in the new trillion-dollar Medicare drug plan. If they’d listened to free-market voices earlier, they might have seen this coming.

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:  NY Times on how realtors lock the doors of competition from banks and online brokers; Dobbs sees “Red” over Chinese cars in American showrooms; Reporters jump to conclusions on frog extinction from single study.

Also from FMP:

AP Reporter Hypes Wholesale Inflation

Media Downplay Ideology of Wal-Mart Foes

Media Jump on Study Showing Frogs Dying off from Climate Change

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Research, News & Commentary


Commentary:’s Jim Glassman proclaims “Good Riddance to Traditional Pensions” in a Jan. 13 commentary celebrating the decision by International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE: IBM) to replace its pension program with a 401(k). “IBM’s decision offers a good model for reforming Social Security… The U.S. government will have a sounder fiscal future when, like IBM, it stops treating adult American workers like children,” argues Glassman.


Analysis: Writing on efforts to block Wal-Mart from establishing an industrial loan corporation (ILC) in Utah for the benefit of customers and employees, AEI’s Peter Wallison finds that the case against it “doesn’t hold water.”

Commentary: Heritage’s Policy Blog issues some devastating predictions about the impact of a new Maryland law that requires Wal-Mart to pay 8 percent of payroll expenses in health care.


Commentary: Andrew Chamberlain of the Tax Foundation explains why tax simplification is so elusive: “simplicity has no political constituency. Given the choice between a concrete targeted tax credit vs. the abstract benefits of simplicity, taxpayers will prefer credits every time.”

Eminent Domain

News: Heritage’s Policy Blog tracks developments in the application of the Kelo precedent on eminent domain in an Ohio court, as well as state laws passed in Alabama, Delaware, and Texas to strengthen the rights of property owners.


Analysis: Heritage’s “2006 Index of Economic Freedom” is out. As in golf, “low scores are more desirable.” Hong Kong, Ireland, Britain, the United States, Estonia, Canada, and Switzerland were among the countries sinking holes-in-one while Iran, North Korea, Cuba, and Venezuela mired their citizens in the sand trap.

Commentary: Comparing the strong U.S. economy to a picnic, Free Market Project National Chairman Herman Cain finds the media are focusing on a few pesky flies trying to spoil the potato salad – not the sunny economic outlook.

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Jan.19, 12 p.m.

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Jan. 19, 2 p.m.

Fixing the Health Care System: A Conversation with R. Glenn Hubbard, Former Senator John Breaux, and Douglas Holtz-Eakin
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Jan. 20, 9:00 a.m.

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

Jan. 23, 2 p.m.

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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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