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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 5 February 1, 2006

In this issue: Health Savings Accounts • Fed Maestro • The Return of Big Oil • Good, Bad & Ugly
  Health Care • This Land Is Your Land • Taxes • Environment • Events

New from the Free Market Project

Health Savings Accounts: Opportunity for Consumer Control
The media are back on the fear and loathing trail, and this time it’s about health savings accounts. But unlike Social Security accounts, they can’t stop these from going into effect – they’re already available. The media are supporting many arguments against HSAs and leaving out key facts.

Commentary: Bravo for the Maestro
As the Federal Reserve transitions from Chairman Alan Greenspan to Ben Bernanke, the pundits have been buzzing. What was Greenspan’s greatest achievement? Guest columnist Dr. Don Boudreaux, head of the economics department at George Mason University, takes a look back at the Fed’s handling of the money supply, from that scary "i"-word to the politics behind it.

Oil Profits Controversy Resurfaces
In two stories this week, the Free Market Project’s Ken Shepherd tracks the rejuvenated media focus on oil profits that has followed the latest earnings reports. The “windfall profits tax” is back on the radar as journalists like NBC’s Brian Williams gawk at “jaw-dropping profits tonight, record profits in fact for any American company ever.”

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:  Politicians crying over Wal-Mart taxes; Mind the labeling gap on left-leaning think tanks; “Consumer advocate” vs. “Big Oil.”

Also from FMP:

Don’t miss our latest Media Myth: Hit Job
Networks Emphasize Layoffs in a Year of 2 Million New Jobs

CNN Plugs Study Showing Partisan Divide Causes Confusion about Economy

Income Report’s Authors Tilted Left, but Media Didn’t Note It

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Research, News & Commentary

Health Care

Commentary: AEI visiting scholar and Columbia Business School Dean R. Glenn Hubbard writes that “many of the problems in our health-care system stem not from what happens in the doctor's office or hospital, but what happens in our tax code.”

Commentary: Arguing that President Bush needs to boldly seize health care reform as an issue, The Manhattan Institute’s Dr. David Gratzer writes in the Feb. 6 Weekly Standard encouraging a new vision for American health care, which “needs to devolve decision-making back to the individual.”

Eminent Domain

News: The Washington Times reports that Branch Banking and Trust (BB&T), a Winston-Salem, N.C.-based bank, has announced it will not grant loans to developers who obtained commercial property from governments through the power of eminent domain. BB&T is reportedly the first major financial institution to announce such a policy since the 2005 Kelo v. New London ruling by the Supreme Court greatly expanded the power of states and local governments to seize private property.


News: A tax-cutting and budget-restraining mayor?! St. Cloud, Minn., has one. Mark Giga of the Taxpayers League of Minnesota writes for the Heartland Institute about Mayor Dave Kleis.

News: The Heartland Institute’s John Skorburg reports yet another sign of economic growth: a National Conference of State Legislatures report showing most states expect to exceed their projections for tax revenue.

Analysis: Tax cuts increase the share of tax revenue the rich pay the government, former Treasury official Bruce Bartlett writes in the February 2006 edition of the Heartland Institute’s Budget and Tax News. Bartlett, a Free Market Project adviser, found this to be true not only in the United States but in other countries that have seen marked reductions in tax rates, like Britain and Australia.


Commentary: CEI senior fellow Christopher Horner in the January 30 National Post argues that the 1997 treaty is dying under the weight of its onerous and unattainable regulations. “Kyoto’s ultimate truth is that after eight years, nine negotiations and scores of triumphalist press releases, the rest of the world remains wildly uninterested in joining its rationing scheme.”

Upcoming Events

Tell us about events coming up in your area!

Size Matters: How Big Government Puts the Squeeze on America's Families, Finances, and Freedom (and Limits the Pursuit of Happiness)
Cato Institute

Feb. 2, 12 p.m.

Why Social Security Reform Is Very Much Alive
American Enterprise Institute

Feb. 3, 9 a.m.

Getting the Most Innovative Drugs to Market: What Can the FDA Do?
American Enterprise Institute

Feb. 7, 2 p.m.

European Dawn: After the Social Model
The Heritage Foundation

Feb. 15, 12 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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