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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 6 February 8, 2006

In this issue: Nukes or No Nukes? • Energy Subsidies • Addicted to Oil • Good, Bad & Ugly
Links:
  Federal Budget • Taxes • Entitlements • Events


New from the Free Market Project

The Nuclear Option
When you hear about nuclear energy these days, it’s usually in reference to rogue states and/or terrorists. But the president mentioned nuclear power’s possibilities for weaning the United States off an oil “addiction,” and the media could educate the nation about those possibilities. Instead, they tend to focus on the scary unknowns – which will remain scary as long as the facts are hidden.

Econ 101: What Happens When We Subsidize
Alternative energy is the subsidy du jour, following the passage of the 2005 energy bill and Bush’s renewed focus in the State of the Union address. But, as Dr. Gary Wolfram says, we would do better to allow the market of innovation to work, instead of pouring taxpayers’ money into certain industries. We can’t ignore the signals that prices send to entrepreneurs, telling them which fields of research to expand.
Ask the professor: Do you have a question about an economic issue covered in the news?

Ironic Media Position Follows Bush’s Declaration of Oil ‘Addiction’
Didn’t the media say the Iraq war was all about oil, and that the United States was too dependent on the Mideast’s resources? Well, now that President Bush has agreed that it’s time to look elsewhere for energy, the media have been scoffing at his proposal. Their about-face has journalists calling attention now to the small percentage of oil America imports from the Mideast.

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:  Medicare drug program a bitter pill; Bono still hasn’t found what he’s looking for; Good jobs report gets the sound of silence.

Also from FMP:

Newscasts See Budget Filled with ‘Substantial’ Cuts

Broadcasters Ignore or Distort Solid Jobs Report

ABC Stuck in a Moment of One-Sided Coverage

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Research, News & Commentary

Federal Budget

Commentary: Free Market Project adviser and National Taxpayers Union President John Berthoud calculates that if federal spending had been held to 4-percent growth since President Bush took office instead of the 49-percent jump in spending since 2001, the White House would instead be projecting a surplus of $58 billion rather than $354 billion in red ink.

Commentary: American Enterprise Institute’s Veronique de Rugy sums up why massive government budgets are a problem. “Every time government spends money, it is diverting resources from productive use,” de Rugy writes, adding that it doesn’t matter whether the money is borrowed or levied from taxes. “The White House,” she argues, “should be focusing on reducing the size of government, not just the part financed by borrowing.”

Taxes

Analysis: George Pieler of the Institute for Policy Innovation assesses a tax threat that’s literally right in front of you as you read this on your computer screen: local, state, and federal politicians, as well as international bureaucrats, lining up to tax the Internet.

Entitlements

Commentary: Drawing a lesson from the failure of Delphi’s pension plan, Chris Schrimpf of Students for Saving Social Security argues that Social Security is a national pension disaster waiting to happen. Not only is the program “badly under-funded because of demographic trends,” it’s doomed to fail for lack of diversification. “We all must buy the ‘company stock,’ government bonds, which Congress then spends, and we don't allow the workers to diversify their retirement portfolio,” Schrimpf writes.

Commentary: If President Bush asks you to join a commission on Medicare or Social Security, AEI’s Kevin Hassett has two words: “no, thanks.” Calling the State of the Union plan for a Social Security reform commission a sign of weakness, Hassett details the dashed hopes of conservatives following the president’s other commissions on Social Security and tax reform.

Upcoming Events

Tell us about events coming up in your area!

European Dawn: After the Social Model
The Heritage Foundation

Feb. 15, 12 p.m.

How Progressives Rewrote the Constitution
Cato Institute

Feb. 15, 12 p.m.

Ethanol & Biodiesel Management: How to purchase, handle, hedge and manage your renewable fuels
Sponsored by the Oil Price Information Service
W. Chicago City Center Hotel, Chicago, Ill.

Mar. 29-31

The Role of Government in a Free Society: An Evening with Walter Williams
Sponsored by the Maryland Taxpayers Association
The Turf Valley Inn, Ellicott City, Md.

April 17, 6 p.m.
For more information, e-mail mta@rstarmail.com.

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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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