Big stars disappear her remarks: In this morning's New York Times, Paul Krugman hammers away at the latest Trump tax plan. Here's the way he starts:
KRUGMAN (10/3/17): Last week the Trump administration and its congressional allies working on tax reform achieved something remarkable. They released a tax plan—or, actually, a vague sketch of a plan—that manages both to add trillions to the deficit and to raise taxes on a large fraction of the population. That takes talent.The plan will raise taxes on many people—and it will "add trillions to the deficit," Krugman says. In this news report in this morning's Times, Jim Tankersley cites an analysis by the Tax Policy Center, "which found that the plan could cost $2.4 trillion over the next decade."
But like the G.O.P.’s terrible, no good, very bad health plans, this tax debacle was years in the making. On taxes, as with health, leading Republicans have been lying for years. And now the fraud has caught up with the fraudsters.
According to the Tax Policy Center, Trump's plan will add an additional $2.4 trillion to projected deficits over the next ten years. Even as Krugman complained about that, our thoughts drifted back to Candidate Trump's original tax proposal.
Almost surely, it was the craziest tax proposal anyone ever advanced. The candidate presented the plan in September 2015—and uh-oh! According to the Tax Foundation, it would have increased projected deficits by more than $10 trillion over that same ten years! That first proposal would have increased federal deficits/debt more than four times as much as this latest semi-plan.
Amazing, isn't it? Perfectly sensibly, Krugman is railing about a projected debt/deficit hike of $2.4 trillion. But when Candidate Trump released his first tax plan, it would have increased deficits/debt by more than $10 trillion!
It was the craziest such proposal in history. And it was widely ignored by the mainstream press; it was barely discussed or reported.
(By way of contrast, Candidate Bush's famous tax proposal in Campaign 2000 increased projected deficits by $1.3 trillion, about one-eighth as much as Trump's initial proposal. Despite its much smaller size, the Bush plan was widely analyzed and widely discussed during that campaign.)
So it went during our last White House race. In an excellent part of her new book, Hillary Clinton discusses this aspect of the press corps' performance during that campaign.
She discusses this matter in her tenth chapter, Sweating the Details. It's very rare to see a major Democrat like Clinton discuss the work of the press corps in the way she does.
Good God! Clinton starts the chapter with Matt Lauer's appalling performance at the Commander in Chief Forum on September 7, 2016. Lauer asked Clinton about her emails again and again that night, then again and again.
Nothing else on the planet mattered. From page 217 through page 222, Clinton pounds Lauer's performance.
It's very, very, very unusual to see a Democratic politician discuss a major figure of the mainstream press corps this way. From there, Clinton moves to this summary of the way the press corps handled matters of substance during the Trump-Clinton race:
CLINTON (page 223): [I]n my view, the Commander in Chief Forum was representative of how many in the press covered the campaign as a whole. Again according to Harvard's Shorenstein Center, discussion of public policy accounted for just 10 percent of all campaign coverage in the general election. Nearly all the rest was taken up by obsessive coverage of controversies such as email. Health care, taxes, trade, immigration, national security—all of it crammed into just 10 percent of the press coverage...Later in the book, Clinton hammers the New York Times for its obsession with the email controversy. It's very, very, very unusual to see a major Democrat discussing the press corps this way.
The decline of serious reporting on policy has been going on for a while, but it got much worse in 2016. In 2008, the major networks' nightly newscasts spent a total of 220 minutes on policy. In 2012, it was 114 minutes. In 2016, it was just 32 minutes. (That stat is from two weeks before the election, but it didn't change much in the final stretch.) By contrast, 100 minutes were spent on covering my emails. In other words, the political press was telling voters that my emails were three times more important than all the other issues combined.
Republicans bash the mainstream press corps all day long and into the night. Over the past fifty years, this has been a basic part of orthodox GOP practice.
It's very, very, very unusual to see a major Democrats denigrate Lauer and the New York Times and the mainstream press corps in general. That said, what happened when Clinton was interviewed, at great length, by Anderson Cooper and Rachel Maddow last month?
What did you think was going to happen? Lauer's name was never mentioned by either one of these tools. There were zero questions about the conduct of the New York Times, or about the mainstream press corps in general.
Maddow and Cooper are tools of the guild. They don't color outside the guild's approved lines.
Today, the Times is reporting on Trump's latest attempt at a tax plan. His original plan was utterly crazy, but much as Clinton says in her book, nobody said a word.
Dearest darlings, use your heads! Discussions like that are bad for ratings! Who would pay the salaries of TV stars if such discussions prevailed?