News & Observer editors have clearly stopped trying. Today they churn out yet another thoughtless propaganda piece chock full of myths and downright mindless assertions. For the sake of brevity, I’ll examine just a few.
The Grand Old Party would rather conjure images for the American public of Republican Abraham Lincoln than the vision of Herbert Hoover, who occupied the Oval Office when the Depression hit. So far, though, GOP leaders in Congress are indeed looking more like those Depression-era business leaders and Republicans who kept telling Americans, even as they formed soup lines, that everything would work itself out in time.
When the Great Depression hit, Franklin Roosevelt answered with a host of government programs, over the opposition of Republicans and some business leaders who cried that his ideas were socialism at best and communism at worst.
Here they are propagating the double-headed myth that Hoover “did nothing” in response to the onset of the Great Depression, and that FDR’s “host of government programs” (i.e. New Deal) brought the economy back on track. Both are demonstrably false, and have been refuted repeatedly by numerous scholars. Fact is, Hoover was the original “new dealer”, initiating countless government interventions into the economy and ramping up government spending as a share of the economy and imposing dramatic tax hikes. Indeed, Hoover’s interventions were so deep and sweeping, FDR campaigned against Hoover on the grounds of Hoover’s government overreach.
Once in office, of course, FDR took Hoover’s interventions and doubled down. New Deal policies prolonged, rather than ended, the Depression. There is ample literature easily available that makes this case. But N&O editors can’t allow themselves to stray from the government-approved script. (As an aside, WWII didn’t end the depression either; its hard to square ration stamps with a vibrant economy)
But the N&O editors are not content to mislead the readers with just the above myths. They proceed to uncritically parrot their approval for the “Buffet Rule” that seeks to raise tax rates on the wealthy above those imposed on the middle class.
He’s calling it the “Buffett Rule” for billionaire Warren Buffett. The Oracle of Omaha, as he’s sometimes called for his investment genius, has long supported the idea that “people like me” should pay more in taxes. It’s ridiculous, Buffett says, that a middle-class employee of his should have a higher tax rate than his own.
Of course there are many problems with this “Rule”. For starters, it is comparing capital gains taxes versus income taxes – which is comparing apples and oranges in terms of their tax treatment. And as the Wall Street Journal pointed out, the Buffet rule is based on a lie anyway.
If the N&O editors are interested in what is “fair,” they should at least present an honest and informed argument to their readers, rather than thoughtlessly advancing partisan myths that have been thoroughly debunked.