Disingenuous Economics 101 with Stephen Moore

Wall Street Journal opinion writer, economics journalist and right-wing ideologue paid a visit to Troy University on Wednesday.

As a general rule, I don’t appreciate being painted an incomplete picture of a subject I’m not the best at by someone with superior knowledge. I appreciate it even less when I’m able to identify that it’s happening.

The day prior to Moore’s presentation I read a few of his articles, and viewed some of his television appearances online, so I was well prepared for the grinding of his ideological ax and the weaving of his economic obfuscations.

Despite a few attempts during the course of his presentation to assure the audience that he was somehow non-partisan in his conclusions, I knew better.

So it came as no surprise when the deluge his stat, figures and faulty conclusions began. By keeping a critical eye on his many graphics, I was able to pick out a number of things that didn’t jibe with reality, or that merely partially jibed with reality.

I will cover two of those things with the aid of a YouTube video of him performing the same presentation at another school, and the graphics I lifted from a copy of his PowerPoint slides I found with the almighty Google.

Thing 1:
In this portion of the video Moore makes the argument that the Bush tax cuts on the top 1 percent of earners created increased federal tax revenues from the 1 percent: http://youtu.be/3tHO-j4xTHs?t=32m15s

Click here for a clear image of the graphic he is using.

In arguing that tax breaks on the highest earners caused them to pay more in tax revenue, what he conveniently fails to state is that Bush’s $1.35 trillion tax plan also did other things. Most importantly, it lowered taxes on all other tax brackets, and raised the child tax credit from $500 to $1000.

Where is the shocker? When the people with the least amount of disposable income have more money to spend they spend it. Naturally, those in the 1% are the greatest beneficiaries of such a boon, and thus the increase in their tax contributions.

Their tax contributions increased not because of their tax rates being slashed, but because everyone else’s rates were as well.

Imagine the revenues that would have been picked up had the 1 percent’s taxes not been lowered.

Thing 2:

In this portion of the video he pretends that the education and health care industries are somehow comparable to industries that produce software, computers, apparel and vehicles: http://youtu.be/3tHO-j4xTHs?t=44m50s 

Click here for a clear image of the graphic he is using.

“Look at the two areas of the economy, setting aside energy, where we’ve had the biggest increase in prices over the last ten years,” Moore urges. “Health care and education, health care and education.”

He then insinuates the soaring costs in those industries are because of government involvement.

While I’m willing to concede that the public and private loan industries are not conducive to making universities competitive price-wise, it’s not enough to make me think the costs would be much lower sans government involvement.

How exactly are these industries subject to the same market forces? You can’t outsource: nurses, doctors, surgeons,  emergency medical technicians, teachers, administrators, janitors, lunch ladies, you get the idea.

Moore is just comparing industrial apples to oranges.

I’ve contacted Universal Music Group (UMG) about use of their music in the viral Sandy Hook Conspiracy video.

The Guns N’ Roses song “Estranged” has been featured prominently in the viral conspiracy YouTube video  “Sandy Hook Shooting – Fully Exposed,”

The video, which has amassed 10 million views within one week, alludes to elements of Sandy Hook being faked in order to usher in gun control.

The video makes absurd accusations such as the president being pictured with Emilie Parker, one of the shooting victims, after the shooting occurred and she was announced dead.

One can assume that these conspiracists must believe the government is not only sinister, but equally incompetent as well.

Perhaps the worst claim is that some parents were actors because, while on camera, they didn’t grieve quite like the video’s makers believed they should have. Quite an accusation from people claiming to know how humanity works while displaying an acute lack of it.

While viewing this video I noticed it had a rather well produced song. After some research I was able to determine is was a Guns N’ Roses song belonging to Geffen Records, which is owned by Universal Media Group.

I sent UMG the following email:

Subject: Journalism student seeking answer about use of UMG’s music
    A video featuring music from the Guns and Roses song "Estranged" went viral last week. So far it has received 10.5 million views. 
    The video is on YouTube and is titled "The Sandy Hook Shooting - Fully Exposed," and can be viewed here: [REDACTED]
    The video makes a litany of claims about the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. Two of these claims are that the death of these children were faked and that the grieving parents are actors. 
    I was curious if UMG is aware of its music being used in this video, and what the company's response is to its property being used in association with such claims. 
    I look forward to your response.