WASHINGTON -- If you've been watching how the nightly news shows have been reporting (promoting?) President Obama's economic-stimulus plan, two things seem abundantly clear: No one questions the wisdom of his recovery package except the Republicans, who apparently have no proposals of their own.
There has been a shocking and embarrassing dearth of critical analysis of Obama's big-spending plan by the network's highly paid reporters. Now and then, one of them pops up with a revealing off-script remark but fails to elaborate on it. CNN's Wolf Blitzer noted Monday that Obama's complicated, Rube Goldberg plan was "confusing at best" and left it at that.
Sadly, there has been no serious reporting that questions how so much public-works, safety-net, social-welfare spending to so many government bureaucracies can get the economy's sputtering engine of growth running again. Even when one of the president's prominent Democratic allies publicly questions his claim that the plan will preserve or create more than 3 million jobs, the network news shows avoid such newsworthy stories like the plague.
The doubting Democrat in this case: North Dakota Sen. Kent Conrad, who chairs the Senate Budget Committee and doubts that Obama's $825 billion stimulus package will create the number of jobs he is promising to deliver. After his committee crunched the numbers in the plan, Conrad said at best it would cut the jobless rate by "maybe" 1 percent, or only half the 3 million-plus Obama claims.
Last weekend, as the president was pressing Congress to act quickly on his recovery package, the networks showed Republicans criticizing the Democrats' bill, but reported nothing about the GOP's own economic plan -- leaving viewers to think they had none.
Actually, the GOP proposals make a lot more sense because they are not calling for a mountain of spending to further enlarge government. They want deeper income tax cuts to immediately strengthen family budgets and businesses that produce most of the jobs.
Among the House GOP's proposals:
-- Cut the two lowest tax rates from 15 percent to 10 percent and from 10 percent to 5 percent. That would raise incomes for every taxpaying family through the tax-withholding system by an average of $500 for those in the 10 percent bracket and $1,200 for those in the 15 percent bracket. Married couples could save as much as $3,200 a year.
-- Small businesses employ half of all working Americans. The GOP's proposals would allow any business employing fewer than 500 workers to cut their taxes by 20 percent. That would improve their bottom line and encourage future hiring.