Category: Busted Memes

Feature Photo

Is the media really ignoring Louisiana? No.

There’s a narrative in the media that the media is ignoring the flooding in Louisiana.

The public editor of the New York Times wrote the Times didn’t give it enough coverage. Mike Scott of the Louisiana-based Times-Picayune wrote on August 16 that the Times had only published its first story two days after the rains began.

But is it really true that the Louisiana flooding has been ignored? It’s a major news story, and yet days after the Times published its rebuke of itself, the narrative that Louisiana has been or is being ignored continues to spread down the media stream to columnists and bloggers. If the city of New York were destroyed in a hypothetical super storm, wouldn’t the media cover it?

We actually have precedents we can look at. We don’t need to wonder about hypotheticals. Just months ago in June floods in West Virginia killed 25 people. The floods in Louisiana killed 13. The number of houses that were damaged is reportedly very high–the governor puts it at 40,000. But there are natural disasters that killed more while also causing much, if not as much, damage. (By comparison, West Virginia’s governor said “thousands” of homes were damaged, but CNN reported the significantly lower total of 1,200. It may be too soon to know the property damage in dollars for either.)

Two more large-scale floods: those that killed 21 in Utah in 2015 after Hurricane Linda and the 2010 floods that killed 21 in Tennessee and 10 more in Kentucky and Mississippi while causing over $2 billion in damage.

A theory can be tested: If a dozen or more people were killed in say, Nashville, Tenn. or Hildale, Utah, would the media pay more attention to it than they are doing to the Louisiana floods?

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Change in Tax Rev

Why it’s a great thing that U.S. tax revenue set a record

A week before America’s tax day, the Washington Free Beacon reported that the U.S. Treasury collected a “record-high” amount of taxes in nominal terms in the first half of fiscal year 2016. Cause to celebrate?

Not so fast. The U.S. federal government collects record taxes almost every year. That’s because the economy grows almost every year, as the population grows and innovation moves along, so the amount of taxes in nominal terms increases most years. tax rev decline and increaseIn fact, in the 73 years between 1941 and 2014, federal tax revenue increased in 60 of those years and only decreased over the previous year 13 times, according to data from the Tax Policy Center.

But there is still reason to celebrate an increase in tax revenue because increases in tax revenue are tied to increases in GDP. If the GDP rises, then tax revenue usually increases. Tax revenue cannot increase without a greater base of economy production to draw from.

Tax Rev since 1940

The few times that tax revenue decreased while GDP increased were mostly connected to tax cuts. President George W. Bush signed major tax cuts into law in 2001 and 2003, and tax revenue declined from the previous year every year from 2001 to 2003. Tax revenue in 2002 was $138 billion less than in 2001.
Tax Rev and GDP Correlation

Despite the good news, conservatives greeted this level of tax revenue growth–which includes corporate taxes, payroll taxes, income taxes, and all other federal tax revenue–with concern.

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