Northwest Arkansas Times today reports on remarks made by Arkansas Senator Mark Pryor at a Rogers Rotary Club luncheon (article cutout below the fold):
Pryor said various tax breaks have created a system in which 45 percent of Americans don’t pay taxes. “It’s hard to have a fair tax system where only about half the people are paying,” he said.
This is a whopper. After Pryor’s colleague Boozman wrongly declared half Americans don’t pay federal taxes, the nominally Democratic Senator found a way to frame himself as even more politically extreme by claiming that half Americans don’t pay any taxes, which is of course completely false and an insult to a significant portion of Pryor’s voters and constituents. With political leaders like Boozman and Pryor, who either don’t have the slightest clue about how the tax system works (which consists of income taxes, payroll taxes, sales taxes, gas taxes, etc. etc.) or are deliberately lying, prospects for any economic recovery in the United States are all but non-existent and a double-dip recession, if not depression, is looming on the horizon. One has to conclude that the leaders Americans have elected to help solve their problems live in a fantasy world completely disconnected from the reality ordinary (and tax-paying) people experience day by day.
The NWA Times reporter, Larry Henry, has nothing to say to correct Pryor’s wildly inaccurate statements. Unfortunately we don’t have a mass media in this country any more that has the integrity and courage to challenge politicians on their lies, hold them accountable, and act as a corrective and a check on their power. This is maybe the really scary part of it because in a functioning democracy with a media system that does its job, Washington insiders like Boozman and Pryor would be in trouble.
UPDATE: A rare case of a newspaper doing its job: New York Times today published editorial “The New Resentment of the Poor” which actually gets all its facts right. It singles out Bachmann, Perry and Cantor but might as well have named Boozman and Pryor for threatening to raise taxes on the poor.
UPDATE 2: Pryor’s office maintains he was misquoted.
Cutout of the NWA Times front page article in question