Interpreting Headline News While Stuck at the Airport

The same people complaining about the federal deficit were pushing for the Bush tax cut bonanza.


I spent most of the day yesterday trapped in the airport by the new storm in the Northeast. But it gave me the chance to watch CNN’s Headline News channel. I wasn’t close enough to listen to the commentary, but I could read the “crawls” at the bottom of the screen. Over and over and over again. If you have any complaints about the “crawls,” I didn’t write them. CNN did.

“Buffett injured in fall”

My first thought was: Which Buffett? If something, God forbid, sidelined the investment giant and financer Warren Buffett, a weak economy would get even worse. But what if something happened to Jimmy Buffett? The sour public mood would get even worse if we were deprived of margaritas and cheeseburgers in paradise. BTW, it was Jimmy not Warren who got hurt. Which do you think would have been be worse? [Read more about unemployment and the economy.]

“Tax cuts drive budget deficit to $1,500,000,000”

The same people complaining about the size of the federal deficit were pushing for renewal of the Bush tax cut bonanza for bankers and billionaires. Warren Buffett is one of the richest people in America (Jimmy Buffett may be too). Warren has said that he doesn’t need a tax cut, but his secretary needs one badly. This year’s tax cuts for wealthy Americans will cost us $60 billion. This is enough to fund scholarships to half of the college students in the United States. Millions of new college graduates would be a great way to kick start the innovations in the economy that we urgently need to compete internationally.

“Dow tops 12,000”

While Wall Street is roaring, Main Street is groaning. The extension of the Bush tax cuts are a gift from God to corporate executives who are making record profits. They may take expensive European vacations or put more caviar on their Rice Krispies. but they are not using these big profits to create jobs in the United States. American companies are creating thousands of jobs in Asia and nothing but misery for unemployed Americans. And for those folks who want to decrease the corporate tax rate, ExxonMobil made record profits last year because of rising gas prices, but the company did not pay one cent in taxes in the United States. [Check out a roundup of political cartoons on the economy.]

“800 pound piano turns up on Florida beach”

I’m still working on the analysis of this story. But I should have plenty of time to figure it out, since I’m still stranded at the airport. Maybe someone left it there for Jimmy Buffett.

  • Check out a roundup of political cartoons on the economy.
  • Read more about the deficit and national debt.
  • The Year in Pictures: 2010.