Fox Calls for Repeal of the 20th Century -- 13 Achievements Conservatives Would Roll Back
This post first appeared on Media Matters. Since President Obama's election, Fox personalities have expressed opposition to or called for the repeal of virtually every progressive achievement of the 20th century, including Social Security, Medicare, the Americans with Disabilities Act, portions of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the 16th and 17th Amendments to the Constitution.
1. Social Security, Medicare, and MedicaidSocial Security is a federal social insurance program funded through payroll taxes that provides benefits to the elderly and disabled and their survivors. It was signed into law by President Franklin Roosevelt in 1935. Medicare and Medicaid were established by the Social Security Act of 1965, signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson. They provide health insurance to the elderly and the poor. All three programs have been defended by progressives and opposed by conservatives for decades. Beck: Social Security and Medicare "represent socialism and should have never been created."On the January 27 edition of his Fox News program, Glenn Beck said:
Do you think programs like Social Security and Medicare represent socialism and should have never been created in the first place? Oh, gosh, Democrats, this is a scary question. Another trap. You know what? It's only scary if you don't know who you are or what you believe in. I'm an American. I read. I believe in the Constitution. And, of course, Social Security and Medicare represent socialism and should have never been created. Since FDR and his progressive buddies started Social Security, not our Founding Fathers, that should be fairly obvious to people.Beck's "Plan": Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security are "going away." On the April 12 edition of his Fox News program, promoting the next day's show about his "Plan" for entitlement spending, Beck said: "Tomorrow, we're going to roll up our sleeves and begin. We're going to cut health care. Right now, Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security are 40 percent of our budget. They're going away. It's going to be ugly, a lot of crying, but America needs a cure." Tucker Carlson: "Unfortunately" Republicans won't "state unequivocally" they "want to do away with" Medicare and "most" Social Security.On the April 19 edition of Fox News' Hannity (accessed from the Nexis database), Fox News contributor Bob Beckel asked Fox News contributor Tucker Carlson, "Why don't you just state unequivocally that you want to do away with Medicare, which is what the Republicans want to do, and do away with most Social Security?" Carlson replied, "Unfortunately, they don't. Unfortunately, they don't. Unfortunately, most Republicans in positions of elected authority are unwilling to -- are unwilling to look right in the camera and say, 'We're going to have to pull back on entitlements.' " Bolling is glad the young will have to work rather than rely on the "Ponzi scheme" of Social Security.On the July 24 edition of Fox News' Bulls & Bears, Fox Business host Eric Bolling said that "it's good" that a poll indicates that many young adults don't expect to receive Social Security -- which he called a "Ponzi scheme" -- because "they realize that they're not going to be able to suck at the teat of the nanny state too much longer, get off their butt, work, put some money away, and not have to rely on a system that's going to fold probably by the time they collect a check." On the August 14, 2009, edition of Fox News' The Live Desk, Bolling said "they should rename it the Madoff Social Security system." Hannity relentlessly pushes false claim that Social Security and Medicare are "bankrupt." Since January 1, Sean Hannity has falsely claimed that Social Security is "bankrupt" or will shortly become bankrupt at least ten times, and falsely claimed Medicare is "bankrupt" or on the verge of bankruptcy at least 11 times. In fact, according to the 2010 report from the trustees of the Social Security and Medicare trust funds, Social Security is estimated to pay out full benefits "by redeeming trust fund assets until reserves are exhausted in 2037, at which point tax income would be sufficient to pay about 75 percent of scheduled benefits through 2084." The report likewise says of Medicare, "The projected date of HI [Hospital Insurance] Trust Fund exhaustion is 2029 ... at which time dedicated revenues would be sufficient to pay 85 percent of HI costs. The share of HI expenditures that can be financed with HI dedicated revenues is projected to decline slowly to 76 percent in 2045 and then to rise slowly, reaching 89 percent in 2084." provides for the direct election of U.S. Senators, rather than their selection by state legislators. It was passed by Congress with the support of progressives and submitted to the states in 1912 under President William Howard Taft. It was ratified under President Woodrow Wilson in 1913. Recently, tea party activists and Republican members of Congress have called for its repeal. Napolitano: "I would repeal the 17th Amendment." In an interview with Reason magazine published April 8, Fox Business host Andrew Napolitano was asked what he considered "the single most important reform." He replied, "I would repeal the 17th Amendment," which he called "unconstitutional" because it "abolished bicameralism." He added that the amendment "was an assault, an invasion on the infrastructure of constitutional government." Huckabee: 17th Amendment "one of the dumbest things we ever did."On the October 16, 2009, edition of Fox News Radio's Brian & The Judge, Fox News host Mike Huckabee said that Republicans should consider calling for the repeal of the 16th Amendment, then said that we should "talk about -- this is one of those things that senators would never agree, but one of the dumbest things we ever did in this country was the 17th Amendment." He added:
The original Constitution and the way we operated for the first 120 years of our existence, senators were appointed by state legislators to represent the broader interests of the states to make sure the federal government didn't take too much power into itself. And most people don't even remember that. But we have had an increasing problem of too much centralization of federal power at the expense of local and state governments -- the antithesis of our Constitution -- because we've put all this power in the popular election of senators and representatives.Beck: Wilson "supported" amendment, "when I see Woodrow Wilson, I immediately know -- bad thing!"On the June 11 edition of his Fox News show, Beck said of the 17th Amendment, "Like all bad things it started in 1913, Woodrow Wilson yet again. He supported this. Immediately now, when I see Woodrow Wilson, I immediately know -- bad thing! You can be quite certain that something is not going to have a good outcome if Woodrow Wilson was involved." He also commented that "Thomas Jefferson warned about" direct representation, and said that that absent the 17th Amendment, "Obama's health care bill would have never seen the light of day. A lot of things that they do in Washington would never have seen the light of day. Why? Because it wouldn't in the interest of your state." Beck later added that "it's taken them over 200 years to remove all those roadblocks, but they're almost done. Maybe it's time to put a few of them back." allows Congress to collect income taxes. It was passed by Congress and submitted to the states in 1909 and ratified in 1913, both under President Taft. Republican congressmen have called for the amendment's repeal. Huckabee: "I think we ought to talk about repealing the 16th Amendment." On the October 16, 2009, edition of Fox News Radio's Brian & The Judge, Huckabee said, "I think we ought to talk about repealing the 16th Amendment, which authorizes the IRS." Napolitano has repeatedly called for "floating" a constitutional amendment that "abolishes the 16th Amendment." On the April 28, 2009, edition of Glenn Beck (accessed from Nexis), Napolitano said, "How about floating a constitutional amendment amongst the states? Let's rescind the 16th Amendment. That's the income tax. If 25, 30 states start thinking about it and talking about it seriously, the Congress will take note because they will be scared to death it will starve them out of existence. And they won't be able to regulate progressively or retrogressively how we live." Likewise, on the May 6, 2009, edition of The Glenn Beck Program, asked by Beck about "this solution that you and I have talked about on a constitutional amendment, or a threat of a constitutional amendment," Napolitano said:
If two-thirds of the states ask the Congress to call a constitutional convention to consider the adoption of this amendment, which I'll describe in a moment, as it gets closer and closer to the two-thirds necessary and Congress would be required to call the convention, you'll see some reaction on the part of congress to attempt to placate the states that want to call this. Now, the constitutional amendment is a simple one. It simply abolishes the 16th Amendment and states affirmatively that Congress shall have no power to tax the personal incomes of individual persons. If that were enacted, it would starve the federal government back into the original footprint that the founders intended for it. But as it gets closer to enactment, Congress will have to do something for fear that it might be enacted.The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), originally sponsored by Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) and then-Representative Tony Coehlo (D-CA) and signed by President George H.W. Bush, "prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in employment, transportation, public accommodation, communications, and governmental activities." Recently, it has been attacked by conservative pundits and candidates. Stossel: "well-intentioned" ADA "unleashed a landslide of lawsuits," "requires that people be treated unequally."In his September 1 column, Stossel attacked the ADA, saying that it "requires that people be treated unequally" by requiring employers to accommodate disabled employees. He added:
The law has also unleashed a landslide of lawsuits by "professional litigants" who file a hundred suits at a time. Disabled people visit businesses to look for violations, but instead of simply asking that a violation be corrected, they partner with lawyers who (legally) extort settlement money from the businesses.Stossel: ADA is "doing the disabled more harm than good." On the September 2 edition of Fox & Friends, Stossel said that the ADA is "doing the disabled more harm than good." Stossel said that "all these laws mean well," but that "these laws always have unintended consequences, and often they are worse than the good that the law was supposed to do." The Civil Rights Act of 1964 -- signed by President Lyndon Johnson and opposed by then-Republican presidential nominee Barry Goldwater -- "prohibited discrimination in public places, provided for the integration of schools and other public facilities, and made employment discrimination illegal." Stossel calls for repeal of public accommodations section of Civil Rights Act. On the May 20 edition of Fox News' America Live, Stossel said that "it's time now to repeal" the public accommodations section of the Civil Rights Act, which outlaws discrimination by private businesses, "because private business ought to get to discriminate." Stossel repeatedly defended his advocacy for a right to discriminate.Stossel reiterated his call to eliminate the public accommodations section of the Civil Rights Act in two FoxBusiness.com blog posts, on Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, and in his syndicated column. The Voting Rights Act of 1965, signed by President Johnson after he "issued a call for a strong voting rights law," outlawed a number of discriminatory voting practices, including requiring literacy tests as a prerequisite for voting. Briggs: Enforcement of Voting Rights Act "not a proper use of funds."During the August 31 edition of Fox & Friends, guest host Dave Briggs claimed that the Department of Justice "is demanding" that election officials in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, "print ballots in Spanish," and said, "The cost, again, $500,000 estimated, for what some say is 6,000 voters, which does sound like not a proper use of funds." He then asked a guest, "But, beyond that, I mean, do you think this is something that is absolutely required, is necessary, in our country?" According to media reports, at issue is a provision of federal law originally enacted in the Voting Rights Act explicitly protecting the right to vote of Puerto Rican voters educated in U.S. schools regardless of their ability to understand English. stated that his "ultimate goal" was the "total elimination of nuclear weapons." More recently, conservatives have panned President Obama's new START treaty, which would further reduce nuclear arsenals, and even questioned the importance of nuclear reductions in the first place. Hannity: "We must not dismantle our nuclear weapons," "we can never return to a world" without them. In Sean Hannity's 2010 book, Conservative Victory, Hannity writes:
[W]e must be committed to retaining our position as the world's greatest superpower, by maintaining the world's strongest military and supporting our troops on and off the battlefield. We must not dismantle our nuclear weapons and must persist in perfecting our strategic missile defenses. [Page 222]He also writes:
Conservatives, on the other hand, recognize that we live in a dangerous world, and that the world will always be dangerous because human beings are fallen. The nuclear genie is out of the bottle; the world has changed; much as we would like, we can never return to a world without nuclear weapons. [Page 209]decision, the Supreme Court held that the constitutional right to privacy extends to a woman's decision to have an abortion in the first trimester of pregnancy, and in the second and third trimesters under certain circumstances. Since then, progressives have traditionally argued in favor of the decision and the right it preserved, while conservatives have opposed it. Napolitano compared Roe v. Wade to Dred Scott case.On the April 28, 2009, edition of Glenn Beck, Napolitano said:
Dred Scott is a slave who was taken to a free state, Illinois, and while there, sues for his freedom. The case goes up and down, up and down. It finally goes to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court could have said slavery is lawful. The Supreme Court could have said all human beings are free and he's free. Instead it said, blacks are not persons and therefore don't have the right to bring lawsuits. This horrific determination by a court that a class of human beings are denied personhood -- fast forward a hundred years -- is the same logic the Supreme Court used in Roe versus Wade -- babies in the wombs are not persons.Hannity calls for "protecting the lives of the innocent unborn" by "striving for the appointment of Constitution-respecting judges."In Conservative Victory, Hannity writes:
I certainly can't, in good conscience, make a raw political calculation about protecting the lives of the innocent unborn as casually as if we were talking about a no-smoking ban in a restaurant. We must continue to press for restrictions on abortion (such as parental notification) while striving for the appointment of Constitution-respecting judges and continuing our nonpolitical efforts to persuade Americans of the horrors and immorality of abortion. [Page 152]Ingraham: "49 million babies have been aborted since Roe versus Wade. Five abortion doctors. It's all killing and it's all terrible." On the June 4, 2009, edition of The O'Reilly Factor, contributor Laura Ingraham said (accessed from Nexis):
[W]hen you talk about the issue of abortion, and someone killing an abortion doctor, that allows you to create sympathy for the entire abortion movement. And 60,000 dead as you pointed out by the hands of George Tiller. Five abortion doctors have been killed since Roe versus Wade. Five. Now it's horrible, but 49 million babies have been aborted since Roe versus Wade. Five abortion doctors. It's all killing and it's all terrible.O'Reilly repeatedly called Dr. Tiller "the baby killer."On numerous instances in 2009, Bill O'Reilly referred to Kansas abortion provider Dr. George Tiller as "Tiller the baby killer." After Tiller's murder, O'Reilly repeatedly falsely claimed that he had only "reported" anti-abortion groups referring to Tiller in that fashion. signed the National Labor Relations Act "to protect the rights of employees and employers, to encourage collective bargaining, and to curtail certain private sector labor and management practices." Labor unions have long been part of the progressive coalition, while conservatives have worked to limit their right to bargain collectively. Regular Fox segment: "Unions: Can America Afford Them?" Fox News and Fox Business regularly run segments titled, "Unions: Can America Afford Them?" Varney: Unions are "the antithesis of freedom," "fortunately" private sector unions "have retreated," but public sector unions are still a "problem."On the September 4 edition of Fox Business' Freedom Watch, asked by Napolitano for his "observations from your native country in England" about whether "unions help or hurt the average worker," Varney replied: "Unions were a disaster for the British economy. They are the antithesis of freedom. They impose rigid workplace rules that have no place in a modern economy." Later, Varney commented: "Fortunately, unions have retreated in the private sector. It is in the public sector where they rule, and that is the nature of some of our problems." He added that "taxpayers" and "the concept of freedom and liberty" "suffer" from the existence of unions. Kristol: "Thank God most of the workforce isn't unionized." On the October 18, 2009, edition of Fox Broadcasting Co.'s Fox News Sunday, contributor Bill Kristol declared: "Thank God most of the workforce isn't unionized." Beck says unions have "raped" police and fire fighters.On the August 4 edition of his radio program, Glenn Beck said of unions: "Look what they've done to the police and firemen. They've raped these guys. Along with politicians. Along with politicians -- raped them. The bravest among us." Beck went on to ask, "What, do you think the politicians are not in bed with the unions?" Beck blames unions for woes of local governments and industries. On the February 25 edition of The Glenn Beck Program, Beck blamed unions for the financial woes of local governments, the auto industry, airlines, schools, the steel industry, and the textile industry. He continued: "Mr. President, until you get the unions out of this business, I don't think we have anything to talk about." Beck regularly attacks union members as "thugs." On numerous occasions on both his Fox News and radio programs, Beck has referred to union members as "thugs" or "enforcers." Carlson blames cost of living in NYC on "union pensions" and "raising taxes" for "schools." On the August 5 edition of Fox & Friends, co-host Gretchen Carlson asserted that the cost of living in New York City, California, and Honolulu is "so expensive" "because of union pensions; because of raising costs for other things; for raising taxes along the way for schools." Carlson concluded: "If you go back in history and look at who incorporated a lot of that, maybe the blame comes right back to the same party. Or maybe it doesn't." Cavuto tells union spokesman: "You politely do your Tony Soprano thing, albeit in your little sweater vest there." During the January 11 edition of Your World, Stewart Acuff of the Utility Workers Union of America appeared to discuss union leader opposition to a tax on health care plans backed by President Obama. Host Neil Cavuto told Acuff: "You politely do your Tony Soprano thing, albeit in your little sweater vest there, 'cause you're such a decent guy, but you're saying 'Mr. President, may I remind you that you are sitting in this room because of us.' Which is a very nice way of saying, 'Tread slowly, big guy.' " Cavuto likened unions to Hurricane Earl on a "collision course on our towns." During the September 2 edition of Your World, Cavuto compared unions to Hurricane Earl, saying, "The monster and the mess. Your World on top of Earl's collision course with our coast and what could be unions' collision course with our towns." Cavuto added: "And get ready for Earl's wallop and, to hear some state and local governments tell it, unions' direct hit on their wallet." established by President Jimmy Carter in 1979 and serves to "to promote student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access." Conservatives have long called for the Department's dissolution. Beck's "Plan": "[A]bolish the Department of Education."On the April 14 edition of his Fox News show, while detailing his "Plan" for the U.S. budget, Beck said: "We need to get control of our schools back to the parents, back to the states. The best way to do this is to abolish the Department of Education. We certainly don't need to be giving them more money. The federal government should only be responsible for the things that the states cannot do." signed by President Roosevelt in 1939, together with the Social Security Act of 1935, established the modern U.S. system of unemployment insurance, in which employers pay payroll taxes to the federal and state governments which are used by the states to finance benefits to those who become unemployed through no fault of their own. Conservatives have often attacked the system of unemployment insurance as well as those who receive unemployment benefits. Varney seizes on claim that "unemployment would be at 6.8 percent, not the 9.5 percent," if Congress hadn't "extended unemployment benefits." On the August 31 edition of Fox & Friends, Varney cited a Wall Street Journalop-ed by Harvard economics professor and Hoover Institute senior fellow Robert Barro to claim that, in Varney's words, "If we had not extended unemployment benefits to 99 weeks from the standard 26 weeks, [Barro] says, unemployment would be at 6.8 percent, not the 9.5 percent." According to Varney, Barro argued that "you extend benefits like this, and it discourages people from going out to look for work especially, you know, the start of the benefit period, because it's nearly two years." Barro's theory and similar claims -- that extending unemployment benefits in the current recession provide a disincentive for people to find work -- have been widely disputed by experts. Kilmeade: "Maybe" eliminating "unemployment benefits will get people to sober up" and get jobs. On the July 15 edition of Fox & Friends, referencing Senate Republicans who had blocked extending unemployment benefits, co-host Brian Kilmeade told Partnership Staffing Inc. CEO Bill Auchmoody that "maybe" the elimination of "unemployment benefits will get people to sober up and take some of your offers." Hannity falsely suggested Fed said unemployment benefit extension increased ranks of those without jobs. On the February 22 edition of his show, Hannity claimed that the economic recovery act "actually raised unemployment," citing minutes from a January Federal Reserve meeting to falsely suggest that the extension of unemployment benefits in the recovery act increased the number of people who don't have jobs. In fact, the Federal Reserve minutes Hannity cited actually stated that the provision had the effect of raising themeasured unemployment rate because people who lost their jobs sought to remain in the workforce in order to receive benefits rather than leaving the workforce and being counted as "discouraged workers" instead of "unemployed." Bolling: Unemployment benefits are about "allowing someone to stay out of work for longer."On the February 11 edition of Your World, Christian Dorsey of the Economic Policy Institute explained to guest host Bolling how unemployment benefits provide economic stimulus and create jobs. Bolling replied, "Had you told me that some of the tax credits, or the payroll tax holidays were a good thing, I probably would have agreed with you, but when you tell me that another entitlement program -- allowing someone to stay out of work for longer -- and you tell me that's a job creator, I'm just going to have to disagree with you." Beck: Unemployed workers who don't take low-paying jobs have "sold their soul" to the government."On the August 12 edition of his radio show, Beck said that "you now have people who are on unemployment, but they wont' take another job," purportedly because they pay less than unemployment benefits. Beck said that those people "have sold their soul to the government, they have sold their pride." Beck on "some" protesting expiration of unemployment benefits: "I bet you'd be ashamed to call them Americans."On the August 16 edition of his Fox News show, Beck discussed a protest of "99ers," people whose unemployment insurance benefits have run out after 99 weeks. Beck said:
The 99ers. These people, some of which I -- frankly, I bet you'd be ashamed to call them Americans. They think that 99 weeks on unemployment benefits just aren't enough. Last week, they went out to Wall Street and they protested. Ninety-niner Connie Kaplan asked, "Are you going to tell us, Mr. President and Congress, that our lives are not worth saving?" Connie, here's an idea. I'll save your life. Don't spend your remaining money on travel to get to a protest. Go out and get a job. You may not want the job. Work at McDonald's. Work two jobs.established in 1970 under President Richard Nixon and works to "protect human health and to safeguard the natural environment -- air, water and land -- upon which life depends." Its work has long been opposed by conservatives. Gingrich: EPA "needs to be replaced."In his 2010 book,To Save America: Stopping Obama's Secular-Socialist Machine, Fox contributor Newt Gingrich writes: "The EPA has become an engine of undemocratic bureaucracy filled with people who seek to impose their fanatical views on an unwilling American population. The EPA and its entire regulation-litigation, Washington-centered, command-and-control bureaucracy needs to be replaced." (Page 151) Gingrich does not explain in the book what he proposes to replace the EPA with. Asked that question during a May 17 interview on Fox News Sunday, Gingrich did not answer directly, instead saying:
Well, first of all, in the case of the Environmental Protection Agency, you have a -- you have a bureaucracy which is self- selected of people who believe they have the right to make the most amazing micro-management judgments around the whole country. And if you look at the degree to which they now issue rules, believe they can regulate the entire carbon economy -- and again, you want to talk about socialism. How about having a government agency of unelected people who decide they can literally rewrite the entire economy based on carbon? And I think it's very hard to reform an agency which has spent two generations recruiting people who are more and more anti-business, more and more anti-commercial activity, and who represent a value system that's very hard to deal with.used pie as a prop to show how the "protected poor" in the "bottom 50 percent pays only 3 percent of everything that we spend" while the "evil rich people" in the top one percent of income earners pay much more:
Here's the pie. This represents all of the money that we have in the federal government, all the taxes that are paid. Well, let's see who isn't paying their fair share. You decide. Is it the top 1 percent? This is the entire budget, all of our revenue, all of our revenue. How much do the top 1 percent pay? Only -- only about this much. That's it. Only -- it's gonna be -- if I can get underneath here, and it's going to be yummy. Only about this much. That's the top 1 percent. Oh, I hate those evil rich people! When will they pay their fair share? This again is 1 percent. OK? Now, how about the top 2 percent to the top 10 percent? OK? So, this would include the 1 percent here and the rest of them in the top 10 percent. That would be -- let's see -- that would be about here. We have from 2 percent to 10 percent, they're paying -- hmm, doesn't the pie look yummy now? I want some, seriously. OK, so that's -- this is the top 10 percent. So, I got to put 10 people in the pie. That's 10 people. Now, we've got now 71 percent of the pie. The top 50 percent of pie- eaters account for -- now, this is the rest of the top 50 percent -- and that's going to be these people. Got it? We got to put 50 people to pay for that piece of pie. One, nine, fifty. This represents the bottom 50 percent. They pay -- do I have any more? Yes. They pay the bottom 3 percent. OK? So, don't you hate this one guy? Oh, my gosh, he's just not paying enough. Got it? He's paying 40 percent. Now, the top -- the bottom 3 percent I have to -- I have to let you know, the bottom 50 percent, that 3 percent, they pay -- the bottom 50 percent pays only 3 percent of everything that we spend. The rest of it is put in a protected poor pie place. They got their own pie, never even touched. In fact, from time to time -- it's so great -- from time to time, we just whip people up in such a frenzy where we're like, "I hate those people. Give them some pie!" Every year, we just give them some of the more -- yeah, we just give it to them, because we hate the top 1 percent. We just take more of their pie and we put it in the protected zone now. Nobody, nobody could get in the protected zone. No! Don't take the poor pie. It's these people that we hate. These people are good. Got it?Hannity repeatedly makes false complaint that "half of Americans ... don't pay taxes."Sean Hannity has complained over and over that "50 percent of American households no longer pay taxes," using the purported fact to ask, "What does that mean for America if you have a voting electorate that's not paying any taxes?" In fact, while 47 percent of U.S. households will reportedly pay no federal income tax in fiscal 2010, as the Associated Press noted, "[t]he vast majority of people who escape federal income taxes still pay other taxes, including federal payroll taxes that fund Social Security and Medicare, and excise taxes on gasoline, aviation, alcohol and cigarettes. Many also pay state or local taxes on sales, income and property."