Seven Millionaire Journalists who Cheer For Higher Taxes

100 years after the income tax liberal anchors still support tax increases.

Although many people will be focused on football Feb. 3, the date also marks a less-enjoyable event — the 100th anniversary of the federal income tax. On that day in 1913, the 16th Amendment was ratified making it possible for Congress to tax citizens’ income.

When it comes to taxes, the liberal media have been biased against tax cuts, especially President George W. Bush’s, and for tax hikes. These seven journalists all make millions delivering the news, but promote liberal views on taxes. From Mika Brzezinski’s call for a return to “normal tax standards,” to George Stephanopoulos’s arguments for higher gas taxes, they aren’t content with how much money the government is already taking from taxpayers.

Rates have gone up considerably since the institution of the income tax. Back then, the highest tax rate was 7 percent. A far cry from the 39.6 percent top rate signed into law in the wee hours of Jan. 1, 2013. If Investor’s Business Daily’s warnings prove true, more tax increases are on the way — and, no matter the rhetoric, don’t expect them to only punish the rich.

IBD warned readers on Jan. 24, “Middle Class Beware: Tax Hikes are Coming.” IBD cited reports from The New York Times, Fortune, CNBC and even CNN pointing out that tax cuts on the middle class are “inevitable.” Why? Because President Obama has made it clear he will oppose cuts to spending. Taxing the rich can’t possibly bring in enough to solve the debt problems, as Fortune’s Shawn Tully wrote “steep deficits will rise even after the new revenue is counted.”

If history repeats itself, the media will firmly support attempts to raise taxes — especially these seven millionaire journalists who have been voicing support for various tax hikes for years.

1. George Stephanopoulos: Clinton Aide Turned Reaganomics-Hating ABC Anchor

George Stephanopoulos’s transition to “journalism” from working in the Clinton White House disturbed even liberal New York Times editor Max Frankel, who wrote in a January 1997 column that it “highlights a disturbing phenomenon: the progressive collapse of the wall that traditionally separated news from propaganda.” Stephanopoulos currently makes $6 million a year doing some combination of the two, according to Celebrity Net Worth.

Stephanopoulos said one of his reasons for being a Democrat was his opposition to Reaganomics. “I didn’t think supply-side economics would work, and I didn’t believe it was fair,” he wrote in his 1997 memoir. And it has showed in his 15 years with ABC on the issue of taxes and many others, although his colleagues have claimed he’s “been completely non-partisan.” 

In 2008, he trashed John McCain’s tax plan, as a hard sell using figures from the Tax Policy Center. He failed to tell viewers that TPC is a joint project of the Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute, two liberal think tanks.

In a 2007 interview with Democratic Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico, Stephanopoulos asked if he would push for energy “sacrifice” and of course: higher gas taxes.

“You were Secretary of Energy. Energy independence, as you say, is going to be one of the number one issues in the campaign. And you’ve talked about alternative energy. but isn’t it going to take real sacrifice, real cutbacks in consumption ... higher gas taxes?” When Richardson disagreed about taxation, he pushed again “aren’t higher energy taxes the best way to get people to conserve?” Stephanopoulos also pushed the “serious energy tax” idea in a 2006 interview with Democratic presidential candidate Tom Vilsack.”

Years earlier, in 2003, Stephanopoulos saw higher taxes as the solution to the deficit, asking former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, “So what would you do about those deficits if you were Treasury Secretary today? What taxes would you raise?”

2. Katie Couric: It Takes Courage to Raise Taxes

Katie Couric has had an extensive TV career, from co-hosting NBC’s “Today,” to anchoring CBS’s “Evening News” and now on her own show “Katie.” Celebrity Net Worth says she makes $15 million a year. She also supports higher taxes, which she deems “courageous” to impose.

As CBS “Evening News” anchor, Couric asked presidential candidate Joe Biden in 2007 if Americans should “sacrifice” more. "With the country fighting a costly war and going deeper into debt should the American people be expected to sacrifice more, and if so, specifically how?" Couric didn't specifically cite raising taxes but "sacrifice" is the common media code word for tax hikes.

Earlier in 2007, following the tragic collapse of a bridge in Minnesota, Couric wondered “are taxpayers ready to spend the billions, maybe trillions, it would take to fix all the pipelines, tunnels and bridges?”

In 1993 she said Democratic New Jersey Gov. Jim Florio, was “courageous” because he’d raised taxes. She told him, “Just last night on television I saw your opponent for Governor complaining about your record, saying how you had raised taxes, how it had cost 300,000 jobs. Are you afraid your politically courageous moves are, in fact, going to cost you the election?”

3. Diane Sawyer: Bush’s ‘Massive’ Tax Cuts Won’t Help Middle Class

ABC News viewers have seen Diane Sawyer on the network for many years, as co-anchor of several programs including “Primetime Live” and “20/20”, “Good Morning America” and these days as the anchor of “World News.” Before joining ABC in 1989, she worked for CBS’s “60 Minutes.”

Sawyer, like all the journalists on this list, rakes it in, to the tune of $12 million a year. Also, like the others she’s expressed support for increased taxes and opposition to “massive tax cuts.” She also promoted the liberal talking point that Bush’s tax cuts would not benefit really help the middle class.

She pushed against tax cuts in 2003, saying to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., “Democrats are out there hammering hard on what they say is the basic inequity that cannot be disputed, based on a couple of facts of the President's tax plan. For instance, they say that somebody in this country who is making a million dollars or more is going to benefit $29,000 from the President's tax plan, but if you're making $30,000-$40,000 a year, which the average American [makes], you're only going to get $42, and there will not be rejoicing in America by all of these middle-class taxpayers for $42."

On the March 5, 2005, broadcast of “Good Morning America” she labeled the proposed cuts “massive.”

More recently, as President Obama has demanded taxes rise on the rich, Sawyer has done her part: hounding Rep. John Boehner on the issue and practically drooling over a “tax revolt” “against a man who had convinced them to take a [no tax hikes] pledge.” In 2009, she even lobbied Obama’s environmental adviser Carol Browner, “why not just go to a gas tax” to reduce gasoline use. She asked variations on that question six times during the interview.

She, along with others in the media, have also bolstered liberal billionaire Warren Buffett’s calls for higher taxes. But in one report on the subject, she incorrectly claimed that “working men and women” “pay the most taxes” when the wealthy actually pay a disproportionate share of income tax, while half of all households pay no income taxes. According to a 2011 article by the Tax Foundation, “The United States currently boasts the most progressive income tax in the industrialized world. Meaning, our wealthy pay a greater share of the tax burden than do the wealthy in any other capitalist nation.”

4. Matt Lauer: Raise Taxes to Help Debt Crisis

NBC “Today” co-host Matt Lauer greets morning viewers cheerily day in day out, and he makes a mint doing it. Lauer earns $25 million a year according to Celebrity Net Worth. He also thinks raising taxes is a solution to the debt crisis.

In a May 10, 2011, interview with Speaker of the House John Boehner, Lauer pushed for higher taxes “to help with that debt problem.”

Why not use an increase in revenues?” Lauer asked before attacking the Bush tax cuts saying “What is the evidence that you can present that the tax cuts of the Bush era have actually accomplished their goals.”

In fact, the Bush tax cuts increased tax revenue by 47 percent according to IBD. so perhaps Lauer should have been pushing for cuts instead. Author and economist Thomas Sowell referenced the Nov. 30, 2012, IBD in which graphs showed that tax revenues increased “after tax rates were cut.” He backed that up with a 2006 quote from The New York Times which said, “An unexpectedly steep rise in tax revenues ... is driving down the projected budget deficit this year.”

In July 2011, as the debt ceiling deadline loomed even closer, Lauer asked radio host Laura Ingraham “when it comes to taxes, this issue of revenues, is there any way this deal gets done without the Republicans compromising somewhat on taxes?” He prodded her further by demanding the GOP cave: “President Obama talks about shared sacrifice. Where is the shared sacrifice going to come from on the Republican side?”

The Congressional Budget Office has reported that Obama’s tax hikes on the rich won’t reduce the deficit at all, according to the Washington Examiner.

Lauer’s calls for higher taxes shouldn’t shock anyone who has been watching him for years. Back in 2004, he implored President George W. Bush directly to raise taxes in his second term. He brought up the $445 billion budget deficit for that year and asked Bush “Does the deficit matter?” A bit later he asked, “If the deficit doesn’t come down, if you can’t pay it down by half by 2008, will you raise taxes?” Bush replied that “raising taxes now would be a disaster.”

5. Mika Brzezinski: Praises Call for ‘Equitable’ Taxes, Supports Gas Tax

Since MSNBC is an incredibly liberal cable news outlet, it isn’t difficult to see that its reporters and anchors lean left. “Morning Joe” co-host Mika Brzezinski is no exception. Before joining MSNBC, she anchored CBS “Evening News Weekend Edition” and contributed to CBS “Sunday Morning” and “60 Minutes.” Brzezinski, who has also contributed to popular left-wing blog The Huffington Post, has praised “equitable” taxation and called for “normal” aka higher tax rates.

When Hillary Clinton told Clinton Global Initiative 2012 attendees that she had been “preaching” about “equitable” taxation because “elites of every country are making money ... [but] do not contribute to the growth of their own countries,” Brzezinski could not contain her enthusiasm. The co-host who earns $2 million a year according to Celebrity Net Worth, called Clinton “fantastic” and gleefully told Sept. 25, 2012, “Morning Joe” viewers: “I love her. She’s right.”

Like Stephanopoulos, Brzezinski has also supported calls for higher energy taxes. When journalist Carl Bernstein pressed for a gas tax to help deal with record Obama deficits, “Morning Joe” co-anchor Mika Brzezinski bolstered his argument.

Bernstein said on March 3, 2011, “Have a gas tax in this country. We could solve a lot of economic problems if we raised the gas tax.” Later when he mentioned it again saying that if the country was serious about the debt situation we would have a gas tax, Brzezinski said, “I agree with that, by the way.” But the government already makes more money from gas taxes than gas companies do. As Drew Johnson of the Taxpayers Protection Alliance wrote in The Wall Street Journal on Aug. 2, 2012, “Exxon made seven cents per gallon in 2011. Federal, state and local governments siphoned off 50 cents in taxes.”

Of course she also flagrantly advocated raising taxes on rich, white men claiming “we need to balance things out.” In July 2011, she wanted a return to “normal tax standards,” meaning pre-Bush tax rates. In that same segment she insisted that wouldn’t be “raising” taxes and wouldn’t be a break of the no-tax hikes pledge many Republicans had signed.

6. Wolf Blitzer: Higher Taxes on Rich, Just a ‘Beginning’

CNN’s lead political anchor and “Situation Room” anchor, Wolf Blitzer is a TV journalism veteran. He joined CNN in 1990 after working for Reuters and The Jerusalem Post. These days he makes $2 million a year according to Celebrity Net Worth, and in spite of being one “the rich” he has called tax increases on the wealthy a “beginning” of a solution to the debt crisis.

On Dec. 6, 2012, Blitzer did his best to persuade Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., (now president of Heritage Foundation) to raise taxes on the rich. When DeMint protested that raising the rate on the top two percent of wage earners “doesn’t solve the problem,” Blitzer pushed: “Doesn’t solve, but it’s a beginning.”

“It runs the government for five or six days,” DeMint rebutted. “But it’s a beginning  A billion here, a billion there, it winds up being real money,” Blitzer urged.

At the November 2011 Republican presidential debate, Blitzer asked some of the candidates if they would raise taxes in exchange for much larger spending cuts. He even tried to cite Ronald Reagan as an example of a Republican who had done just that. Of course, he failed to note that what Reagan pointed out in his autobiography was that the Democrats had promised those cuts, but later reneged.

7. Soledad O’Brien: Badgering GOP on Tax Hikes Over and Over Again

“Starting Point” anchor Soledad O’Brien repeatedly pressed Republicans to give in to Democrats on tax issues throughout the fiscal cliff fight. The anchor, who went to work for CNN in 2003 and who used to co-host “American Morning” currently earns $1.5 million a year. She played hardball again and again with conservatives, pushing them to raise taxes.

On Nov. 13, 2012, with the help of Christine Romans, she badgered Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, to rip up the taxpayer pledge he’d signed not to raise taxes. “So would you be fine doing a compromise where you would go against your signature on that pledge?” O’Brien asked. Again she pushed: “Would you be fine to say this to the pledge?” as she tore a piece of paper in half. She later tossed a softball question to Democrat Debbie Wasserman-Schultz.

In December, she pressured Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, to cut a deal. O'Brien repeatedly jabbed Hensarling about raising taxes on the top two percent of income earners. "[W]hy don't Republicans and Democrats vote for a tax — to keep the taxes lower for middle class and people at lower income and let the other ones expire? And you could do that now. And we wouldn't go over the fiscal cliff," she pitched.

She also favored liberal sources to conservative ones. Before the November election, she cited a study from the liberal Tax Policy Center to attack Gov. Mitt Romney’s tax plan, while simultaneously refusing to accept the information Gov. Bob McDonnell, R-Va., cited because it was “a blog post.” McDonnell said there were six studies showing Romney’s plan could work. O’Brien’s response was “those other six reports, one was a blog post, some of those are completely partisan. So they’ve been debunked in a lot of ways.”