Tax bill more popular than reported … introducing Lisa Benson … and a much-needed media literacy effort

Here are my observations on various topics.

TAX BILL MORE POPULAR THAN REPORTED – In recent posts I’ve told you about the reported need for the president to sell the tax plan because the polls show that it is very unpopular with the American public. I have contended that the opposition is hardly surprising with the flood of negative media coverage.

I was pleased to see that in the IBD/TIPP poll they went beyond the simple yea or nay on the plan and bothered to asked about key provisions of the bill. In their poll, 57 percent of the respondents supported lowering the corporate rate to 21 percent; 55 percent supported reducing the number of tax brackets; 83 percent supported cutting the pass-through tax rate for small businesses to 25 percent; and 66 percent supported doubling the standard deduction.

IBD reports that support for the GOP tax bill goes up when people are better informed about its specifics. I can’t wait to hear how Democrats who opposed the bill explain why they voted against it. That will be much more difficult in February, when higher paychecks reflect the result of the tax bill.

Self caricature of Lisa Benson.

I VIEW EDITORIAL CARTOONS to be an important feature of any newspaper opinion page, and I appreciate the cartoonist’s ability to synthesize a political or cultural event as much as his or her artistic talent.

As a longtime follower of editorial cartoonists, I was delighted to see the work of Lisa Benson appear in The Arizona Republic recently.

I initially thought she was related to Steve Benson, the Republic’s staff cartoonist, whose daily unrelenting anti-Trump cartoons are getting old after more than a year. The winner of a Pulitzer 25 years ago, he now seems obsessed with bringing down the Trump presidency.

How could Lisa, whose editorial cartoons are more fair-minded, be related to Steve.  I did some research.  She isn’t.  She is the cartoonist for the Victor Valley (California) Daily Press, but her work is occasionally carried by other papers through her representation by The Washington Post Writers Group

Lisa Benson cartoon courtesy of The Washington Post Writers Group.

I have long been fans of Michael Ramirez, who was a regular in Investor’s Business Daily, and the late Jeff MacNelly. Their cartoons featured similar tight detail styles, and were more frequently in black and white. Lisa’s style is all her own, and bears no resemblance to their work, but like Ramirez and MacNelly, she has a unique ability to comment through her cartoons.

I have included two of her cartoons in this post. Look for Lisa’s cartoons in your daily newspaper.

Lisa Benson cartoon courtesy The Washington Post Writers Group.

MEDIA LITERACY – Many people today are getting their news online – on their laptop or smart phone – reading material written by individuals using anonymous sources. There’s a flood of disinformation on important issues; fake news if you will.

“Alarmed by the proliferation of false content online, state lawmakers around the country are pushing schools to put more emphasis on teaching students how to tell fact from fiction,” writes Ryan Foley, an Associated Press correspondent in Iowa City, Iowa.

A Republican state senator in Washington, Hans Zeigler, who co-sponsored a bill last year to encourage media literacy study in schools said, “There is no such thing as an objective source versus other kinds of sources, and that’s an appropriate thing for schools to be teaching.”

The effort in a number of states seemed to be fueled by the 2016 presidential election, according to Foley, who writes that it “highlighted how even many adults can be fooled by false and misleading content peddled by agenda-driven domestic and foreign sources.”

A study published by Stanford University researchers warned that students from middle school to college were “easily duped” and ill-equipped to use reason with online information.

Parents should be alert to comments and opinions stated by their school-age children and encourage their schools to look into the media literacy effort.

 

 

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