A Refresher Course on "Spin"

To watch "the memo" click here .

Hi, I'm Bill O'Reilly.  Thank you for watching us tonight.

Time for a refresher course on spin.  What exactly is it? And why is The Factor a "No Spin Zone?"

That's the subject of this evening's Talking Points Memo.

Spin is a distortion of the facts.  That's it.  The concept of spin is very simple.  Take something that's true and then twist it until you blur the facts.

Here's a very vivid example.  Opponents of President Bush's tax cut have labeled it a tax cut for the rich.  They have stated that it only benefits the well-to-do and is therefore harmful to the majority of Americans.

The truth is that the tax cut trims federal income tax rates very slightly over a period of 10 years, and because the bottom 50 percent of American wage earners pay just 4 percent of all federal income tax, of course the cut does not benefit them.  How could it?  They hardly pay any federal income tax at all.

But that's rarely mentioned in the criticism of the tax cuts.  It's a fine example of spin.

Attacking the so-called rich is a game that politicians have played for centuries.  Here's another truth.  Wealthier Americans currently finance the federal government to the tune of 72 percent.  Twenty percent, one in five of us, carry most of the load for the war, for entitlement programs, for government salaries, for the roads, for the law enforcement agencies, and on and on.

Now, it is true that many corporations are not paying their fair share.  Some of them are registered in places like Bermuda and the Cayman Islands so they can dodge taxes.

But the more you tax companies, the more they pass the expense on to us, the consumer.  Companies also provide jobs, health care, retirement benefits, and the like.  So this is a gray area even though corporate America needs to be scrutinized far more than it is being now.  Hello, Enron.

So how should we feel about rich individual Americans paying an enormous amount of money to keep the USA running?  Should we be grateful?  Or do the rich owe it to the country that has allowed them to live large?

The no spin answer is somewhere in the middle.  Having six cars in the driveway does not engender much sympathy.  And the rich do owe America a substantial tax debt.

But once the feds start to redistribute wealth, start to punish wealthy people by imposing draconian taxes, then we're out of the free enterprise system and into quasi-socialism.

Our government is responsible for the welfare of all citizens to a limited degree.  There must be a safety net so Americans down on their luck can have some dignity.  But it is not the government's right to play Robin Hood, no matter how much money a person makes.

President Bush rightly recognizes that creeping socialism blunts individual motivation and goes against the founding fathers' idea of unfettered competition.  The tax cut is more symbolic of limiting the government than anything else.

America should be striving to be a fair society, not a nanny state.  And all the spin in the world cannot hide the injustice of punitive taxes on any American.

And that's the memo.

The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day

Time now for "The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day." 

Paging Jerry Springer...!

In Saudi Arabia, a man has been sentenced to six years in prison and nearly 5,000 lashes for having sex with his wife's sister.  The woman got six months and 65 lashes, even though she had not consented to the sex and reported the incident to the police.  Don't you just love Saudi Arabia?  Anyway, in American you get to go on the Springer show if you do this kind of thing, but 5,000 lashes, whoa, that's beyond ridiculous.

 — You can watch Bill O'Reilly's Talking Points and "Most Ridiculous Item" weeknights at 8 & 11p.m. ET on the Fox News Channel. Send your comments to: oreilly@foxnews.com