The Washington Post long ago abandoned the separation between news and editorials, routinely running pieces advocating cuts in Social Security and Medicare in its news section. It now appears as though the New York Times is following the Post's lead.

A news story on the budget made repeated assertions that Social Security and Medicare must be cut. At one point it referred to the:

"the inevitable pain that comes from curbing those huge and popular programs [Social Security and Medicare]."

Of course there is nothing inevitable about curbing spending on Social Security and Medicare and there is certainly not inevitable pain. The most obvious route for curbing costs in these programs from an economic standpoint would be cutting Medicare payments to drug companies, medical equipment companies, doctors and other providers. This would not be especially painful for anyone who does not derive income from the program.

Clearly the paper was expressing its desire to see these programs cut.

It later added:

"The longer the delay, the sharper and more immediate the changes Washington must eventually make to ease the long-term fiscal squeeze."

Again, this is an invention of the NYT. There is no evidence that the country is up against any "long-term fiscal squeeze" or that anything would be gained by making cuts now.

The NYT, unlike the Post, generally keeps these sorts of political views on the opinion page. It is unfortunate that it appears to have departed from its standard practice with this article.

 

Addendum

This piece is now (8:30 AM, 5-15) clearly labeled as "political memo," indicating that it is not a straight news story. That was not the case when it was posted last night. Here's the original for those of you who thought I made an Excel spreadsheet error.

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