Before the Pennsylvania primary in the 2008 presidential election, then Senator Barack Obama made a speech at a fundraiser in which he referred to working class whites as being "bitter." This was referred to as a "gaffe" and became a central theme in news reporting over the next two weeks.

On Morning Edition, NPR included comments from the Republican congressional leadership that the United States is "broke" and therefore has no choice but to make very large cuts in the budget. Of course this is not true. Investors are willing to lend the United States trillions of dollars at historically low interest rates. This means that the government is not broke. There is no evidence that it is coming up against any serious spending or borrowing limitation.

This inaccurate representation of a basic issue about the financial health of the U.S. government would have been worth pointing out to listeners. It almost certainly matters more to most of the public than President Obama's comment about working class whites being bitter.

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