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Home Publications Blogs Beat the Press Ezra Klein Gives Real Coverage to the Progressive Caucus Budget

Ezra Klein Gives Real Coverage to the Progressive Caucus Budget

Thursday, 14 March 2013 15:44

This is what reporters/columnists are supposed to do. His column is not an endorsement, it just lays out the benefits and downsides of a serious budget. What a novel idea.


I noted the comments below on Zandi's concern that stimulus is not needed because the economy is kicking into a higher gear. FWIW, Zandi has seen the economy kicking into a higher gear numerous times over the last four years.

For example, in December of 2010 he told David Leonhardt:

"In my previous baseline I expected real G.D.P. growth of 2.8 percent in 2011 and 4.2 percent in 2012, ... I’m now expecting real G.D.P. growth of 3.9 percent in 2011 and 3.4 percent in 2012."

Actual growth in 2011 was 2.0 percent and in 2012 1.6 percent.

An NYT article in April of 2012 told readers:

"'I’m relatively optimistic,' said Mark Zandi, the chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, who released a note this week showing unemployment dropping faster than he previously forecast. As for the more dire claims about an economy on the brink, 'I don’t really take those seriously.'"

The average growth rate over the next three quarters was 1.5 percent.

It is worth taking this track record into account in assessing Zandi's view of the benefits of stimulus at present. He has been seriously overly optimistic in his past forecasts.


Comments (8)Add Comment
written by Union Member, March 14, 2013 5:25

Yeah! Journalism. Yeah!

One criticism, or maybe a question: Ezra Klein reports the growth estimates for the "Back to Work" stimulus were based in part on the work of Moody's economist Mark Zandi. Klein then gives Zandi this quote to deflate enthusiasm for the stimulus:

Zandi also questioned whether so much stimulus is still needed. “I’m uncomfortable with such a massive stimulus plan at this time. The private economy is kicking into a higher gear, and it’s time to let it do its thing.”

How does Zandi define the private economy? I thought we had socialism in the banking sector, no? And, aren't corporations (and banks) sitting on large amounts of capital? Don't know what the private economy is kicking?

Out Of Control
written by Jeffrey Stewart, March 14, 2013 9:24
"Is the House Progressives’ budget likely? Of course not. One involved staffer described it to me as a “wish list.”" -E. Klein

This article is factual, but also loaded with editorial comment. Mr. Klein insinuates and outright says that the Back To Work proposals aren't a "serious" budget. So if he writes that it isn't a serious budget, it isn't? Whew! Thank goodness I don't have to think about that. Mr. Klein already decided for me.

What is the public's view of these budget proposals? Did Mr. Klein consult public opinion polls to see how popular these progressive budget components are? NO! He just decided. It's not going to happen.

This is the kind of self important, myopic, insulated insider crap that creates the atmosphere that seeks Social Security benefit cuts instead of higher tax rates on people receiving annual income over $250,000, a financial transactions tax or a carbon tax.

It's galling that a person who will never be affected directly by any government budget cuts unilaterally decides what are and aren't serious budget proposals.
written by Ted B, March 14, 2013 10:02
I agree. Very cynical interpretation. Ezra is not a journalist any more than Bill Kristol. The progressive budget is far less zany than Ryan's budget. It's a false comparison. Straw man arguments are annoying.
Why is Zandi being an idiot?
written by Anitiderivative, March 15, 2013 1:56
I hope Ezra Klein is being honest, if so Zandi is looking like an idiot.

Zandi used to be a respectable economist, but any economist that shrugs off our Aggregate Demand deficiency problem is a defunct economist.

I just don't understand this madness anymore. How can any respectable economist claim that we do not have an aggregate demand deficiency problem?

Sometimes I have to pinch myself to question economic reality.

At least Ezra Klein reported on prog caucus budget
written by JaaaaayCeeeee, March 15, 2013 3:01
NYT has reported multiple times, not in editorials, that the Ryan budget will balance the budget by 2023. This is where a lot of news that voters eventually hear gets started.

So, the problem is not really Ezra Klein's reporting on the not-fake progressive caucus's budget. It's that msot voters are not getting honest reporting from the media doling out their news.

Yesterday's NYT had plenty of reporting and editorializing on what Congress should do, and 99.9% ignored solutions for unemployment, underemployment, and out-of-control healthcare costs (despite other advanced democracies solutions, yet gave great coverage of those who say we must cut social and safety net spending, now, now, now.

Republican proposals are covered as serious solutions to our problems, and those that actually add up are ignored. Big advertisers, sources, and subscribers probably create the same incentives for big news, that our donors and lobbyists create in Congress.

The more prominence that honest news, economic proposals and analysis get, the more difficult it is for mainstream news media to maintain false focus and equivalence. Ezra Klein at least gave coverage to something only Krugman covered in NYT.
written by John Q, March 15, 2013 4:58
Zandi was John McCain's economics advisor in 2008 election campaign.

'Nuf said.
Stimulus Junkies overstated growth forecasts too
written by Capt. J Parker, March 16, 2013 7:47
From early 2009 CEA projections have said the same thing: This year will be slow but 4.5% growth is just around the corner. This has been echoed by CBO and the FED. So, if missing projections makes Zandi a dummy it must make Romer and her call for $879 Billion stimulus stupid too.(actually she wanted $1.8 Trillion) In March 2009 CEA was saying the economy would rebound in 2014 with or without the ARRA stimulus. So, why not conclude the stimulus made things worse?
Only if you ignore the facts
written by jumpinjezebel, March 16, 2013 11:45
"So, why not conclude the stimulus made things worse?"

- only because CBO said it created jobs and helped avoid a greater collapse.

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About Beat the Press

Dean Baker is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. He is the author of several books, his latest being The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive. Read more about Dean.