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Home Publications Blogs Beat the Press How Does the NYT Determine Which Spending is "Deficit Bloating?"

How Does the NYT Determine Which Spending is "Deficit Bloating?"

Saturday, 17 July 2010 14:23

That must be what NYT readers must be asking after seeing unemployment benefits described as "deficit-bloating government spending" in an article about the problems facing those who have lost their benefits and the prospect that Congress will vote to extend benefits. While this view may express the reporter or editor's opinion, it conveys no information whatsoever to readers.

The article also asserted that Congress is reluctant to extend benefits because: "fears about the country’s skyrocketing deficit, which are at the heart of Republican objections, have gained growing prevalence."

The article does not say how it has determined that fears about deficits ("skyrocketing" is more editorializing) explain the Republicans' motivations. Most of the Republicans expressing these concerns had little problem supporting the Bush tax cuts or spending on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, all of which added to the deficit. This may call into question their professed concerns about deficits now. They may just not want to give the Democrats a victory or they could hope that by making the economy worse the the electoral prospects of Republicans will be improved in November.

The reasons that politicians give for their actions are often not the true reason. Since reporters cannot typically know the true reason, they should just tell readers what the politicians say rather than trying to explain their motives. 

Comments (11)Add Comment
written by izzatzo, July 17, 2010 4:49
Republican: See those freeloaders on unemployment benefits, instead of looking for work they're bloating the deficit on the backs of future taxpayers.

Democrat: There's no jobs, they're spending what they get which supports demand for those who do have jobs, which prevents tax revenue to the government from falling even more. How's that bloating the deficit instead of keeping it from getting even larger?

Republican: You've got it all backwards. Once people expect a free lunch financed by others through big government transfers, the private sector shuts down. It can't compete with government and it can't afford the taxes to fund the freeloaders. That's why there's no demand.

I learned this as a private contractor in Iraq, where we sold sand to the Pentagon by importing it into the country which created plenty of spending to maintain full employment. We called it Freedom Sand because it kept us free of a deep recession.

That's how we got the contract, by convincing the Pentagon if it tried to get sand from within Iraq using its own employees, it would crowd out private contractors and cause a deep recession.
Good Comment
written by Pete, July 17, 2010 5:36
Thanks for the post. Spot on, as usual. What would it take to get Dean Baker a column in the NYT, I wonder.
written by purple, July 17, 2010 6:18
Carlos Slim should have just let the NYT go bankrupt.
Echo Chamber Sources
written by Union Member, July 17, 2010 10:47

The New York Times must be reporting what they hear on NPR.

My sources tell me - anonymously - that we should bury the NYT and pay people to dig it up.
Except For Gretchen Morgenson
written by Union Member, July 18, 2010 10:27

Bury the New York Times (except Gretchen Morgenson) and then pay people to dig it up.
written by M31, July 18, 2010 11:38
Bury the New York Times and then pay people not to dig it up.
If the concern were the budget, there would be talk of military spending
written by Hugh Sansom, July 18, 2010 12:21
The most telling feature of articles like this, of the endless advice from the "experts" who created the financial crisis, and of political rhetoric is that not one even vaguely hints at cutting military spending.
Arizona: The state really has grown on the basis of growth
written by Scott ffolliott, July 18, 2010 4:13
Arizona: The state really has grown on the basis of growth
http://www.wilypython.net/The state really has grown on the basis of growth.php
Elizabeth Warren and Timothy Geithner Feud
written by Chad, July 18, 2010 11:19
Hey Dean, what are your thoughts on the feud between Elizabeth Warren and Timothy Geithner? These are two high profile people with radically different philosophies, similar to Rumsfeld and Powell.

Geithner, a disciple of Summers, Rubin, and Greenspan, is an advocate for the free market being faultless and anything we do to police it only does more damage than good. Warren is one that believes corporate greed and arrogance is self destructive for unregulated companies and also destroying the people in this country by creating a two-class system. Geithner wants to hide bank losses and Warren wants to expose them.

This is some real reporting at work here:

And it is an issue that will shape the future of bank regulation in the U.S. for some time to come.
written by Queen of Sheba, July 19, 2010 3:13
The only time Republicans care about adding to the deficit is when the Democrats propose it. Even though they complained about the TARP bailout, their complaints didn't include how it would affect the deficit until Obama was inaugurated. Now they've decided that anything that adds to the deficit - even unemployment benefits, for cryin' out loud - is a slap in the face to fiscal responsibility.

That the NYT goes along with this foolishness is a pretty ominous sign the Grey Lady is lapsing into dimentia.
written by DHFabian, July 21, 2010 11:13
Everything we hear about extending UI today is what we heard about welfare "reform" in the 1980s and 1990s. We are not/never were a full-employment nation. There are winners and losers, and we did decide that the losers weren't our responsibility. We embraced the YOYO ("you're on your own") social model, and now we are stuck with it. People say that there is a difference because workers pay for UI. In fact, over 80% of welfare recipients received aid for well under 5 years, returning to work, earning wages and paying taxes which repaid every penny of aid they had received. Welfare was social insurance. But we decided that helping people hurts them, and providing a check is a solid disincentive to finding work. We actually do hear former middle class Americans today insist that they've been looking for a job for a very long time, but then add that they can't find anything that pays as much as their former jobs. What the...? We made it clear that people must be willing to accept ANY job they can get, and if one job doesn't meet their needs, then they need to work two or three jobs.

We got what we asked for.

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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.