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Home Publications Blogs Beat the Press NPR Decides That the Federal Budget Is "Enormous"

NPR Decides That the Federal Budget Is "Enormous"

Thursday, 16 January 2014 06:02

This adjective appeared in a top of the hour news piece (sorry, no link) referring to the spending bill approved by Congress on Wednesday evening. It would be interesting to know how it made this assessment. While the government spends more money each year than any of its listeners will see in their lifetime, it spends less relative to the size of its economy than almost any other wealthy country. It is also spending less relative to the size of the economy than it did in the years 2009-2012. The domestic discretionary portion of the budget, which was close to half of the spending bill, is smaller relative to the size of the economy than it has been in decades.    

Given this reality, the piece could have with more legitimacy used an adjective like "reduced" or "sharply reduced" as "enormous."

Comments (8)Add Comment
But DEAN!!!
written by ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®©, January 16, 2014 8:18
That wouldn't be the message our owners want us to hear.

So NPR isn't going to tell us.
written by TK421, January 16, 2014 9:41
Well we all know the federal budget doesn't exist to fulfill human needs; it exists to meet an artificial spending target set for arbitrary reasons.
written by JDM, January 16, 2014 12:38
It is enormous. We live in an enormous country, with an enormous number of people, and we have an enormous amount of money. Hasn't NPR noticed this? Do they not teach geography and social studies in schools any longer?

An enormous budget is what one expects, what's required, in an enormous country.
They Cannot Be Called Intellectual Cowards: They Are Not Intellectuals
written by Robert Bostick, January 16, 2014 1:18

"The power elite, especially the liberal elite, has always been willing to sacrifice integrity and truth for power, personal advancement, foundation grants, awards, tenured professorships, columns, book contracts, television appearances, generous lecture fees and social status.

They know what they need to say.

They know which ideology they have to serve.

They know what lies must be told—the biggest being that they take moral stances on issues that aren’t safe and anodyne.

They have been at this game a long time. And they will, should their careers require it, happily sell us out again....

“Nothing in my view is more reprehensible than those habits of mind in the so called intellectual that induce avoidance, that characteristic turning away from a difficult and principled position, which you know to be the right one, but which you decide not to take,” wrote the late Edward Said. “You do not want to appear too political; you are afraid of seeming controversial; you want to keep a reputation for being balanced, objective, moderate; your hope is to be asked back, to consult, to be on a board or prestigious committee, and so to remain within the responsible mainstream; someday you hope to get an honorary degree, a big prize, perhaps even an ambassadorship.”

“For an intellectual these habits of mind are corrupting par excellence,” Said went on. “If anything can denature, neutralize, and finally kill a passionate intellectual life it is the internalization of such habits....

“The desire to tell the truth,” wrote Paul Baran, the brilliant Marxist economist and author of “The Political Economy of Growth,” is “only one condition for being an intellectual. The other is courage, readiness to carry on rational inquiry to wherever it may lead … to withstand … comfortable and lucrative conformity.”

Those who doggedly challenge the orthodoxy of belief, who question the reigning political passions, who refuse to sacrifice their integrity to serve the cult of power, are pushed to the margins. They are denounced by the very people who, years later, will often claim these moral battles as their own. It is only the outcasts and the rebels who keep truth and intellectual inquiry alive.

They alone name the crimes of the state.

They alone give a voice to the victims of oppression.

They alone ask the difficult questions.

Most important, they expose the powerful, along with their liberal apologists, for what they are."

Source: Chris Hedges
NPR kinda rightwing hopeless
written by ezra abrams, January 16, 2014 5:11
The other day, they were talking about winners and loosers in the new omnibus spending bill - maybe two days ago.
And they talked about how the postal service is a looser (without mentioning the ultra wierd congressional mandate on pensions) and then they spent a lot of time, without quantitation, on IRS videos/conferences, and how this was now dis allowed, and then they had an equal amount of time , or less to the 20bn+ given toDoD
so, IRS, a million or so in "fraud" = 20 billion at DoD

Apparently, NPR can't tell the difference between two things that are 3 orders of magnitude apart....
The real question is ...
written by Squeezed Turnip, January 16, 2014 9:07
… how do NPR reporters/anchors/writers fit those enormous misconceptions into their tiny little heads?
MP knew it fourty years ago
written by bobby, January 17, 2014 11:42
In a Monty Python skit, one newsreader is giving a pep talk to another newsreader (BBC, natch):

"Now remember your announcer's training: deep breaths, and try not to think about what you're saying."

Off the government metric hamster wheel
written by cas127, January 18, 2014 1:19

"it spends less relative to the size of its economy"

"Size of its economy" conveniently defined to include government spending...leading to a carefully calculated misperception.

Ditto the absence of historical spending figures (say percentage spending growth since the Dark Age benighted days of...6 years ago...days of yore and all that...)

It takes a *lot* of massaging to argue that US government spending *isn't* enormous.

Why not go full Krugman and compare spending to a purely hypothetical "full employment" aggregate demand...then actual government spending is absolute tiny.

Or assume nominal GDP in the wake of an alien invasion, tinier still...

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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.