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Home Publications Blogs Beat the Press NYT Runs Editorial Demanding Cuts in Social Security and Medicare in News Section

NYT Runs Editorial Demanding Cuts in Social Security and Medicare in News Section

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Tuesday, 14 May 2013 22:06

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.

Comments (4)Add Comment
Dean Baker, sanity saver
written by JaaaaayCeeeee, May 15, 2013 2:16
Thanks for catching editorializing in news articles (also done by not reporting at all, on some important capital capture). One tip-off is how often these articles don't allow comments, in news sections that solicit comments on taxghazi or bqhatevwr.

Much appreciated.
...
written by Chris Engel, May 15, 2013 6:27
The first excerpt may have been explained away by context.

But this one absolutely raged me:

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


This is raw editorial bullsense. It's basically a way to say "If we don't cut now, we'll have to cut later!", a total false dichotomy that leaves out the myriad alternative options to meet policy goals like a reduced deficit and higher growth, full employment.

It's "news" stories like this which help perpetuate the conventional (lack of) wisdom that "entitlements" (what a newspeak term if there's ever been one...) must be cut to bring some vague sense of "fiscal sanity"...without addressing the true crisis in the country right now: jobs and the destruction of the middle class.

RADICAL REFORMS are necessary. I'm talking constitutional amendments, Article V invocation, an overhaul of the tax and regulatory systems, protectionism to help rebuild the middle class -- a rejection of the failed neoliberal ideas that have tumbled the country into the banana republic in which we're stuck. The framework under which analysts are viewing the United States now is one that is more commonly utilized for corrupt Latin American nations. We no longer apply a developed world understanding of phenomena to our system, it's infected by the same kinds of overt corruption and inequality we see in developing nations. Oligarchy, plutocracy, police state -- these are characteristics befitting of our current neo Gilded Age society.
Compassionate Economic Noose: This Will Stop Because It Can't Go On Forever
written by Last Mover, May 15, 2013 6:51
"The longer the delay, the sharper and more immediate the changes Washington must eventually make to ease the long-term fiscal squeeze."


Exactly. "Eaze the Squeeze" was learned long ago as a way to hang victims compassionately by breaking the neck instantly to avoid the torture of a gruesome slow death.

Economists were called in to determine the optimal length of the hanging rope. Too short and the neck didn't break. Too long and ... oh well, it was still sharp and immediate, just in a different way ...
Irony Alert
written by Bart, May 15, 2013 5:44
A sidebar near the top of the article now:

"Related
U.S. Budget Deficit Shrinks Far Faster Than Expected (May 15, 2013)"

The article was by John Harwood, a VSP.

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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.

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