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Home Publications Blogs Beat the Press NYT Tells Readers That Some Basic Decisions on the Budget NEED to Be Made, In News Section

NYT Tells Readers That Some Basic Decisions on the Budget NEED to Be Made, In News Section

Monday, 29 July 2013 13:01

Does God speak directly to the NYT? If not, how can it justify telling readers in a news article:

"But some basic decisions need to be made, starting with whether to try again for a broader deal to tackle deficit spending long term with significant changes to entitlement programs and more tax revenue."

Those of us who just look at the data and official projections would never know such things. The deficit is currently at relatively modest levels compared to the size of the economy and is projected to remain so for the next decade. That would suggest that no basic decisions need to be made any time soon. Congress can go this year doing nothing about entitlement programs, it can go next year doing nothing about entitlement programs, and the year after and the year after.

In fact, current projections for government spending and deficits suggest that there is no urgency whatsoever about making changes to entitlement programs. So unless God has spoken, the NYT is misleading readers when it asserts that "some basic decisions need to be made." 

This piece also apparently suffers from the same sort of inability to say "cuts" in Social Security and Medicare that often afflicts politicians advocating such cuts.

In the fifth paragraph it tells readers:

"In the Senate, a glimmer of hope has appeared for a bipartisan deal to end the automatic across-the-board spending cuts known as sequestration and shift some of those savings to entitlement programs like Medicare and Social Security."

So in this case it expresses "hope" that the sequestration "cuts" will be replaced by "savings" in programs like Medicare and Social Security.

In the fourth to the last paragraph, the piece presents the possibility that "cuts" can be offset with "subtle changes" to Social Security and Medicare:

"The group [of Republican and Democratic senators] appears to be closing in on a modest agreement to replace deep and automatic cuts to defense and domestic programs at Congress’s annual funding discretion with more subtle changes to entitlement — or 'mandatory' — programs."

Then after quoting Senator Corker [a member of the group] referring to "mandatory savings," the piece comes back with its grand pronouncement about the need for decisions about "significant changes."

Of course outside of euphemism land, "cuts" will be needed to replace "cuts" if the goal is to leave the deficit the same. Generic changes will not suffice.


Thanks to Robert Salzberg for calling this one to my attention.



Comments (8)Add Comment
Cuts are now savings?
written by Mike B., July 29, 2013 2:29
That paragraph with "shift some of those savings to entitlement programs" is unbelievable. It makes it sound like ending sequestration will save money, which can be used for entitlements. The meaning, of course, is the opposite. It's hard to see how you can write that without meaning to deceive the reader.
written by DaveTex, July 29, 2013 2:31
It's like a tea party press release, with bigger words.
Tell Me
written by Please , July 29, 2013 2:41
You already making strong cases on all the points and are advocating for folks who have no-voice....but

Is there any particular reason that you periodically use God to illustrate someone's gross error?

Does that add significant emphasis to your point?

Just curious.

Thanks for any thought.
written by David M, July 29, 2013 3:55
Mike B. beat me to it, but that has to be the most disingenuous possible phrasing. I wonder if the author even knew what he was saying?
Talking points
written by Jennifer, July 29, 2013 4:20
"Does God speak directly to the NYT?"
I always thought he spoke directly to Last Mover

"I wonder if the author even knew what he was saying?"

You mean did he think out the logical conclusion of what he was saying? Probably not. The idea that we "have to tackle budget deficits" is so stupid at at time when unemployment is so high and the jobs that people are getting are so poor it's hard to imagine any of these people thinking these things out. He's just parroting what most most of congress is saying, never mind that it is completely divorced from reality.
we need bigger deficits.
written by matt, July 29, 2013 6:10
We should be running deficits if at least 5% of GDP until unemployment falls under 4% for at least 2 years.
written by dick c, July 30, 2013 9:02
Thanks for pointing this out! Now I feel I can enjoy savings with subtle changes to my reliance on the Times.
written by http://social.helpmegetpublished.net/blogs/post/2350, August 05, 2013 10:52

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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.