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Home Publications Blogs Beat the Press Ruth Marcus Is Right: Don't Focus on Budget Trivia

Ruth Marcus Is Right: Don't Focus on Budget Trivia

Wednesday, 28 September 2011 05:03

It's nice to see Ruth Marcus use some simple common sense in her Post column today. She criticizes the flap over the $16 breakfast muffin (which turns out not to be true). She then points to other big flaps over very little money.

The points are well-taken. Many budget battles are over trivial portions of the budget. (John McCain made a $1 million appropriation [0.00003 percent of federal spending] a centerpiece of his 2008 presidential campaign.) It would be great if the Post would use its news pages to educate the public about where the real spending takes place, for example by routinely expressing spending and tax items as shares of the budget. It would also be useful if it started pointing out the fact that the long-term deficit problem is entirely the result of our broken health care system.

Comments (8)Add Comment
Take Care of the Nickels and Dimes and the Dollars Will Follow
written by izzatzo, September 28, 2011 8:01
Baker flouts his own lectures for others to use arithmetic by ignoring the very things that add up.

It's like curing drug addiction. Take the first step and deny some pork somewhere somehow and it will catch on with a game theory tipping point momentum until the nickels and dimes catch up with the dollar bills and the patient is drug-deficit free.

Stupid liberals.
Izzatzo In Love
written by steffen, September 28, 2011 9:28
Izzatzo is in love with his own insubstantial command of the English language, ad hominim attacks, and conclusory arguments.

Silly Cons.
written by Kat, September 28, 2011 10:03
To be fair, it is difficult work searching for examples of government waste. Members of the press based in Washington may be dazzled by the transparency and fiscal prudence of our defense contractors and simply do not realize that all government contractors do not operate at such a high ethical standard. Although it saddens me that they must lose their innocence, I would hope that this muffin episode spurs them to do their own investigations and root out fraud. Perhaps they could go after some really big fish such as a community action agency that is administering the HEAP program.
He Can't(or won't) Do The Math
written by EMichael, September 28, 2011 10:04
All you need to know about Izz is his constant complains about spending and deficits always end with his "stupid liberals" claim.

Which is hard to understand from a mathematics standpoint as over 90% of our deficit comes from conservative policies and spending.

Which he cannot add up or will not add up.
written by Ethan, September 28, 2011 1:14
I used to think that izzatzo was Dr. Baker's alter ego -- a ploy to head off and make fun of the people who might otherwise criticize his post.
Over the years, for several reasons, I have come to realize that izzatzo is in fact a third person using his sarcasm to head off and make fun of the people who might otherwise criticize Dr. Bakers post.
But I still wonder exactly who she/he is -- some one on staff perhaps?
written by Jay, September 28, 2011 3:39
It's probably a waste of resources at this point but those muffin sales were bold. No concern at all about getting pursued for price gouging against the Federal Government. That would probably be a better story in my opinion.
written by Jethro, September 28, 2011 9:23

Since when is it against the law to charge an amount that someone is willing (or stupid enough) to pay for muffins. Price gouging ? It is called free market.

Read this editorial from Charles Schwab and you folks might learn something about the multiplier effect in the real world, not some have baked theory from economists in lala land.

written by Jay, September 29, 2011 1:21
Jethro, I guess you have never heard of the FTC or antitrust law. They tend to investigate things like that from time to time but probably not muffins.

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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.