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Home Publications Blogs Beat the Press Sure the School Is On Fire, but No One Is Talking About Repainting the Cafeteria

Sure the School Is On Fire, but No One Is Talking About Repainting the Cafeteria

Friday, 15 March 2013 03:50

That could have been the title of a Washington Post editorial that criticizes the budget produced by Senate Democrats because it doesn't address the possibility that we will have a rising debt to GDP ratio in 2023. After all, millions of lives are being ruined by the high unemployment that resulted from the ineptitude of the people that the Post views as experts on the economy. The Post is completely unconcerned about this crisis. Instead it is very upset that Senate Democrats are not worried about projections for 2023 and beyond of a rising debt to GDP ratio.

It is worth remembering that back in 2000 there was a major debate in Washington over the date at which the federal government would pay off the national debt. The Washington Post was a major actor in this debate.

Btw, the Post has this classic included in its list of ways to deal with Social Security:

"a more realistic inflation adjustment."

Of course the Washington Post does not have a clue as to whether its preferred price index better reflects the rate of inflation seen by Social Security beneficiaries. All it knows is that it will show a lower rate of inflation and therefore cut benefits. You've gotta love these folks.

Comments (7)Add Comment
written by Jennifer, March 15, 2013 7:19
It is really striking how it is taken as a point of fact about how deficit reduction MUST start now-by cutting social programs that people depend on. Spending on infrastructure, education, and research is good, but spending on real people's acute needs is not.
realistic vs. made up...
written by pete, March 15, 2013 1:34
Clearly CPI is messed up. Designing individual CPIs is unrealistic, but having differing CPIs for different groups might be realistic. Aging populations consume some things less, like cars and food, and some things much more, like health care. Certainly no one should argue against getting it "right." Big issue with SS is the taxation. Better off with a carbon tax to fund these transfers, rather than a flat 12.5 % flat tax on $110,000 in only labor income. A carbon tax would benefit by slowing carbon emissions. Global warming is projected to hit the poor worst, so taxing carbon, as regressive as it might be, is a wash here.
written by urban legend, March 15, 2013 3:50
What we do know for a fact is that BLS has not adopted Chained CPI as its primary measurement. We also know that if it is somehow more accurate than CPI, that would mean the current CPI overstates inflation over the past 30 years by about 9-10%. Does that make any sense whatsoever.

When BLS adopts the chained methodology as superior and makes it the primary measure, then fine, there is no choice but to use it. But to use it now as something actually used only for cutting seniors' Social Security benefits, that is beyond irresponsible.
written by urban legend, March 15, 2013 3:54
I would add that nothing could be calculated to depress turnout of the Democratic base in 2014 than Democrats participating -- indeed, leading the charge -- in cutting Social Security benefits. Any success in Congressional races in 2014 depends almost entirely on turnout, and that depends on enthusiasm on the part of the working base.

I often wonder if the Obama team gives a crap about what happens in 2014. Maybe they don't want the pressure and expectations of control of Congress.
voting and taxes
written by pete, March 17, 2013 8:03
I guess the 51% could raise the taxes on the 49% to infinity eh? Not sure about the morality of this ( another Baker blog). That's why it was better (morally) to tax things, especially higher order goods like oil and land, and not incomes or corporate profits. Less distortionary. Carbon tax is great idea. Too bad Friedman is bringing it up, since Dean and Krugman will say he is an idiot. Ah politics vs. economics.
written by FoonTheElder, March 18, 2013 10:21
Republicans have predicted twelve of the past one periods of hyperinflation in the past 35 years.

Their record continues.
written by Ellis, March 18, 2013 12:04
The real problem is not wrong facts cited by the Washington Post but actual class interests. Driving government policy are the interests of the capitalist class. More and more of the government budget is simply used to enrich and bailout the banks and other big companies. This is so obvious, and yet no one seems to mention it. Now that is absolutely amazing!

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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.