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Home Publications Blogs Beat the Press The Republican Leadership Commits Huge Gaffe and NPR Doesn't Notice

The Republican Leadership Commits Huge Gaffe and NPR Doesn't Notice

Wednesday, 16 February 2011 05:21

Before the Pennsylvania primary in the 2008 presidential election, then Senator Barack Obama made a speech at a fundraiser in which he referred to working class whites as being "bitter." This was referred to as a "gaffe" and became a central theme in news reporting over the next two weeks.

On Morning Edition, NPR included comments from the Republican congressional leadership that the United States is "broke" and therefore has no choice but to make very large cuts in the budget. Of course this is not true. Investors are willing to lend the United States trillions of dollars at historically low interest rates. This means that the government is not broke. There is no evidence that it is coming up against any serious spending or borrowing limitation.

This inaccurate representation of a basic issue about the financial health of the U.S. government would have been worth pointing out to listeners. It almost certainly matters more to most of the public than President Obama's comment about working class whites being bitter.

Tags: labor market

Comments (8)Add Comment
methinks they doth parse too much
written by frankenduf, February 16, 2011 8:10
actually, the irony is that working class whites are bitter about the US being broke- corrupt governance has run our economically functional government into the ground via the cost of killing brown people overseas, cutting taxes on the wealthy, giving lots o cash to financiers, giving lots o cash to health insurance and drug industries, etc- in effect, our government has been bankrupted from helping the working class due to corruption- a better gaffe would be to say that we have a functional media, which reports on these pressing citizen issues, rather than 8th grade reading level quips to explain what's going on in our country
written by jack, February 16, 2011 8:12
Love how the country is "broke" after a 900 billion dollar 2 year tax cut in 2010. Country wasn't broke in 2001. Now it's broke after tax cuts and two wars.
Well, the definition of "broke"
written by Bill H, February 16, 2011 9:53
is "completely without money" but doesn't say "unable to borrow," so I would disagree a bit with you saying that we are not broke. I know the purpose of your blog is to find things to be critical of, but I think you are reaching a bit for this one.
Bill H - The U.S. Government Prints its Own Money
written by Paul, February 16, 2011 10:14
How can you say that the U.S. government is "completely without money" when you know full well that it can print all the money it wants any time it wants to do so?

Here is something to keep in mind at all times: RepubliCons are liars, always!
written by Duke, February 16, 2011 10:44
"NPR doesn't notice" That's alright nobody notices NPR. Except maybe to journey where "the women are strong and all the men good-looking."
written by leo, February 16, 2011 11:23
Why, oh why, does John Boehner hate America?
Please Don't Cry
written by fuller schmidt, February 16, 2011 11:49
Boehner hates America because his mother was aloof, and because he's struggling with his bisexuality. Those make him hate himself, and he passes that hatred along to others.
We ARE broke, we just haven't admitted it yet...
written by Wisdom Seeker, February 16, 2011 10:56
Just try to explain to your children and grandchildren that they each owe about $50,000 as their respective shares of the national debt. Try to explain that Obama, the Democratic leadership, and the preceding Republican leadership all thought it would be okay that they should chip in another $5000 EVERY year (for at least the next decade, anyway) as they increase the debt by refusing to allocate their existing, entirely ample resources more wisely. Try to explain why Bernanke decided to print up $2000 for every person in this country. Try to explain why Grandma gets no interest on her CDs because we have to repay the bankers for all the money they wasted on bad loans -- and yet none of the bankers who broke the law has gone to jail. Then try to say with a straight face that the nation isn't "Broke" -- both morally and financially.

The nation is bankrupt. We just haven't admitted it. Fortunately, rates are low enough that the debt burden remains serviceable for the time being. But it is still a ticking time bomb. Fortunately, when the bomb goes off, we have the option to print our way out of the jam with inflation, instead of stiffing our creditors directly. But that will only succeed if, in the process, we get back on a sustainable path. The current print-and-spend approach to government is unsustainable, and that which cannot continue indefinitely must end, definitely.

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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.