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Home Publications Blogs Beat the Press The Washington Post Tell Readers That Obama Doesn't Have Fiscal Credibility (Yes, In Its News Sections)

The Washington Post Tell Readers That Obama Doesn't Have Fiscal Credibility (Yes, In Its News Sections)

Wednesday, 02 March 2011 05:33

In following its practice that there is no division between news and editorial perspective when it comes to budget reporting, The Post (a.k.a. Fox on 15th Street) told readers in a front page news article that:

"Obama, who has overseen an expansion in spending, does not have the fiscal credibility that helped give President Bill Clinton the winning political hand in 1995 and 1996."

One might think that whether or not President Obama has "fiscal credibility" is an assessment that readers should make for themselves. According to the Congressional Budget Office and a wide range of private forecasters, the increase in spending that has taken place on President Obama's watch has boosted growth and prevented the unemployment rate from rising further.

It is bizarre to imply that because he acted to prevent a steeper recession President Obama lacks fiscal credibility. By the Post's logic, President Roosevelt could have established fiscal credibility by cutting the defense budget in half in 1943 in the middle of World War II. While most people might have viewed letting our military lose to the Axis powers in order to balance the budget as close to crazy, the Post no doubt would have applauded such an act of fiscal responsibility. At least it would if it applied the paper's current logic. 

Comments (5)Add Comment
It's Moral Hazard, Stupid
written by izzatzo, March 02, 2011 6:18
It is bizarre to imply that because he acted to prevent a steeper recession President Obama lacks fiscal credibility.

This is big commie lie by another stupid liberal. For example, it is not bizarre to to imply that fire departments cause more fires and police departments cause more crime.

Without fire departments people would be more careful with flammable pajamas worn while cooking flambeau instant noodles and without police departments people would buy more guns and hire more body guards to suppress more ax murderers who can't afford a gun.
Maybe the Post Has It Right
written by Ron Alley, March 02, 2011 6:38
While President Obama took steps that helped to prevent a financial meltdown and ameliorate the effects of the recession on the unemployed, the President (and the Democratic Congress) efforts were too tepid to satisfy either the interests of people or the corporations. The financial regulation and health care initiatives are not sufficient to produce real results in real time for real people. The corporations found themselves facing regulation would not let them resume their worst practices, but which was not intended to end crony capitalism. As a result, President Obama lacks "credibility" with either camp.
written by skeptonomist, March 02, 2011 8:45
Why talk only about Clinton? Presidential fiscal credibility probably reached its peak during the Hoover administration, especially when Andrew Mellon was Treasury Secretary.
written by urban legend, March 02, 2011 2:04
Time and again, year after year, the editorial staff of the Washington Post is shown to be comprised of utter economic fools and corrupted journalists -- and yet the management and board of that newspaper simply do not give a crap. It all falls on deaf ears. Who is on that board, anyway? You might think one of them would have the guts and integrity to make a public resignation.
written by kharris, March 03, 2011 7:03
The faces on Mount Rushmore, and the two-term presidents in the past half century, are mostly guys who spent more and expanded federal government and government power. It is not only disingenuous to make an unsupported claim about "fiscal credibility" in a news article (or anywhere else), but the point to the claim is also full of hooey. There is little evidence that fiscal stringency helps presidents keep office. The Post has cherry-picked, identifying the only recent case in which a deficit cutter won a second term.

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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.