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Home Publications Blogs Beat the Press Wapo Jumps the Shark on Budget Policy

Wapo Jumps the Shark on Budget Policy

Saturday, 28 September 2013 08:02

No one expects serious budget or economic analysis on the Washington Post's editorial page, but endorsing a tax and spending freeze until the unemployment rate falls below 6.5 percent (bizarrely called "Jobs First") is an embarrassment even for the Post. Incredibly, neither the Post nor their "No Labels" leaders explain what a freeze even means. Is spending frozen in nominal terms, in real terms? Does it allow for increases in spending in mandatory programs like Social Security and Medicare?

You won't find answers to these basic questions in either the Post's editorial or on the No Labels website. (For those folks who aren't familiar with them, No Labels was started by a bunch of Wall Street types who think that everyone should just stop fighting and agree with them.) 

Anyhow, it is hard to comment much on something that is so vague, but the irony of the "Jobs First" label should be apparent to everyone. In order to get down to 6.5 percent unemployment in a reasonable period of time we are likely to need more government spending. By freezing government spending, the No Labels crew are effectively putting jobs last. But hey, this is the Washington Post editorial page, who cares about economics, logic, or jobs? 


Comments (8)Add Comment
Stigum up
written by Squeezed Turnip, September 28, 2013 9:42
No Labels crew reads Stigum's "Money Market" but misunderstand it, because they don't do the math ( not just the logic found in Stigum's other book), don't understand dynamical systems or the effect of excluding relevant data, and their brain is ruled by intestinal microbes that feed their infantile fantasies. Those poor things: smart scoot money but little else. Hell, they need to re-read their Bagehot (chapter vi), who explains it so simply even a wall streeter can understand.
written by skeptonomist, September 28, 2013 9:49
Apparently the "truce" involves passing a budget and raising the debt limit without granting any of Republicans' demands, so except for an impossible promise from both sides not to squabble it is simply Obama's and Democrats' position - they are not demanding any specific conditions about the budget or repealing the sequester. Maybe this is just a way to save face for Republicans, characterizing surrender as compromise.
Tax Freeze?
written by Bart, September 28, 2013 10:02

If a tax freeze means a cap on incoming revenue, that would be right down the GOP street of preventing any economic growth under Obama.
People think I'm crazy because I am frowning all the time
written by Andrew Burday, September 28, 2013 12:13
As you know, reduced government spending can bring down the unemployment rate if it leads to reduced labor force participation -- something that already is happening. I am increasingly inclined to believe that driving down the labor force is deliberate policy among at least some parts of the right. At one time I would have thought that was paranoid of me. But at one time, I would have thought it was paranoid to suppose that the right was deliberately running up government debt in order to make it harder to fund social programs.
written by urban legend, September 29, 2013 2:14
Dean, you don't know what "jump the shark" means. It doesn't refer to someone going out on a limb or being outrageous or saying something stupid. You are not alone among the smartest bloggers: the Daily Howler doesn't know, either.
written by Alex Bollinger, September 29, 2013 10:03
It looks like confidence fairy logic, still strong after all these years. If politicians stop arguing about stuff, then rich people will hire the unemployed! Apparently rich people are so irrational that seeing two politicians disagree on Meet the Press or whatever is enough to make them stop maximizing profit.
Meaning of "Jump the Shark"
written by Dean, September 29, 2013 10:45
Urban Legend,

I refer you to Wikipedia for my understanding of the term http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jumping_the_shark
They could be wrong, but there is always how I understood it.
written by J, September 29, 2013 7:36
Cutting spending until employment rises is like kicking someone until they get up.

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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.