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Home Publications Blogs Beat the Press WAPO Uses News Section to Talk About "Revenue-Bleeding Entitlement System"

WAPO Uses News Section to Talk About "Revenue-Bleeding Entitlement System"

Thursday, 21 February 2013 20:50

The Washington Post once again showed why it is known as "Fox on 15th Street" when it reported on a group of small business owners urging that Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid be protected from cuts. At one point the piece refers to plans for "overhauling the nation’s revenue-bleeding entitlement system."

"Revenue-bleeding" does not appear to be the official name for the programs in question. Most newspapers would try to constrain their enthusiasm for cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid and leave phrases like "revenue-bleeding" for the opinion pages.

The piece also includes the inaccurate assertion that:

"Once again, the hour is growing late for elected officials to strike a deal to avoid a potentially catastrophic blow to the economy, as the $1.2 trillion round of automatic spending cuts known as 'sequestration' is scheduled to commence at the end of the month."

It is not clear what is meant by "catastrophic." Any deficit reduction of the sort that the Post routinely advocates will slow growth and increase unemployment. The sequester cuts are no different in this respect, however the Post has usually urged these cuts and praised others for pushing such cuts. It is striking that it now seems to treat it as a fact that deficit reduction would be catastrophic.

The paper also includes an assertion from a small business owner that:

"“Economists agree that sequestration would send us back into recession.”

Actually, almost no economists would claim that the sequester cuts would lead to a recession, although they would slow growth by between 0.6-0.8 percentage points in 2013.

Comments (4)Add Comment
written by Jennifer, February 21, 2013 8:52
Really, that article is kind of amazing. The people profiled made complete sense--I guess the reporter couldn't find an actual person to complain about Social Security or Medicare so he made sure to get "revenue bleeding" in there on his own. THOSE programs need to be cut but make sure you protect the defense budget i.e. sequestration.
9 out of 10 nutballs agree wiping is good hygiene
written by watermelonpunch, February 21, 2013 11:12
I love how "small business owners" have become the voice of America, more important than citizens in general, and experts the media turns to on just about anything.

Especially when the term "small business" can somehow now refer to a small rural town coin-op laundromat as well as a Wall St. firm making millions.

A small business owner can be an informed citizen who makes it their business to understand the issues of the day, including but not limited to, the purview of their business, and has the same concerns that most citizens have.

Or they can be kind of a nutball who may or may not be very good at their job, but who believes Corning Glass is running a secret agency of international super spies tied to the British Monarchy and planning world domination.

Who are the business owners?
It's rarely specified in news articles.

Or if it is specified who it is, it's often some franchise owner making some incendiary remark that gets him/her called "a douchebag" on 250 of the 500 most popular political entertainment blogs.
And one wonders if news articles will just start calling people "douchebags" to begin with, considering the emotionally charged adjectives that seem to be more & more acceptable (or even desirable) in "serious" news outlets.
Misidentification of the Problem
written by bakho, February 22, 2013 7:33
The primary US fiscal problem long term is health care costs, period. Bring health care spending in line with other countries and most of the deficit problems are solved.

Yet, the establishment and media FAIL repeatedly to identify the key problem which leads to proposals for solutions to minor problems or non-problems.

Future economic problem = Health Care Spending. That should be the long term focus.

Short term economic problem- Not enough Jobs leading to slack demand, GDP gap and lower revenues. Solving unemployment should be the short term focus.

Wealthy special interests trying to push other policies for their own special benefit continually hijack the conversation. The only way to push back is to simply the message and repeat it over and over:
Short term problem: Need more jobs.
Long term problems: Control health care costs
written by watermelonpunch, February 22, 2013 9:20
The only way to push back is to simply the message and repeat it over and over:
Short term problem: Need more jobs.
Long term problems: Control health care costs


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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.