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

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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.