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Home Publications Blogs Beat the Press Washington Post Invents Election Contest on Big Government

Washington Post Invents Election Contest on Big Government

Sunday, 10 October 2010 07:14

The top article in the Sunday Washington Post is an entirely invented piece that tells readers in the first sentence: "If there is an overarching theme of election 2010, it is the question of how big the government should be and how far it should reach into people's lives." There is absolutely nothing in this article that supports this assertion.

The article notes in the fourth paragraph that even most people who complain about the size of government consider Social Security and Medicare, by far the largest social programs, very important. It is not clear what being opposed to "big government" means in a context where nearly everyone supports its main pillars.

There are no candidates anywhere in the country who are running in support of "big government," there are candidates who are running in support of programs which have varying degrees of support. There are many candidates (virtually all Republicans) who are running against "big government." While this position has nothing to do with the world (we all oppose waste, fraud, and abuse, the question is always the status of specific programs), it is certainly helpful to the Republicans to have the election framed in this way.

Comments (6)Add Comment
crowding out democracy
written by frankenduf, October 10, 2010 8:47
this is actually a mathematical problem: how big should the government be?- in a democracy, = to the population size; in a republic, proportionate to population size (but let's give montana alot of power anyway); and during an economic crisis, in order to get quick effective action, the number shrinks to @ 7 (ceo of goldman, ceo of merryl, ceo of aig...)
written by izzatzo, October 10, 2010 9:47
Finally, at last, the Beast is Starving and what do we hear? Save the Beast with austerity. Make up your goddamn mind.
I've written to my local paper
written by Rich2506, October 10, 2010 2:52
about this issue many times and have frequently brought up Ronald Reagan's 1980 campaign, in which he promised to shrink the size and expense of the government, but could never specify exactly how he would do such a thing. There was a TV show called the "Six Million Dollar Man," about a partial cyborg that was popular around the time. Reagan pledged to cut $90 billion out of the Federal Budget. Slight problem: He couldn't specify how he'd do that, i.e., who would suffer the cuts. He was promptly dubbed the "$90 Billion Man." 30 years later, nothing whatsoever has changed in the slightest.
written by cemmcs, October 10, 2010 4:08
Maybe the article was some kind of veiled criticism of the military-industrial complex. You know how the liberal media is griping about that.
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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.