Can anybody explain to me why anyone still reads the New York Times? The Times ran an editorial today, The Hollow Cry of ‘Broke’, that amounts to a 579 words of sheer partisan nonsense. According to the editors of the New York Times, what is really going on all around us is that mean Republicans are trying to crush unions (you know, the unions that give virtually every nickel of their ill-gotten “dues” to try to elect Democrats) and those dastardly elephants are using a phony debt crisis as cover. The Times wants you to believe this:
The federal deficit is too large for comfort, and most states are struggling to balance their books. Some of that is because of excessive spending, and much is because the recession has driven down tax revenues. But a substantial part was caused by deliberate decisions by state and federal lawmakers to drain government of resources by handing out huge tax cuts, mostly to the rich. As governments begin to stagger from the self-induced hemorrhaging, Republican politicians like Mr. Boehner and Mr. Walker cry poverty and use it as an excuse to break unions and kill programs they never liked in flush years.
Ah, so it has nothing to do with overspending. I love it, the Federal deficit of over $1,000,000,000,000 is merely "too large for comfort", as if it is a slightly oversized sweater. What a marvelous example of gross understatement. It has nothing to do with spending though. It is all because of tax cuts for the rich which reduce the amount of money that Uncle Sam graciously gives to the states to support their overspending. Apparently the national debt is just a minor inconvenience, certainly nothing to worry about and besides we should raise taxes anyway! I love the language used here “drain government of resources”. See, here in fly-over country your money is….your money. In New York apparently your money merely amounts to “government resources” that Uncle Sam has graciously allowed you to hang onto (so far). One wonders if the New York Times editorial board would favor a 100% tax rate with the Federal government deciding how much to give each citizen as an allowance. I don’t think that is too far fetched.
Then in a mind-boggling switch, the next paragraph makes this ridiculous claim:
In a matter of days, the Senate will be forced to take up the House bill to make more than $61 billion in ruinous cuts over the next seven months, all under the pretext of “fiscal responsibility.”
Keep in mind that the 2011 fiscal year budget is around $3,690,000,000,000. Cuts of $61 billion amounts to a measly 1.65% of the total budget. 1.65% So $61,000,000,000 in cuts is “ruinous” while $14,000,000,000,000 in national debt is merely uncomfortable. What?! How can we survive as a nation without subsidizing Elmo and the butchers at Planned Parenthood?! We will be ruined, ruined I say!
Time for a little perspective here. As the CATO Institute points out, even with the “ruinous” $61 billion in “cuts” being proposed, the Federal government is still going to spend more in fiscal 2011 than fiscal 2010 in both total spending and discretionary outlays. Only at the New York Times can spending more money than the year prior be considered “ruinous cuts”. Imagine someone with a weight problem deciding to diet this year by ingesting only 3100 calories a day instead of 3000 calories like last year.
Because too many people still take the New York Times seriously and base their opinions on what it’s editorial pages say, we collectively have our heads in the sand. We have been kicking the can down the road for decades, under Republican and Democratic control alike, and it has to stop. What must be done is going to make people mad. It is going to be unpopular. It also must be done. Our national fiscal policy is like parents racking up credit card debt to buy themselves luxurious vacations and sumptuous meals out and then being able to pass that credit card debt onto their children. It is not merely irresponsible to keep spending ourselves into debt in this manner, it is immoral. Whatever modicum of respectability the New York Times once perhaps had has left the building.