Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Stunning Dishonesty at the LATimes

The LATimes nicely summarizes the argument of many liberals regarding the President's announcement of a smaller-than-projected budget deficit. They say it's no surprise - that the Administration has consistently projected higher deficits early on and then 'surprisingly' small deficits once the fiscal year is well under way:

But the apparent good news will not strike some economists as surprising: This will be the third year in a row that the administration put forth relatively gloomy deficit forecasts early on, only to announce months later that things had turned out better than expected. To some skeptics, it's beginning to look like an economic version of the old "expectations" game.

Even economists who hesitate to accuse the White House of playing games say the claims of good news on the budget are unfortunate because they make people unjustifiably sanguine about the government's current fiscal health.

And the focus on this year's budget will distract attention from the real budget crisis, which will begin in two years as the eldest of the baby boom generation become eligible for Social Security benefits.

...To divert attention from that continuing reality, critics suggest, the administration has borrowed a gambit favored by political candidates, who commonly try to lower expectations about how they will fare to magnify the apparent size of their victory if they win.

So the Bush administration is trying to dodge Social Security insolvency, huh? Seems to me I remember the White House trying to act on Social Security. Was the LATimes supportive then? Well, google 'los angeles times social security bush,' and you get headlines like "Bush's Social Security Equation Comes Up Short on Money, Trust," "Kinsley's Proof That Social Security Privatization Won't Work," and "Privatization's Empty Hype."

What's the word for something like this? Let's use 'hypocrisy.'

And as for the Times' contention that Bush has overestimated the size of the deficit only so that he could subsequently reveal it to be lower than anticipated, it might be harder if people actually expected a strong economy that produced strong tax revenues. Fortunately, Bush is 'helped' on that score by the Los Angeles Times, which as recently as June 29 printed an article entitled 'Economic Jitters an Albatross for Bush,' and as far back as 2003 printed stories like 'Bush's Economic Growth Forecast Called 'False.'

I suspect that if the Times actually covered the fact that we have had 18 straight quarters of economic growth, surging tax revenues, 5.4 million new jobs and 4.6 percent unemployment, that their readers might actually think that a shrinking deficit was no great achievement.

You know, if you report things honestly, people learn the facts.

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