Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Putting “Balance” Over Truth: The Right-Wing Media Scam That Is Destroying America

Posted by Phoenix Woman on July 27, 2011

The other day, Paul Krugman said this:

We have a crisis in which the right is making insane demands, while the president and Democrats in Congress are bending over backward to be accommodating — offering plans that are all spending cuts and no taxes, plans that are far to the right of public opinion.

So what do most news reports say? They portray it as a situation in which both sides are equally partisan, equally intransigent — because news reports always do that. And we have influential pundits calling out for a new centrist party, a new centrist president, to get us away from the evils of partisanship.

[…]

…The “both sides are at fault” people have to know better; if they refuse to say it, it’s out of some combination of fear and ego, of being unwilling to sacrifice their treasured pose of being above the fray.

Oh, it’s not that at all. It’s that the media members are millionaires working for billionaires — billionaires who love the tax breaks they got from Bush, as well as the gutting of anti-trust and environmental oversight under Bush — and to pretend both sides are equally at fault is to penalize the more virtuous side and go easier on the less virtuous (but far richer) side — and this rewards the less-virtuous side, in a vicious circle/feedback loop.

To make a long story short, it shoves the Overton Window farther to the right, eventually into fascism.

3 Responses to “Putting “Balance” Over Truth: The Right-Wing Media Scam That Is Destroying America”

  1. Charles II said

    I would say into authoritarianism. And I think we’re already there. When the political system is this unresponsive to the will of the people, then it sure ain’t a democratic republic.

  2. jo6pac said

    I believe the repugs are the worse of the 2 but corp. demodogs are a close 2nd.

    http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2011/07/michael-hudson-mr-obama%e2%80%99s-scare-tactics-to-get-democrats-to-vote-for-his-republican-wall-street-plan.html

    • Charles II said

      On this one, the truth is somewhere between Hudson and Obama.

      First, it’s true that Social Security is fully solvent. But several points: (a) first, who does Social Security earn interest income from? The federal government. A disruption in the activities of Treasury could force the SSA to sell Treasuries at a discount. weakening the fund overall. (b) Second, there’s a cash flow question. In theory, since OASDI is in surplus, OASDI could pay all benefits from receipts. But (c) as we see with the FAA, if there’s a disruption in government employment, there can be a failure to collect taxes as well as a loss of services not directly connected to the activity. Finally, (d) although OASDI is in surplus, DI is not. That means that the checks of disabled people might indeed not go out. With Medicare, the problem is worse, because the program is not in surplus. I think the main effect would be that doctors would not get paid the full amount for their services (the so called doc fix). But realistically, the situation is unpredictable. As for Medicaid, default would mean crisis.

      Second, Dean Baker has said that Treasury could just keep writing checks, even if there is a technical default. This is probably true, though it would also represent a constitutional crisis. This is, basically, the 14th Amendment solution, that the Executive declares that since the debt can’t be questioned, and since Congress has authorized the expenditures, he will comply with their authorization in order to avoid questioning the debt. Baker says that the Federal Reserve would honor the checks. Also probably true. And as Krugman has said, if the credit agencies do a downgrade, the markets may well just yawn as they did with Japan in 2002. But as others have pointed out, pension funds who are required to have assets in AAA rated bonds would be forced to either change their charters or sell their Treasuries if debt is downgraded. So, a downgrade could indeed spark a rapid rise in interest rates. Finally, as a potential buyer of debt, I have steered clear of any US debt precisely because it’s so unpredictable. For the bond portion of my portfolio, I want predictable risks. US debt is, in my judgment, too risky given its low return. I’d rather hold cash than make 4% on a bond whose value could decline by 10% (even though if the situation persists for 2.5 years, the effect is essentially the same). Anyone who lived through the late 70s knows what I mean.

      Third, Hudson and others argue [added: elsewhere] that deficits don’t matter. It’s probably true that interest rates are not going to spike when the labor market is this slack. But the dollar has been dropping steadily as our political crisis has deepened over the last decade, and that in turn has been a factor in commodity price rises. Oil and food, for example, have been getting more expensive, and that has undermined American living standards even if overall inflation (which includes salaries) has been moderate or declining. Obviously, if salaries are declining and oil and food are getting more expensive, this is a disaster for the American people even if inflation is in check. So, while a strong currency does not necessarily equal a strong economy, strong economies tend to have strong currencies. Hudson is saying that American living standards can decay indefinitely without affecting the fiscal health of the country. This may be theoretically true, but in the real world, it is insanity.

      Finally, just as a stylistic point, look at Hudson’s argument. It’s largely based in ad hominem. That’s an indicator of the quality of the argument. Our political leadership certainly does suck. But just because it sucks doesn’t mean that any individual action they propose or take is wrong.

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