Friday, November 18, 2011

Bias in Wall Street Journal Editorials Creeping into Reporting –

This is What Happens When Your Paper is Owned by the Parent of Fox News

In order to avoid the political problems of cutting spending or raising taxes, the Congress has charged a committee of six Democrats and six Republicans to come up with a deficit reduction program that would be voted up or down by the full Congress.

The first bogus element of this plan is that if the committee does not agree, there will be what is called “sequestration”.  This means that massive cuts in both domestic and defense spending would take place.

The supercommittee is charged with lowering the deficit by $1.5 trillion over the next decade; if it doesn't find at least $1.2 trillion in cuts, then "sequestration," or automatic spending cuts of that amount, kick in. These would fall equally on defense and nondefense discretionary spending—including Medicare—to the tune of $100 billion a year, starting in 2013. If the committee falls short but agrees to some amount, say $600 billion in cuts, sequestration will take care of the rest.

Now anyone who believes that is next in line to buy the Brooklyn Bridge.  These cuts will never take place.  Notice that they don’t even start until 2013 and at that time if they are scheduled you will hear things like “world conditions prevent defense cuts at this time” and “critical programs in the domestic economy must continue for a while”.  So no, there is no real chance of major budget cuts from failure of the committee to agree.

This is not to say the committee will agree.  The problem, according a news (not opinion) report is this

Trouble is, Republicans are largely unwilling to raise taxes and Democrats unwilling to cut spending.

Except no, that is not the problem. This statement in a news story in the WSJ is just plain wrong. Yes the Republicans are unwilling to raise taxes (they will accept a rise in revenues that comes from normal inflation and economic growth and call that “compromise” for $300 billion) but they will not raise tax rates. In fact, they want to cut tax rates.   But Democrats are willing to cut spending, they have been willing to cut spending and they will continue to be willing to cut spending.  Here is the correct report.

Republicans’ last offer was to cut spending by about $750 billion over the next decade, while raising about $300 billion in new taxes. Democrats have offered a deal with much more tax increases — about $1 trillion — and about $1 trillion in spending cuts.

So the next time Conservatives argue that the press is biased everyone can agree with them.  But expect them to disagree about the bias. For Conservatives bias in the press for Conservative positions is what the rest of us call objective reporting.  See real objective reporting is what they regard as bias to them, because facts, logic and data have a Conservative bias.

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