Wednesday, February 12, 2014

NPR Raises False Flag on National Debt

Center for Economic and Policy Priorities: Does National Public Radio Have the Ability to Control Its Obsession With the National Debt:

In recent months we have heard comments from the chief economist at the I.M.F., the chair of the Federal Reserve Board, and the Congressional Budget Office, all saying that austerity is hurting growth and costing the country jobs. By the Congressional Budget Office's estimates we are still operating at a level of output that is more than $1 trillion below potential GDP. Comparing its most recent projections with its 2008 pre-crash projections, we stand to lose a cumulative total of more than $24 trillion in output ($80,000 per person) through the end of its budget horizon in 2024 as a result of the collapse of the housing bubble.

In short, millions are needlessly suffering from unemployment or underemployment, and the country continues to waste a vast amount of goods and services that it could produce to meet important needs. One would think this situation would garner attention from National Public Radio and other major news outlets. But no, NPR is upset that we are not concerned about the national debt.

It told us this last week in a segment (Read: NPR Tells Listeners That the Debt Is a "Huge Problem" --- which links to the NPR story: As Deficit Anxiety Fades, Debt Rears Its Ugly Head) where it included no voices to make the obvious point that spending is good right now, and it did so again today when it complained that Congress lacks the will to reduce the debt. (The NPR story: Does Congress Have Enough Political Will To Reduce The Debt?)

Obviously the debt is an obsession of some reporters/producers at NPR. It would be reasonable to give them occasional opinion pieces to express their concerns. These pieces are not news.

One comment by reader at the Center for Public Policy and Research:

During the Clinton Administration, we not only balanced the budget, but surpluses actually reduced the national debt. What exactly did we gain by doing that? Shortly after the final budget surplus, the economy collapsed into recession exactly as it had done the immediate three previous times -- 1957, 1960 and 1969 -- that we had engineered budget surpluses. In fact, over the past 60 years, EVERY TIME the federal budget has been balanced or in surplus, we have had a recession. The recessions of 1957, 1960, 1969 and 2001 were all preceded by budget surpluses and the recessions of 1954, 1974 and 2008 were all preceded by budgets that were nearly balanced - deficits of 1% of GDP or less. Budget surpluses have never done any good for our economy!

Then there's my post: National and Household Debt - Apples and Oranges:

With Keynesian Economics (by borrowing and spending), the U.S. not only pulled itself out of the Great Depression, it financed and won World War II — and also created the greatest middle-class in world history. Whereas, under Obama, the "stimulus package" was not only misdirected, but it wasn't near big enough to pull us out of the Great Recession.

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