Dean Baker has been calling NPR on its economic BS for a quite a while. One of his most pointed attacks against NPR (and the rest of the lovin'-the-rich-and-powerful media) has been to continually remind his readers that unless discussions of the so-called deficit crisis do not cover the $8 trillion housing bubble scam and the savvy
criminals businessmen who created and benefited from said scam, then you are being sorely misinformed. This misinformation is not unintentional, but part of a sustained class warfare featuring attacks on middle and lower classes and an intentional downplaying (or downright ignoring) of the the real crises of unemployment, wage stagnation, and health care robbery (Yes we can, but....)
Did I say economic BS? Did I say misinformation? Brings to mind a certain radio news organization that stands for nothing, doesn't it?
Reader JayV of Blazing Indiscretions earlier in the week pointed out two stinging Dean Baker posts about economic rubbish on Thursday's Morning Edition featuring two Senate deficit squawkers. Baker pointed out that Senator Warner (and the interviewer Inskeep) are stupid when it comes to the basics about Social Security, and that the whole framing of the deficit crisis and its targeting of Social Security is...well...a bunch of crap. I would also add that the report was presented as the case of a Democrat and Republican willing to compromise...but the compromise was that the Democrat was willing to attack Social Security while the Republican was willing to lower income tax rates and reform deductions - some compromise!
If Saturday is any indication, NPR's Attack Entitlement's Posse shows no signs of letting up. In the morning, Scott Simon had a chummy talk with a freshman GOP representative who is a "fiscal and social conservative" and let him claim that his vote against a Pentagon-opposed jet engine "was Defense cuts first." He also let's him set the frame for slashing the budget by claiming: "We have a $1.3 trillion deficit for the year....What has to happen is we have to have a fundamental change in the trajectory of spending in Washington." Nothing from $300,000 a year Scottie about the government's trajectory of revenue when it comes to taxation of the rich or corporations.
If the morning seemed bad, Linda Worseheimer on ATC was, well, a lot worse. In a 10 minute hate-fest against entitlements, she featured NPR's favorite Catfood Queen, Maya MacGuineas who calmly explained that
"well, there's no question that all attention is on the budget now...the biggest parts of the problem are in the rest of the budget: mandatory spending or entitlements."
Apparently, Maya wasn't hitting the Elephant in the Room talking points hard enough, so Wertheimer pushed her,
"...that's the biggest deal isn't it: that not even the very excited budget cutters in the house have got to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid?"
To which Maya responded,
"That's the elephant in the room...they are very beloved and people look forward to their checks, but bottom line - they are unsustainable; they will bust the budget."
What does NPR do to balance this mugging of all those self-centered freeloaders "looking forward to their checks"? Wertheimer brings on far right Senator Tom Coburn...I'm not kidding. Just in case Sen. Coburn has an off-script decency moment, Wertheimer steers him along regarding budget cutting:
"I think there's sort of general agreement that not enough has been done...Let me ask you about the big entitlements. Do your think the Congress is anywhere near contemplating addressing those portions of federal spending..."
Coburn's not about to let that softball get by without hitting it out of the park:
"We have to get the fraud out of Medicare...we need to drive down health care costs and you're not going to do that with a centralized government operation on that. Everybody in the country is going to have to sacrifice - and that means the wealthiest and those experiencing the safety net."
Wertheimer, near the end of the report mentions that Coburn was on the President's Catfood Commission and says,
"Your group did try to address the big entitlements, the elephants in the room...