Nov
20
2013

Paul Ryan, Poverty Fighter?

Paul Ryan (cc photo: Gage Skidmore)

Let's say you're best known for coming up with a federal budget blueprint that slashed tax rates for the wealthy and proposed big cuts to anti-poverty safety net programs, but now you want to be known as a guy who really cares about fighting poverty. Lucky for you, the Washington Post is here to help.

Jun
22
2012

NYT Discovers the Other Side of Spending Cuts

It's been said (by me!) that the big spending cuts set to hit the federal budget next year–so-called "sequestration"–are not created equal, at least in the eyes of the corporate media. The cuts, as designed, hit the military budget and non-military spending in roughly equal measure. The political calculation was that Republicans would object to the military cuts while Democrats would object to cuts in social spending. But in the corporate media, those non-military cuts hardly ever get any attention–perhaps because there are not powerful lobbyists and Cabinet officials complaining loudly about how the safety of the country is at […]

Nov
16
2011

GOP's Amazing Revenue-Reducing Tax 'Hike'

The general line in corporate media coverage of the so-called "Supercommittee" tasked with coming up with a long-term budget plan is that both sides aren't willing to budge: Republicans won't agree to raise taxes, and Democrats want to protect "entitlements" like Social Security and Medicare. While some might find the idea of Democrats standing up for Social Security and Medicare, it's not really true–Democrats have offered to make such cuts if there are some tax increases to go along with them. This insistence that a compromise involve a compromise has been depicted, oddly enough, as a refusal to compromise. But […]

Nov
01
2011

To WaPo, Social Security Is a Treacherous Money Sucker

On its Sunday front-page, the Washington Post published an incredibly dishonest attack on Social Security. Under the headline, "Social Security Adding Billions to U.S. Budget Woes," reporter Lori Montgomery reported that "Social Security passed a treacherous milestone"–a moment where the program, largely because of the recession, spent more in benefits than it took in. What does this mean? Montgomery tells readers: "Social Security is sucking money out of the Treasury." Montgomery complains that "fixing Social Security has largely vanished from the conversation" about the country's fiscal crisis, and politicians are "ducking the issue." She adds: "Many Democrats have largely chosen […]

May
20
2011

WaPo and the People's Budget Blackout

Lori Montgomery has a piece today in the Washington Post (5/20/11) noting that Senate Democrats have yet to unveil a budget planthat would"counter the budget blueprint approved last month by House Republicans."Some Democrats dosay that they will soon unveil a plan that "would offer a sharp contrast to the GOP budget." Such a contrast exists already in Congress. It's called the People's Budget, and it is the work of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. The most notable coverage of it in the Post came in the form of a red-baiting Dana Milbank column. The news pages of the Post, like most […]

Mar
25
2011

WaPo Invents Dems' Social Security Split

The Washington Post's Lori Montgomery has what sounds like a pretty important story in today's paper (3/25/11). Theheadline: Democrats Splinter Over Strategy for Reducing Deficit Battle Lines Drawn as More Are Willing to Put Entitlements on Table The piece leads off: Democrats are sharply divided over whether to tackle popular but increasingly expensive safety-net programs for the elderly, particularly Social Security. According to Montgomery, a "growing number of Democratic lawmakers say they are willing to consider controversial measures such as raising the retirement age and reducing benefits for wealthier seniors." That wouldbebig. Who are they? She tells us who they […]

Feb
28
2011

WaPo Profiles Most Awesome Guy in World

In journalistic parlance, a "beat sweetener" is a story that lavishes praise on a powerful figure the reporter is assigned to cover on a regular basis–a great way for that reporter to get in good with an important source. That may have been what was happening with Lori Montgomery's February 26 Washington Post piece touting the deficit-busting greatness of White House budget director Jacob Lew. Under the headline "Jacob Lew Returns to Work on Fixing Nation's Finances, Again," she begins: At 27, Jacob J. Lew helped save Social Security. At 41, he helped cut a deal to balance the federal […]

Dec
02
2010

WPost News Report: Deficit Commission Shuns Ideology

In today's Washington Post (12/2/10), in the news article "Deficit Commission Sets Ideology Aside," reporters Lori Montgomery and Brady Dennis explain why the commission is not ideological: Confronted with a deficit-reduction plan loaded with political dynamite, members from both parties set aside ideological orthodoxy at least briefly, sparking hope that their work could ignite a serious effort to reduce government debt and spare the nation from a European-style fiscal crisis. But the notion that the deficit is one of the most pressing issues facing the country– "The Moment of Truth" is the title of the commission's report–is profoundly ideological to […]

Oct
21
2010

At WPost, Everyone's a 'High Earner'–When It Comes to Benefit Cuts

Rep. Paul Ryan is the Republican leader most often touted as a seriouspolicy wonk.His plan to "fix" Social Security was recently evaluated by the chief actuary of the Social Security Administration. As the Washington Post notes inan article today (10/21/10), Ryan's plan"would slice initial benefits by about a quarter for middle-income Americans who turn 65 in 2050." So why is the Post's headline "Republican Rep. Ryan's Social Security Plan Would Cut Benefits for High Earners"? While it is true that the wealthy would see benefit cuts,it would seem moreimportant to notehow his plan wouldaffect most people. Economist Dean Baker (Beat […]

Sep
22
2010

Larry Summers, the 'Anti-Business' Hedge Fund Director

The New York Times' Sheryl Gay Stolberg (9/22/10), writing about "brusque and brilliant economist" Lawrence Summers stepping down as President Obama's chief economic adviser, cited House minority leader John Boehner's charge that "Mr. Obama's team lacked 'real-world, hands on experience,' a direct shot at Mr. Summers' career as an academic." She followed this by writing, "News of Mr. Summers' departure set off speculation that Mr. Obama would replace him with a corporate executive to counter the impression that he is anti-business." The Washington Post's Lori Montgomery (9/22/10) reported similarly, "Sources said the White House is considering whether to choose a […]

Jun
09
2010

More Social Security Bashing from NYT, WashPost

In a June 8 piece about a liberal summit in D.C. this week,the New York Times notes thatthe left's support forprograms like Medicare and Social Security areoutof touch with fiscal reality, and that budget cuts elsewhere aren't going to matter much: In truth, none of the cuts in annual appropriations will significantly reduce the long-term deficit projections. Those are driven mostly by escalating costs for the benefit programs that liberals most aggressively protect–Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security–and by insufficient tax revenues to support them. As has been noted many times, Social Security has amassed a surplus of over $2 trillion; […]

May
27
2010

Washington Post (Again) on the Debt Revolt

Last week the Washington Post informed us that voters are "up in arms over the mounting federal debt"– and thus politicians were being forced to scale back a newbill that would, among other things, extend unemployment benefits and send money to state governments facing serious budget shortfalls. This made little sense, since polls do not show public urgency about the debt or deficit; in fact, dealing with jobs is considered a much higher priority. No matter. The Post has a piece today (5/27/10)–by the same reporter, Lori Montgomery–that begins, "Under fire from rank-and-file Democrats worried about the soaring national debt…" […]

Apr
27
2009

The Post Stands Up for the Poor Rich

Today the Washington Post devoted front-page real estate to an examination of how some wealthy people who don't think of themselves as wealthy will suffer under Obama's proposed tax plans. Their primary example is Gail Johnson, who, along with her husband, earns about $515,000 in a typical year from the chain of preschools and after-school programs they own: "You hear 'tax the rich,' and you think, 'I don't make that much money,' " said Johnson, whose Rainbow Station programs are headquartered near Richmond. "But then you realize: 'Oh, if I put my business income with my wages, then, suddenly, I'm […]