By Arthur Alpert
“The Journal’s policy,” says that little graph on the bottom of page two, “is to correct errors of fact in a timely manner.”
Today, Monday, Feb. 14, the newspaper published a long “news story” by Martin Crutsinger of the Associated Press Washington bureau (link not available) headlined:
“ $3 Trillion Budget Heads to Congress”
In paragraph six, Crutsinger refers to the Presidential deficit commission report in December:
“That proposal would attack the biggest causes of the deficit – spending on the benefit programs Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security – and defense spending.”
My first reaction, recalling President Eisenhower’s warning about the military-industrial complex, is to wonder why Crutsinger didn’t list defense spending, too, as a benefit program.
For as Ike feared, Pentagon dollars flow independent of real national security needs and of which party holds (nominal) power.
But here’s my real problem with that sentence – Social Security does not add to the deficit.
The unpaid-for wars in Afghanistan and Iraq do. And the Bush tax cuts (tolerated by Obama) for the wealthiest Americans. Subsidies for Big Oil and welfare for corporate agriculture and other exporters add to the deficit. Plus, bailouts for Detroit automakers and the very Wall Street firms who presented us with a near-Depression.
But not Social Security – it’s financed by the payroll tax and in the black for now.
So how come Crutsinger made that mistake? Perhaps he’s misinformed. It’s also true, however, that AP Washington allows its “reporters” to opine in “news stories” and some have views that coincide with those of the national GOP.
Since the GOP favors “privatizing” Social Security and since Journal management flies the same flag, I do not anticipate the editors will correct Crutsinger’s “error of fact” any time soon.
But on this Valentine’s Day, I would just love to be proven wrong.