October 14, 2007

2 of 3 ‘Newspapers of Record’ Fail to Record Federal Fiscal-Year Deficit News

Filed under: Economy,MSM Biz/Other Bias,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:04 am

The Heritage Foundation’s Robert Bluey reported in his Sunday Townhall column that there was disinterest at the hallowed “newspapers of record” in the government’s news about the just-ended fiscal year’s deficit (links to White House deficit announcement and to Business and Media Institute report are in the original):

The U.S. budget deficit fell to the lowest level in five years last week, but three of America’s leading newspapers — the New York Times, Washington Post and Los Angeles Times — couldn’t find the space to mention the dramatic drop.

Journalists who have spent years trashing President Bush’s tax cuts appeared to suddenly lose interest when the budget picture brightened. That’s not surprising, however, considering that mainstream reporters frequently ignore upbeat economic news.

For 49 straight months, dating back to August 2003, the U.S. economy has added jobs. More than 8 million, in fact. Yet the only time economic news seems to hit the front page is when there’s something bad to report. No wonder Bush gets little credit.

See for yourself at the NY Times, the Post, and the LA Times (searches are on “deficit billion” — not in quotes):

  • The Post’s Neil Irwin wrote a 600-word article (“Economy Signals Damage Control”) about supposedly weak retail sales (you’re wrong, Neil — they were “stronger than expected“) and the deficit. But it was the trade deficit and not the US budget deficit, which Irwin ignored. The Post did carry the uncharacteristically balanced deficit coverage of the Associated Press’s Martin Crutsinger, but apparently only online, as there is no print edition page indicator at the link.
  • Bluey had one minor oversight, as the New York Times did carry a one-paragraph Associated Press item — on Page A22 in the October 12 print edition. That hardly counts as “All the News That’s Fit to Print,” especially considering that the Times, like the Post, also did an in-house piece on the trade deficit.
  • The LA Times had no report relating to the federal budget deficit. That’s like the paper’s sports editor deciding not to report on the previous night’s Dodgers game because it wasn’t interesting.

Does anyone seriously believe that the news would have been almost completely ignored if the deficit had instead gone up?

Because the “newspapers of record” won’t cover it, yours truly will. Rather than provide 2,000 words, I’ll provide two pictures, which are worth 1,000 each (:–>):


Now for some cold water: I hope I’m wrong, but I believe that the long run of increased tax receipts is over, and that receipts in future years will go up by no more than 4%-5% annually — if we’re lucky. That’s because none of the economy-prodding suggestions made at the end of this post last year have been put into place. The current Congressional majority has no interest in making the Bush 2001-2003 tax cuts permanent. If that were miraculously to happen, the economy would likely go into orbit at the sudden rush of bi-partisan sanity. But that makes too much sense.

If, as appears likely, the Bush cuts are instead allowed to expire at the end of 2010, that will in reality represent a huge tax increase after seven years of a mostly-static tax structure. Worse still, a Democratic presidential victory in 2008 could not only mean a probable earlier end to the Bush cuts, but steep additional taxes on top of that. All three major Dem candidates have already promised exactly that.

Because of these things, it would not surprise me in the least that investors and corporate managers considering expansion are becoming more cautious, hindering current economic growth.

What’s really needed, as I’ve suggested several times in the past few months, is another tax cut. It would nice to hear at least one GOP presidential candidate talking about that, and not merely holding the line on the Bush cuts.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org and at Wide Open.


UPDATE: As noted at this Monday morning post, Giuliani has specifically said he will lower taxes.

UPDATE 2: A belated welcome to Instapundit readers!



  1. [...] UPDATE: Bizzy Blog looked at the impact of the tax revenues on the deficit. Hat tip: Glenn Reynolds. [...]

    Pingback by Don Surber » Blog Archive » Tax revenues up 44% in 4 years — October 14, 2007 @ 11:07 pm

  2. If you use the proper base year of 2000 rather than 2003, I think you’ll be much less impressed with the growth in tax receipts and reduction in deficit. Much more impressive is the $9 Trillion in debt we’ve accumulated. At 5% interest that chews up $450 Billion annually.

    I didn’t know of you back when Newt was Speaker, but I’ll bet you were right there with him calling for a balanced budget amendment. Am I right?

    Comment by A. Browning — October 15, 2007 @ 1:13 am

  3. #2, wartime was one of the exceptions in the balanced budget amendment in the mid-1990s. In case you didn’t notice we’re in a war. Yes, I supported the Budget Balanced Amendment. And your point is….?

    Nice try.

    Comment by TBlumer — October 15, 2007 @ 2:08 am

  4. You can’t give credit for a falling deficit unless you first give bvalme for creating it in the first place. The stating and ending point are far less important that what’s happened in between and $2.5 billion in debt is nothing to be proud of.

    Comment by Policywonk — October 15, 2007 @ 5:34 am

  5. #4, Ok, from this post Friday, from AP:

    While there were projections that the budget would run up surpluses of $5.6 trillion over the next decade, the bursting of the stock market bubble in 2000, the recession that followed in 2001 and the terrorist attacks, which led to increased military spending to fight wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, pushed the country back into deficit spending.

    That, plus a merry band of irresponsible, overspending Republicans, until 2005. The 2006 Congress actually was pretty good, which is why spending this year only went up 2.8%.

    Comment by TBlumer — October 15, 2007 @ 6:52 am

  6. Yes, but please notice Bloomberg this morning indicating that deficit will soar. I don’t recall them saying too much about the declining deficit, but now they are predicting a turn for the worse. Note that they treat an anticipated increase as if it had already happened.


    Comment by Rich Berger — October 15, 2007 @ 8:29 am

  7. January, 2009 Can’t Come Fast Enough…

    Will this nightmare never end?…

    Trackback by The Scratching Post — October 15, 2007 @ 8:34 am

  8. This is great news, but it’s the entitlement spending that’s going to kill us and no one is talking about reigning that in. Fred’s the only one who even mentions it among the top tier candidates.

    Comment by K T Cat — October 15, 2007 @ 8:36 am

  9. #6, there is a fair chance the deficit going to turn upward, because the new Congress has ruined expectations until at least November of next year, if not further. Note how the last two points of the deficit graph are flat.

    Bloomberg is onto something, but never forget that ex-CNNer Al Hunt runs it now.

    The 2006 GOP Congress finally reined in spending a bit, which is why spending only went up 2.8% this year. I do not see how that will get replicated next year.

    Just noticed what you pointed out …. that it-has-already-happened Bloomberg headline is despicable.

    Comment by TBlumer — October 15, 2007 @ 8:40 am

  10. #8, I don’t disagree with you at all. The post is primarily about media failure to report the deficit news, but in line with what you noted, the Bush announcement also pointed out the need for entitlement reform.

    A good place to start would be overriding the SCHIP expansion veto.

    Comment by TBlumer — October 15, 2007 @ 9:21 am

  11. Superb Sleuthing! Still, one can’t help but notice the below linked story (“Federal Budget Deficit Falls”), which appeared in both the NYT’s website and physical paper and, that, uh, discusses the narrowing budget gap — including the Bush administration claim that lower taxes were the reason. One can quibble with the story’s length, one can quibble with its lack of a banner headline, but one cannot quibble with the fact that it actually appeared in the newspaper. Better luck next time.


    Comment by Jon — October 15, 2007 @ 10:22 am

  12. #11, did you even bother reading the post, or are you comprehension-challenged?

    (second bullet above)
    Bluey had one minor oversight, as the New York Times did carry a one-paragraph Associated Press item — on Page A22 in the October 12 print edition. That hardly counts as “All the News That’s Fit to Print,” especially considering that the Times, like the Post, also did an in-house piece on the trade deficit.

    That’s why the post title is “2 out of 3.” Zheesh.

    Read and understand the post next time.

    Comment by TBlumer — October 15, 2007 @ 10:34 am

  13. 2000 was the last year not impacted by Bush tax cuts. Use that as your base year for comparison and I think you’ll brag less.

    Comment by Browning — October 15, 2007 @ 11:24 am

  14. #3, My point regards your hypocrisy. With a Democrat in the White House, you called for a balanced budget amendment, but with a Republican in office, you are silent.

    Under Bush, we’ve run up over $3 Trillion in debt. To date, I think the war has cost “only” $750 Billion. Did your amendment allow for that extra 2.25 Trillion?

    Comment by Browning — October 15, 2007 @ 11:36 am

  15. [...] This thing sort of slipped by my radar this year (okay, I’m not the most observant of girls when I’m on painkillers), and if I am reading correctly, then today is the last day to nominate your favorite blogs in one of any number of categories. This year, the Wizbang folks have smartly installed a “+” sign to the nominations so you can simply hit the button rather than add to a gazillion posts already saying “Captains Quarters!” or “Sister Toldjah!” or “J’s place!” or Bizzy Blog!” or whatever. [...]

    Pingback by The Anchoress » Blog Archive » The 2007 Weblog Awards — October 15, 2007 @ 11:43 am

  16. My mistake. Perhaps you should also alert Glenn Reynolds, who linked to your piece that quotes the incorrect assertion from Bluey. And I would hardly call such a mistake a “minor oversight.” If you’re going to assert that a publication failed to publish something, you might want to make sure that they actually failed to publish it.

    Comment by Jon — October 15, 2007 @ 12:35 pm

  17. #13, Bush’s budget responsiblity began on October 1, 2001. We were operating on the previous admin’s budget until then.

    The 2001 tax cuts were not the investment-related cuts that were needed. 2003’s were. If you want to complain about the timeline, write your own blogpost.

    #14, with us not at war, I thought a BBA was a good idea as long as it had a wartime exception and as long as it included dynamic scoring, incorporating the probable revenue-raising that would occur if the right tax cuts were made.

    I still support that. We’re at war now. You’re not making any kind of a valid point. And the post is primarily about what’s not reported, not my opinion of a BBA, which you received as a free bonus.

    #16, Mr. Reynolds is fully aware of the content of this post. He chose to write what he wrote. Anyway, he said *follow the link for more*, and the sole exception cited is one para that was not even authored by the NYT. You’re quibbling. What is it about *2 out of 3* that a reader won’t understand? Instapundit has an e-mail addy, and you are more than welcome to take it up with him.

    Comment by TBlumer — October 15, 2007 @ 1:04 pm

  18. [...] More good news on the economic front: Bizzyblog points out that major media has ignored the story of the deficit being substantially lowered. This, of course, is not the first time they’ve ignored exactly that news before, and they’ll keep ignoring it, I gather, until there is a new president in the White House who can be credited for it. Ummm…but only if that new president is a Democrat, don’t forget. Enjoy the good news while you can, because as Bizzy points out, once the Bush tax cuts end in ‘10, there is little-to-no chance that the Democrats will re-instate them. In fact, the Democrats have been faithfully promising for some time, now to raise every tax they can think of. [...]

    Pingback by The Anchoress » Blog Archive » Big stories, little headlines — October 15, 2007 @ 1:47 pm

  19. Thanks for the info. Nit: the charts are titled “Previous 12 Months” receipts & deficits. They cover the last 48 months. I was having a really hard time getting my brain around a 44% increase in receipts in one year.

    Comment by km — October 15, 2007 @ 2:55 pm

  20. #19, if you have a suggestion for making it clearer, I’m open. I was thinking of adding the words “by quarter” to each title but thought that might be more confusing than helpful to many.

    Comment by TBlumer — October 15, 2007 @ 3:13 pm

  21. Wow. I think you’ve discovered something quite interesting here, especially given the ongoing war and 9/11. You also seem to get quite a few trolls.

    Comment by InRussetShadows — October 15, 2007 @ 3:47 pm

  22. No Bizzy, Bush’s budget responsibility may have begun in October,2001, but he was negatively impacting tax receipts prior to that. Soon after the July, 2001 passage of the first round of tax cuts, the treasury mailed checks of at least $300 to every taxpayer. That certainly reduced FY2001 revenues. Are you embarrassed to tell people that from 2000 to 2007 tax receipts increased only 26.8%?

    Comment by A. Browning — October 15, 2007 @ 3:58 pm

  23. [...] Deficit Continues to Fall October 15, 2007 Posted by taoist in Capitalism and Economics. trackback Is anyone paying attention?Anyone? [...]

    Pingback by The Deficit Continues to Fall « Tai-Chi Policy — October 15, 2007 @ 4:10 pm

  24. #22, the checks were probably $30-40 bil at most. B,F,D. Conceded — it was a too-feeble attempt to counteract the impact of the bubble.

    Repeating from this post Friday, from AP:

    While there were projections that the budget would run up surpluses of $5.6 trillion over the next decade, the bursting of the stock market bubble in 2000, the recession that followed in 2001 and the terrorist attacks, which led to increased military spending to fight wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, pushed the country back into deficit spending.

    The amount is so unimportant even hopelessly biased AP won’t cite it.

    As AP (finally) and those in the real world know, the econ got rocked by the bubble and the terror attacks (whose combined impact on collections probably pushes $1 tril over 3 years) — both of which are not W’s fault (unless you’re a troofer). As to the war, that was approved on a heavily bi-partisan vote. Once you go to war, you fight to win. W hasn’t fought hard enough to win, and the Dems have been doing everything to try to lose.

    If you want me to agree that the investment-related cuts should have been passed at least a year earlier, I’m right there with ya, buddy.

    Comment by TBlumer — October 15, 2007 @ 5:17 pm

  25. If anything, the reason the deficit is going down is because the warmongering spend-crazy Republican congress has lost traction now that public opinion has caught up with them in an election year. It is now time to find out if all those rigged electronic voting mechanisms are working properly. Will the incumbents be re-elected yet again?

    Bush signs everything that comes his way, unless it benefits primarily children. If the corporations rake in the dough the bill is signed into law regardless of the long-term fiscal consequences to the government.

    I posted a comment on Tom’s blog debunking the wacky claim by David Kesler that Social Security income is not counted in the S-CHIP qualification criteria. Tom censored my comment and Kesler provides no feedback mechanism of any kind except e-mail that he has so far ignored.

    My suggestion to every person reading Tom’s blog is to stop wasting your time and getting your blood pressure elevated over mistakes, or worse yet, lies. It is a common ‘neoconservative’ tactic to spend like crazy on pet projects including unprovoked foreign invasions and then whine like stuck pigs when anybody else wants to be fed.

    The true reason (besides pet projects) that the US government is bankrupt is because of the Federal Reserve Act. In 1913 the US government under the Democrat Woodrow Wilson signed over control of the money supply to a cabal of private bankers, who now charge the government interest on all the money that gets printed instead of letting the government print the money for free like it did since the inception of the government.

    The Federal Reserve Act is a Ponzi scheme. The money to pay off the interest has to be printed also, and interest is charged on that interest. The natural result is financial collapse once the economy stops ‘growing’ as it is about to now that we have burned half of all the accessible oil and the global environment is crumbling under a burgeoning world population.

    Wikipedia states (of Wilson): “He took a plan that had been designed by conservative Republicans–led by Nelson W. Aldrich and banker Paul M. Warburg–and passed it.”

    Wikiquote: “Already they have raised up a monied aristocracy that has set the government at defiance. The issuing power (of money) should be taken away from the banks and restored to the people to whom it properly belongs.”–Thomas Jefferson, U.S. President.

    Of all the reasons why North Americans fought (and won) the revolutionary war, it was primarily to gain control over the money supply, which was up until the war strangling them financially and inciting them to rebellion. The central bankers, with the Republicans leading the charge, effectively shredded the Declaration of Independence in 1913.

    Now that same cabal of bankers (actually, their descendants, who now are best described as dynasties) owns most of the activity on Wall Street. Central bankers have their fingers in nearly every pie on nearly every continent and they are dragging down productivity like lead ballast, giving us game shows and American Idol and infotainment and toxic waste in return for the sweat off our backs.

    The head of the CIA is always chosen from that same cabal, and its primary mission is to protect the business community from foreign threats. The rest is window dressing. Yesterday it was United Fruit; today it is Blackwater Security.

    The IRS (another private corporation, located in the Dominican Republic) is the mechanism by which the interest on the debt is collected, and all of our income tax pays only the interest to these private bankers. The government is funded by apportioned taxes, not income tax.

    If you want to blame Democrats like Wilson for the financial mess we are in, go ahead. They keep waffling under Wall Street scrutiny whenever spend-crazy Republicans start singing their siren songs such as “You are getting very sleepy. You will turn over control of the money supply to me. You will remember nothing when you wake up.”

    Comment by BizzBuzz — October 16, 2007 @ 4:17 am

  26. I posted a comment on Tom’s blog debunking the wacky claim by David Kesler that Social Security income is not counted in the S-CHIP qualification criteria. Tom censored my comment and Kesler provides no feedback mechanism of any kind except e-mail that he has so far ignored.

    I e-mailed you in response to your comment. I wasn’t about to put up a comment like yours attempting to debunk Kesler that had no links I or anyone else could go to for verification. It seems that if there was a definitive debunk to Kesler available, the left, which is angry as all get-out about how they’re losing this discussion on merits (they may still win, but it will be on emotion, not merits), would have come out with it by now.

    Mr. Kesler assured me via e-mail (before your comment) that I had it right in the ParisCare SCHIP post. Given that 46 states don’t have asset tests for SCHIP (that IS documented with a link), that no one has come out to debunk Kesler that I’m aware of, and that he has a string of financial credentials, the burden of proof is on you. I’m still open to getting such proof, and you should know that. If you haven’t gotten a response from Kesler, it may be partially because of your tone, which I have more patience with than I believe most people would.

    As to your Fed Res, IRS, etc. rant, I don’t know where to begin, so I won’t …. except to say that somehow the world is a better place despite all these conspirators …. it really is.

    Comment by TBlumer — October 16, 2007 @ 8:38 am

  27. #25 also, I have saved your comment, in case you ever put meat on the bones. If you need the text for whatever reason, let me know and I’ll e-mail it.

    Comment by TBlumer — October 16, 2007 @ 8:41 am

  28. [...] Read the rest here… [...]

    Pingback by Deficit falls…. again, lowest level in 5 years « Apropos of Nothing — October 16, 2007 @ 9:07 am

  29. I am sorry, Tom, but the point of contention here is not the asset test, and repeating it over and over does nothing except show that you are deliberately attempting to debase the conversation. Kesler is wrong about Social Security income, and without actually applying for S-CHIP there is no way to show that he does or does not qualify. The asset test is a red herring. I showed that his scenario (his wife working, him retired), which is the scenario he based his bogus argument on, was flat wrong and I do not blame him or you for trying to obscure that point because it basically demonstrates that his argument ignores the reality of working people and may have been deliberately fabricated with a convenient omission, or at least recklessly devised. That is why I check my facts first before publishing.

    The fact is that any two-earner family here in California that makes any kind of middle class income worth mentioning does not qualify either before or after retirement,


    unless we want to limit the debate to a useless straw-man rant over the ownership class with tons of cash invested in securities and no work history on file with the IRS, in which case S-CHIP and any other nickel-and-dime programs are not worth their time applying for because they own the insurance companies anyway. In any case, even the ownership class tends to have jobs and pay taxes. Someone has to run the megacorporations. They simply cannot resist leaving an income record, especially if they want to get elected in which case they have to disclose what they do with their time to be considered electable. Working under the table and trading companies in poker games does not qualify anyone for elected office.

    I called the California S-CHIP program myself and had the woman read me the entire text of what counts and what does not count. I also copied the list, but you did not post it. If you want verification that my exhaustive list that I posted for the benefit of your skeptical readers is accurate, call yourself. Here is the phone number:

    “Call 1-800-880-5305 if you do not already have a child enrolled in Healthy Families. You can ask questions, have the application form sent to you or apply by phone. You can call Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., or on Saturday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The call is free.”

    Note that I had to get transferred to a manager to find out what counts and what does not count; the clerks who answer the phone do not have that information in front of them and it is not published on the web site either. I did not get the formulas they use to actually determine the cut-off point on a case-by-case basis. I was told it is too complicated to communicate over the phone. Maybe you would care to do the math with Kesler and prove me wrong, once he discloses his Social Security income.

    As far as my guestimates of Kesler’s AIME are concerned, I am not going to bother publishing the links to the Social Security web site because neither you nor your readers would be likely able to follow the calculations I did, and in any case it is a guess and not a reality. Since he did not reply to me either I could not verify his AIME. That is why I also included my own scenario, which is based in reality as opposed to fantasy based upon a gross error.

    This is your blog; take some responsibility for your errors. I made the same phone call Kesler did using only a Google search. I am not about to go searching for nonexistent links to debunk your errors. You do it.

    Unless, of course, you want to continue posting and debating extreme cases that the average person cannot relate to. Every generation of Republicans has its own pet welfare queens to beat up. Why not S-CHIP?

    The part of the equation that is so disheartening to me is how many gullible single-issue working class stiffs vote against their own best interests while your idols in the top brass keep shamelessly voting for no-bid ‘defense’ contracts and no-bid Medicare drug payments and farm subsidies that crowd working-class farmers out of the market without batting an eyelash, as if federal social engineering, gross overspending and immoral invasions and torture and the ‘Patriot’ (ha) Act are above criticism just because you like them.

    If you are offended by my tone, that is your problem, not mine. I am deeply offended by your lack of rigor. The least you could do is to check your facts before you go maligning the diminishing piece of the pie that goes to people who work hard all their lives only to discover that they have to trade off their children’s health care and potentially their children’s lives in order to provide those same children with a stable home where they can actually walk down the street on their way to school without getting mowed down in a drug-related gang shooting.

    I am offended also by Kesler’s implying that anyone who does not share his good fortune did not work as hard as he does and is not as responsible. I am disabled through no fault of my own from gross negligence and lawlessness in that same for-profit health care system that anti-socialists keep putting forth as the best health care system in the world. My own experience proves that even with insurance I can get dumped on the street while dying the same as that woman in Sicko. The problem goes far deeper than who pays for what. There is a moral pall that reflects the malaise from sea to sea. People seem capable of doing and saying anything in a time when our own president defrauds our country of hundreds of billions in a failed attempt to stave off the coming permanent energy crisis by turning over control of the Middle East to his buddies instead of developing solutions here at home.

    Comment by BizzBuzz — October 17, 2007 @ 1:22 am

  30. OK.

    I think you’re acknowledging that the asset test point stands regardless of the resolution of in the income issue.

    First off, if I’m reading it right, a family of 4 can get into Cali’s SCHIP making up to $51,600 per year (12 x $4303). I’m sorry, that’s too high, even in Cali.

    I fully understand the AIME calcs for SocSec, and very conservatively assumed $12k per year for Kesler’s benefit based on IIRC 36% income replacement of an inflation-forwarded average income of $50K per year times a 75% reduction for going out at 62 instead of 66.

    EVEN IF I concede your points (which I don’t; I’ve made it clear that I’m relying on Kesler, and he made it clear to me that he believes he’s correct) on income eligibility (i.e., it all gets thrown into the mix), Kesler’s scenario still leaves room for him to get those SocSec benefits (tax-free), and about $12,000 in investment investment income (relatively lightly taxed) and still qualify for SCHIP:

    27K Wife’s sal
    12K SocSeck
    12K investment income
    51K Total

    That is NOT my definition of a needy person who has the right to demand that taxpayers pay for his kids’ health care (maybe his and hers too). And it’s NOT an extreme case.

    Note that he could sustain this eligibility with about $200,000 in non-retirement investments in mutual funds with low turnover.

    Additionally, in OH (I looked this up), if a person has a gazillion in retirement or other tax-deferred assets and he weren’t eligible to take distributions from the accounts, none of that would affect SCHIP eligibility. I suspect Cali is the same. That would include a Paris Hilton if she and her trustees restructured her situation.

    It would also be worth knowing if “income” is before or after 401(k) contribs. If it’s after, a $65K/year person could put 14K per year into a pre-tax 401(k) and slide in under the limit.

    I would love to have the time to do the kind of time-consuming during-the-day investigative work you’re demanding. I don’t, and I won’t, because I’m not going to volunteer to starve to meet your sense of rigor. I have backlog of at least a half-dozen follow-ups like this that I’d like to do and probably won’t ever get to.

    The point is that there are thousands of people who are being paid at least half-decent money to do that during-the-day work. They are called mainstream media journalists, and they aren’t doing their jobs. The fact that they haven’t done it, and typically don’t, is why these issues get so controversial. Responsible MSM journalists would have questioned the Frosts’ situation themselves before their names even appeared in the papers instead of being the DNC’s stenographers.

    I can’t even get my arms around your other points, but will note that if your situation is as you described, I am sorry for it. I think your globalizing it into the areas you describe is out of line.

    Comment by TBlumer — October 17, 2007 @ 6:43 am

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