Monday, November 23, 2009

NYT vs. NYT



My regular readers know that I use The New York Times as a source on regular basis. It is, perhaps, the most frequently quoted source for me. (I don’t keep up with such things.) Yesterday was an example of why I read it and quote it.

Wave of Debt Payments Facing U.S. Government

My conservative friends (yes, I know you’re out there) should read that one. You would like it. The gist of it is that the United States of America is borrowing a really big pile of money that has to be paid back and these are all the things that might go wrong and we need to stop it.

But this morning -- in the very same paper -- Paul Krugman gets to lambast the central argument in yesterday’s front-page piece. He was a little subtle about it in his regular Monday-morning opinion piece. He was much more direct in his blog.

”Urg. Big piece on the front page saying that, on the one hand, some people say that we’re going to have a debt crisis any day now, while on the other hand … well, actually we never hear from the other side.

As Dean says, the numbers don’t fit the scare story — a decade from now interest payments will reach a level not seen since … 1992. And the market seems unworried, since long-term rates remain low.“


You could be cynical and say The New York Times is just covering all the bases. Or, you could believe that they actually are a first-rate newspaper that tries to provide information and balance. I choose to believe the latter. But not to worry. I’m still enough of a cynic to believe Krugman’s parting shot is correct.

”This suggests that James Kwak is right: a lot of this is about scaring the government into inaction on unemployment.“

Translation for the common man ? The Masters of the Universe say “eat cake”. There’s nothing wrong with the economy if you’re looking at it from the top down. The banks were rescued and the stock market is back up. All is well.

Don Brown
November 23, 2009

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