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softwareNerd

Budget cuts that are not cuts at all

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Over the last few weeks, I've seen politicians call the budget cuts "draconian" in their effect on the aged and the poor and so on. The funny thing is that -- despite all the reporting -- there are no cuts. No, I'm not talking about social security, medicare and medicaid. No, it is not that these "entitlement programs" will rise faster than the cuts in "discretionary spending". No, ... after all the wrangling the "draconian" deal worked out in Congress sees "discretionary spending" grow every year for the next decade. The so-called cuts are cuts in planned growth-rates, not actual cuts.

The media is guilty of journalistic malpractice in portraying this as cuts. We see the role of Metaphysics & Epistemology here. College professors have long taught that truth is subjective. In journalism, this has translated into "he-said, she-said" journalism. Most journalists have redefined objectivity to mean they should ask "both sides" for their opinions, and report them. So, when both sides want to put a spin on some underlying premise (e.g. what is meant by a "cut") most journalists simply repeat the spin as if it is fact.

This also reinforces my notion that a country gets the journalists and politicians it deserves. I do not blame politicians for the state we're in. I blame american voters.

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I know it's about a month late, but I'm glad you made this thread. I keep hearing about OMG BUDGET CUTS WE'RE ALL DOOOOOOMED, and it's quite hilarious, frankly.

It kinda makes you wonder: perhaps the media's intent is to label less radical moves in the opposite direction as draconian and unreasonable, to prevent people from wanting to do what they should be doing.

Edited by Black Wolf

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It kinda makes you wonder: perhaps the media's intent is to label less radical moves in the opposite direction as draconian and unreasonable, to prevent people from wanting to do what they should be doing.

I don't wonder about this at all. I am quite certain that is their intent. This kind of stuff has been going on since Reagan took office.

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I don't think it's as sinister and conspiratorial as you are making it out to be (of course, I always opt for the simpler answer when there is one available).

What "the popular press" (the 50% of it that is not Fox News et. al.) is responding to is the difference between what was happening before and what is happening now. The difference, in this case, is that before we had a spending growth projection of X, and now that projection is less than that. We have cut the growth in spending. We have bent the curve.

In the context of our 50 year history of spending growth going the other way, this is big news. It's a big event. It's man-bites-dog.

Further, I think a lot of people are responding to the fact that such a turn of the intellectual tide portends an massive effort on the side of fiscal austerity, which would make you think that the hard part is over and the side's leverage will only get much stronger. Like an arm wrestler that finally turns the momentum his way, he knows that if he stops the momentum going against him and moves things his way even a little bit--then the match is all but over, or at very least looking very positive for him.

As for the cuts not being cuts, recall that our current demographics will place a TON more people on the dole in the next 20 years than we have now. On a per-recipient basis, this will certainly mean cuts to benefits. Now, "draconian" is a rather vague term in this context--but then again I haven't personally seen a newspaper or broadcast use that actual term. And yes, the current state and imagined (feared?) future state plays into rhetoric like this.

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