Friday, March 7, 2014

Spending increases = cuts

When the federal government announces it is "cutting spending," it really means it is INCREASING SPENDING, just not as much as it would have without the "cuts." This example of Newspeak has been around long enough that the media doesn't even bother commenting on it any longer.

From syndicated columnist Scott Rasmussen's commentary on President Obama's budget proposal released Tuesday by the White House:
The standard media coverage of President Barack Obama's new budget claimed the proposals included $600 billion of budget cuts over the next decade.
It was just about impossible, though, to find any media story mentioning some basic numbers that belong in any story about a new federal budget. How much money is the federal government spending this year? How does that compare to what it spent last year, or expects to spend next year?
Perhaps the reason for this failure is because the real numbers don't match up with the storyline. For example, in the current year, the federal government is expected to spend $3,651 billion. With all the spending cuts being talked about, a reasonable person might assume that spending next year will be down a bit. But it's not. In fact, the president's budget calls for spending $3,901 billion in 2015. That's $250 billion more than this year. It's not a one-year aberration either. Spending increases are projected every single year for the next decade and beyond.
It's hard to write that the president's budget is cutting spending by $600 billion while also reporting numbers showing spending going in the opposite direction. . . .
The basic problem is simple and should be easy for a reporter to explain. In the 1970s, Congress tortured the English language by requiring that if federal spending grows less than expected, it should officially be called a spending cut. Outside of the beltway bubble, nobody talks like that. Reporters are letting the public down by accepting the word games of politicians and not reporting the real numbers in the language of ordinary Americans.
This is more than just a theoretical discussion about journalistic standards. The failure of reporters to provide real numbers presents a false image to the American public about the state of the budget. Spending is not being cut but going up.

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