Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Whose reality is this, anyway?

The NY Times editorial this morning, Poverty and Recovery, is interesting in its utter and complete disconnectedness from the reality of the world in which I live.

In 2008, the first year of the Great Recession, the number of Americans living in poverty rose by 1.7 million to nearly 47.5 million. While hugely painful, that rise wasn’t surprising given the unraveling economy. What is surprising is that recent census data show that those poverty numbers held steady in 2009, even though job loss worsened significantly that year.

Clearly, the sheer scale of poverty — 15.7 percent of the country’s population — is unacceptable. But to keep millions more Americans from falling into poverty during a deep recession is a genuine accomplishment that holds a vital lesson: the safety net, fortified by stimulus, staved off an even more damaging crisis.

Congress should take a good look at those numbers, and consider that lesson carefully, before it commits to any more slashing and burning.
A couple of things...
  • "the safety net, fortified by stimulus, staved off an even more damaging crisis" - Contrary to "staving off an even more damaging crisis," in the world in which I live, the stimulus was a key component of, and contributor to, the crisis that took place.
  • "slashing and burning..." - In exactly which universe has "slashing and burning" taken place? Or even been proposed? The Federal government spent an estimated 35% more in 2010 than it did in 2007. The Federal government is spending, as it has nearly every year since the early 40's, about one of every five dollars of wealth that Americans produce. Speaking as someone who would LOVE to see some "slashing and burning" in the Federal budget, I ask, again, where the heck is it?
Oh, one more thing on that "slashing and burning." Has not the NY Times been among the outlets that has spent the last week and a half chastising Americans for un civil language in our political discourse? Isn't "slashing and burning" a little harsh as rhetoric coming from those with the language sensitivity of the discourse nannies at the New York Times?

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