WPost: Sacrifice for Sacrifice’s Sake

This column by Washington Post deputy editorial page editor Jackson Diehl has received some well-deserved criticism, largely for its peculiar claim that reforming the U.S. healthcare system is a lot like invading Iraq. What jumped out at me was this supposed parallel between George W. Bush and Barack Obama: After September 11, Diehl wrote, “The president failed to ask a willing nation for sacrifice.” Likewise, in explaining his stimulus program, Obama said, “You will not see your taxes increased a single dime. I repeat: not one single dime. In fact, the recovery plan provides a tax cut . . . and these checks are on the way.”

It’s true that if your nation launches a war, that’s going to take resources, and that means that people are going to have to sacrifice. But reversing an economic downturn isn’t about taking stuff away from people; it’s about encouraging them to spend money so that people who are unemployed can be put back to work. The implication that Obama should have told people he was raising their taxes in order to combat the recession is sheer neo-Hooverism.

About Jim Naureckas

Extra! Magazine Editor Since 1990, Jim Naureckas has been the editor of Extra!, FAIR's monthly journal of media criticism. He is the co-author of The Way Things Aren't: Rush Limbaugh's Reign of Error, and co-editor of The FAIR Reader: An Extra! Review of Press and Politics in the '90s. He is also the co-manager of FAIR's website. He has worked as an investigative reporter for the newspaper In These Times, where he covered the Iran-Contra scandal, and was managing editor of the Washington Report on the Hemisphere, a newsletter on Latin America. Jim was born in Libertyville, Illinois, in 1964, and graduated from Stanford University in 1985 with a bachelor's degree in political science. Since 1997 he has been married to Janine Jackson, FAIR's program director. You can follow Jim on Twitter at @JNaureckas.