Media’s Deficit Hawk Fixation Yields. . . Record Deficits

Listening to “budget hawk” media figures who urge President Obama “to commit to spending cuts and/or tax increases” because they are “upset that the deficits projected for 2013 or 2019 are too large,” Dean Baker (TPM Café, 3/25/09) finds it

especially annoying to hear the whining from this group of deficit hawks since their whining in prior years helped to drown out serious discussion of the dangers posed by an $8 trillion housing bubble. While some of us were yelling at the top of our lungs about the imminent disaster that would hit the economy when the housing bubble burst, the media chose to focus on these deficit hawks with their dire warnings about budget deficits 40 or 50 years in the future. Because the media and political elites chose to pay more attention to the deficit hawks than those warning about the housing bubble, we now get to enjoy the current economic crisis. And, one result of the economic crisis is (drum roll, please) . . . record deficits.

Compelled to “put the point so simply that even a Washington Post editor can understand it,” Baker writes that, “because the media highlighted the views of the people who were ranting about the deficit rather than the views of people who understood the economy, we both got a wrecked economy and larger deficits.”