At a time when millions of Americans are are experiencing massive unemployment, a painfully slow economic recovery, wage stagnation and the after-effects of the bursting of a multi-trillion dollar housing bubble, isn't it time someone demanded that they suffer a little bit?
Of course not, you might say. But that's why you don't work in the media big leagues.
But if you look at how dire the fiscal situation is in the country, we just came off a debt debacle this past summer. Alan Simpson, responding to the State of the Union, said: Where's the guts? Where's the hard stuff? Where's the beef? Where are the hard choices that Americans are going to have to make? What are Americans going to have to do with less of if this president gets re-elected?
Axelrod, to his credit, noted that plenty of people are actually hurting. But that didn't seem to impress Gregory:
GREGORY: But we're not dealing with the big drivers of the debt, as you know. The debt commission that the president convened is not advice that he acted on. And the reality is that the fiscal situation is dire. If we're not dealing with entitlements–what, you talk about shared sacrifice, would the president…
AXELROD: Listen, the…
GREGORY: Wait a second. He–there was a stimulus plan. There was a new healthcare entitlement, but there was nothing dealing with the big drivers of the day.
It's hard to overstate just how committed elite media are to the concept of government austerity as the fix to our current economic problems. Economists like Paul Krugman and Dean Baker might disagree, and the public would seem to think the "hard stuff" could be spending less on, say, the military. But that doesn't seem to register with people like David Gregory, who demand that politicians must be brave enough to cut Social Security–a program he's falsely declared to be one of the "big drivers" of the debt.