CEOs Tout Austerity–Without Being ‘Ideological’ About It

This passage from Meet the Press (10/14/12) says a lot about how middle-of-the-road elite journalists think about fiscal issues.

Here’s NBC veteran Tom Brokaw and host David Gregory:

BROKAW:   I was just going to say, I talked to a lot of major business leaders who want Romney to get elected, but almost to a man and a woman, they say, “But you know what, we’re going to have to pay some more taxes in our category.”  What they want to do, however, is to benchmark them against spending cuts, so that they can get spending down to 20 percent of GDP.  There’s going to have to be a combination, in their judgment.  And these are private business leaders who run big companies, and entrepreneurial people.  And to a man and a woman, they were saying, “I can afford to pay a little more if I think it’s going to go for the right formulation about getting spending and tax revenue back in line.”…

GREGORY:  They’re not burdened by these ideological fights.  Often they’ll say, “Look, we don’t care.”

So Brokaw’s CEO pals, who just so happen to be Romney supporters, endorse a plan to cap government spending at exactly the same level–20 percent of GDP–that the Romney campaign is proposing.

But as an op-ed by Steven Rattner argues in the New York Times today (10/15/12), this is a remarkably radical concept. Given his call for a dramatic increase in military spending, Romney would need to cut the rest of the budget (non-healthcare, non-military) by 40 percent to meet this arbitrary target.

To Beltway journalists like Brokaw and Gregory, wealthy CEOs aren’t ideological–they just want the government to get its affairs in order. And the way you do that, apparently, is by cutting spending that will surely hurt the poor more than anyone else. But at least they’re not getting all “ideological” about it.


About Peter Hart

Activism Director and and Co-producer of CounterSpinPeter Hart is the activism director at FAIR. He writes for FAIR's magazine Extra! and is also a co-host and producer of FAIR's syndicated radio show CounterSpin. He is the author of The Oh Really? Factor: Unspinning Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly (Seven Stories Press, 2003). Hart has been interviewed by a number of media outlets, including NBC Nightly News, Fox News Channel's O'Reilly Factor, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday and the Associated Press. He has also appeared on Showtime and in the movie Outfoxed. Follow Peter on Twitter at @peterfhart.