Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Bunning deserves props; media comparison

Sen Jim Bunning (Kentucky) deserves some thanks today; he's temporarily stalling the Obamanation from wasting more of our money ($10,000,000,000 this time) on extending various government support programs, which, although popular, are the continuing bane of America's long-term well-being (being as the largest long-term problem America has is the culture of entitlement, and nothing feeds the culture of entitlement as much as more government spending on entitlement programs). Granted, it's only a temporary setback; the money will be printed/spent soon anyway; and the objection is not to spending the money, but rather a statement about the blatant hypocrisy of Congress proposing the unfunded waste just days after approving "pay as you go" rules for new spending (which this clearly violates in concept, although not in letter). Still, I have to approve of someone in the cesspool of Congress doing the right thing for the country, since it's such a rarity these days.

On a related note, here are some representative samples of the story (and some reader comments), from the [colloquial] conservative and liberal press outlets:
- Fox News
- AP

Feel free to decide for yourself which one gives you the better, more complete picture of what's actually going on, and extrapolate about which side of the political spectrum contains the bulk of the intelligent and informed participants.


  1. The Fox article is more detailed, but that doesn't mean ideological news, either right or left, is a good idea.

    How about this article from the New York Times: 2,000 Furloughs Linked to Impasse in Congress

    This seems like a non-ideological news story, which is how news should be. Bunning says the debt is over $14 trillion and going up fast. Democrats say Republicans weren't worried about running up the debt when Bush was president (and, I'd add, when there was no need for fiscal stimulus).

  2. The NY Times story itself is fairly impartial, but consider the slant of the story itself. The title could have just as easily been "Government Bureaucracy Blames Furloughs on Congress' Delay in Extending Unfunded Entitlement Spending". Same topic, different focus.

    I'd say the WSJ followup explaining the resolution of Bunning's feeble attempt to defy the blatant corruption and hypocrisy of Congress was fairly unbiased; quotes from both sides, a summary of the issue, and no particular spin. It's just too bad he didn't have the political courage to stand against furthering unfunded entitlement programs in general, and/or try to explain why they are destroying the country.

    Se-la-vi, onwards into the black hole, full speed ahead and burn anyone who objects to the Party message...

  3. Maybe you'll write on the non-ideological problems with unfunded entitilements. Take Social Security. If you assume for the moment you don't have a problem with the government providing retirement, life insurance, and disability insurance, what's so bad about the government getting money to pay this year's benefits from this year's taxpayers? Rightwingers claim they don't like the way the programs are funded, but really you ideologically don't think the gov't should providing those services no matter how the gov't handles the financing.

  4. I don't think the government should provide anything beyond basic support services, especially when they are they "pay out now, figure out how to not bankrupt the country later" type. I don't really have a problem with a very basic retirement/disability support program, provided it was structured and managed well... which is a far cry from anything the government has proposed or enacted to date.

    The problem with the way social security is structured (pyramid scheme) is that it relies on an ever-increasing worker income basis to maintain the benefits level, which is not sustainable (and not resilient to fluctuations in the economy). When there's a shortfall, two things can happen: taxes can be increased, or benefits can be reduced; you can guess which is more attractive to politicians and less politically hazardous. Everything about this scenario is bad.

    It's similar to my view on a nationalized health insurance plan. I'm not fundamentally opposed, provided it is done correctly; however, I have zero faith that our government will do anything remotely close to something not disastrous, and I'd rather have no action than anything our government would or has proposed. It's not that I don't think there's a good way to provide it, or couldn't construct one which was good and acceptable to me (and by extension to at least some other libertarians); but anything our government will propose will nigh-certainly be a horrible plan I'm certain to object to.