Robert Reich

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  • Media Ignore Economic Growth, Expert Analyses In Debt Ceiling Coverage

    Warnings From Economists Like Paul Krugman Consistently Overlooked

    Blog ››› ››› ALBERT KLEINE

    Media outlets have focused heavily on the topics of deficits and debt, while largely ignoring economic growth during their coverage of the debt ceiling debate. However, experts agree that the need for growth is more pressing than problems of debt, and that growth itself can be a deficit reduction tactic.

    A Media Matters study of television coverage over the past three weeks found that while pundits and guests focused heavily on discussing the debt ceiling, the topic of economic growth was sorely lacking. Of the total 273 segments analyzed, only 33 mentioned economic growth.


    Instead of touching upon economic growth, Media Matters found that guests and hosts spent most of their discussions focusing on other issues, such as the role of entitlement spending and political leverage in negotiations between parties.

    While the debt ceiling issue is certainly important - and failing to raise it would have a negative impact on the overall economy - many economists have eschewed the focus on debt, arguing instead that economic growth should be the primary concern.

    Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman has long argued that the media and political focus on debt is misguided, and that recent increases in debt were necessary to prevent the economy from entering another recession. Jared Bernstein, senior fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, further argues that the focus on deficits and debt distracts policymakers from the very real problem of sustained high unemployment and a weak economy.

    In fact, Krugman echoed Bernstein's point on the January 28 edition of MSNBC's Morning Joe:

  • Fox Wins Straw-Man Argument Against Taxing Millionaires At 100 Percent


    Fox News is distorting President Obama's economic agenda by pushing the straw-man argument that taxing the entirety of millionaires' incomes would fund the government for less than three months. In fact, Obama has proposed no such thing, and this Republican talking point obscures the billions in revenue that would be generated from letting the Bush tax cuts expire for wealthy households.

  • Reich On O'Reilly's Communist Accusation: It's Burying The National Dialogue "In Doo-Doo"

    Blog ››› ››› EMILY ARROWOOD

    In an April 23 blog post, former Labor Secretary Robert Reich responded to Bill O'Reilly for labeling him a Communist who "secretly adores Karl Marx." Reich stated: "For the record, I'm not a Communist and I don't secretly adore Karl Marx."

    Reich added that ad hominem attacks such as these are destructive to public discourse and are merely "the last refuges of intellectual boors lacking any logic or argument."

    From Reich's post:

    For the record, I'm not a communist and I don't secretly adore Karl Marx.

    Ordinarily I don't bother repeating anything Bill O'Reilly says. But this particular whopper is significant because it represents what O'Reilly and Fox News, among others, are doing to the national dialogue.

    They're burying it in doo-doo.

    O'Reilly based his claim on an interview I did last week with Jon Stewart on the Daily Show, in which I argued that because America's big corporations were now global we could no longer rely on them to make necessary investments in human capital or to lobby for public investments in education, infrastructure, and basic R&D. So, logically, government has to step in.

    Since when does an argument for public investment in education, infrastructure, and basic R&D make someone a communist or a secret adorer of Karl Marx?

    But obviously, O'Reilly has no interest in arguing anything. Ad hominem attacks are always the last refuges of intellectual boors lacking any logic or argument.

    This is what's happening to all debate all over America: It's disappearing. All we're left with is a nasty residue.

    In Washington, Democrats and Republicans no longer even talk. They just vent charges and counter-charges.

    Reich's whole piece is well worth a read.