NYT Not Even Trying for Balance; Front Page Screams GOP’s ‘Next Objective: Cutting the Safety Net’

Another day, another left-wing report hammering the Republican tax plan on the front page of the New York Times, this time in the lead-story section on Sunday's front page. Kate Zernike and Alan Rappeport penned one of a pair of lead stories on the Republicans passing their tax plan in the Senate, under a headline that didn't even nod toward objectivity: “Next Objective: Cutting the Safety Net.

That headline indicates that the Times’ coverage of the tax cut plan is following in the footsteps of left-wing economics reporter Peter Goodman's recent left-wing front-page story on the tax plan.

From Sunday's lead story:

As the tax cut legislation passed by the Senate early Saturday hurtles toward final approval, Republicans are preparing to use the swelling deficits made worse by the package as a rationale to pursue their long-held vision: undoing the entitlements of the New Deal and Great Society, leaving government leaner and the safety net skimpier for millions of Americans.


Their nearly $1.5 trillion package of tax cuts, a plan likely to win final approval in the coming days, could be the first step. But their strategy poses enormous risks, not only for millions of Americans who rely on entitlement programs, but also for Republicans who would wade into politically difficult waters, cutting popular benefits for the elderly and working poor just after cutting taxes for profitable corporations.


Even if the tax cut sparks the kind of economic growth that Republicans advertise, the tax bill will increase the deficit by $1 trillion over 10 years, the nonpartisan congressional Joint Committee on Taxation said.

And it was passed along sharply partisan lines, offering nothing to Democrats, and leaving them with no obligation or incentive to negotiate cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, the entitlement programs that are driving up spending, but are also the pride of the Democratic Party.

Odd that the Times wasn’t concerned about bipartisanship when ObamaCare passed without a single Republican vote.

The Times made some helpful anti-Republican predictions for how the public will surely turn on them:

For his part, Mr. Trump spent his campaign promising not to cut Medicare and Social Security. And Republicans will probably find, as they did when they failed to repeal the Affordable Care Act, that the public rises up to defend the programs they are trying to cut. Whatever political boost the Republicans could get for passing a tax cut could evaporate fast.

The Times found a popular socialist to make the anti-Republican case, and tried to vindicate his prediction in the next paragraph

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For weeks, Democrats and their allies have been accusing Republicans of a “two-step” deceit, warning that they would cut taxes now and then use the increase in the deficit they caused to demand entitlement cuts later.

“When you run up the deficit, your next argument will be, ‘Gee, you’ve got a large deficit,’” Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, a former Democratic presidential candidate, said in an interview.

Now Republicans are beginning to acknowledge as much. Mr. Ryan said at a town hall-style meeting last month that Congress had to spur growth and cut entitlements to reduce the national debt.

It’s been customary during the tax debate for Times reporters to care about the deficit only in the breach – when Republicans threaten tax cuts. Meanwhile Democratic spending goes unchallenged.

Some deficit hawks complain that Republicans have cast away any mantle of fiscal responsibility.

Robert L. Bixby, the executive director of the Concord Coalition, a nonpartisan organization that encourages fiscal responsibility, complained of hypocrisy from Republicans who have been clamoring to lift the spending caps that were created by the 2011 Budget Control Act.

More of the paper’s convenient concern for deficits and the national debt, almost wholly absent during the big-spending Obama administration.

The United States is already facing a gloomy fiscal landscape. The federal deficit this year topped $660 billion, despite healthy economic growth, and the national debt now exceeds $20 trillion. Janet L. Yellen, the outgoing chairwoman of the Federal Reserve, appointed by President Barack Obama, warned last week that the national debt “is the type of thing that should keep people awake at night.”

But Democrats and their allies -- and even some usual Republican allies -- complain that Republicans are dishonest not to debate changes in spending and tax cuts at the same time, as the Simpson-Bowles commission did.

The paper concluded by letting a sympathetic source suggest deceit on the part of Republican tax-cutters eager to "cut" food and health benefits:

Sharon Parrott, a senior fellow at the left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, said Republicans understood how bad it would look to cut food benefits for poor families and health care for the elderly at the same time they were cutting taxes for corporations and the highest earners.

“There’s a reason they separate them,” she said. “They think they can get away with it.”

NB Daily Congress Economy Budget National Debt Taxes New York Times Kate Zernike Bernie Sanders
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