Friday, July 21, 2006

Are good columnists that difficult to find and hire?

At the Economist's View, a recent column by Robert Samuelson is examined. In it, Samuelson correctly takes issue with the Republicans patting themselves on the back for being responsible for a deficit that's not as big as bogus estimates once projected. The fact remains with a recovery comes balanced budgets and we're not close to that yet.

But Samuelson elects to whack the Democrats also and does so by contradicting himself in the same column. He writes, "With the unemployment rate at 4.6 percent (close to 'full employment' by anyone's definition), the White House and Congress still can't balance the budget....the budget should be balanced -- or run a surplus -- when the economy is close to 'full employment'." However, he then later writes:
Just as Republicans now say their policies have cut deficits, Democrats contend their policies produced budget surpluses from 1998 to 2001. Nonsense. Those surpluses resulted mainly from the end of the Cold War (which lowered defense spending) and the economic boom (which created an unpredicted surge of taxes).
Economist's View responds:
He [Samuelson] contradicts himself in his misguided attempt to try and be 'fair' and make sure to criticize both parties. He says first that Republicans are to blame because with an economy near full employment, we should be running surpluses, not deficits. That we aren't is a policy mistake. But when it comes to Democrats who did just that in 1998 to 2001, ran a surplus during a boom, he says it's nonsense that they had anything to do with it and they deserve no credit, only scorn.
Samuelson's two-faced contradiction is so plain as day it's embarrassing. Also, show me the defense spending fell off a cliff under Clinton to provide for the surplus -- talk about nonsense! (Samuelson offers no proof or numbers). But "despite" Clinton's more fair taxation rates, the economy did boom and tax revenues flooded in, and in addition to prudent spending, helped to create a surplus.

What the hell is Samuelson talking about? Is this just more offered-up fabrications in the name of appearing non-partisan?

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