All right, all right, that is not completely fair. Yes, they dump all over Trump and the GOP-run Congress for their massive tax cut directed at the rich, as well as the hypocrisy of the Republicans in so smoothly switching from denouncing budget deficits during the Obama era to a “what? me worry?” attitude now with deficits set to soar in a period of near full employment. But, of course, the Monday gang at the Washington Post simply cannot avoid making a big deal about somehow “entitlements” are not being cut, although all kinds of other areas are going up, especially defense. But they just cannot get off this schtick.
I note that Dean Baker has just posted a whole bunch of comments on the newly proposed budget, as well as the recent tax cut, including one focusing on the WaPo gang and their annoying commentaries. However, I hope to add here some points he does not make. I am largely in agreement with his posts, with only minor disagreements not worth bothering with here.
Curiously, the usually more annoying WaPo editorial page editor, Fred Hiatt, was less annoying than the usual WaPo Monday economics commentator, Robert J. Samuelson. Of course, Hiatt mourned that in 2012 and 2013 Obama and Boehner could not agree on “tax hikes and entitlement cuts.” Quite aside from this annoying terminology of “entitlements,” there simply was never any good reason for cutting Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid, at least not directly. As has been pointed out by many of us from well before then and up to the current time, especially Dean Baker, cuts could have been made, but the way to do it was to get the wildly high US medical care costs under control in general, which would show up in reductions of Medicare and Medicaid spending, without any loss in quality in care, assuming things were to be managed reasonably. But Hiatt and crew simply never recognize that. It is just how irresponsible all these politicians are or not just cut cut cutting those darned entitlements, although preferably in conjunction with that very unlikely to happen tax increase. As noted already, while Hiatt nods at dumping on Dems for supporting some spending increases (not noting that some of them such as disaster relief are really needed), he spends most of his fire dumping on Trump and the GOPsters for their deficit hypocrisy.
However, Samuelson puts on one of his classic performances, indeed worse than usual. Yes, he does plenty of bashing on the GOP tax cut, but he seems to justify the GOP-pushed increase in military spending (plus $80 billion, the largest increase of any item). According to RJS, “On defense, President Obama’s budgets reduced readiness, left the services too small and made it harder to counter new technological threats, notably cyberwarfare.” Really? The US has bases in 70 nations and special forces in at least 122. Do we need all that, not to mention that our military spending exceeds the sum of all that going on in the next five or so nations’ spending? I almost do not even know what more to say about this item.