Thursday, July 28, 2011

Frum: WSJ Surpasses Itself

Conytinuing the trend of the sharpest criticism of the GOP and its media defenders coming from conservative writers, blogger David Frum nails the defiance of fiscal reality on the Wall Street Journal editorial page on Frum Forum.

I used to write editorials for the Wall Street Journal myself, 20 years ago now. So I’m well aware of the challenge faced by those assigned to compose these documents. The strict demands of the paper’s ideology do not always lie smoothly over the rocky outcroppings of reality. It can take considerable skill to match the two together. In that regard, this morning’s lead editorial about the debt-ceiling crisis is a true masterpiece.

If you were to write a story about government debt, you’d probably be inclined to write about the two sets of government decisions that produce deficits or surpluses: decisions about expenditure and decisions about revenue. You’d want to do that not only as a matter of fairness, but also as a matter of math. And that’s why, my friend, you would wash out as a WSJ editorialist. They wrote this editorial without any reference to revenues whatsoever. Boom! Gone! Don’t deny reality. Defy reality.

One of the many traps and impediments facing a Journal editorialist writing about debt is that up until 2009, the US debt burden rose most under the two presidents the Journal most ardently supported: Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. The debt burden declined most under the presidents the Journal most despises – Dwight Eisenhower, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter.

--Ballard Burgher

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