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Monday, July 28, 2008


The budget deficit

[Updated; see below]

All the news agencies are leading with this statement:

The next president will inherit a record budget deficit of $482 billion, according to a new Bush administration estimate released Monday."
But in typical media fashion, they act as stenographers to power first, and reporters of the truth only later, if at all. The AP article linked above finally gets around in its seventh paragraph to the full story:
The administration actually underestimates the deficit, however, since it leaves out about $80 billion in war costs. In a break from tradition — and in violation of new mandates from Congress — the White House did not include its full estimate of war costs.
So the deficit isn't $482 billion, it will be $562 billion. Reuters does a little better, getting to that extra $80 billion in the fourth paragraph. The New York Times does the worst, putting the $482 billion figure into its headline, and only mentions that it "does not reflect the full cost of military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan" without ever specifying what that cost might be.

The corporate media would like the public to forget how much we are paying for the continued occupation and assaults on Iraq and Afghanistan. The public pays the price not only in dollars but in lost services and a withering economy, but the more they can be made to forget the connection between those things and the wars, the better able the ruling class is to continue those wars (and even prepare for new ones), and continue their quest for world domination.

Update: The New York Times crown for "worst" has now been stolen by the Los Angeles Times, which not only puts the $482 billion into its headline, but doesn't even mention the additional $80 billion for war anywhere in its 17-paragraph article. I expect next to turn to the sports page and read about how a baseball team is composed of eight players, since the pitcher is obviously in some different category and therefore doesn't count.

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