Why don’t we have a better press corps yet?

I am beginning to think that the highly-estimable Kevin Drum needs his meds adjusted–not those affecting the rest of his body, those seem to going better than I had expected, but rather those affecting his neurotransmitter levels. For he fears to be descending into shrill unholy madness…

I feel his pain. I, too, had hoped that the coming of independent webloggers giving an unmediated public-sphere voice to those with substantive policy knowledge, plus the arrival of the Matt Yglesiases, Ezra Kleins, Nate Silvers, and so on who were interested in making the world a better place through policy-oriented explainer and data journalism would shame the press corps into behaving better.

But no: it’s still, overwhelmingly, horse-race coverage, and bad horse-race coverage, by those who have not even learned how to assess horseflesh, jockey skill, and the track:

Kevin Drum: Republican Tax Plans Will Be Great for the Ri—zzzzz: “Our good friends at the Tax Policy Center…

…have now analyzed—if that’s the right word—the tax plans of Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, and Marco Rubio. You can get all the details at their site, but if you just want the bottom line, you’ve come to the right place…. Unsurprisingly, they’re all about the same: middle income taxpayers would see their take-home pay go up 3 or 4 percent, while the rich would see it go up a whopping 10-17 percent. On the deficit side of things, everyone’s a budget buster. Rubio and Bush would pile up the red ink by $7 trillion or so (over ten years) while Trump would clock in at about $9 trillion. That compares to a current national debt of $14 trillion.

No one will care, of course, and no one will even bother questioning any of them about this. After all, we already know they’ll just declare that their tax cuts will supercharge the economy and pay for themselves. They can say it in their sleep. Then Trump will say something stupid, or Rubio will break his tooth on a Twix bar, and we’ll move on.


Brad DeLong


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