Tuesday, September 07, 2010

I Lost My Job Through the NY Times

In Sunday's NY Times the paper, acknowledging the dire straits of the US economy, went comfortably to its ideological well and counseled Democrats to meet the country's economic challenge by spending more money: "This week, the Obama administration is expected to unveil a plan for jobs, but early word indicates that it will be a political response designed to campaign specifications, and not to the scale of the problem. Administration officials are said to be considering a package centered on business tax cuts, because those are presumably more palatable to Republicans — and to Democrats who are afraid of losing to Republicans and cannot think of a better response than to mimic their ideas. The administration seems to have forgotten that the Republicans who run the show in Congress are happy to oppose their own ideas if Mr. Obama embraces them. New tax cuts, especially in place of spending, are also dubious policy. When it comes to spurring growth, direct spending to increase demand in the economy is more effective than most tax cuts."

Let's put aside policy for just a second, and analyze the political deftness of the Times' advice. With a veritable tsunami on the horizon, Democrats are rightly in a state of absolute panic: "With many polls indicating the Republicans may win back control of the House of Representatives (and possibly the Senate as well) in the upcoming mid-term elections, Jim VandeHei, the executive editor of Politico, told CBS' "Face the Nation" that the Obama administration is in a horrible position. "Does the White House understand this?" asked guest host Harry Smith. "Do you feel any sense of panic or concern" on the part of the administration? "They get it. There's panic. There's concern," VandeHei said. "

Part of the reason for the hemorrhaging of support for the incumbent Democrats is a result of the country's growing sense that the party's huge original government spending porkulus has failed-and the attempt to double down with more spending that will increase an already unsupportable debt is likely to accelerate the electoral debacle to come. But the Times lives in its own ideological bubble; how else to explain: "When it comes to spurring growth, direct spending to increase demand in the economy is more effective than most tax cuts."

And we must have missed how it came to pass-before the midterm election-that: "the Republicans who run the show in Congress..." But the Times is more than tone deaf-it is stone deaf to the rising chorus of Americans who are fed up with the already promiscuous-and ineffective-spending. After suggesting a massive public works program to be paid for by allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire, the paper observes: "But a reasonable trade-off along those lines seems out of reach. There is no sign that the Republicans will cooperate with anything Mr. Obama wants. And the Republicans have spooked Democrats into talking about tax cuts on the campaign trail."

It has nothing to do with being spooked by the formerly moribund GOP; and is more about political concentration generated by the thoughts of the party's electoral demise. Have the editorialists over at Eighth Avenue not seen the generic polls-or how about Ohio where G. W. Bush, the leader of the Republicans self immolation squad, is now polling better than President Obama by a comfortable margin?

But then again, we need to recognize the source of this sage advice. How inappropriate is it for the Times to discuss job retention and growth? Not very, if you're from a do what we say, but not what we do world. This is, after all, the company that is canning staff right and left-100 here, 100 there. When it comes to its own business, the Times understands that downsizing and cutting back is essential for the company's survival-for the country as a whole, not so much.

And the Times seems to be clueless about the public pension explosion that devolves from, what else, the increasing size and scope of a unionized government work force. When it comes to its own shop, however, we find the following: "Despite cutting 100 jobs less that a month ago, the New York Times has announced a further 28 editorial employees from its New York Times News Service will lose their positions in 2010. The editing of the news service will be moved to the Gainesville Sun, a Florida newspaper owned by the paper's parent, the New York Times Co. Reuters reports that the move is expected to see The Sun's 'less-costly', non-union staff take charge of the service, which re-edits articles from the Times' print edition and distributes them to the wire. The Times also revealed that non-union employees would not longer receive contributions to their pensions at the end of the year. The company plans to instead contribute 3 percent of non-union employees' salaries each year to their 401K plans."

So, while the Democrats proceed with their death bed conversion over tax cutting-a tactic that lacks any degree of integrity-the Times continues its company's schizophrenia; practicing sound business practices to survive in the boardroom, while counseling economic hari kari for the party of its heart in its editorial sanctum. Our only advice to the Times: keep this silliness up, and even liberals will cease to take you seriously.