Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Economic Obfuscation

Dean Baker castigates the Washington Post for telling readers that under Obama’s proposed budget, “interest payments will be larger than spending on any program other than Social Security and Medicare.” He claims that they should have reported instead that, “the interest tab projected for 2025 is 3.0 percent of GDP,” because the Post’s statement does not “provide context” for the amount of interest the nation will be paying, while his statement does.

Apparently he has no idea of what the word “context” means, mainly “the terms in which an item or concept can be fully understood and assessed.”

Saying that the government is spending “more in interest payments than it is on any program other than Social Security or Medicare” strikes me as fairly informative. It suggests that the debt upon which that interest is being paid is rather large and, most importantly, it very clearly tells me that interest payments are interfering with the government’s ability to provide services to its people.

Saying that the “the interest tab is 3.0 percent of GDP” tells me, at most, that the payments are not significantly damaging the nation’s overall economy. Except that it is not the overall economy which is making the payments, it is the government, and Baker’s inane statement tells me nothing whatever about how the payments are affecting the government’s ability to function financially.

Dean Baker is an idiot. He is critical of the media and then offers a “better” statement which provides even less of what he was castigating them for not providing.

But this is the function of today’s economist; to obfuscate and conceal economic reality because if the public realized what was really going on they would react with torches and pitchforks and burn down Wall Street and Washington both.

The purpose of relating everything to “a percentage of GDP” even when it is not a function of the overall economy but is a matter of government spending is a deliberate ploy to make the amounts look smaller and less significant, and to make the public more tolerant of the appalling and profligate waste and theft which has become the primary purpose of today’s government.

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