Democrats in Denial
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The New York Times editorial responding to President Trump's inaugural address makes one wonder if the editorial writers at the Times ever actually read the news articles that appear in their own newspaper.
The Times writes:
If anyone is being "misleading" or engaging in "myth" here, it's not Mr. Trump, but the Times editorialists.
Let's take the Times claims one by one.
Welfare: It's true that the number of TANF recipients is down. But TANF is just one among dozens of welfare programs. The rolls, and costs, of those other programs have soared in part because, unlike TANF, they haven't been reformed. The number of food stamp recipients, for example, soared to 44 million in 2016 from 25 million in 1996, and spending on the program reached $71 billion in 2016 from $24 million in 1996, according to the Department of Agriculture, which oversees the program. Spending on Medicaid, the government health program for the poor, soared to $545 billion in 2015 from $152 billion in 1996, and the number of participants in the program grew to 69 million from 32 million. The number of people receiving federal disability benefits has soared to about 7 million, up from about 5 million in 1996. That program now costs about $143 billion a year, plus another $85 billion for Medicare health coverage for disabled individuals.
Unemployment: The Times mocks Mr. Trump for his "misleading" talk about the disappearance of jobs. But the same newspaper that carries the mocking editorial also carries a copy of the inaugural address annotated by New York Times economic policy reporter Binyamin Appelbaum, who writes, "much of the country has stagnated economically....Trade with China cost the United States about a million factory jobs from 2000 to 2007, according to one recent study.... It's the jobs that have gone away."
Military: It's true, as the Times points out, that defense spending, adjusted for inflation using the government's methods, is higher now than it was before September 11, 2001. But it's also lower than it was in 1987, 1988, or 1989, at the end of the Reagan military buildup. President Obama's defense secretary, Ashton Carter, warned in a letter to the editor of the Times of "dangerous absurdities like having to curtail soldiers' training, ships' sailing and airplanes' flying. Our military will therefore not be fully ready to meet contingencies." Another Obama defense secretary, Leon Panetta, was quoted in a Times news article using words like "disastrous" and "unacceptable" to describe impending military budget cuts.
Crime: Again, if Mr. Trump is apocalyptic about urban crime, maybe it's because he's been reading the excellent New York Times series on "Murder in the 4-0," including the front-page article describing how "witnesses cower behind triple-locked doors, more fearful of a gunman's crew than confident in the Police Department's ability to protect them." Or maybe Mr. Trump read the page one news article in the Times on December 29, 2016, that began:
For the Times to fault Mr. Trump for "imagining" an urban crime wave when the newspaper is itself placing news articles like those ones on its own front page is just bizarre. It's the newspaper's editorial writers attacking the president for having taken seriously the news that the newspaper's own reporters are producing.
It's one thing to differ with Mr. Trump's proposed solutions to the nation's problems. But for the Times editorialists to pretend that joblessness, crime, and welfare dependency are not at levels that are cause for concern is a kind of refusal to reckon with the facts that itself deserves the descriptors — "imagining," "myth," "misleading"— that the Times heaps upon Mr. Trump's speech.
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