Friday, December 13, 2013

PBS Budget Debate: Wall Street, the Right and the Further Right

Peter Hart
Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting
The budget agreement worked out between Republican Paul Ryan and Democrat Patty Murray is being covered mostly as an encouraging sign of bipartisanship.  To the extent that much criticism is allowed, most of it comes from those on the right, who wish that there were deeper spending cuts.

There's plenty of criticism from the left, though. Robert Borosage of the Campaign for America's Future (12/12/13) pointed out that the deal cuts benefits for the long-term unemployed. The Nation's John Nichols (12/10/13) noted that the cuts in pension benefits for military and federal workers means  they "will be required to take what is effectively a pay cut in order to pay more for their retirement benefits." These decisions were made because Republicans refuse to consider any tax increases on the wealthy.

Interesting, then, to see what the budget deal debate looked like on the December 12 PBS NewsHour. On the one side was Wall Street Democrat Steven Rattner, who has worked for most of the big banks and currently runs his own investment firm. He was mostly supportive, though he did note that "we need to address the issue of spending on Medicare and Social Security."

Read More