Reagan's Budgetary Dishonesty Continues With Bush - June 10, 2004 -

Times Watch for June 10, 2004

Reagan's Budgetary Dishonesty Continues With Bush

Reporter David Rosenbaum takes as fact the liberal assumption that Reagan began a trend in budgetary dishonesty that President Bush continues today.

After crediting Reagan for eliminating tax preferences that benefited special interests, Rosenbaum opines: "Another lesson the current administration took from the Reagan years is that it can be politically advantageous to publish budgets with numbers that are less than fully honest. Under Mr. Reagan, said Robert D. Reischauer, the economist who was director of the Congressional Budget Office from 1987 to 1995, the Office of Management and Budget 'ceased to be viewed as an objective estimator of budget numbers.' That is also the case today, Mr. Reischauer said."

It's no surprise that Reischauer would think that: Head of the CBO when the Democrats controlled Congress, he's affiliated with the left-of-center Urban Institute.

Then it's on to the talk of "rosy scenarios" and "magic asterisks" beloved by Reagan 's budget critics. Of course, "rosy scenarios" didn't begin with Reagan, as any check on the initial cost estimates for LBJ's Medicare program prove-though since Medicare is a liberal spending program, not a conservative tax cut, the Times may not be as concerned.

For the rest of Rosenbaum on Reagan, click here.

" Budget | Ronald Reagan | Robert Reischauer | David Rosenbaum

Bill Clinton's "Fiscal Discipline" Ended Reagan Deficits

Todd Purdum's Thursday story, "The Capital Pays Homage to 'a Graceful and a Gallant Man,'" is itself a mostly graceful look back at Ronald Reagan, but includes a puzzling tribute to Bill Clinton's "fiscal discipline" for ending Reagan's deficits.

"Congress never did pass a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution, but by the late 1990's, a soaring economy and efforts at fiscal discipline by a Democratic president, Bill Clinton, produced a brief run of budget surpluses," writes Purdum (husband of former Clinton spokesperson Dee Dee Myers).

The 1994 Republican takeover of Congress in Clinton's second year certainly contributed to any fiscal restraint shown by the former president. And can a president who pushed for socialized medicine really be accused of "fiscal discipline"?

For the rest of Purdum on Reagan, click here.

" Bill Clinton | Todd Purdum | Ronald Reagan

A Headline You'll Never See In the Times

Given the loaded premise of Adam Liptak's "Should Doctors Help With Executions? No Easy Ethical Answer," it's a fairly balanced story (though it gives space for liberal activist Dr. Sidney Wolfe, part of the Naderite organization Public Citizen). Times Watch just wonders if the premise could be extended to acts besides the death penalty.

Liptak notes in the story for Thursday's edition: "The American Medical Association's ethics code, for instance, says that 'a physician, as a member of a profession dedicated to preserving life when there is hope of doing so, should not be a participant in a legally authorized execution.'"

Speaking of "preserving life," the AMA is also opposed to partial-birth abortion (or as the Times would put it, "what critics call partial-birth abortion." But don't hold your breath waiting for a Times story headlined "Should Doctors Perform Abortions? No Easy Ethical Answer."

For the rest of Liptak's story on doctors supervising executions, click here.

" Abortion | Death Penalty | Health | Adam Liptak

Locking Up the Abu Ghraib Offenders

Abu Ghraib month continues on the Times op-ed page, which is stacked with three op-eds on the prison abuse scandal: Donald Gregg's "Fight Fire With Compassion," Jonathan Tepperman's "An American in The Hague?" and M. Gregg Bloche's "Physician, Turn Thyself In."

The Times contributors want to do a little round-up of offenders themselves. Tepperman argues that American officials "could still find themselves in serious jeopardy under international law," while Bloche says that doctors and nurses in Iraq went against both international law and common decency.

" Abu Ghraib | Editorial | Iraq War | Prisoners