The Washington Post

Forever lowering the bar

A quick thought on the Senate GOP jobs plan that was released yesterday. Many news orgs showed a glimmer of skepticism towards the plan, pointing out that it was mostly a rehash of previous GOP ideas — deregulation, tax cuts, a Balanced Budget Amendment, etc. But Republicans made a very clear claim yesterday: They said by repackaging these ideas in one place, it would help foster confidence and eventually lead to growth.

Yet I can’t find any serious efforts by news orgs to evaluate whether the plan would actually do what Republicans said it would do, i.e., foster growth and create jobs in the long run.

This, despite the fact that Rand Paul, one of the leaders of this new effort, claimed it would create five million jobs without even offering any specific time frame for when this might happen.

So, would this plan create growth and jobs, or not? What’s the basis for the GOP’s claim? What do economists think? What would it do for the economy in the short term? Anything at all?

Either we’re meant to accept it on faith that the plan would do what Republicans said it would do, or news orgs have essentially concluded that the GOP plan isn’t a serious one and doesn’t even require evaluation. If the latter is the case — if the bar has been lowered to the point where news orgs don’t even think the GOP’s jobs plan should be taken seriously — shouldn’t they tell us so?

Shouldn’t news orgs who are telling readers and viewers that the GOP offered a plan level with them if they’ve concluded that Republicans aren’t making a serious contribution to the debate about what to do about the economic crisis? And if that isn’t the case — if we’re meant to see the GOP offering as a serious one — shouldn’t we be asking experts to evaluate it? Isn’t this information that news consumers deserve? Is that not the role of news orgs? If not, why not?

Someone help me out here.

Greg Sargent writes The Plum Line blog, a reported opinion blog with a liberal slant -- what you might call “opinionated reporting” from the left.


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