“Wot th’-!?” you say. “How could NPR have an upbeat assessment of the economy?”
Well, they did. It was based on a Bureau of Economic Analysis news release featuring economic statistics for March 2006, and the news story, read by Carl Castle, described the growth of personal incomes and consumer spending for the month.
Here’s why NPR liked it: “Medicare prescription drug payments added more than $40 billion to the economy.”
Yes, you read that right. Medicare spending added forty billion dollars to the economy.
No wonder NPR was so happy. Economic improvement was due to government intervention! Not only that, it was all to help Granny buy her penicillin! The news doesn’t get any better than that.
But this is what the BEA report actually said:
Personal current transfer receipts increased $51.6 billion in March, compared with an increase of $5.1 billion in February. The March increase reflected an increase of payments for the new Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan, which added $40.9 billion.
NPR reads this as “adding money to the economy.” That $40.9 billion didn’t exist until good ol’ Uncle Sam put it into geezers’ pockets, right? Or, rather, put into the cash registers of the nation’s pharmacies.
Nobody worked to earn that money; nothing was produced to generate it. It just appeared magically, transferred from the federal government to the deserving senior citizens of the United States of America. Congress just waved the red, white, and blue magic wand, and ZAP! the money appeared.
This is one of the stupidest things I’ve ever heard. It’s colossally stupid.
But then, stupidity at levels previously unheard of is what we’ve come to expect from Nutritional Pablum Radio. That’s not the problem.
The problem is how such idiotic utterances are funded. It’s a criminal outrage that even one penny of my tax dollars goes to support NPR.
Rant. Rave. Seethe. Fulminate.
They keep pourin’ in, Fisk! Me cutlass arm is growin’ weary o’ splittin’ heads!