Monday, May 01, 2006

Money From Nowhere

Making up the News Since 1972NPR is at it again. Their news headlines at noon today included an upbeat assessment of the economy.

“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!


Mussolini said...

What's worse than the NPR goofy socialism is the federal leviathan we have allowed to form.

Both the democrats and the republicans are growing the government as fast as they can while they laugh at us sniping at each other... rather than them.

Bend over and vote party line - here comes another election.

Wally Ballou said...

Egad - a Captain P***gums quote! I'd try to top it, but I can't think of a clean one.

Come on, what helps the economy more than a big spending program, unless it's a big tax increase? JKG just died - by all accounts a vrey nice man who was wrong sabout everything. He left a lot of befuddled progeny.

BTW, if you know anyone who thinks we need to "do something about"(read - make a government entitlement of) personal health care insurance and thinks the Mass program is a model, refer them to this analysis from the Cato institue. Of course, for the liberal, "doing something" is what counts, even if it is illogical or impossible - its value is in the money it costs.

Baron Bodissey said...

Alas, Wally, it's "Fisk & Farbar", and not the esteemed Captain. But still S. Clay.

Another quote:

Let's leave these lemon-sucking lubbers all strewn all in chunks all over the deck, Fisk!

Wally Ballou said...

I don't think I saved any of my S. Clay Wilson, or I would have checked.

You know 90% of your readers are going to think your quote has something to do with "fisking".

Baron Bodissey said...

I know; that's why I used it. I actually fudged the quote a little to get the name in. I don't think Farbar actually used "Fisk" at that point.

I hope the Canon Purists don't flame me for it...

Starling said...


you have a keen ear. What we witnessing is, at a minimum williful ignorance and, at worst, a deliberate attempt to misinform. I can't believe that there aren't people who don't know that what this part about $40 Billion added to the economy by the government is sheer nonsense. (And it is such a paltry amount, too, in comparison to the entire GDP.)

Frankly I am at a loss to explain the lapses in judgment and departures from economic reality that you have pointed out the last few days. These are not unintelligent people at NPR. Partisan, yes, but not stupid. I don't think it would be fair for me to conclude that they be so cynical as to attempt to get this kind of thing by their listeners?

Also, this unabiding faith in the power of government (read- "people in power who share MY beliefs") to do subtantial good for the population is worrisome, especially so in Republicans because they are supposed to oppose this sort of thing. With South America's leftward lurch, Hugo Chavez's 21st Century Socialism, Russia's creeping authoritarianism , fawning over China emerging "superpower" status, much of western Europe's full retreat from free-markets and support for democracy, I begin to think that works like Hayek's "The Road to Serfdom" are more important today than when he first wrote them. I begin to think that this is no time for economic illiteracy like NPR is serving up.

X said...

Look on the bright side. You don't have a government propping up employment figures and "competitiveness" through the creation of more and more government jobs.

Socialism is built on a lie, so it's not surprising that its proponents keep right on lying to support it. After the first lie it becomes easier and easier to embellish it... our only real comfort is that, like all lies, it'll come crashing down around their ears sooner or later. Some comfort though; chances are a lot of innocent people are going to get hurt when the inevitable happens, and very often they'll be used as the aggrieved "victims" to support the next round of socialist craziness.