advertisement

Washington Post budget reporters have a game where they try to write things in a way that none of their readers have any clue what they are talking about. According to rumors, they give a prize each year to the reporter who does the best job in providing zero information to readers.

Today’s piece on the proposals on infrastructure being exchanged by President Biden and a group of Republicans in the Senate is a leading contender. It told us that President Biden lowered his request from $2.3 trillion to $1.7 trillion. By contrast, the Senate Republicans are proposing $800 billion.

The piece never bothered to tell readers the number of years over which this money would be spent. Eight is the magic number — but hey, everyone knows that, right?

A bit of additional context would also have been helpful. For example, Biden’s latest proposal is a bit less than 0.8 percent of GDP. It is just over a quarter of what the Pentagon is projected to spend over this period. On a per person basis, it comes to around $640 a year.

This is the sort of context that would appear in the article if the point was to inform readers. Apparently that is not the case.CEPR was co-founded by economists Dean Baker and Mark Weisbrot. Our Advisory Board includes Nobel Laureate economists Robert Solow and Joseph StiglitzJanet Gornick, Professor at the CUNY Graduate School and Director of the Luxembourg Income Study; and Richard Freeman, Professor of Economics at Harvard University. www.cepr.net