While the document emphasizes a goal of long-term fiscal stability, including reductions in the deficit and a “path to a balanced budget,” it offers no specifics about changes to big entitlement programs, including Social Security and Medicare, that would be required to achieve such stability.
Still, a lot of questions are left hanging—like, just how effective the “Pledge” might be. The Post offers an equally effective summary, without the pushback. It scores in getting some of the back-story behind the release of the “Pledge.”
In a political climate that favors Republicans, some GOP strategists cautioned against releasing any agenda, reasoning that it would just give Democrats something to criticize. But House Minority Leader John A. Boehner’s leadership team thought they needed to show that Republicans are prepared to govern and adopted what they call an 80-20 approach, expecting 80 percent of the campaign to be a negative contrast with Democrats and 20 percent to be focused on Republican ideas.
The paper gets more Politico by the minute.
And, of course, the Post reporters include the Democratic response doing the rounds, a quote from Pelosi spokesperson Nadeam Elshami. Stick to the formula, right?
“Congressional Republicans are pledging to ship jobs overseas; blow a $700 billion hole in the deficit to give tax cuts to millionaires and billionaires; turn Social Security from a guaranteed benefit into a guaranteed gamble; once again, subject American families to the recklessness of Wall Street,” Nadeam Elshami, a spokesman for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), said in a statement Wednesday.
What is missing from all reports is a sense of who’s right and who’s wrong; some adjudication between the claims made in this new plan and the counter-claims the Democrats are making. Are Republicans really pledging to ship jobs overseas? Will the pledge actually increase the deficit? You won’t find those answers in the above reports, or in the Journal’s strictly he said/she said report today. McClatchy won’t help you either—though their online headline, “Party Like It’s 1994”, is a New York Post-worthy winner.
How can you say what the outcomes might be from all of these proposals? As a journalist, you probably can’t. But not one of the major reports today reached out to an economist, labor expert, or some other independent figure (anyone?) to test the claims of either side; someone who might have some wiser words and more studied input than is coming from either end of the chamber. Sure, that would make it a he said/she said/then he or she said story, but it’s a start. And a lot more interesting than exploring the reasons behind why the GOP chose a hardware store; or repeating what a Pelosi spokesperson has to say about it all.
That said, it’s still probably not as interesting as the complicated changes coming to a health insurer near you.