Thursday, December 30, 2004

Alas, He's Not Mainstream

Bruce Bartlett has written his third annual column pointing out the rise of the blogosphere (see also the first and the second), this time kindly including yours truly with a mention. I'd like to welcome people who have found the blog after reading Bruce's column. Please browse through the archives and feel free to comment or e-mail with questions.

Were he part of the mainstream media, his writing would merit the Voxy many times over. But how can he be part of the MSM when he's been writing about blogs for over two years? In truth, he's more like a blogger than he is a reporter, but perhaps more accuraely he is the rare columnist who is the best of both worlds rather than the worst.

Here's an example of why Bruce is part of my regular reading. In one of my first posts, I explained that I started reading Powerline about 18 months ago after a Google search led me to their accurate writeup of the press coverage of the Treasury study by Gokhale and Smetters on the unfunded obligations in Social Security and Medicare. If that's my litmus test, then he passes with flying colors based on this column. But note that he's an independent thinker--he would very likely offend people across the political spectrum with that one.

I started reading Bruce's columns when I worked at the CEA last year. He's been out in front of the MSM on so many issues--the Medicare bill, outsourcing, tax policy, and others. I wish I had been reading him earlier. His online archive stretches back to 2000. For those of you who arrived here by some way other than Bruce, bookmark the page. Skim it, read it, and enjoy it.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

i somehow missed all of the blog-o-blather about the Gokhale & Smetters paper, and this post led me to take a look at it. there's a lot in their approach that makes sense, but it's flat-out wrong to treat Medicare as the same sort of off-budget program as Social Security.

it's one thing to look at the revenues & expenditures for SS in a vacuum & say that there's a $7 trillion dollar long-term fiscal imbalance. it's something else again to look at Medicare's dedicated revenue (payroll taxes & premiums, mostly) versus it's expenditures & say that it's facing a $37 trillion FI; while the rest of the budget is pretty close to balance. by law & design, Medicare isn't supposed to be fully funded by its dedicated revenues - it's supposed to draw a subsidy from the general budget.

this would just be a technical quibble, except that Mr. Bartlett, the authors, and presumably others use this bogus accounting to argue that the income tax cuts of the past four years are affordable. that's not "independent thinking", it's intellectual dishonesty. so i can't share your admiration of Mr. Bartlett.