Hit Piece on Sanders Proposals Relies on Pro-Clinton Economists Mislabeled as ‘Leftists’
As Bernie Sanders’ insurgent campaign for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination continues to strengthen, so do the attacks on him by the establishment corporate media, which are reflexively backing the status quo corporatocracy.
The latest smear comes from the New York Times, in the form of an almost laughable piece by Jackie Calmes run on Feb. 15 and headlined “Left-Leaning Economists Question Cost of Bernie Sanders’s Plans.”
The so-called “left-leaning” economists quoted by her, however, included not one genuine left or even left-leaning economist. Rather, they were a bunch of mainstream economists who, while “not working for Hillary Clinton,” as Calmes notes, have in fact worked for either the administration of Barack Obama or of Bill Clinton (a point she largely fails to note). As media critic Doug Henwood of Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) pointed out in a blistering critique of the Times article, referring to the economists quoted in the piece, “So slight is their leftward lean that it would require very sensitive equipment to measure.”
Take source one, Austan Goolsbee, former chair of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisors, who obligingly tells Calmes that Sander’s “numbers just don’t add up,” and claims that Sanders’ proposed measures on health care and job creation would add “$2 to $3 trillion” to the current $4-trillion federal budget. Just the vagueness of his estimate, which had a range of uncertainty of $1 trillion, should alert people to a certain, shall we say lack of rigor on Goolsbee’s part, rather unbecoming of a professor of economics at the University of Chicago. Goolslbee, in fact, was the economist with the Obama campaign who famously rushed off to Ottawa to privately reassure that country’s right-wing Prime Minister Stephen Harper that candidate Obama wasn’t serious in his campaign rhetoric condemning the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
The second supposedly “left-leaning” economist critic of Sanders cited by Calmes in her article was Jared Bernstein, former economic adviser to Vice President Joe Biden, who is now at what Calmes terms the “liberal” Center on Budget and Policy Priorities -- actually a haven for Clinton-era mainstream economic hacks pedaling the usual trickle-down theories. Bernstein is quoted criticizing UMass economist Gerald Friedman, who wrote an analysis backing Sander’s call for replacing Obamacare with a Medicare for All program. Friedman, in his analysis, demonstrates that such a switch to a single-payer system would save Americans an average of about $5000 per family, even after raising the Medicare tax by about $500 per family, because it would eliminate virtually all private insurance premiums and co-pays.