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Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Seattle Times: "Not Knowing What the Fuck We're Talking About, Since 1896"

Posted by on Thu, Mar 1, 2012 at 4:53 PM

"The Seattle Times editorial board rejects the proposed budget offered by Senate Democrats in Olympia," the kicker on their latest editorial arrogantly reads, as if our state constitution actually grants the Seattle Times a veto over legislation.

Of course, if the editors did have veto power over state legislation, it's not clear they'd be capable of educating themselves sufficiently to exercise this power wisely, at least judging from the profoundly uninformed (uninformative? misinforming?) nature of their objections:

At the top of the list should be four cost-reducing reforms: a rollback of subsidized early retirement for public employees, a consolidation of health benefits for school employees, a repeal of Initiative 728 and a new system of four-year budget balancing. At the very least, they should get a floor vote in both houses.

Um... except... the senate proposal already includes three of the four "cost-reducing reforms" the editors are demanding, and they should know this because, according to Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown, she explained this to several of the editors before they wrote this editorial. Under the senate proposal, the state would move to four-year budgeting, I-728 would be subject to future appropriations, and health benefits for school employees would be consolidated statewide.

(Though far from any immediate cost-saving, the latter reform will cost $14 million in the current budget, and produce only modest longterm savings due to the fact the state currently pays schools considerably less to cover teachers' health benefits than the state pays to cover its own employees. But, whatever.)

So the editors apparently reject this budget on the grounds it doesn't do what it actually does.

But what really irks me about the editorial is this tired and untrue line:

The people know they have to live within their means and believe government should do the same.

Washington is a wealthy state that raises tax revenue like a poor one. We could easily afford to provide the level of services voters say they want—you know, like properly funded schools and universities—if only the wealthiest Washingtonians were taxed at rates remotely approaching those shouldered by the poorest. But we won't, because that's one reform the Seattle Times editorial board refuses to even discuss.

"I don't see how it can happen," Senator Brown replied when asked if we could possibly meet the recent Supreme Court decision on K-12 funding without raising taxes, "especially since we've already gone through four years of cuts on the spending side." It could cost more than $6 billion per biennium to fund the education reforms the court points to as the standard, and there simply isn't another $6 billion to cut from the non-education side of the budget.

But you'd never know this from the obstructionist magical thinking we find on our state's op-ed pages.


Comments (19) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
Here's an idea. Can we have the Seattle City Council change the "Newspaper of Record" for Seattle from the Seattle Times to the Stranger? At least you guys on Slog know what they hell you are talking about...
Posted by chadlupkes on March 1, 2012 at 4:58 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 2
We call them the tax-subsidized Suburban Times in working neighborhoods like Fremont and Ballard ...
Posted by Will in Seattle on March 1, 2012 at 5:04 PM · Report this
seattlestew 3
If The Stranger is our official "Newspaper of Record," this city really is fucked. (Tongue firmly planted in cheek. Love you guys.)
Posted by seattlestew on March 1, 2012 at 5:08 PM · Report this
Fnarf 4
Ryan Blethen is a sack of garbage.
Posted by Fnarf on March 1, 2012 at 5:09 PM · Report this
Free Lunch 5
Thanks Goldy. I love your Times bashing.
Posted by Free Lunch on March 1, 2012 at 6:23 PM · Report this
wilbur@work 6
Well done, Goldy.
Posted by wilbur@work on March 1, 2012 at 6:40 PM · Report this
"The people know they have to live within their means and believe government should do the same."

Actually, No - people don't live within their means.

People don't save money to buy homes and cars, they take out loans to buy big-ticket items like those - often extending themselves far beyond their means.

The average American also carries huge amounts of consumer debt on credit cards at outrageously high interest rates.

In contrast, the State borrows money at rock-bottom interest rates and invests that money in things that pay long-term dividends - like education for its people, infrastructure for economic development, and social services for its most vulnerable that will only cost more if delayed.

If the Seattle Times is going to continue the meme that government should balance its books the way an average family does, they should at least get their facts straight.
Posted by SuperSteve on March 1, 2012 at 7:01 PM · Report this
Nice catch Goldy!!!

Stick it to em, sloppy bastards.
Posted by scratchmaster joe on March 1, 2012 at 7:01 PM · Report this
@7, I must say this is the first time I've noticed someone point this out (that I can remember). Thanks.
Posted by Foonken2 on March 1, 2012 at 7:07 PM · Report this
Yes, 7, I agree with 9: excellent points.
Posted by LMcGuff on March 1, 2012 at 7:35 PM · Report this
Posted by gloomy gus on March 1, 2012 at 8:53 PM · Report this
More kudos, @7.

Ryan Blethen isn't the ed page editor anymore. It was actually better when he was; the Times actually produced some good editorials then.
Posted by sarah70 on March 1, 2012 at 9:02 PM · Report this
Supreme Ruler Of The Universe 13
Since SLOG will not support HB2100, you are all hypocrites.
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe on March 1, 2012 at 9:52 PM · Report this
Fnarf 14
@12: oops. Frank Blethen. All Blethens are scum, and always have been, from Alden on down.
Posted by Fnarf on March 1, 2012 at 10:15 PM · Report this
In your dreams, you dream of being an editorial writer in a real newspaper.
But it's only dreams.
Then it's reality time, and, facing the harsh reality, all you can do is rant and rave, knowing that what you are right now is all you will ever be.
Posted by H. L. Mencken on March 1, 2012 at 10:47 PM · Report this
Also, how can "the people" continue to "live within their means" if health benefits keep being slashed so that medical care costs them more and more?
Posted by Lelia on March 1, 2012 at 11:02 PM · Report this
"Subsidized early retirement" sounds an awful lot like a cost-cutting measure to get people to retire early and save on salary and benefits of full retirement.

Guess what, bozos, if you don't make early retirement attractive, then people won't elect to retire early and then you've gotta start laying them off (and paying severance packages).
Posted by madcap on March 2, 2012 at 12:37 AM · Report this
I cancelled our Seattle Times subscription a few weeks ago and within a week, between missing sports information and lack of something to read at breakfast, the family was in full scale revolt. So, when the Times called two weeks later with a special offer, I was ready to listen. But first I had to tell the poor telemarketer that Blethen was a greedy lying propagandist. She responded that they had just gotten a new editor, from Minnesota(?), and that the paper was going to get thicker again and have more "good news." Anyway, I signed us back up and the family is happy again, although they had agreed with me that Blethen is a lying greedy propagandist.
Posted by cracked on March 2, 2012 at 12:46 AM · Report this
Vince 19
Thanks Goldy for speaking truth to power. Corrupt and abusive power at that.
Posted by Vince on March 2, 2012 at 8:34 AM · Report this

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