Assessing the Writers

This post by Dean Baker goes to the notion of assessment.

Neither the Post nor NYT articles on the new $286 billion 5-year farm bill (approximately 1.8 percent of spending or $190 per person per year) passed by the House would provide readers any basis for answering this question. Both articles notes some of the largest subsidies, but neither tries to sum them up and tell us whether the total is more or less than in the last bill. The NYT was kind enough to tell us that most of the money in the bill, $30 billion a year, goes to food stamps.)

The comparison with prior bills is essential If someone is interested in assessing the effectiveness of the Democratic Congress in restraining porkbarrel spending. No one could have thought that it would fall to zero with even the most determined leadership, so the question is are they making progress? Readers of the NYT and Post have no idea.