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New York Times Coverage of Trump and Biden Budget Proposals Differ Wildly

Outside the New York Times building in Manhattan, August 3, 2020 (Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)

In 2018, President Donald Trump submitted a $4.4 trillion budget that would have incensed any Tea Party-style conservative in, say, 2010. But eight years later it was the New York Times that was outraged, headlining its reported story on the proposal “White House Proposes $4.4 Trillion Budget That Adds $7 Trillion to Deficits.”

Its opening paragraphs argue that the budget “illustrates how far Republicans have strayed from their longtime embrace of balanced budgets” and “has little to no chance of being enacted as written.” The article also reminds readers that Trump “once called himself the ‘king of debt,’ and asserted that he had “overseen a federal spending spree that will earn him that title in an entirely different arena.”

Compare this to the Times‘ headline on President Joe Biden’s new budget: “Biden to Propose $6 Trillion Budget to Make U.S. More Competitive.”  Inarguably, it’s a far more generous top-line takeaway than the Times afforded Trump.

The differences in tone extend beyond the wrapper — the article detailing Biden’s plan gives the administration a voice, focusing on its arguments for the scale of the spending, which reflects the president’s “ambitions to wield government power to help more Americans attain the comforts of a middle-class life and to lift U.S. industry to better compete globally.” Biden’s prior life as a deficit hawk — he backed a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution in 1995 and 1997 — merits no mention.

For the Times, $4.4 trillion in spending under a Republican is an irresponsible boondoggle, while $6 trillion under a Democrat represents a bold new competitive vision for the country.

Biden’s team is projecting that consumer prices will not grow by more than 2.3% on an annual basis under his plan. On Friday, the Bureau of Economic Analysis announced that its core price index had increased by 3.1 percent through April. That makes for the fastest rate since 1992.

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