David R. Henderson  

Spot the Reporter's Bias

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I don't usually gasp when I read the newspaper because not much surprises me any more. But Juliet Williams of Associated Press made me gasp. In an article on California governor's proposals to rein in the pensions of government workers, she writes:

The governor will also propose Thursday a mandatory "hybrid" system in which future retirees would get their retirement from a guaranteed benefit and a 401(k)-style plan subject to market whims.


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CATEGORIES: Fiscal Policy , Labor Market



COMMENTS (11 to date)
Foobarista writes:

I noticed that too. All those layers of fact-checking and editing are doing an excellent job of insuring an objective presentation of the facts - NOT.

How about the fact that the "guaranteed" benefit is subject to trivial concerns such as an actual ability to come up with the money?

Jack writes:

But so far, those benefits do appear to be guaranteed. It is taxpayers who end up picking up the tab! (Of course, your point is well taken: at some point, if we aren't there already, money will completely run out and benefits will be nil.)

joshua writes:

Whims? Is that the best she could do? Why not "subject to the complete and utter chaos of the dangerous global financial complex"?

M.R. Orlowski writes:

It seems that by using the term, "whims" she is implying that the market is some kind of moral (or immoral?) agent or an agent with a will who can determine arbitrarily (perhaps implicating unjustly) people's pension benefits. Does anyone else interpret this passage this way?

David R. Henderson writes:

@M.R. Orlowski,
I see your point. It was bad enough without that interpretation, but that interpretation makes it even worse.

Diana Weatherby writes:

Those whimsical markets, who needs to listen to them anyway?

Jeremy, Alabama writes:

Unfortunately for Ms Williams, all of us including herself and govt retirees must be subject to one of the following: market whims, voters' whims, or the whims of Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Jeff writes:

I'm more worried about government whims.

Rod writes:

Which is a pretty good example of why Joseph Galloway (co-author of "We were soldiers once and young" and a long-time reporter with Knight-Ritter) says journalists shouldn't go to Journalism School! I'd be very surprised if Ms Williams... ah, words fail me.

But a few courses in Econ and Finance wouldn't be -- pardon the really rotten put -- amiss.

Seth writes:

Bias or the new normal?

RPLong writes:

I want my retirement guaranteed! I want to live a risk-free existence! I want to suffer no ill consequences whatsoever at any point in my lifetime!

It's the darn free-marketeers who are taking my guarantees away from me!

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