Media's Assumption About Government Spending

The media can often have a philosophical bias towards government “doing something” to “solve” societal problems. One recent example is how those in the press perceive a popular issue like education funding.

Two years ago, in the midst of an inefficient tax system and large fiscal deficit, the education budget was trimmed 2.4 percent. At the time, the typical headline was: “Schools face deep cuts under Gov. Rick Snyder’s budget plan.”

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Today, the governor’s proposal is to increase school funding by 2 percent. The headline: “Snyder wants 2% bump in education funding.”

The “deep cuts” headlines have turned into a relaxed report about more government spending.

This is not about whether the specific cut to education funding was good or bad. The issue is the reaction — a built-in assumption that government should almost always grow while media critiques heat up whenever a program, no matter how inefficient, is actually cut.

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