From that Times story (emphasis added):
Supporters say the philosophy that state governments and ordinary people usually adhere to -- that it is wrong and destructive to spend beyond one’s income -- should apply to the federal government as well. In that view, the $19.4 trillion national debt threatens to destroy Americans’ future prosperity.Okay -- those are opinions. Now for the con side:
“It’s immoral for one generation to borrow and spend beyond its means and leave the bill to the next generation,” said Scott Rogers, the director of the Balanced Budget Amendment Task Force.
But opponents say an amendment, not the deficit, is the threat. A government that could not run deficits, they argue, would not be able to stimulate the economy during recessions, when job-creating spending is most needed. And it would not be able to elude budget ceilings for benefits like Social Security, or for job-creating projects like highways that are financed with debt.Here's the problem: These aren't opinions -- they're facts. It's a fact that, in a recession, a federal government constrained by a balanced budget amendment couldn't stimulate the economy with job-creating projects and couldn't bypass budget ceilings for programs such as Social Security. It's a fact that businesses and ordinary citizens regularly use debt.
In truth, they say, debt is a fact of life for both states and ordinary households -- in bond issues that finance revenue generators like convention centers and bridges, and for ordinary necessities like cars, kitchen remodelings and homes.
But these facts are presented as one side's opinion.
Is this a variant on the old Paul Krugman theory of "objective" journalism?
I once joked that if President Bush said that the Earth was flat, the headlines of news articles would read, "Opinions Differ on Shape of the Earth."Opinions differ on whether debt is commonly used, for perfectly understandable reasons.