MSNBC: Sequester Hurting You Even If You’re Too Dumb to Realize

MSNBC has apparently realized that Americans are not concerned about the sequester, so the Lean Forward network has made another attempt to convince us how terrible it really is. In an article published Monday on msnbc.com, writer Timothy Noah sent readers a grim message that was summed up in the article’s title: “The Sequester Isn’t Hurting You? Think Again.”

Noah struck a strikingly condescending tone in his opening paragraph: “If you don’t think Washington’s budget sequestration is hurting you financially, you’re probably wrong. But before considering why you’re wrong, let’s think about how you acquired that foolish sense of invulnerability.”


Sure, you may not have noticed the sequester cuts so far, Noah said, but that's because they have mainly affected the poor. Funding for housing vouchers and Head Start has been cut, and public defenders have been furloughed.

Noah contended that those who are not poor should be concerned as well because the sequester is harming the overall economy. His main argument was that the sequester has forced governments at all levels to lay off workers. The loss of government jobs, he said, has kept unemployment high during the economic recovery.

But government employment is only one-sixth of all employment, as Noah admitted. Most Americans work in the private sector, and the private sector has continued to create jobs since the sequester took effect. So it’s difficult to see how the sequester is threatening the jobs of the majority of Americans.

Noah then appealed to the majority of Americans who do have a job: “Even if you’ve got a job yourself, an unemployment rate so stubbornly high can’t help impeding the growth of Gross Domestic Product, which during 2013’s first quarter was below 2%.”

Slow GDP growth may be a problem, but it’s not one that impacts the daily lives of most Americans. Nobody loses sleep at night over 1 percent GDP growth.

This is how Noah concluded his article: “The country is poorer than it ought to be, which means you probably are, too. So maybe you might consider caring about the sequester. Your accountant will thank you.”  That is an excruciatingly lame ending to an article with such an ominous title. What's more, if you can afford your own accountant, chances are you're doing pretty well.

MSNBC should stop trying to persuade Americans to feel the supposed pain of the sequester. Let the results of the sequester unfold naturally. If the budget cuts prove harsh enough to hurt Americans’ daily lives, people will feel the pain without being told they should be feeling it. By trying to convince Americans that the sequester is hurting them even if the sky isn't falling around them, MSNBC desperately appears to want the sequester to cause pain.

Expect more of this nonsense as we have just 15 1/2 months to go to the midterms, where MSNBC surely will hope to avoid a Democratic bloodletting.

(Read the full article here.)

Paul Bremmer
Paul Bremmer is a Media Research Center News Analysis Division intern.