The Shrinking Deficit: The Headlines Giveth, The Sub-Heads Taketh Away

By July 12, 2006General

James Joyce said the Irish are comforted in times of good fortune by knowing that bad news is just around the corner. With that in mind, we couldn’t help but be amused by two stories — the front-page story in Sunday’s New York Times and Tuesday’s WaPo Tuesday story on the front page of the business section — about the enormous boost in tax revenues and the resulting 30% reduction in the deficit. In each case, a headline that was unmistakably positive (how could it not be with news like this?) was tempered by a cranky sub-head.

In the Gray Lady’s case, here was the headline:

“Surprising Jump in Tax Revenues Curbs U.S. Deficit.”

And the sub-head:

“Windfall Viewed as Little Help for Long-Term Budget Problems.”

Here’s the WaPo headline:

“Smaller Budget Deficit Projected”

And their subhead (echoing — coincidentally, of course) Democrat Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s mantra from her statement:

“Tax Cuts Credited; Long-Term Outlook Still Seen as Bleak.”

Right — we sure don’t want anyone getting too carried away with good economic news, now do we? Long-term outlook very, very bleak — pass it on…..

Somewhere James Joyce is smiling.