Post Finance Columnist Fawns over Hillary Clinton

     Michelle Singletary, a Washington Post personal finance columnist known for usually sound advice, used her January 20 column to boost Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.


     Singletary echoed what other journalists have said: "for those struggling financially, it doesn't matter if economists call it a recession or not." She approved Clinton's use of "the 'R' word," adding, "you can't heal what you won't acknowledge."


     Declaring “history has shown that tax cuts don’t cut it as the major driver of economic stimulus” – ignoring many economists who say the opposite – Singletary laid the foundation for effusive praise of Clinton’s ideas. Those ideas included a “community support fund” of up to $5 billion in taxpayer dollars “to assist hard-hit communities and troubled homeowners.”


     The initiative Singletary was most excited about was taxpayer-funded financial counseling. She quoted Clinton’s list of many types of debt plaguing Americans, from credit cards and student loans to mortgages and medical debts.


     “Clinton isn’t as radical as I am in declaring that there isn’t any good debt,” Singletary wrote, “but she gets that debt has become a dangerous trap for far too many people. It’s important that whoever is our next president be highly sensitive to that fact.”


     Those whose lives and careers have advanced through education might not agree that all student loans are bad. Those who needed a credit card to make an emergency purchase might not agree that all credit card debt is bad. Millions of homeowners probably wouldn’t agree that all mortgage debt is bad.


     With millions of individual situations, it’s impossible to equate medical debt with credit cards, mortgages and student loans. There are those for whom debt is a “dangerous trap,” and there are others for whom it isn’t.


     Debt has become a highly politicized issue, as the Business & Media Institute documented in an in-depth study of media coverage. That study, “Debt: Who’$ Responsible?” found 62 percent of network news stories ignored the borrower’s responsibility. In fact, lenders and related companies were blamed for borrowers’ debt troubles six times as often as borrowers.


     Clinton’s idea to have responsible taxpayers help bail out their debt-ridden neighbors deserves a much more objective analysis than Singletary gave it.