As a follow-up to Erik’s post, I think this is an important point:
And so, when figures like Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson are invited on to programs like Meet the Press, they are treated as disinterested wise men rather than political advocates. The host, David Gregory, asks them to hand down rulings on politicians. He does not question their own ideas. (Notably, the Sunday talk shows, a haven of right-thinking, deficit-obsessed centrism, have given over little attention to climate change in the last four years and have not quoted a single climate scientist during the entire span.)
The idea that deficit reduction is more important than mass unemployment or climate change is essentially indefensible, even before we get to the fact that there’s no real way of “solving” deficits in ways that will bind future Congress (since any surplus will be then used by “deficit hawks” as a pretext for tax cuts.) But not only are these issues not given any significant attention in these kinds of outlets — people who advocate for doing things to alleviate climate change or mass unemployment certainly wouldn’t treated as apolitical technocrats whose ideas are beyond debate.