Rebuttals to right-wing talking-points misinformation that I want to have at the forefront of my brain--for when I am surprised, as I will be, by an unexpected question from an unexpected direction while talking to reporters, phone callers, passers-by, radio interviewers, cable TV interviewers, etc....
A baker's dozen:
Douglas Holtz-Eakin's claim that it would be reckless to pass a clean increase in the debt ceiling: Rebutted by Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a top Republican advisor and former CBO director, warned in a panel discussion this week that creditors would not be easily reassured after a default: "The idea that somehow it's a pro-growth strategy to raise interest rates on a permanent basis in the United States is just crazy," he said. "We need to grow at this point more than anything else."
Republican claims that we need big federal spending cuts now: Jeanne Sahadi talks to the real--rather than the phony Republican--deficit hawks: "Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. 'A sharp fiscal consolidation focused on the very near term could be self-defeating if it were to undercut the still-fragile recovery.'... 'The short-term deficit isn't the problem', said former U.S. Comptroller David Walker.... Walker... thinks lawmakers should consider spending several hundred billion dollars in the short-run to make strategic investments in areas such as surface transportation, alternative energy and research and development.... Alice Rivlin... 'if you just slash spending now or if you raise taxes right now -- that's a very bad thing to do as the economy is beginning to strengthen'. Rivlin would prefer if lawmakers offer additional aid to state and local governments to prevent more layoffs.... Ken Rogoff.... 'The important thing to do is structural reform. Make us grow faster. Improve our tax system, build infrastructure, education, view it as a crisis in that way.... I certainly don't think slashing budgets at some last-minute deal is the way to go about business.'"
Tax cuts will speed economic growth: Paul Krugman: "CBPP reminds us that the Bush tax cuts totally failed to deliver, even before the financial collapse.... [T]he story is even worse for believers in tax-cut magic if you include the Clinton years; some of us remember the confident predictions that the 1993 tax hike would lead to a catastrophic recession. You might have thought that an ideology that failed so dramatically would have been to at least some extent abandoned. But noooo: belief in tax-cut magic is central to the Ryan plan, and aspiring GOP candidates like Pawlenty seem to be in a race to see who can go more overboard in supply-side faith. Oh, and if you don’t believe their claims, you don’t trust the American people. What will it take before the GOP drops voodoo as its official religion?"
Raghu Rajan's claim that monetary policy is too easy: Mike Konczal: "Imagine short-term interest rates were actually at 2% right now. Somebody forgot to actually go ahead and push them down to zero. Whoops. If you looked out at the economy, would you lower interest rates?... If you would lower short-term interest rates at 2% now, which you probably should, why don’t you do it at zero, other than the fact that you can’t?... [T]he goal of monetary policy is clear. It’s not about rewarding the good people and punishing the wicked, it’s about stabilizing growth, prices and maximum employment without overheating the system or letting it choke to death from a lack of oxygen. And it isn’t clear to me what rules or rough guidelines are motivating [Rajan's] argument here. Hence, Calvinball..."
RERUN Republican claims that only those who want full socialism believe the market fails in health care: Paul Krugman: "Some readers ask why my argument that relatively centralized systems work better for health care than the “free market” isn’t an argument for government ownership of everything. The answer is that health care is different: it’s a sector in which basically every market failure you can think of takes place. And we’ve known that since Kenneth Arrow’s classic analysis half a century ago. It’s shocking, though not surprising, that we keep having to relearn this basic point."
RERUN: Republican claims that "The Republicans have a plan for Medicare, but the Democrats don't. Where's the president's plan?": Ezra Klein: "Democrats don’t just have a proposal that offers a more plausible vision of cost control than Ryan does. They have an honest-to-goodness law. The Affordable Care Act sets more achievable targets, and offers a host of more plausible ways to reach them, than anything in Ryan’s budget. “If this is a competition betweenRyan and the Affordable Care Act on realistic approaches to curbing the growth of spending,” says Robert Reischauer, who ran the Congressional Budget Office from 1989 to 1995 and now directs the Urban Institute, “the Affordable Care Act gets five points and Ryan gets zero.”"
RERUN: Republican claims that Peter Diamond is unqualified to be on the Federal Reserve: Clive Crook: "Peter Diamond's decision to withdraw from contention for a seat on the Fed board is a very low moment in US politics. Diamond is an indisputably brilliant economist with no ideological baggage and highly relevant expertise--contrary to what his GOP critics say, and as he explains in his NYT article. It ought to be shocking, but it no longer is, that a man of his distinction could not get confirmed to the position. At times the US seems a country hell-bent on its own failure."
RERUN: Claims that austerity produces powerful long-run credibility benefits: Paul Krugman: "The Penalty for Default, the Payoff to Austerity: Ahem: 'The credit default swap (CDS) for the Icelandic state has now dropped to 200 points and has not been lower since many months before the banking collapse in October 2008. The CDS has been in constant decline since January and indicates growing faith in Iceland’s economy.' Meanwhile, the CDS spread for Ireland is 683 basis points. Why, it’s almost as if defaulting on debts run up by runaway bankers and letting your currency depreciate works better — even from the point of view of investors — than socializing private-sector losses and grimly sticking with a fixed exchange rate."
RERUN: "Deficit-Hawk Paul Ryan": Jonathan Chait: "Stop calling Ryan a "deficit hawk." He voted for all of Bush's tax cuts. He voted for all the wars. He voted for Bush's Medicare prescription drug bill. He voted against the deficit-reducing Affordable Care Act. He voted against the Bowles-Simpson plan. He opposes any deficit reduction plan that increases revenue. Ryan is anti-government but he is clearly not a deficit hawk..."
RERUN: The claim that it is time for central banks to tighten: The Financial Times Editorial Board: "In recent months, both the European Central Bank and the US Federal Reserve have become more vocal in their desire to raise rates. This temptation must be resisted. The west’s inflation problem stems from the voracious demand from Asia’s new industrial powerhouses. This must give hope that a mild dose of stagflation is simply the temporary symptom of an inevitable economic shift. Squeezing domestic inflation to offset it would be counter-productive. In abnormal times, policymakers should also be alive to the balance of risk between inflation and unemployment. Letting the latter rise and become entrenched at a time of weakness would risk hardening the economic arteries further. The real peril now is a double-dip recession rather than inflation. This is no time for tightening."
RERUN: Mitt Romney's claim that we are only inches away from ceasing to be a free market economy: Buce: "[W]hen Mitt Romney says that we are 'only inches away from ceasing to be a free market economy', you'd just have to write it up as an arrogant, insolent, baldfaced lie. Which is pretty much what they are calling it over at Politifact, the Poynter journalistic fact-checker (sourced, ironically, in large measure, to those bomb-throwing insurrectionists at the Heritage Foundation).... [T]he US ranks ninth from the top "freest") out of 179.... None of this is surprising to anyone of even mildly wonky sentiments, a group which clearly includes Romney himself. But here's an extra irony I hadn't noticed before: health care. Namely that every one of those top eight has some kind of universal public health care. And they virtually all get better results than the US has, and at substantially less cost.... I dunno, maybe Romney (who can clearly say anything with the same schoolboy grin) will soon be telling us that Singapore and Hong Kong (and Switzerland, and Denmark, and Canada, and Ireland, and New Zealand, and Australia) are just mired in post-Leninist purgatory. Others might say otherwise: they might say it shows that freedom can be enhanced (even on a Heritage definition) by the right kind of government intervention. Like, say, in Massachusetts..."
RERUN: Douglas Holtz-Eakin's claim that it would be reckless to pass a clean increase in the debt ceiling: Let's quote right-leaning Clive Crook again: "Tea Party true believers may be salivating.... Shutting down the government [by blocking the debt-ceiling increase is a button [Republicans] dare not press.... To do it in 2011, with the economy laid low and financial markets still twitchy, would be the limit of irresponsibility. It would be betting the recovery to make a point. This time, political annihilation might follow, and the party would deserve it..."
SPEAKS FOR ITSELF: ThinkProgress: Rand Paul" “We have 40,000 students coming to this country from all over the world. Are they would-be attackers?... We’ve done so many things to think that we’re all terrorists, that universally we have to scrutinize everybody to the Nth degree instead of doing what I just think would be good police work.... [We should look at] the people who did attack us and who continue to attack us, and not really U.S. citizens.”