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:
Republican claims that cutting the deficit now is the key to recovery: Lawrence Summers: "[T]he greatest threat to our creditworthiness is a sustained period of slow growth. Discussions about medium-term austerity need to be coupled with a focus on near-term growth. Without the payroll tax cuts and unemployment insurance negotiated last autumn we might now be looking at the possibility of a double dip. Substantial withdrawal of fiscal stimulus at the end of 2011 would be premature. Stimulus should be continued and indeed expanded.."
To celebrate the release of the paperback edition of Levitt and Dubner's abysmal Superfreakonomics, with its fake claim that the world has cooled in recent years: Joe Romm: "As a taste of things to come, much of the United States has just been hit by a monster heat wave. Steve Scolnik at Capital Climate analyzed the data from NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) and found, “U.S. heat records in the first 9 days of June have outnumbered cold records by an eye-popping ratio of 13 to 1″ — 1609 to 124.... I like the statistical aggregation across the country, since it gets us beyond the oft-repeated point that you can’t pin any one record temperature on global warming..."
Joe Lieberman's claim that raising the Medicare eligibility age would be good policy: Austin Frakt and Aaron Carroll: "Cost isn’t everything, though. There’s something else delay would do: harm health.... [R]elative to those with insurance before age 65, those without insurance prior to Medicare eligibility spent much more money on health care after they became Medicare eligible. In other words, people wait to get care until their Medicare kicks in. This is bad both for health and for the federal government’s bottom line. Delaying Medicare even longer would likely make this worse. People would forego care longer, health would suffer, and Medicare would pay for the consequences later..."
Fake Republican claims that discretionary spending has risen by 80% under Obama: Paul Krugman: "Politifact has now updated its work on the claim, universal on the right — and repeated often by Paul Ryan — that discretionary non-defense spending is up 80 percent under Obama. It’s completely false. As anyone who knows how to read federal statistics should have known, the real number — including the stimulus — is 26 percent. And it’s now in the process of falling off. The discretionary spending falsehood is a key part of the claim that Obama has presided over a vast expansion of government; as I’ve tried to explain, the only real area of rapid growth has been in safety net programs that spend more when there is high unemployment..."
Republican claims that Medicare is less efficient than private insurance companies: Paul Krugman: "NHE web data (pdf), Table 13. I deflated both sides by the consumer price index. Note that the table does both a raw comparison and a comparison of “common benefits”, which takes care of the problem of differential coverage. If you look at the bottom of the table, you’ll see that on both comparisons Medicare payments have grown 1 percentage point more slowly than insurance premiums over the past 40 years.That adds up to a lot. But I gather from the comments that everyone “knows” that it’s the other way around, so I must be inventing the numbers. Oh, one more thing: is Medicare just shifting costs onto the private sector? The answer is no..."
RERUN: 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, [who] 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."
RERUN: 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.'"
RERUN: 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?"
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: "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: 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..."
SPEAKS FOR ITSELF: Newt Gingrich: "Let me just say that there is a fundamental strategic difference between the traditional consulting community, and the kind of campaign I want to run. Now, we'll find out over the next year who's right. But I believe we live in a time when Americans are genuinely frightened for their country's future, and when the country really wants to have leadership that talks with them honestly, and isn't automatically doing the old politics. We make decisions as a couple. I think most couples would find that refreshing, not a problem, and I think that what we've been trying to do is carry messages to the American people and listen to the American people. And you'll see us over the next few weeks doing it in new and dynamic and much more open ways than the traditional consultants are comfortable with..."