Paradox My Ass

Here’s Ed Kilgore’s latest, Will Republicans Cut Medicare? A Paradox. I’ll save you the pain of reading the piece: After many strokes, Kilgore concludes that no, the Republicans will cut Medicaid instead.

Why is this even up for debate? The core of Republican support in this country is old, and they love Medicare. And every Republican politician at the state and county level has been bitching about Medicaid for years. Rick Perry even wants to drop out of Medicaid entirely.

To anyone who’s been paying attention to what Republicans actually say, there’s no paradox here. Cutting even an obvious waste like Medicare Advantage is impossible for today’s Republicans, who are completely beholden to their aging, white base. It’s only when you buy into a villager notion of the Republican party as stalwarts of fiscal restraint — a notion that a trillion dollars of deficit has yet to dispel — that you can gin up a paradox.

Speaking of paradoxes, Kilgore blogs at another site called “The Democratic Strategist”, a term that’s on the verge of being an oxymoron, or at least an anachronism.

(via Sully, of course)

Portrait of a Grifter as a Young Candidate

SarahPAC raised $1.2 million by spending $1 million on fundraising expenses and consultants. Since she can’t raise serious cash, and since she must fly everywhere in a private jet, her endorsees end up paying big bills:

[Georgia candidate for Governor] Handel paid nearly $100,000 to bring Palin to an August rally ahead of a crucial runoff in the race. According to newly filed campaign reports with the state Elections Commission, Handel’s campaign paid $92,000 to an Ohio-based air charter to fly Palin to the Aug. 9 rally. The campaign also paid $13,000 to rent space at a local hotel to house the event. Handel narrowly lost the GOP nomination to Nathan Deal on Aug. 10.

The only logical conclusion is that we need this kind of fiscal prowess in DC to help us cut the deficit.

Just a Start

The stepped-up deportation plan that’s supposed to target criminal immigrants is working overtime to deport any illegal immigrant found:

Last year, nearly 390,000 illegal immigrants were removed. Critics of the ongoing deportation program say the numbers tell only part of the story. Despite the focus on violent criminals, the majority of the removals handled by ICE still are noncriminals or immigrants accused of lesser infractions such as traffic violations and misdemeanors.

Just 16 percent of immigrants removed this fiscal year are the top-priority, violent criminals known as “Level 1” immigrants, according to data from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

More than 50 percent of those removed this fiscal year are considered noncriminal.

And we’re sinking $600 million into border security.

So is this bill — along with the 1,200 National Guardsmen Obama sent to the border at the beginning of the month — enough to convince holdouts that the border is secure enough to talk reform? Not likely. Sen. John McCain, for one, has asked for $2 billion and 6,000 additional Border Patrol agents, a far cry from what was passed. Though he added himself as a co-sponsor to the bill, he said the measure is “just a start.”

The budget for all this enforcement, just like the war budget, doesn’t count against the deficit, so no worries about postponing immigration reform indefinitely while we deport every illegal immigrant who’s ever talked to a cop and station Border Patrol agents hip-to-hip from San Diego to Brownsville.

Evidence of absence

The biggest thing I learned from the run-up to the Iraq war is that when one side presents arguments that are deceitful and nonsensical, it doesn’t just mean that those arguments are bunk, it means that that side probably has no *good* arguments for their position. To put it in Rumsfeldese, absence of evidence is, in this case, evidence of absence.

I think this lesson applies to today’s neo-Hooversits. Behold the most idiotic graph I have ever seen, from Arthur Laffer’s WSJ piece arguing against unemployment benefits (via Kevin Drum):

That’s right — as the number of unemployed people goes up, the total payments to unemployed people goes up! Imagine that! Laffer actually argues that this shows that unemployment benefits encourage people not to work.

And here’s Alan Simpson engaging in some creative accounting to argue in favor of gutting Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare:

The commission leaders said that, at present, federal revenue is fully consumed by three programs: Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. “The rest of the federal government, including fighting two wars, homeland security, education, art, culture, you name it, veterans — the whole rest of the discretionary budget is being financed by China and other countries,” Simpson said.

Reader DV explains the deception here:

But the bolded statement (the Medicaid/Medicare/SS) consume the entire federal budget is, plainly, untrue. I know this for other reasons but you can follow this link) from within the same fucking article and see that those three programs combined to cost 1.5T and actually revenue was/is 2.6T (these are projected 11 numbers but same difference)’. That statement by Simpson is a plain, unadulterated lie. How does Balz report on the budget without any idea of its details and how does he not fact check Simpson’s incredible claim?

FWIW, I think Simpson deducted the payroll taxes to get the numbers close except, of course payroll taxes are largely dedicated to SS and Medicare.

I recognize that there are legitimate discussions to be had about entitlement programs. But I have to think that if there were good reasons they have to be slashed, the neo-Hooverists wouldn’t have to resort to lies and deception to make their point.

How Do They Say This Stuff With a Straight Face?

And why are they not being called on it by the “journalists” they spew this nonsense to:

Republican Senate Minority Whip John Kyl was hammered by Democrats earlier this week for backing extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy – and insisting they need not be paid for.

Now Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (pictured) is backing up Kyl’s position.

“That’s been the majority Republican view for some time,” McConnell told TPMDC. “That there’s no evidence whatsoever that the Bush tax cuts actually diminished revenue. They increased revenue, because of the vibrancy of these tax cuts in the economy. So I think what Senator Kyl was expressing was the view of virtually every Republican on that subject.”

McConnell’s argument is that even though the government would be forgoing hundreds of billions of dollars in revenue by extending the tax cuts on relatively wealthy Americans, that loss will be more than offset by the growth spurred by keeping the money in taxpayers’ pockets. (The Obama administration wants to extend the cuts for Americans making less than $200,000 or $250,000 but let them lapse for those making more than that.)

WTF is he talking about? That just makes no sense whatsoever. None. Zero. One of the main justifications of the tax cuts back in 2001 was that the surplus was too large and we didn’t want the government having to reinvest or have too much money, so we would cut taxes so the government would have less money and give it back to “the people who earned it.” Now McConnell says that despite the fact that there is several trillion dollars less in the government cofferes because of the tax cuts, those tax cuts bring in more revenue. So why did the surplus not increase?

How do they get away with this shit? Any journalist who doesn’t laugh in the face of someone spewing this nonsense should go home, rip up their j-school diploma, and then do the honorable thing.