Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Thursday, January 16, 2014 7:12 pm

New York Times vs. New York Times

If a genie granted me three wishes, I wouldn’t waste one of them on this. But, damn, it would be nice if, at least once in a while, New York Times economics reporters would consult their columnist colleague Paul Krugman, who has, like, a Nobel Prize in the subject, before publishing bilge like this, particularly when Krugman could steer them to a large pile of research showing that he’s right and they’re wrong.

(h/t: Dean Baker)


Monday, April 9, 2012 8:03 pm

Everyone’s entitled to his own opinion, but not his own math

Dean Baker eviscerates both James B. Stewart of The New York Times and Rep. Paul Ryan’s massive tax cuts for rich folks disguised as a federal budget:

What Stewart tells us is reasonable is that the budget calls for cuts in entitlements and tax reform. He then asks who could disagree with this.

One has to wonder whether Stewart has looked at the Ryan budget. First, on taxes the only specifics are cuts in the tax rates paid by rich people and corporations. None of the offsetting tax increases are specified.

If this sounds like a sensible opening gambit, let’s imagine the equivalent on the opposite side. Suppose that we proposed to increase Social Security benefits for the bottom two income quintiles of retirees. Suppose that we also proposed increased spending on infrastructure, research and development, and education.

Suppose the left-wing Ryan budget wrote down that these spending increases would be offset by unspecified reductions in government waste. We then told CBO to score it accordingly. Is this a good starting point for further discussion? …

Even more to the point: Is there anyone who has been paying attention for the past 20 years who believes that if some leftist proposed such a budget as Baker hypothesizes, the mainstream media (forget Fox)¬†wouldn’t go utterly batshit calling out the many problems, miscalculations and flawed assumptions contained therein, including but not limited to some that were not flawed or miscalculated at all (Politifact and Factcheck, I’m looking at you)?

The Ryan budget is proving to be a wonderful¬†Rorschach test. We have people who want to be part of the inside Washington conversation who praise the budget’s courage and integrity. Then we have people who believe in arithmetic who call it what it is: a piece of trash.

Why does this matter? Because people who ought to know better are running round calling Paul Ryan a serious thinker, when in fact he is either unable or unwilling to do fifth-grade math, and because there’s a nontrivial chance he will be Mitt Romney’s running mate.

Sunday, February 28, 2010 9:33 pm

And Congress is a bunch of crooks, but MY congresscritter is OK.

Filed under: More fact-based arguing, please — Lex @ 9:33 pm

Conservatives aren’t nearly as opposed to government spending as they say they are (or as the media think). At least, in the anonymity of a poll, that’s what they’re telling pollsters.

In 2008, the American National Election Study asked some people who identified themselves either as “conservative” or as “very conservative” whether they’d be in favor of cutting or eliminating federal spending on 12 programs, most of which usually are thought to be popular targets for conservative anti-spending types. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the least popular program was child care, with 75% of conservatives opposing cuts or elimination of spending for it. Even higher percentages opposed spending on the other programs:

So if large majorities of Americans favor spending on all these programs, can we please be mature grownups and talk rationally and intelligently and honestly about how we’re going to pay for them? Here’s a hint: bailouts for bankers, tax cuts for billionaires and a defense budget larger than the rest of the world’s combined aren’t going to do it.

UPDATE: This Jonathan Rausch article makes basically the same point:

[L]ike Wallace and his supporters 40 years ago, today’s conservative populists are long on anger and short on coherence. For Wallace, small-government rhetoric was a trope, not a workable agenda. The same is true of his Republican heirs today, who insist that spending cuts alone, without tax increases, will restore fiscal balance but who have not proposed anywhere near enough spending cuts, primarily because they can’t.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009 11:01 pm

And now, a word about spending like a drunken sailor, from an authoritative source

Filed under: Fun,You're doing WHAT with my money?? — Lex @ 11:01 pm
Tags: ,

My longtime friend and neighbor Fred e-mails:

I’ve been a sailor. I have been drunk. I have spent money as a sailor, while being drunk. I have extensive experience spending like a drunken sailor. I could qualify as an expert court witness in “spending like a drunken sailor.”

As an expert in this field (O.K., I qualified myself, but I feel it is justified), I am offended by those that say Bernanke, Obama, and Pelosi are spending like drunken sailors.


This conservative attack must END!

I blame George W. Bush and global warming for the spending.

Bonus documentary evidence of our source’s authority:

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