Patterico's Pontifications


Controlling the Narrative on the Budget

Filed under: Budget,General — Patterico @ 10:44 am

One of the most important points of Andrew Breitbart’s new book is that conservatives can use New Media to fight Big Media’s narrative — and to reshape it according to the truth.

Currently, nothing is more important than fighting the left’s phony and oft-repeated falsehoods about the budget and the deficit. For example, one of the points I have been making lately is that higher taxes on the rich cannot possibly balance the budget no matter how confiscatory they are. You could return to 2000 levels for incomes over $200,000, raise the top rate to 50% for those making $500,000, 60% for those making over $5 million, and a sky-high 70% for those making over $10 million, and you know what you would raise? An extra $133 billion per year, in a budget whose deficits are more than 10 times that amount.

Another point we need to fight is the ridiculous assumption that ObamaCare will reduce the deficit. I saw that particular falsehood raise its ugly head twice in the past 24 hours: once in Obama’s remarks to donors (featured in a post by Lee Stranahan), and again in a piece linked by one of the trolls here, suggesting that we can fix the deficit by doing nothing (!) — thanks to the fabulous savings afforded by ObamaCare!

They are going to keep repeating the lie. So we need to keep rebutting it.

There are a million ways to rebut this, with links a-plenty and walls of text. Obama’s own deficit commission (.pdf) says CBO projections of ObamaCare’s savings “count on large phantom savings” that will never occur. The administration double-counts savings, using the same $500 billion to save Medicare and to pay for the plan. And so on.

But the most entertaining and succinct rebuttal to that idea is this short video by Nick Gillespie:

The basic point Nick makes is that the alleged savings depend on budget gimmickry — such as treating “reform” as independent from huge annual health care expenditures that recur every year, and eliminating those expenditures from the analysis.

It’s wearying, having to constantly rebut lies. But as long as they keep telling them, we have to keep responding.

Look at it this way: thanks to the Internet, we can. Back in the day, we just had to sit there and watch the narrative be shaped by liars, and say nothing.

The new way is much better.

UPDATE: An entertaining “Obama then and now” video — this one on Mediscaring seniors.

23 Responses to “Controlling the Narrative on the Budget”

  1. Unfortunately, the mainstream media has the greater access to the people who decide elections, the independents.

    But the mainstream media can only blow so much smoke, “Jobs created and saved,” before reality takes over. Each step along the way, the media loses credibility.

    Arizona Bob (911aa5)

  2. Sillyman Bill Maher repeated this nonsense last night on his show. He stated if we rescind the Bush tax cuts we can “reduce the deficit by 75%”.

    The Bush tax cuts for the wealthy – about $80 billion a year – and the two other brackets – another $300 billion – would raise less than $400 billion (assuming they would have no drag on economic growth).

    That $400 billion in a $1.4-1.5 trillion deficit is less than 30% of the deficit. Hardly 75%.

    SteveMG (d87254)

  3. UPDATE: An entertaining “Obama then and now” video — this one on Mediscaring seniors.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  4. SteveMG,

    Where do you get a $400 billion annual figure from? In 2008, the CBO had put the cost at between $150B and $300B per year through 2017 (see page 6 of this .pdf report).

    Do you have a more recent estimate that is higher?

    Patterico (c218bd)

  5. I saw Eliot Spitzer saying in Slate that repealing the Bush tax cuts could save us $4 trillion. Pure fantasy, and of course the sleazy John had no link to back it up.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  6. “I saw Eliot Spitzer”

    Patterico – Client No. 9, if you please.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  7. I think the $4 trillion relates to a 10 year projection which ties back to SteveMG’s number, on average, and roughly what I recall.

    The $150 billion for one year feels like the tax impact for ‘this’ year, with depressed economic activity relative to a few years ago. I usually do the same mental calculation that SteveMG did but it actually obscures something important – flow. $4 trillion over 10 could mean you get 3/4ths in the last five years (it’s easy to bake an extra unicorn or two into your growth when you get out five years and at that point you get five years of compounding in the 10 year total, who’s to say you’re wrong? I mean who can prove it) and very little on the front end.

    East Bay Jay (19f566)

  8. Repealing Elliot Spitzer’s wang could save 4 trillion dollars………..just saying.

    DohBiden (15aa57)

  9. Owen Glendower: I can call up spirits from the vasty deep.
    Hotspur: Aye, but will they come when you call them?
    –Henry IV, Part I.

    One of my favorite quotes from Shakespeare, which I like to trot out whenever applicable.
    And how it’s applicable here: no matter how good a job conservatives do in getting their side of the story out and in showing up the left, it doesn’t mean much if the public in general doesn’t hear you/ pay attention. And the only way to get that done is not to set up some rival to the MSM, but to have at least a large share of it, if not control of it.
    And by MSM I don’t mean simply the newspapers and TV channels; I mean whatever will develop in the near future as the general means of delivering the news to the public at large (although I think those entities will have a large part in it, at least for the rest of our lives).
    We here are more politically minded than the general public; blogs are not a mass media, at least not yet. Not even places like Huffington Post, Daily Dish, Hot Air, Politico [picking names more or less at random]: you are read here by other conservatives, and at best your arguments here are passed on in conversation with their neighbors, relatives, acquaintances. Michelle Malkin probably reaches far more people when she appears on Fox and Friends for five minutes than she reaches through her own website. But you have more chance of getting Kman and timb to become conservatives than you do most of the general public, for the simple reason that Kman and timb are actually here, and the general public is.

    In summary, it’s not just having a message that you can get out, but it’s necessary to get that message out to the public at large. You can tell yourself the true story all you want, but if no one else notices, it’s a wasted effort.

    kishnevi (d657df)

  10. Notice just how bad Obama is at actually making any kind of argument in favor of his policies.

    This was the guy sold as the brilliant communicator in contrast to George Bush? Bush was not the most articulate guy in the world, but you knew where he stood and you could understand the arguments he was making.

    Obama? You can’t guess what his policy actually is. Much less the arguments in favor of whatever it might be.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  11. If he didn’t have the Journolist and the sRM, he would have no audience,

    narciso (8a8b93)

  12. Bush was not the most articulate guy in the world, but you knew where he stood and you could understand the arguments he was making.

    Definitely knew where he stood, but I’m not sure I ever understood his arguments when he was making them himself–only when someone else was making them did I “grok” them.

    Clinton, by contrast, made understandable arguments but one never knew where he stood.

    Bush–I don’t know. I didn’t have anything near the interest level in politics I have now, so I didn’t really notice.

    Reagan–your description definitely applies to him.

    Carter–one seemed to know where he stood, and one could understand his arguments, but unfortunately for him they were very lame arguments that could not hope to persuade.

    Before that, Nixon–don’t remember enough of him to comment and LBJ–my one direct memory of him is a photo in which he was holding up one of the family beagles by the ears. Of course, at that time my age was measured in the single digits.

    kishnevi (827a72)

  13. Oh, and there was one of him showing off the scar from his gall bladder surgery.

    kishnevi (827a72)

  14. Bob Kerrey called Clinton, ‘an uncommonly good liar’ in the ’92 campaign,

    narciso (8a8b93)

  15. i suppose just referring to the current Oval Office squatter as the “First Lying Ba$tard” won’t be effective enough?

    redc1c4 (fb8750)

  16. Speaking of the narrative, don’t forget that AP scrubbed their story on gas prices when O was asked about $5 a gallon gas: You should buy a new car.

    Let them eat cake.

    Arizona Bob (911aa5)

  17. narciso, Obama is a surprisingly bad liar – given the amount of practice you’d think he had gotten in the normal course of his political career.

    I think its just how bad he is at it, that is most annoying.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  18. It could be, he goes by the George Costanza test, ‘it’s not a lie, If I believe it’

    narciso (8a8b93)

  19. Patterico:
    Where do you get a $400 billion annual figure from? In 2008, the CBO had put the cost at between $150B and $300B per year through 2017

    I’ve seen all sorts of estimates from, as you noted, about $170 to $300 to $400 billion annually. As I understand it, the 10 year projection is about $4 trillion.

    For example, see here: CBO estimates on Tax Cuts Act of 2010 . Although that also includes the AMT patch and other changes.

    For this year, you’re right: the number is around $180 billion.

    In any case, pace Mr. Maher, it’s not 75% of the deficit.

    SteveMG (a8b780)

  20. Patterico – Client No. 9, if you please.

    I have been calling him “that sleazy John” but I’m not sure people are getting it. I prefer your terminology and will adopt it.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  21. I’ve seen all sorts of estimates from, as you noted, about $170 to $300 to $400 billion annually. As I understand it, the 10 year projection is about $4 trillion.

    In the link I gave you, SteveMG, the 10-year projection was $1.8 trillion. That estimate was from 2008. By what magic did it get to be $4 trillion in 2010?

    I understand that is Client No. 9’s claim, but how does it more than double in two years.

    Will have to look at your link to see — but if the estimate at your link encompasses more than just the Bush tax cuts, you’re playing into the other side’s hands if you treat it as an estimate only of the Bush tax cuts.

    I get your point that Maher lied in any event, and agree. But we need to get a handle on the actual truth, no?

    Patterico (c218bd)

  22. OK, I looked at your link and did not understand it. I think it is written in some kind of obscure government code.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  23. Patterico:
    The numbers vary widely because in some cases the estimates include debt service costs or interest on the reductions. Also, as you know, small changes in GDP growth in a $14.5 trillion economy can have enormous effects on revenues.

    From $1.8 to $4 is a heckuva swing, I admit.

    The $4 trillion is on the CBO link I gave you. But as I noted that also included other measures.

    From Wiki:
    “In August 2010, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that extending the tax cuts for the 2011-2020 time period would add $3.3 trillion to the national debt, comprising $2.65 trillion in foregone tax revenue plus another $0.66 trillion for interest and debt service costs.”

    The link for that is here: CBO Report.

    I guess the addition $700 billion is the costs of the other measures in the bill.

    SteveMG (a8b780)

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