McConnell Discredits CBO Analysis Of Affordable Care Act, Despite Previously Citing CBO As Leading Authority

November 5, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Yesterday, the Wonk Room argued that Sen. Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) pledge to repeal the health care law undermined his goal of reducing the deficit and slowing government spending. Last night, CNN’s John King asked McConnell about this contradiction and the Senate minority leader conveniently dismissed the notion, claiming that nobody believes that the health care law will save money:

KING: So answer somebody out there, whether they’re a Democrat or an Independent, or maybe even just some Republican who is doing the math, who says, ‘okay, this Republican leadership says they want to reduce the deficit. But if you extend the Bush tax cuts, I understand your policy argument, people can agree or disagree with it, that would, in the short-term at least, maybe if the economy roars back it would change it, but in the short-term that would add to the deficit, somewhere in the ballpark of $ 700, $ 800 billion. The Congressional Budget Office says, the Obama health care bill, for all the policy disagreements that you have with it, reduces the deficit by $ 143 billion over the next ten years or so. Are those inconsistent?

MCCONNELL: Well, the assumptions are all wrong. The fact of the matter is if you raise taxes in the middle of a recession, the government is going to get less revenue, not more. … Nobody seriously believes the health care bill is actually going to save money. Nobody believes that. So don’t assume that you’re going to exacerbate the deficit by doing any of those things.

Watch it:

Of course, the Congressional Budget Office does, and as McConnell’s Senate colleague Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) has pointed out, “CBO is God around here, because policy lives and dies by CBO’s word.” Grassley is right and McConnell’s dismissive attitude underscores that he is either not serious about repeal and is not concerned about offsetting its costs or is ready to repeal the law without plugging the budget hole it will leave behind. The Wonk Room argues that Republicans, including McConnell himself, frequently tout CBO estimates to criticize the health care law or bolster their own proposals.


Cleanup at AP: Report on Serious Consumer Confidence Drop Omits Value, Deletes Previously Included Context

September 28, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

conference-boarToday’s report from The Conference Board shows that consumer confidence fell steeply in September:

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index®, which had improved in August, retreated in September. The Index now stands at 48.5 (1985=100), down from 53.2 in August.

In a report issued in the run-up to the Board’s release (go to the text which follows the "Breaking News Update" here; saved at my web host for future reference), the Associated Press’s Stephen Bernard revealed economists’ consensus prediction (52.5) and helpfully told readers the level of result (90) that would represent "a strong, healthy economy."

In his 10:36 report consolidating the breaking news with info presented before its release (saved here), that useful information disappeared. In fact, even though it was in the "Breaking News Update" of the earlier report, Bernard omitted the Board’s specific reading from his revision. Amazing.

Here is what the AP reporter told readers in his run-up story (bolds are mine throughout):

Growth in consumer confidence in Germany comes on the same day where a key report on consumer confidence in the U.S. is scheduled for release. The Conference Board is expected to say U.S. consumer confidence dipped slightly this month compared with August.

Economists polled by Thomson Reuters forecast the consumer confidence index dipped to 52.5 from 53.5 last month. It takes a reading of 90 to indicate a strong, healthy economy.

Confidence remains low in the U.S. as unemployment remains high and economic growth is tepid. But investors have been able to drive stocks sharply higher throughout September because economic data indicates the country is strong enough to avoid falling back into recession. 

Here is how the related information looked in the revision:

Stocks slipped Tuesday following news that consumer confidence dropped to its lowest level since February.

The Conference Board said its September reading on consumer confidence fell sharply from August and was well below forecasts. Stocks have rallied throughout September as many major economic reports suggested that economic growth was slightly better than previously thought.

Why would Stephen Bernard and the AP not want readers to know what the Board’s reading actually was, or just how far below expectations it came in? And why is it no longer important that readers understand what kind of reading is seen when an economy is strong and healthy?

The questions answer themselves, don’t they?

Cross-posted at – Exposing Liberal Media Bias

Miller Now Wants To ‘Maintain’ Unemployment Benefits, Despite Previously Claiming They’re Unconstitutional

September 21, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Back in July, when he was in the midst of a fierce primary battle with Sen. Lisa Murkowkski (R-AK), tea party candidate Joe Miller railed against the concept of unemployment benefits. “The unemployment compensation benefits have gotten — first of all, it’s not constitutionally authorized,” he said. After he secured the nomination, Miller continued with this theme, falsely suggesting that Medicare and Social Security are both unconstitutional as well.

When journalists pressed Miller to expound on his Medicare and Social Security statements, the Tea Party favorite seemed reluctant to go into detail. Now, it seems that Miller is backtracking from his position on unemployment benefits as well. Yesterday on CNN, when host John King noted his previous claim, Miller danced around the question but ultimately said it’s extending the benefits that is the problem, not the benefits themselves:

KING: Now you have said you believe extending unemployment benefits and federal unemployment benefits are unconstitutional.

MILLER: Let me tell you why. The Democratic Party and even the votes that many of which Murkowski voted in support of the Democratic Party is not the answer to putting people back to work. And as long as the federal government stays on the back of the American worker by too much regulation, by creating an anti-competitive atmosphere, by taxation, we absolutely are going to maintain the unemployment benefits so that workers can continue to be where they need to be but long term there has to be a transition there, too. … Why we’re talking about expanding unemployment compensation for a much longer period than what had been done in the past?

Watch it:

Miller also hinted that his position was shifting on unemployment benefits during an interview with Fox News’s Chris Wallace this weekend. When Wallace asked repeatedly (without an answer) how he would help the nation’s poor if he believes unemployment is unconstitutional, Miller said, “We have an extension of unemployment benefits several weeks ago, which is beyond what we had in the past in this country,” adding, “What we have in this country is an entitlement mentality.”

Think Progress

How a Previously Qualified Elizabeth Warren became Unqualified, According to a Previously Progressive Chris Dodd

August 18, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

July 27: Chris Dodd says of Elizabeth Warren, “She’s qualified, no question about that”

August 9: Katrina VandenHeuvel tweets that several sources have told her Elizabeth Warren would be nominated “next week”

August 12: Warren meets with Financial Services Roundtable President Steve Bartlett and then meets with David Axelrod at the White House to discuss the CFPB position

August 13: Robert Gibbs acknowledges that Warren had been meeting about the CFPB position, but says no announcement would be made in the next week

August 17: Chris Dodd raises questions about whether Warren can manage anything to suggest she may not be confirmable even while he admits she has “a great campaign”

“My simple question about Elizabeth is: Is she confirmable?” Dodd said during a visit Tuesday with The Courant’s Editorial Board. “It isn’t just a question of being a consumer advocate. I want to see that she can manage something, too.”

But when pressed about where he stands, Dodd said: “If the president wants to name her and it goes through the hearing process, then fine, he’ll have my support. But she has to tell me more than just she’s a good consumer advocate or that’s she’s got a great campaign.”

I guess the only question this chronology leaves is whether or not Dodd is acting at the behest of his future employers, the banks, the White House, or both.

Related posts:

  1. Mistaking a Nomination for an Appointment
  2. Obama’s Relentless Abandonment of Progressive Nominees
  3. Leaving Las Vegas


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