Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Editorial: Logic is too much to expect (Update: Entirely cribbed!)

Update, Thursday: Sometime this morning an attribution to "The Associated Press"  was added to the online edition.

Update, 7pm: This is why I love interactive comments. A couple of astute commenters on the editorial spotted that this piece has been circulating in syndication for at least a week, as near as papers in Colorado and as far away as The Jakarta Post. (I checked it out, it's true.) Is this really how it's done in the Courier editorial office now? Do I have to go out and google phrases from every editorial to see whether you're doing your own work, editors, like a junior-high English teacher? Ayayai.

So for every reference to "the editor" below, the reader should substitute "some hack writer somewhere."

Original post:
It's no surprise that the unnamed editor is setting out markers to attack the President. It's another election year. What's sort of sad is that his arguments hold no more firepower than a cap gun -- noisy, but irrelevant, and 100% fake.
   He's certainly popping those caps with vigor, though, accusing the President of "attempting ... to enlarge the entitlement society," meaning put more people on the dole, presumably so they'll vote for Dems who'll give them more benefits.He backs this up with a quote from former OMB Director Douglas Holtz-Eakin, slipping in "non-partisan" as a modifier. This is how we tell boldfaced lies in print. Holtz-Eakin was appointed by GW Bush, served three years, and wound up as budget director for the McCain campaign, so he's made a career of bashing Obama, culminating in frequent appearances on Fox News, where no doubt the editor found him. He's about as non-partisan as a Palin rally, and similarly credible.
   But let's get to the editor's "facts." He says the President's budget "avoids tough choices on the soaring costs of entitlements." This means that it doesn't sufficiently cut benefits that working people have paid for and earned over their lifetimes to suit the Republican drown-government-in-the-bathtub crowd. Instead it looks for revenues to help make up the revenue losses put in place by the Bush administration, because most Dems don't think dumping Granny off Social Security, out of her house and into the street to forage in trash cans is the right way to go. Presumably the editor disagrees.
   The editor seems particularly incensed that the President wants to spend $350 billion on additional economic stimulus measures (read: "jobs"), taking it be be a purely political ploy to attract votes. He clearly believes it's not possible that Obama really thinks that public spending is necessary to regrow the economy, as pretty much all serious economists have recommended publicly.
   So since this is a bribe to voters, which the editor seems to think will work, it will create "more takers," which I guess are people who are working at federally funded jobs. I'd like to see what happens when a Marine veteran of Iraq hears the editor refer to him as a "taker." But leaving that aside for the moment, this is what the editor calls the "entitlement society," so somehow a government-backed job becomes an "entitlement." I must have missed something in there, because the editor says that these people will be depending "on government for food stamps, retirement income, healthcare, job training and a host of other benefits." So I guess those government jobs will really suck, which ought to please a Republican. I'm confused.
   Oh, I get it, the editor was looking for a way to link up to that famous canard by de Toqueville about how our republic would survive only until we found out we can vote ourselves money from the public treasury. You know what, editor, it turns out that de Toqueville was wrong about that. We're still here, the oldest continuous republic on the planet. (Hint: If you were to actually read de Toqueville rather than grabbing an isolated quote off the net, you'd learn a lot about how European royalist thinking underestimated and misunderstood Americans at the time. I can lend you the book.)
   C'mon, editor, is that really all you've got? You're making your team look bad. Here's what you don't know: applying the President's budget (which won't happen, thanks to the kind of "thinking" demonstrated here) would help bring back the economy (including, indirectly, advertising for your paper, which has been pretty thin on the ground lately), it wouldn't cost you a nickel in additional taxes (and may save you some on your payroll tax), and it would reduce more spending than it adds. What's not to like? If a Republican were introducing this, you'd be telling us all how great it is and I'd be complaining that it doesn't go anywhere near far enough. Which I am doing, and that ought to make you feel better.

Want to hear the other side? Facts and figures at