I know, I know, this latest candidate for the Captain Louis Renault Award isn’t intrinsically newsworthy. After all, sleight-of-hand accounting combined with a healthy dose of smoke and mirrors has been a staple of every proposal to come out of this White House, from Porkulus I to Obamacare and everything before, after, and in between. But what I find truly extraordinary is that it’s the AP pointing this out, and only one day after last night’s spectacle before Congress. Let’s go to the highlights:
President Barack Obama’s promise Thursday that everything in his jobs plan will be paid for rests on highly iffy propositions.
It will only be paid for if a committee he can’t control does his bidding, if Congress puts that into law and if leaders in the future – the ones who will feel the fiscal pinch of his proposals – don’t roll it back.
Underscoring the gravity of the nation’s high employment rate, Obama chose a joint session of Congress, normally reserved for a State of the Union speech, to lay out his proposals. But if the moment was extraordinary, the plan he presented was conventional Washington rhetoric in one respect: It employs sleight-of-hand accounting.
In other words Obama, as is his custom, is having his cake now and saving the peas for a future President and Congress. Nothing like leading from behind. But the AP is just getting warmed up. They actually cite specific instances where Obama’s rhetoric is, shall we say, at odds with the facts. First they “refudiate” Obama’s laughable claim that his nearly half trillion dollar boondoggle — call it Porkulus II — is paid for:
OBAMA: “Everything in this bill will be paid for. Everything.”
THE FACTS: Obama did not spell out exactly how he would pay for the measures contained in his nearly $450 billion American Jobs Act but said he would send his proposed specifics in a week to the new congressional supercommittee charged with finding budget savings. White House aides suggested that new deficit spending in the near term to try to promote job creation would be paid for in the future – the “out years,” in legislative jargon – but they did not specify what would be cut or what revenues they would use.
Essentially, the jobs plan is an IOU from a president and lawmakers who may not even be in office down the road when the bills come due. Today’s Congress cannot bind a later one for future spending. A future Congress could simply reverse it.
The AP then destroys Obama’s ludicrous claim that “everything” in his proposal has “been supported by both Democrats and Republicans”. Governor Palin also put the kibosh on this nonsense today in her interview with Megyn Kelly on Fox News:
Palin disputed the characterization of the bill as bipartisan, saying Republicans believed that they could not afford the measures, considering the current deficit.
“The president was disingenuous when he insisted over and over again that everything in this package had been endorsed by all,” Palin said.
Next, the AP confronts Obama on his equally ludicrous claim that Porkulus II won’t add to the deficit:
OBAMA: “It will not add to the deficit.”
THE FACTS: It’s hard to see how the program would not raise the deficit over the next year or two because most of the envisioned spending cuts and tax increases are designed to come later rather than now, when they could jeopardize the fragile recovery. Deficits are calculated for individual years. The accumulation of years of deficit spending has produced a national debt headed toward $15 trillion.
The AP also takes issue with Obama’s claim that his latest Porkulus plan will “create jobs right away”. Their conclusion: It won’t. If Porkulus I, which was twice as big, didn’t create jobs,
why will Porkulus II which is essentially a smaller version of the same thing? (I realize the absurdity of characterizing a $450 billion spending bill as “smaller”, but when we have a President who racks up more than $4 trillion in debt in less than three years, one gets desensitized to these enormous numbers.)
That Obama’s latest Porkulus won’t work isn’t surprising, or even noteworthy, to anyone with a modicum of economic literacy, of course. But that the AP has finally begun doing their job rather than propagandizing for Obama is significant. If only the AP and their fellow travelers in the mainstream media had done their jobs back in 2007 and 2008 instead of focusing on the “really important” issues like what newspapers Governor Palin reads or who Trig Palin’s parents are. Who knows, maybe the country would have thought twice about electing a thin-skinned machine pol from the streets of Chicago with zero executive experience and an appalling paucity of accomplishment, and we all could have been spared the national nightmare that is the Obama Presidency. If only…
In any event, kudos to Calvin Woodward and Tom Raum of the AP for actually doing their jobs. Better late than never, I guess.
(h/t Nicole Coulter)