How do they create the false $233b deficit by 2009?
1. They assume spending cuts that are, by any historical and political standard, impossible to achieve.
2. They assume revenue growth that is altogether wishful thinking and false based on current trends. And they do not consider the long-run costs of making all the Bush tax cuts permanent.
3. They do not count the ongoing costs of the continued defense and homeland security spending and of future military and homeland security build-ups.
4. They phase-in a budget busting social security privatization (that will cost alone $4.5 trillion in the next 20 years) only starting in 2009.
Well, actually, that's all true. But here's where he steps over the line:
- This is worse than dishonesty; it is the most squalid manipulation of budgets ever seen aimed at pretending to achieve a budget figure that is utterly unrealistic and false in every possible dimension.
Many things are possible in the Dungeon Dimensions of Terry Pratchett's Discworld series that might not be workable here. Why claim otherwise?
Besides, we're only talking budgets here. It's not as if they're trying to use arguments that shoddy to start a war or anything.
How screwed up are our politics? A perfectly straight-faced op-ed column in the Boston Globe recently noted in its first paragraph that ...
- ... today's conservatives don't love just any kind of ideas, even conservative ones. Big ideas are better than small, and bold ideas--ideas meant to profoundly reshape world history in the name of high principle--are always preferable to cautious ones. Abandoning a once fiercely defended reputation for caution in the face of change, it seems today's proudly swaggering conservatives have adopted the revolutionary role that for 200 years they existed to defeat.
But "caution in the face of change" is what conservatism is. The people we have calling themselves "conservatives" now are something different, and dangerous.