Atlas Shrugged: The Mocking

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Selective Amnesia

Megan McArdle thinks it's just fine to use "Obamacare" and "Bush tax cuts."

I will stop referring to it as ObamaCare when we stop calling them the Bush tax cuts for the rich. It is an effective shorthand for a law that is otherwise unwieldy to describe. If legislators wanted me to call it something else, they should have given it a catchy name like "Medicare", not a hypertrophied piece of propaganda like the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. I don't know why the left considers the term particularly perjorative [sic]; it is a health care program, and it is Barack Obama's signature legislation. Why is it supposed to be undignified to attach his name to it? One of James' commenters says, "ObamaCare sounds like a term someone would use, hoping it fails miserably, and wanting people to remember who did it. So it is not non-judgmental. Quite the contrary."

Personally, I have no such lofty agenda; I just don't have a better term for it. But surely progressives think it is going to succeed. Shouldn't they be thrilled that the rest of us are associating Obama's name with it at every turn?

Update: Apparently I need to make clear that I don't think there's anything wrong with "Bush tax cuts for the rich", though I get some snippy conservatives who disagree occasionally. It's the easiest description, and everyone understand what you're talking about. I'm not trying to trade one for the other; I'm planning to keep using both.

Except when she doesn't.

Another day, another chart from the "non-partisan" Center on Budget and Policy Priorities on what "accounts" for the public debt. At some level, these exercises are silly: all prior legislation could be equally said to "account" for public debt, including, of course, Social Security and Medicare. These charts are usually just a dog-whistle where we pick out the programs we don't like and show that without them, things wouldn't be so bad!

But what is ridiculous-to-the-point-of-metaphysical-absurdity is the labeling of that big orange section as "Bush-Era Tax Cuts". The actual level of the debt incurred by tax cuts passed during the Bush era is represented by the size of the wedge in 2010, plus perhaps a modest amount of interest (interest rates right now are low, and over time, inflation and GDP growth should call that debt to fall, not rise, as a percentage of GDP.)

No, what that ever-widening wedge represents is the tax cuts passed in 2010, plus the assumption that the Obama administration makes the tax cuts permanent. I know that many liberal groups still see the pernicious influence of George Bush everywhere . . . but does the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities really think that we are still in the "Bush Era"? Is he the puppetmaster who pulled the string and made Barack Obama and the Democratic Congress dance? And if so, how come we passed a gargantuan new health care entitlement, instead of reforming Social Security?

This raises a question, of course: when do we think the CBPP will decide that we've finally left the Bush era? I'm guessing the answer is "Only after we've elected another president."

Heh, I could do this all day. That's what happens when a "journalist" is really a propagandist; accuracy and consistency are irrelevant.

If I ran or worked for the CBPP I would be very concerned about the constant trashing of my organization's reputation by one of the country's more respected knowledgeable ideological and omnipresent journalists. If a person makes a "mistake" and refuses to admit it, correct it, or stop making the same "mistake" it becomes libel, not error.


Anonymous said...

the CBPP charts just hurt the galtian overlords' baby feelers too much. how dare the CBPP put information in a form that smelly poor people can understand!

Mr. Wonderful said...

I just don't have a better term for it.

A more blatant lie than usual. Has she not heard the term "Health Care Reform," an abbreviated form of which is to be found in the acronym "HCR"?

This column by MM is an order of magnitude more juvenile and disingenous than usual. She's being infected by her commenters.

Syz said...

In my househould, we have started living beyond our means. My wife thinks it is because of my fancy new Porsche. But thanks to Megan, my wife now understands that her food, clothing and medical care are a bigger part of our deficit than my Porsche.

Thanks, Megan!!

Downpuppy said...

It's really just one law, the Affordable Care Act, aka ACA, which is understood by pretty much everyone affected by it, which is pretty much everyone.

BillCinSD said...

Since Social Security is, by law, not allowed to contribute to the deficit, how bad was her gastritis when she was writing that it did contribute?

Anonymous said...

Bill, her (and her commenters) response would be that while it is true that social security doesn't contribute to the deficit, no rational (read "thinks just like Megan") person would remove social security from talking about debt. To which I would reply, "you are conflating debt and deficit".

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

The Atlantic must be so proud.

"We use to pay people with the ability to write interesting articles.

Now we just farm the place out to internet trolls like McArdle!"

kth said...

McArdle no doubt supported those tax cuts, why would she take umbrage at Bush's name being associated with them? And as much of a zinger as the wingnuts imagine it to be, I imagine Obama is perfectly proud to be associated with the ACA.

McArdle's complaint makes little sense, except in that petulance is her natural state.

Kathy said...

ArgleBargle: I'll stop saying water is wet when YOU stop saying water is a liquid! Nya! Nya! Guess I showed them!!

Batocchio said...

Sweet FSM, McArdle trying to joust with CBPP is sad and obnoxious. Her groupies will buy her bluster, but she's so out of her league. As she is with Krugman. And Delong, And Taibbi. And Crooked Timber. And TBogg. And Tom Levenson. And SoT/HotS. And...

Pete said...

Has McM's job description changed? A commenter at Balloon Juice raised the question. Apparently “Derek Thompson is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he oversees business coverage for the website.“

Is this new? Does it make a difference?

Ken Houghton said...

"If I ran or worked for the CBPP I would be very concerned about the constant trashing of my organization's reputation by one of the country's more respected knowledgeable ideological and omnipresent journalists."

While the rest of us are worried that Brad DeLong, Sensible Centrist(tm), wasted five blog posts responding to McArdlian idiocy on how Herbert Hoover was an "activist" President.

Pete - Maybe she got the NYT job after TaNiesha's pieces struck readers a little too close to home? After all, NJ just hired some new school superintendents...