Thursday, April 15, 2010

Why Oh Why Can't We Have a Better Press Corps? (H/T DeLong)

So, the NY Times runs a front-page article on Americans who identify themselves as supporters of the Tea Party. The reporters quote all sorts of factually dubious things the Tea Party supporters say, but they do not include in the article the actual facts.

Let's try the claim that Barack Obama is a Muslim. Well, no. He is a believing Christian and has been since his 20s.

Let's try the claim that Barack Obama is a Socialist. I roll on the floor laughing. He's a moderate all the way. I mean, just look at his version of health care reform: instead of socializing the health care system or putting a single-payer plan into effect, he threw about a trillion dollars a year to the insurance companies by requiring everyone to have insurance, whether purchased individually or through an employer.

Let's try "I want a smaller government! They should cut waste! But let me keep my Social Security / Medicare / veterans' benefits."

PEOPLE. There's waste in every system, whether private, public, large, small. It's often hard to locate and usually costs as much to monitor and cut as you're wasting. Quis custodiet ipsos custodes, you know?

More to the point, here's what the federal government spends money on. First, nondiscretionary spending, mostly on entitlements, and thank you, Wikipedia:

Mandatory spending: $1.89 trillion (+6.2%)

So, Medicare, Social Security, Medicaid, and SCHIP take up most of that. Well, I'm sure the Tea Partiers want to ditch Medicaid and SCHIP, which benefit primarily poor people.

And here's so-called discretionary spending. Note that nearly half of this goes to the Department of Defense. I'm all in favor of spending less on the military and especially that giant amount labeled "Global War on Terror" (does that mean Afghan and Iraq Wars??) but IT AIN'T HAPPENING IN MY LIFETIME. Anyone want to give up the judiciary? I thought not.

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