Monday, June 27, 2011

Couldn't interrupt a video this way

Given the choice, I much prefer reading to watching video. Oh, not for entertainment, no. But when it is something I have to think about, like the economy, I want to read it. Otherwise I just get bludgeoned by ideas that there is no time to evaluate.

I think that's how things go wrong.

But even in print, people try to present ideas faster than they can be evaluated. That's my first impression of this forked-tongue piece from Cato@Liberty:

Don’t Blame Obama for Bush’s 2009 Deficit

Posted by Daniel J. Mitchell

Some critics are lambasting President Obama for record deficits. This is not a productive line of attack, largely because it puts the focus on the wrong variable. America’s fiscal problem is excessive government spending, and deficits are merely a symptom of that underlying disease...

Time to interrupt.

Third sentence in, Daniel J. Mitchell is using a conclusion as if it were an observation. The problem is excessive government spending. Sounds like a conclusion to me.

And how would you know that "America’s fiscal problem is excessive government spending" if not for the deficits? But perhaps this is Mr. Mitchell's point. So then, let us suppose that deficits are evidence of excessive government spending.

Oh, well there you go. This is how we arrive at Mitchell's conclusion. By supposing it.

... In addition to being theoretically misguided, critics sometimes blame Obama for things that are not his fault. Listening to a talk radio program yesterday, the host asserted that Obama tripled the budget deficit in his first year. This assertion is understandable, since the deficit jumped from about $450 billion in 2008 to $1.4 trillion in 2009. As this chart illustrates, with the Bush years in green, it appears as if Obama’s policies have led to an explosion of debt.

But there is one rather important detail that makes a big difference. The chart is based on the assumption that the current administration should be blamed for the 2009 fiscal year. While this makes sense to a casual observer, it is largely untrue. The 2009 fiscal year began October 1, 2008, nearly four months before Obama took office. The budget for the entire fiscal year was largely set in place while Bush was in the White House...

As for myself, I much prefer to leave out the politics altogether and deal directly with the economics of the economic problem.

1 comment:

Jazzbumpa said...

As weirdly refreshing as it is to see Cato 1) defending B Hoover Obama, and 2) placing responsibility where it belongs, the right strategy for reading Cato is to look for the lie.

Which you spotted right off.

The truth is, spending has only wiggled a bit and barely gone above the trend clearly visible since 1990.

The other truth is the bottom fell out of revenues, because the economy tanked.

Also, we seem to have forgotten how to tax. Don't expect Cato to say anything about that.