Sunday, March 1, 2015

Facts is Facts

When it comes to federal budget numbers, it's good to get the facts.

Facts is Facts

(A brief discussion twixt Baer & Baer's editor, a.k.a. BE)

JB: You know, there's so much B.S. flying around TV, radio and the Internet that I often turn to the Annenberg Policy Center's factcheck.org when searching for truth in politics.

BE: They have a great reputation. What are they doing these days?

JB: Controlling spin on the president's budget and letting both the president and his critics have it right between their lies.

BE: Good for them. Got examples?

JB: They nailed Obama for his claim that his budgeting would mean that by the middle of the decade we will not be adding to the national debt. He even used an analogy, saying it will be like family stopping to use its credit cards.

BE: Sounds like good budgeting.

JB: Except for the fact that he ignored the interest payments on the national debt, $196 billion last year and growing every year, and didn't make that clear until a reporter questioned (and therefore busted) him about it. Factcheck says that by the middle of the decade the interest payment is projected to rise to $494 billion.

BE: I guess everybody spins, eh?

JB: You betcha. Take GOP Congressman Paul Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee. He said Obama increased domestic spending by 84 percent over the past two years.

BE: Wow, that's some spending increase.

JB: Except for the fact it never happened. Ryan's nunbers come from some cooked-books partisan report. The non-partisan, widely-respected Congressional Budget Office says the domestic spending increase over the past two years is 27 percent, and it's that high because of the stimulus money.

BE: I guess one needs to know where best to go for one's facts.

JB: Yep. And it appears that north to Alaska ain't the best place to go.

BE: How's that?

JB: Sarah, you know, who used the social network Twitter to offfer her facts on the president's budget and tweeted that Obama's proposed cuts total $775 million and are "minuscle, less that one-tenth of 1 percent" of the deficit.

BE: That's pretty small.

JB: Like Sarah's budget knowledge. The actual proposed cuts total $33 billion or 2 percent of the deficit. Not a big cut, but 20 times bigger than Sarah said.

BE: Wish everyone would get their facts straight.

JB: They can. They can check out factcheck's budget report issued yesterday. The findings will make you GRRRR.

 

 

 

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
About this blog
John Baer has been covering politics and government for the Daily News since 1987. The National Journal in 2002 called Baer one of the country's top 10 political journalists outside Washington, saying Baer has, "the ability to take the skin off a politician without making it hurt too much." E-mail John at baerj@phillynews.com.

John is the author of the book "On The Front Lines of Pennsylvania Politics: Twenty-Five Years of Keystone Reporting" (The History Press, 2012). Reach John at baerj@phillynews.com.

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
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