Liberal media pundits are making a habit of responding to criticism of Barack Obama's "punt" on entitlement reform in his budget proposal by saying that "Republicans aren't tackling the problem either," so they're equally guilty.
There's a fatal flaw in the comparison, however, which they are hoping -- and with good reason -- that nobody will challenge: President Obama's budget is for the coming fiscal year. The recent House of Representatives debate over government spending was for the current fiscal year because the last Congress, controlled by Democrats, did not put forward any budget. It's nearly impossible, both legally and politically, to try to reform entitlements within a continuing resolution dealing only with the next several months.
Fox News' liberal contributor Kristen Powers offered this current liberal talking point on Saturday and as usual neither the host nor any other guest challenged her assertion that Republicans are manifestly as unserious about entitlement reform as Obama is.
Given what was passed by the house in the wee hours of Saturday morning, I am inclined (in a way I wouldn't have been even 6 months ago) to take Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Tom Price (R-GA) and Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) at their word that "if Obama won't lead, we will."
What was the Third Rail of politics, Social Security reform, may now be serving double-duty as a power supply with which a courage, honest, and (perhaps most importantly) good-at-explaining group of politicians can recharge their political fuel cells.
Obama may be afraid to touch it, not just because of the historic danger but also because the Progressive dream state requires every dollar possible to flow through the highly frictional hands of big government.
As Paul Ryan has said repeatedly, the House won't have a 2012 budget to propose for a couple more months.
Until then, news readers and watchers shouldn't let apologists for the administration get away with the apples and oranges comparison of cutting current-year spending versus proposing a next-fiscal-year budget which is the worst sort of chickening out, as our organizer-in-chief has just done.
It's not a one-off mis-comparison, however. The Washington Post's liberal apologist-in-chief, Ezra Klein, gives another example of the left's ignoring the fact that people are entitled to their own opinions but not their own facts. He wrote that a current-year budget deficit was caused by Governor Scott Walker: "The governor signed two business tax breaks and a conservative health care policy experiment that lowers tax revenues. The new legislation was not offset, and it turned a surplus into a deficit."
In fact, the governor's tax cuts don't go into effect until the next fiscal year, starting in July.
Someone pointed this out to Klein who wrote a blog note the next day with a quasi-correction, but in a way which could only satisfy a liberal which is to say only satisfy someone determined to mislead as much as possible. He quotes a liberal budget analyst who grudgingly and only parenthetically -- within a longer screed against Walker's tax cuter -- says that "in a technical sense, the tax cuts didn’t create the current-year shortfalls..."
"In a technical sense?" Seriously? What about in a non-technical sense? He just couldn't get himself to say "Walker's tax cuts do not figure into the current-year budget" even though that's simple, true, and important.
The anti-tax-cut and anti-spending-cut pathology of the left is laid bare by their willingness to deceive readers and listeners who might not be expected to know that the House and the president are discussing different years' budgets, or that recently passed tax cuts have not yet gone into effect.
Journalists who have opinions or are paid to write opinion are not suddenly dismissed from owing an allegiance to facts. Perhaps they need not supply every fact germane to a subject. But they simply can't be permitted to getting away with outright lies or deception.
The Internet and Fox News are allowing "ordinary citizens" to do their own homework, to learn the true story, and each time Powers, Klein, and their ilk are caught misleading us for their own partisan purposes, the left's credibility, along with that of their media lackeys, declines, proving that every dark cloud has a silver lining. In the meantime, we ordinary consumers of political news are learning to quickly spot an apple being sold to us as an orange.
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