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Jon Chait Has a Fine Testimonial on Mitt Romney’s Integrity

4:10 pm in Media, Politics by Scarecrow

(image: EN2008/flickr)

I don’t think I’m a stupid person, but sometimes I read what seem to be really stupid things.  At least that’s how I felt after reading a post by Jonathan Chait, entitled “Mitt Romney Lies a Lot, But He’s Not a Liar.” Yes, that really is the title, so let it sink in a bit.

Now there are at least two possible reasons you’d read a post with that title:  (1) it’s so absurd on its face, it must be snark, so maybe it will be fun to read; or (2) there is some hitherto unappreciated, redeeming social value in Mitt Romney’s pervasive and pathological lying that, should he become President, we will not be completely embarrassed or ashamed and want to hide the children every time he opens his mouth.

Alas, no luck on either theory.  After noting that we sometimes see our own actions differently from how we see others’ actions, Chait begins his argument:

This is a useful prism through which to understand Mitt Romney’s propensity to lie. He says lots of things that are obviously false and that he clearly knows to be false – particularly, but not exclusively, about his own record. But it’s not clear that this tells us anything about Romney’s character.

Please get your jaw off the floor; you probably thought persistent lying tells you reams about the man’s character, so we’re not off to a good start.  But maybe Chait’s point will become more plausible as we read along:

Lying is what politicians do when the truth stands between them and their goals. I don’t mean to completely dismiss the role of character here. Some politicians are more comfortable lying than are others. But circumstance plays a powerful role.

Ah, I see where he’s going.  Mitt’s kids are being held hostage by liberal terrorists, and he has to lie and make himself look like an unprincipled buffoon and pretend you are all complete dolts, because otherwise the terrorists will kill his kids, right?  Uh, no; Chait explains poor Mitt has just been unlucky:

It’s Romney’s bad luck that fate has dictated his only path to the presidency lies in being a huge liar. First, he was a Republican running in a heavily Democratic state, which forced him to shade his abortion views rightward, and present himself generally as moderate to progressive, ideologically. After having had to shade his views as far left as he could get away with to win in Massachusetts, he had to obtain the Republican nomination in 2008, making himself acceptable to a dramatically more conservative electorate. And then, four years later, he has had to make himself acceptable to a Republican electorate that has moved further right still.

Huh.  By now, I’m starting to realize I’ve been conned into reading something that no one could possibly accept as an excuse for being unprincipled, unworthy of anyone’s trust and contributing to the nation’s mind-numbing level of misinformation.  Chait is saying that poor Mitt simply had to pander to whatever audience he confronts in whatever era he’s in just to get elected, and now all those lies “have formed an extensive public record that he is forced to deny, revise, and cover up.”  Gosh, what a tragedy.

Finally, we’re told that it’s not personal; it’s just circumstantial and part of the job:  “He wanted a political career, and once he made that decision, he had only two choices: massive dishonesty or certain defeat.”

Here’s a different view.  Mitt Romney lies, because he’s not an honest man.  It shows Mitt Romney’s ambition is far stronger than his character and he has no respect for voters.  Occam’s razor.

Why Is NBC Complaining When Romney Runs a Truthful Ad?

11:58 am in Uncategorized by Scarecrow

The Hill reports a strange story in which NBC and its former evening news anchorman, Tom Brokaw, are demanding that Mitt Romney’s campaign take down an ad in Florida that features Tom Brokaw delivering the news.  The news Tom is delivering is that the House found Speaker Gingrich guilty of unethical behavior and fined him.  Here’s the YouTube version of the ad:

So, you may ask, what exactly is wrong with a candidate using a segment of a newscast to present a piece of relevant history it wants voters to learn from the ad?  The fact is, thousands of political campaign ads routinely use news headlines, highlighted quotes, charts, photos and everything else the media prints or broadcasts all the time.  And thousands of blog articles routinely use snippets of the same media every day under well recognized fair use policies.

Is there something factually wrong or morally unethical about the ad?  If there is, I can’t figure it out.  The entire point of the ad seems to be to remind viewers of the uncontested and widely reported fact that a rival candidate, a former Speaker of the House, was cited and fined by his own colleagues for ethical violations. Did this not happen?

But NBC and Tom Brokaw don’t want the Romney people to run the ad.  Why?   They don’t claim the Brokaw broadcast was in error, or misleadingly edited, or later rebutted, or taken out of context, or is any way untruthful.  The ad does not claim or suggest that NBC or Mr. Brokaw have a position one way or another about the choice for the GOP nomination today.  So how is the Romney campaign’s use of this historic footage objectionable in any way?

Sadly, NBC’s reasoning is not very convincing.  According to The Hill:

“I am extremely uncomfortable with the extended use of my personal image in this political ad,” Brokaw said in a statement. “I do no want my role as a journalist compromised for political gain by any campaign.”

NBC’s legal department said it had written a letter to Romney’s campaign asking that it remove all NBC News material from the campaign’s ads. NBC added that it has issued similar requests when other campaigns have “inappropriately used Nightly News, Meet the Press, Today and MSNBC material.”

Well, boo hoo, Tom.  Your job was to report the news.  You did.  How is reshowing what you reported compromising you in any way? The ad shows you doing your job.  The fact that the news from back then has become politically relevant in a hot political campaign doesn’t change a thing.  And it’s not for you, Tom Brokaw, to determine what news may or may not be used by political candidates to explain their positions.  And what, NBC, is “inappropriate” here?

You’d think the media would, for once, praise a candidate for putting out a factually correct, undoctored recording of the news as a means to reveal the historical truth in a political ad.  But Tom Brokaw is “extremely uncomfortable,” not because there’s anything false about the ad but because, I suspect, it shows the media doing its job at a time when NBC doesn’t want to remind GOP voters about that, and just after Brian Williams in the last debate did everything he could to cower in a foxhole.  Get out of the foxhole, or go home.

GOP Candidates Debate, Obscure US Industrial Policy

7:36 am in Uncategorized by Scarecrow

You might have missed the segment in last night’s GOP debate where CNN’s Wolf Blitzer asked carefully prepared questions about what America’s industrial policy ought to be.  That’s because he didn’t — not that I’m criticizing Wolf, who did much better than the pathetic Brian Williams and hapless John King — but the candidates nevertheless indirectly gave us their own ugly visions.

First, Newt Gingrich thinks we need to be investing in public works projects, except when he’s called on that before a Republican audience and changes that to mostly privately financed projects.  Since we’re in Florida this week, all that investment should be directed at the moon, Newt says, where there will be a colony of real Americans, English is the official language, and the Chinese can visit in envy but not have a colony of their own.   If I were the Chinese, I’d be thinking of that Larson cartoon of the dog hoping the cat will climb into the dryer.

Ron Paul figured out the absurdity of Newt’s priorities and proposed that if we are to send people to the moon, it should be our politicians.  Score one for Paul.

But instead of using Speaker Moonbeam’s idea as a opportunity to describe a national industrial policy, Mitt Romney tried to use it as a shot against Newt’s pandering.  He charged that Newt went from one primary state to the next promising to spend hundreds of billions on public works projects in each state.

There was about a half-second flash of rationality when Newt claimed that, well yes, there are worthwhile things that warrant public investments in every state, and Washington should know that, so what’s wrong with that?  But that’s a dangerous notion, like asking whether vulture capitalism is good for people, so the moment was quickly lost.

That was the moment when Wolf Blitzer might have asked, “well, don’t we need massive investments in infrastructure in every state, and isn’t this the perfect time to borrow at record low interest rates and invest in our future and put people to work? . . .  and while we’re at it, why not build high speed rail systems between, oh, I dunno, Florida’s major cities?  Wouldn’t that do more for the Florida economy than transporting igloos to the moon?” Read the rest of this entry →

Governance As Bain Capitalism, Where American Workers Become Mitt’s Dog

10:29 am in Economy, Politics, Republican party by Scarecrow

The wealthy keepers of the Republican Party are in full panic mode since Mitt Romney foolishly put his brand of American capitalism on trial. Yes, he did it to himself. As soon as Romney made the ridiculous claim that his success at becoming rich from leveraged buy outs was his main qualification to be President, it was certain that his even dumber rivals would ask whether Mitt’s brand of capitalism was good for America or instead, “vultures” who were “looting” companies, enriching themselves and firing hapless workers.

Aware of the danger to the rigged game that makes a few fabulously wealthy at the expense of the many, the GOP’s financial elites must now invent fantastic narratives to defend “creative destruction”. This comes at a time when sensible voters are realizing they constitute the destruction part. What Romney helped create and successfully, ruthlessly, exploit was the enrichment of a favored few, including himself, while he and his friends became indifferent to the destruction of the middle class and American labor.

Of course, the questions Mitt himself raised are exactly what the country should be debating. After Wall Street’s self delusion and greed tanked the economy, throwing millions out of work and into fraud-laden foreclosures, the number one economic issue of our times should be whether the malefactors of wealth through financial engineering should be allowed anywhere near governmental power over the economy. Anything but a resounding “Are you nuts?!” is preposterous, so the next governance question is how do we exorcise these demons from the body politic.

The malefactors manipulated political influence in successive administrations via the heavily bribed corporate wings of both parties to bail themselves out with zero accountability. That they show little remorse and only token concern for their millions of victims only amplifies the issue’s primacy.

However he may resemble Gordon Gekko, you would think a man as clever or cynical as Romney would realize his becoming rich by putting corporate profits ahead of people while exacerbating the shameful disparity in income and wealth could become an automatic disqualification to lead a nation desperate to move in a different direction. But of course with enormous greed come enormous ego and equally enormous indifference to those who get strapped to the roof of the Mitt family wagon. As we watch Mitt-like GOP governors extend the destruction, it’s clear American labor is now Mitt’s dog.

It’s both amusing and appalling to hear Romney try to change the subject. He first whined that his rivals were attacking free enterprise or capitalism itself, and that would be “a terrible mistake for the party [no kidding!] and the country [hardly].”  Next he hid by saying this was just like Obama bailing out the auto industry, which of course Mitt had opposed. Even the Obama people could distinguish between actions designed solely to profit investors and those intended to save a strategically important American industry, its jobs and the economy. Private interests are not the same as public interests, but that’s what we should be clarifying this election. Too bad neither party seems to grasp this.

There’s a spate of right wing op-eds today asking whether Romney’s business experience qualifies him to be President. At WaPo, Robert Samuelson starts his column with that question, but then he ducks the answer when the examples from the Mitt era at Bain suggest it might not even have been a net good for business. Oh, my. So he just stops writing.

The Times David Brooks is even more embarrassed by the question and the evidence that drives the answer, so he too ducks. He diverts our attention by claiming that what we really need is not so much the CEO in politics but a President from the aristocratic class who looks to [Brooks'] God for guidance on how to govern America. I thought that was what Mitt and most of the GOP contenders were claiming for themselves. If only a just goddess actually used Zeus’ thunderbolts . . .

That leaves us with Paul Krugman’s dismissal in America is not a corporation.

But what really struck me was how Mr. Romney characterized President Obama’s actions: “He did it to try to save the business.” No, he didn’t; he did it to save the industry, and thereby to save jobs that would otherwise have been lost, deepening America’s slump. Does Mr. Romney understand the distinction?

America certainly needs better economic policies than it has right now — and while most of the blame for poor policies belongs to Republicans and their scorched-earth opposition to anything constructive, the president has made some important mistakes. But we’re not going to get better policies if the man sitting in the Oval Office next year sees his job as being that of engineering a leveraged buyout of America Inc.

More from the LA Times: Private Equity: Bad Rep, but Is it Deserved?

Oh My! CNBC’s Jim Cramer Goes Anti-Rick Santelli Over GOP Clown Debate

7:13 am in Economy, Republican party by Scarecrow

I don’t know what got into Jim Cramer.  Apparently, he must have thought the GOP Clown Car debate CNBC inflicted on its viewers involved a group of grown ups discussing serious economic and financial issue in a serious way.

Did he not know, before last night, that this group of GOP specimens includes some of the silliest, most clueless, confused, misinformed and/or intellectually challenged/dishonest bunch of charlatans ever assembled by a national political party?  Was he really surprised to learn these clowns perfectly reflect what the Republican Party has become, that they have nothing useful or even coherent to say about any of the nation’s real problems?

Europe is teetering on the edge of a financial collapse so serious it’s likely to cause a recession or worse there and drag the US back into it here.  Sounds like a serous topic, right?  And part of the reason is Europe’s leaders became enthralled with the same dishonest deficit/debt hysteria that afflicts the GOP and most of the Congressional Democrats, not to mention the President and his not-the-Chief of Staff corporate bagman.

Much like the US, Europe is burdened with incompetent political and economic leadership, epitomized there by a depressingly (literally) irresponsible European Central Bank. Collectively, they’re strangling their own economies in the absurd belief that if you punish and impoverish the debtors that buy your stuff, creditor nations that sell them that stuff will be just fine.

Sensible people understand the ECB’s abdication of its core responsibilities — e.g., lender of last resort in a financial crisis — will hasten collapse in Europe.  So naturally, half of the GOP’s clowns want to abolish the central bank here or “hurt” the Fed Chairman if he does something sensible to help the recovery, and the ones who know this is wrong are too cowardly to explain why that’s nuts.

It’s possible that Huntsman understands part of this — but he will never let on and it doesn’t matter for Mr. 1% anyway — and that Romney, in wandering between positions, misunderstands the rest but will take whatever position his audience needs to hear.  But it’s not credible that anyone else on that stage, including half of CNBC’s questioners — Rick Santelli! –  grasps what’s happening in Europe or here.

The GOP’s proposals are a mindless collection of talking points and pointless initiatives that at best would do nothing except give money to friends but collectively would make things worse.  In the meantime, their colleagues in Congress doggedly refuse to even debate even modest proposals that might actually help the unemployed and rescue homeowners and drowning states.

But this is not news.  We’ve known for some time that the GOP has become hopelessly corrupt, confused, corporatized, criminal and captured by teh stupid.  The one thing it’s definitely not is conservative.   It’s destructive of everything, and that means they’re dangerous. Even George Will knows this.

The Republican party should be abolished for the good of the country, and it’s astonishing that Jim Cramer is just discovering this.   Will Maria now admit it too?

Mitt Romney: Obama Failed Because We Needed a Larger, Longer Stimulus

6:39 am in Economy, Politics by Scarecrow

Mitt Romney - Caricature

Mitt Romney - Caricature by DonkeyHotey

The Washington Post’s Philip Rucker caught Mitt Romney explaining how to think about economic policy when the labor market is depressed, housing has tanked, households are broke and the Fed is limited by near-zero interest rates:

Romney criticized Obama’s $787 billion stimulus package, saying it did not create long-lasting jobs. He said he would have lowered tax rates, instituted fair trade policies and boosted energy independence to help create sustainable private-sector jobs.

“The challenge with so-called stimulus is it tends to be throwing a little gasoline on the fire,” Romney said. “It causes some heat. . . . It just doesn’t cause permanent heat. It’s not like putting a log on the fire.”

Translation from Chameleon-speak: Romney is hinting that the economy — the fire — needed not just more stimulus, but longer-lasting stimulus. Instead of pouring on a little gasoline to kick start the fire, we’d needed a slow-burning log that would provide fuel for a longer period. Except for the implied nonsense that spending on workers and goods/services by the private sector creates jobs but the same spending by government doesn’t, he almost sounds like all those liberal economists — Krugman, Thoma, Stiglitz, Galbraith, Baker, et al.

But didn’t Obama’s 2009 and late 2010 stimulus packages contain a large percentage of tax cuts, some that have been extended? Are there no trade agreements with Columbia or Korea, or programs to promote domestic energy production?

I don’t follow what Mitt Romney says everyday, because sooner or later a policy chameleon will say everything once, mimic all positions, and then switch back in case you missed something. So I probably missed that other time, back in early 2009, when Mitt insisted the stimulus needed to be big enough to produce some real effect on the economy, and it needed to avoid the “shovel ready” trap and last longer because the economy would take a long time to recover from a finance and credit shock the size we suffered. He surely wouldn’t be making this up now, saying “I told you so,” to prove what a prescient leader he’d make.

But he’s right about the failed leadership in Washington, D.C. From the NYT’s reliable stenographer on the deficit hysteria debate, here’s the White House’ Press Secretary, Jay Carney:

. . . Jay Carney, said Republicans must be willing to consider tax changes, including the elimination of “loopholes” that benefit corporations.

“It’s the only way to get it done if you want to do it right and you want to do it in a way that is fair and balanced and ensures that the economy continues to grow and continues to create jobs,” Mr. Carney told reporters.

What is Carney talking about? Whatever you think about long-run deficits, it doesn’t make sense to be slashing spending for deficit reasons now, and that conclusion doesn’t change if you couple the spending cuts with eliminating tax breaks for oil companies. There are valid reasons for ending needless subsidies for rich people and hugely wealthy industries, but doing that doesn’t make it okay to slash programs to help the elderly, poor women and children, now or later. Read the rest of this entry →

Tea-GOP Debate Preview: The Clowns are Coming! The Clowns are Coming!

10:02 am in Uncategorized by Scarecrow

Clown Fish

Clown Fish by Rastoney

It seems the people who want to be the Presidential candidate for the Tea-GOP — and why would any sane person want that? — are having a debate tonight. Most sentient beings understand this is the clown car part of the circus, but alas, for some this is serious business, and handicapping it is hard work.

For those who want a shorter program, here are abbreviated answers to the questions all America is asking (apologies to HuffPo):

1. How on earth can Mitt escape being linked to ObamaCare? Ah, but that’s the wrong question. What we want to know is how can anyone distinguish the market delusion behind the MittCare and ACA exchanges from the market delusion behind RyanCare’s proposal for seniors? The first person to answer that honestly gets disqualified from both parties.

2. Can Tim Pawlenty distinguish himself? He already has, by proposing an economic plan, complete with ponies, unicorns, and 5 percent growth rates so silly and implausible that even GOP shilling economists said publicly it’s nuts.

3. Where will Newt Gingrich supporters go? The next phone booth, where they plan to secede from the union. Who cares?

4. Can Michele Bachmann steal the show? Of course. Once you remember this is the clown car part of the circus, and this is what the kids came to see, it’s often the dumbest, silliest clown who gets the laughs. Expect a standing O for punching a faux O, while the rest of the gang tries to burn down the safety net, the tent, the kids bleachers and the nearby ATM machine.

5. Will the candidates embrace Ryan’s destruction of Medicare or change the subject? The correct answer is “yes.” Remember, the reputed front runner in this act is a moral chameleon who can take any position, and has, depending on the audience.

Bonus question:

6. Will the media treat this debate as a serious discussion of the issues important to the American people? Yes. They don’t seem to know the difference.

Let’s hope Sarah is there to record this historic event.

NBC’s Clueless Chuck Todd et al: GOP Prez Candidates More Important Than Anything

1:46 pm in Uncategorized by Scarecrow

Caution - The Clueless Will Be Impaled

The Clueless Will Be Impaled by Wheezy Jefferson


An NBC reporting team led by White House Correspondent Chuck Todd tell us they don’t have a clue about what matters to the American people or the state of the nation. In today’s First Read, Todd et al breathlessly proclaim the following (my bold):

Over the next 10 months, the race for the Republican nomination will become the chief political story in America, and that will affect the contours of the general election. We even started seeing it yesterday, with Palin, Pawlenty, and Bachmann taking center stage.

They then explain that Obama has had the whole stage to himself, but now the country will become fixated on the race for the Tea-GOP nomination, because when Palin et ilk take “center stage,” they “become the chief political story in America.”

Good grief.

So, those of you who are concerned that the economy and job creation are stalled with 14-25 million people out of work or underemployed can put that aside, because we’ll all want to focus on what Sarah, Tim and Michele said today. Please don’t worry about whether the Tea-GOP Congress will screw up US credit, restart a recession. And don’t fret they want to punish seniors and cover their own craziness by convincing Joe Biden to slash Medicare and Medicaid over the wishes of 80 percent of the nation.

And forget that the rule of law has collapsed for the ruling class, the richest 1 percent of whom have managed to capture a staggering share of the nation’s wealth while the vast majority of Americans are facing declining wages, wealth and economic security. Where is Giuliani today?

Chuck Todd thinks we need to know whether Sarah is riding her hog or a bus, whether Michele can find Canada on a map or Tim has found the group of Chinese investors to whom he’ll provide a personal guarantee of paying their bond interest first. Let’s not forget to ask Mitt to distinguish again between state versus federal insurance mandates. And of course, no day should go by without checking to see if 5% Newt has managed to say something even more ridiculous or deceitful than the day before. Because that portion of America that likes a circus and cares about this astonishing group of clowns is hanging on their every word.

But back in the reality-based world . . .

I’ll make this simple, Chuck: The most important political story in America is that its government — distressingly like those under assault in a dozen nations across the globe — has become almost entirely unresponsive to the nation’s needs and its citizens’ concerns. It’s become profoundly corrupt, representing only the needs of the richest of the rich and the interests of corporate oligarchs, and uncaring about everyone else. And there’s virtually no check on this accelerating decline in governmental accountability.

Read the rest of this entry →

How Will Mitt Romney Explain Why Paul Ryan’s “ObamaCare for Seniors” Is Okay?

2:06 pm in Uncategorized by Scarecrow

Now that FDL’s Jon Walker has done the deliciously dirty work of exposing Paul Ryan’s anti-Medicare proposal to force America’s seniors to accept the same flawed mandate and voucher system as ObamaCare, I can’t wait to hear Mitt Romney explain why he thinks this is a terrific idea.

As Jon so subtly hints, a pig is a pig, even if it has Mitt Romney’s lipstick on it. For the affected groups, the basic outline of RomneyCare is the same as the basic outline of ObamaCare is the same as the basic outline of StupidRyanCare. Let’s review the features:

1. Force everyone in the affected group to purchase private health insurance. We’ll call that a “mandate.”

2. Require the private insurers to accept all eligible customers but do little to prevent them from discouraging/screening out sick people via poor service and marketing. Call this “the business plan.”

3. Deprive the customers of any lower-cost public alternatives, like Medicare for all, a public option, etc. Call that “choice” or “keeping the insurers honest.”

4. Allow insurance companies to become so concentrated that in 80-90 percent of the country, only one or two mega insurers control the local market and set prices, while providing minimal oversight to ensure quality of service. Allow the antitrust, anti-price fixing regulators to wither. Call that “free market competition.”

5. Require the affected group to select between this one or two insurers on an “exchange” website that allows them to find the websites for the few eligible private insurance plans. We call this, “using teh Google.”

6. Having stripped consumers of the ability to bargain collectively (via Medicare, a union, an employer) for better, cheaper, more honest private insurance, send individual consumers, including the sick and the elderly, out on their own to “bargain” with the insurance giants. Call this, “leveling the playing field.”

7. Minimize or neglect obvious efforts to rein in the costs of private health care providers, including hospitals, specialist cartels, and big PhRMA, who are allowed to merge and concentrate. Let them be shielded by too-long patents and non-compete agreements and exempt from market or regulatory cost controls or antitrust pressure. Then allow them to fix the prices that private insurers must cover and pass on to their captive customers, plus the insurers’ higher but hard-to-audit administrative costs and profits. Do “homes of the rich and famous” shows on the execs. Call this, “the invisible growing hand in your wallet.”

8. Collect payroll taxes and other revenues via government mandate to help subsidize premiums — we’ll call this “premium assistance” — but provide no mechanism to ensure that the assistance keeps up with rising care costs to make the premiums affordable. If you’re Ryan, make sure it doesn’t keep up (See Dean Baker and CBO on how this screws Seniors). Call that “fixing the budget by shifting the costs to vulnerable people on fixed incomes.”

9. Wait to see how many people die from this stupid system. Call that “fiscal responsibility” or just “evil.” (Note similarity to Wi. Gov. Walker et ilk in shifting budget costs to workers as a means to strip workers’ economic leverage.)
Read the rest of this entry →

Mitt Romney Opposes Tax Deal Because It Doesn’t Increase Deficit Enough

8:40 am in Uncategorized by Scarecrow

That’s the only conclusion I can draw from the contradictory statement Romney made in an op-ed in USA Today. But apparently, the New York Times didn’t notice anything strange.

From Michael D. Shear at the Times Caucus:

Writing in USA Today on Tuesday, Mr. Romney, a likely leading contender for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012, called the tax compromise “a disappointing agreement” and said the congress should work toward a better solution.

“Because the extension is only temporary, a large portion of the investment and job growth that characteristically accompanies low taxes will be lost,” Mr. Romney writes. “What some are calling a grand compromise is not grand at all, except in its price tag. The total package will cost nearly $1 trillion, resulting in substantial new borrowing at a time when we are already drowning in red ink.”

So, to simplify the math, Romney is upset the package will result in nearly $1 trillion in “new borrowing at a time when we are already drowning in red ink.” But he opposes the package because the tax cuts for the wealthy are not permanent, which would add another $1 trillion in red ink over the next decade or so. $1 trillion in red ink is bad; $2 trillion in red ink would be better.

This is what passes for responsible, moderate Republican thought. And the New York Times didn’t blink an eye.

John Chandley, who wonders if there’s a new math