What Fresh Hell Is This?

January 29, 2011

Another Lesson In Trib Obfuscation

From today's Tribune-Review:
The White House argues that repealing ObamaCare would plunge the country into a bigger mess than the one it's already in. Two hundred notable economists beg to differ.

From the corridors of Capitol Hill to the halls of academia, the economists -- including two former directors of the Congressional Budget Office -- say the so-called Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will not stem America's deficit but will add to it -- $500 billion in the first 10 years and nearly $1.5 trillion over the following decade.

"It creates a massive new entitlement at a time when the budget is already buckling under the weight of existing entitlements," their letter to Congress states.

The defense that ObamaCare somehow will cover its bets is "based on omitted costs, budgetary gimmicks, shifted premiums from other entitlements and unsustainable spending cuts and revenue increases," the economists write.

Their final analysis: ObamaCare is "fiscally dangerous" and should be repealed.

Proponents say a repeal won't pass the Senate and certainly not President Obama's veto. But House Republicans hold the purse strings. Ultimately the courts will decide ObamaCare's fate.

Given the facts piling up against the Democrats' signature "accomplishment," let alone its constitutional nose-thumbing, the case for termination couldn't be more clear.
This is an obvious attempt to counter the Congressional Budget Office's numbers regarding the recently signed Health Care legislation and H.R. 2 (which would repeal it). For instance the CBO recently estimated that:
As a result of changes in direct spending and revenues, CBO expects that enacting H.R. 2 would probably increase federal budget deficits over the 2012–2019 period by a total of roughly $145 billion (on the basis of the original estimate), plus or minus the effects of technical and economic changes that CBO and JCT will include in the forthcoming estimate. Adding two more years (through 2021) brings the projected increase in deficits to something in the vicinity of $230 billion, plus or minus the effects of technical and economic changes.
Thems pretty big guns. Thus the need for a conservative counter argument. But take a careful look at what the braintrust published. The first thing you should notice is that while the editorial quotes the letter from 200 economists, it doesn't say where the letter came from. Nor does it name anyone who signed it or was involved with its composition. Big red flag. Big big red flag.

Why did they do that? The reason being, oh wise and gentle reader, that they don't want you to know where it came from. If they did, they would have told you. They want you to think it's a just large neutral group of economists coming together to inform the public about the dangers of "Obamacare".

But it isn't. They're hiding the letter's provenance - and that should tell you everything you need to know about how "neutral" the letter is.

It's posted here at a website for a group called American Action Forum. Indeed, the first signer of the letter is the president of the AAF, Douglas Holtz-Eakin.

So who's the American Action Forum? From its website:
The American Action Forum is an independent nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, and it is not affiliated with or controlled by any political group. Its focus is to educate the public about the complex policy choices now facing the country, and explain as cogently and forcefully as possible why solutions grounded in the center-right values that have guided the country thus far still represent the best way forward for America's future. It will stay neutral in elections, and by and large will leave its sister organization, the American Action Network, to engage in any appropriate direct legislative advocacy in support of the policy proposals it discusses. Like the Network, the Forum welcomes policy ideas consistent with its center-right values from any source, regardless of party affiliation, and aims to make its educational materials available to members of the public of all political stripes.
And the American Action Network?
The American Action Network is a 501(c)(4) ‘action tank’ that will create, encourage and promote center-right policies based on the principles of freedom, limited government, American exceptionalism, and strong national security. The American Action Network’s primary goal is to put our center-right ideas into action by engaging the hearts and minds of the American people and spurring them into active participation in our democracy.
It's a new organization (or pair of sibling organizations, to be more accurate). From the NYTimes:
A group of prominent Republicans is forming an organization to develop and market conservative ideas, copying a successful Democratic model and hoping to capitalize on the fund-raising and electioneering possibilities opened up by a recent Supreme Court ruling.

The organizers, including former Senator Norm Coleman of Minnesota and Douglas Holtz-Eakin, the senior policy adviser to Senator John McCain’s presidential campaign, describe their emerging American Action Network as a center-right version of the Center for American Progress, the six-year-old group for progressive policies that was founded by John Podesta, former chief of staff to President Bill Clinton and an informal adviser to President Obama.
Like the Center for American Progress, the tax-exempt American Action Network will be divided into separate units. The Action Forum, which will be the policy arm, is a 501(c)3 group, named for the tax code provision for charitable groups; it allows contributions to be tax deductible but restricts political activities.

The Action Network, which will advocate for policies and candidates, is a 501(c)4 organization. Contributions are not tax deductible, and the group can advocate for political causes.
Little wonder the Trib braintrust didn't want you to know these connections.

For whatever its worth, neutral, it ain't.


Elliot Kennel said...

imho you should make your point up front and put the trib article up front. It took me a while to figure out that you were not in agreement with it (and rightly so I might add).

I hate anonymous experts like those in the Trib article that seem to know more than everyone else.

Conservative Mountaineer said...

@Elliot.. Surely you jest. When have the Liberals who run this blog *ever* agreed with anything written in the Trib?

CSI w/o Dead Bodies said...

On Sunday the 30th there will be a Healthcare not Warfare event with Rep Doyle & State Sen Ferlo at the Church of the Redeemer in Squirrel Hill from 2-4.