Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Distinct Absence of Numbers

I was reading the Rachel Maddow blog today---I know, I know, it's akin to a pointless self-immolation of the mind, but I can't help it. Plus, as always, I read the worst so you don't have to.

Anyhoosies, someone named Steve Benen wrote a little essay entitled "Choosing the self-inflicted wound." That's a fairly apt description of the experience one has in watching MSNBC, but Benen's self-inflicted wound actually has to do with government spending, or the lack thereof:
The conversation on Capitol Hill is so ridiculous, it no longer resembles reality in any meaningful way. Congressional Republicans insist they want to improve the strength of the recovery. How? By cutting spending that undermines the strength of the recovery.

In related news, Republicans also believe no exercise and excessive eating is an effective weight-loss method.
 Huh! I eat a great deal, I barely exercise, and I'm whip-thin. Who does this guy think he is?

Maybe you haven't heard of the government's "cutting spending." Hell, Benen doesn't seem to have heard of it; there are no numbers or figures in his blog posting relating to spending cuts. Well, that's because government hasn't cut any spending, at least not in any meaningful way---that is to say, at least not in the way that you and I cut spending. Here's an illustrative chart that highlights the gaffe:

Those little white slivers at the top are the crazy austerity measures that the Republicans have undertaken. They're less important, though, when you recognize that spending increases every year for the next decade! The cuts make no difference at all as far as "reducing spending" goes.

It's tough to decide: are you more irritated with the Republicans that have enacted non-savage, non-debt-crisis solving, empty, meaningless "austerity?" Or are you more angry with the Democrats that have blown their gaskets pretending that we're all going to die because of it?

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