By James Kwak
Or perhaps a leading candidate for the Republican presidential nomination.
When it comes to deficits and government spending, the strategy of Republicans in Congress is to assert things that are simply not true or that defy economic logic. Ezra Klein nails House Majority Leader Eric Cantor misstating the CBO’s ten-year projection for health care reform so he can make a false claim about its longer-term effects (ignoring the fact that the CBO explicitly said health care reform would be deficit-reducing in the second decade). The same Republican leadership that rails against deficits is introducing rules that will make it easier to increase the deficit, since tax cuts will no longer have to be paired with offsetting spending cuts.
Apparently, the ability to say things that are not true is something that is learned quite early.
My four-year-old daughter is currently enamored of a series of fairy books. (If they have not entered your house yet, do not let them in; bar the doors, do not accept packages, do whatever you need to do.) In these books, the fairies are good, and the goblins are bad. We had read about seven of these books, and one feature of them was that although the heroines (two girls named Kirsty and Rachel who are completely interchangeable because they have no personality) and the fairies are afraid of the goblins, the goblins had shown themselves completely incapable of doing any harm to anyone. As I said to my daughter, “The goblins have never caught a fairy.”
Alas, in the next book, the goblins did catch the fairy (although she subsequently escaped). So I said, “We can no longer say that the goblins never caught a fairy.”
The next day, my daughter came to me and said: “We can still say the goblins never caught a fairy. Just watch. ‘The goblins never caught a fairy.’ See? You can still say it!”
She has a bright political future ahead.