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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review March 7, 2011 2 Adar II, 5771

Democrats keep misleading on claimed budget ‘cuts’

By Glenn Kessler




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | "The fact is that Democrats stand ready to meet the Republicans halfway on this. That would be fair."

-- House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), March 3, 2011

"We are also prepared to put out specifics that will move another over $6 billion closer -- so that we will have met them halfway -- essentially split the difference between the president's request and [the GOP cuts in] H.R. 1."

-- Gene B. Sperling, director of the White House National Economic Council, March 3, 2011

"We have met them halfway, which in many ways is a perfect definition of an attempt to compromise."

-- White House press secretary Jay Carney, March 2, 2011

This has become a constant refrain by Democrats -- that they have already gone some distance to accommodate the Republicans' efforts to cut federal spending. We already awarded Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) two Pinocchios for this claim, but the talking point keeps popping up again and again.

We take no position on whether it makes sense to make these cuts at this time. But Democrats are being disingenuous by suggesting they have already worked hard to reduce spending or to reach out to Republicans.

The Facts

The 2011 fiscal year began Oct. 1, but Congress, then led by the Democrats, failed to pass any of the annual spending bills that would fund the government. Instead, lawmakers have passed a series of stopgap measures, known as continuing resolutions, based largely on 2010 spending. The most recent one was approved this week, though it also included $4 billion in cuts based on proposals in Obama's 2012 budget blueprint.

Yes, it's a bit confusing. Lawmakers mix and match the three budgets in their rhetoric faster than any three-card monte player.

The situation was different in 1995, the last time Republicans took control of the House. Then, the GOP pushed through $16 billion in cuts -- known as recissions -- from an existing budget that had been passed by the previous Democratic-led Congress. But since no spending bills were passed last year, politicians are able to pretend that budgets that exist only on paper are real.

When Democrats say they are meeting Republicans halfway, they are talking about "cuts" from Obama's never-enacted 2011 budget. By the White House's math, they have proposed $41 billion in cuts from the 2011 budget, plus $4 billion in the latest stopgap measure, plus $6.5 billion in unspecified cuts annnounced Thursday, for a total of $51 billion. But there was no heavy lifting involved, and certainly little discrete examination of which programs to preserve and which ones to cut. It's lot like saying you are running a 100-yard dash, but starting on the 50-yard line.

Democrats have justified this language by noting that Republicans claim they cut $100 billion from 2011 budget, when it is actually $61 billion from the 2010 budget. Republicans should not have tried to boast about such a nice, round number, but it is noteworthy that no major newspaper used that figure. Reporters did not fall for the GOP spin; it was always characterized as a $61 billion cut.

Similarly, the Democrats can not claim to have gone "halfway." It's not a difference between $51 billion and $100 billion, which makes the situation look benign.

Instead, the Democrats have offered just over $10 billion -- the $4 billion in the stop gap measure and the $6.5 billion announced late Thursday. Republicans have proposed $61 billion, so the gap between the two parties remains wide indeed.

The Pinocchio Test

"Halfway" is an appealing concept, but thus far Democrats have done little to match the cost-cutting drive launched by Republicans.

Repeating the same talking point over and over again does not make it correct. In fact, the rhetoric may come back to haunt Democrats, because in theory that would mean they eventually will have to come up with at least $30 billion in cuts from the 2010 budget.

We'll award two Pinocchios again, but if Democrats keep saying this -- or President Obama says it -- it will start to move into three Pinocchio territory.

Two Pinocchios

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in Washington and in the media consider "must reading." Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.


Comment on Glenn Kessler's column by clicking here.In an award-winning journalism career spanning nearly three decades, Glenn Kessler has covered foreign policy, economic policy, the White House, Congress, politics, airline safety and Wall Street. He was The Washington Post's chief State Department reporter for nine years, traveling around the world with three different Secretaries of State. Before that, he covered tax and budget policy for The Washington Post and also served as the newspaper's national business editor. Kessler has long specialized in digging beyond the conventional wisdom, such as when he earned a "laurel" from the Columbia Journalism Review



Previously:

03/01/11: Mike Huckabee is on to something here, but jumped the gun 02/25/11: Harry Reid's illusory $41 billion in budget cuts


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