Deconstructing Favreau (part 2)

By Dean L

About a two weeks back I started a task that turned out to be a lot more involved than I had originally thought, so I ended up breaking it into smaller parts.  I'd hoped to get back to this sooner in order to maintain some continuity but at least I'm getting back to it now.  Better late than never the old saying goes.

Picking up where I left off critiquing Jon Favreau's  complaints poorly disguised as a prescription for what ails the GOP, here's the next batch of misleading diatribe from the former Obama speechwriter;
The conservatives have finally purified the Republican Party, dispatching moderate infidels in primary after primary, demanding fealty to their agenda of huge tax cuts and drastically lower spending. They have used their sizable numbers in Congress to help realize that agenda, with periodic assists from a president who has always been more fiscally responsible than his enemies would admit.

Today the tax burden on the vast majority of families is lower than it’s been in decades. Domestic spending outside of Medicare and Medicaid is the lowest it’s been in more than half a century. A public sector that has grown under the last four presidents has significantly contracted under Barack Obama. And deficits are falling at the fastest pace in 60 years.

Conservatives remain unsatisfied. They want more tax cuts. More spending cuts. And I’m picking up signals that they’re not entirely thrilled with the Affordable Care Act.
 Again paragraph by paragraph, let's deconstruct what Favreau writes. In fact, I won't even make it through the first sentence without a bunch of criticisms.  Watch.

(1) The conservatives have finally purified the Republican party... well wait, no Jon, they haven't.  A lot of the Tea Party candidates were rebuffed or defeated in primaries or the general election.  There are still John McCains, Susan Collins, Lindsey Grahams ,and others in the party, in fact lots of them. And there is no reason to believe that the RINOs who lost are not going to come back in the next cycle to try to reclaim their seats in Congress or the Senate.  We don't want them to, but we don't own the GOP.

Secondly, those we conservatives held out as the next great generation of conservative Republicans has seen a lot of sheen (not Martin) come off of the list.  Rubio has lost a lot of clout because of his shift left on the immigration issue.  Chris Christie has shown himself to be far more centrist/left-leaning than a lot of his early supporters had believed him to be.   All in all there are plenty of squishy moderate Republicans and what that means is a list of Republicans who will capitulate to liberal Democrat demands. 

Thirdly, where some purging did happen was with RINOs like Scott Brown who lost to an ultra-liberal in an ultra-liberal state.  We tried and failed to have RINOs - Democrat voters wanted none of it. Why should we even bother to keep that approach up Jon? Take Massachusetts and let it follow California and Michigan down the financial drain.  Our interest now is not being sucked down the drain with them via government state bailouts.

Fourthly, and most damning of Favreau's essay, he claims conservatives have finally purified the GOP.  Yet in the opening paragraph of his essay (see part 1 of my critique) he claims the battle for the soul of the Republican Party has begun.  Has it begun, or has the party been purged of RINOs (moderate infidels as you call them)? It can't be both Jon.  Consistency is not apparent here.

(2) Using the term moderate infidels is a back door attempt to liken religious conservatives to radical Islam and beneath contempt. It merits no more discussion than simply pointing it out for the dirty trick it is.

(3) Conservatives do not demand 'huge' tax cuts and drastically lower spending.  We see the need for financial efficiency on even a rudimentary level that is often overlooked in government.  There are examples galore of governments spending wildly in ways that would be dramatized to the hilt if they were done in the private sector by companies seeking bailouts.  what liberals want is little or no government accountability to taxpayers.  If the government were far more efficient perhaps drastic spending cuts would not be necessary.

But spending cuts will be necessary. Duplicate government programs are wasteful.  Why with Medicare and Medicaid does the country need Obamacare to help the millions of uninsured?  Should they not be predominantly covered under those two programs?  If not, then were those two liberal government programs not fundamentally flawed to begin with?  Rather than compounding the problem with a hastily arranged Byzantine boondoggle of yet another program, how about reforming what is already there but already broken instead of throwing another layer of program that is destined to end up the same way if not worse?  Is that not a reasonable ask? Or is that 'demanding fealty'?

Yes, spending cuts are necessary.  There's this thing out there called an annual trillion plus dollar deficit that's happening.  The word we use for that Jon is unsustainable.  Look it up, all of it.

(4) We have not used our sizable numbers in Congress to achieve that agenda.  That's because we haven't really achieved the cuts or the deficit would reflect those successes.  The agenda has not been realized.  All we have managed to do is stymie the president whom I'm sure would love to see government spending at about 40% of GDP if he could.

(5) A president who has been more fiscally responsible than his enemies would admit? I am at a loss for words, but there is this:


and there's this, via FrontPage Mag,
Obama hits a new record of spending 4 trillion in one year while making 4.5 trillion in spending cuts. Math has finally been defeated. Numbers are all imaginary now. And money comes from a magic tree in the backyard that Obama bought when he traded the treasury for some magical social justice beans.
According to OMB’s tables, the federal government would spend$3.7778 trillion in fiscal 2014 under Obama’s budget proposal. It would then spend $3.9801 trillion in fiscal 2015; $4.0898 trillion in fiscal 2016; and $4.2474 trillion in fiscal 2017.
See. We don’t have to choose between reducing the deficit and spending more money. We can just spend more money and ban math.
Alright, let's just talking it up to the president telling lies and you Jon, are complicit for trying to pass off these asinine statements as facts.

(6) Today the tax burden on the vast majority of families is lower than it’s been in decades. Jon, you leave your critics too much work to do.  It's like every sentence has a factual error in it.  Thankfully, some of these untruths have been refuted numerous times already.  Even liberal papers like the Washington Post have recently (April 2013) led articles with headlines that refute that preposterous claim;
Analysis of Obama’s budget finds a higher tax burden for most Americans
The Washington Times was less reserved.  In fact they went full on schadenfreude over it;
“What happened that my Social Security withholding’s in my paycheck just went up?” a poster wrote on the liberal site “My paycheck just went down by an amount that I don’t feel comfortable with. I guarantee this decrease is gonna’ hurt me more than the increase in income taxes will hurt those making over 400 grand. What happened?”

Shocker. Democrats who supported the president’s re-election just had NO idea that his steadfast pledge to raise taxes meant that he was really going to raise taxes. They thought he planned to just hit those filthy “1 percenters,” you know, the ones who earned fortunes through their inventiveness and hard work. They thought the free ride would continue forever.

So this week, as taxes went up for millions of Americans — which Republicans predicted throughout the campaign would happen — it was fun to watch the agoggery of the left.

“I know to expect between $93 and $94 less in my paycheck on the 15th,” wrote the ironically named “RomneyLies.”
(7) Domestic spending outside of Medicare and Medicaid is the lowest it’s been in more than half a century.  This is just getting ponderous.  Thankfully, the Washington Post fact checked Jay Carney when he spouted this BS already.
Carney made his comments while berating reporters for not realizing that “the rate of spending — federal spending — increase is lower under President Obama than all of his predecessors since Dwight Eisenhower, including all of his Republican predecessors.” He cited as his source an article by Rex Nutting, of MarketWatch, titled, “Obama spending binge never happened,” which has been the subject of lots of buzz in the liberal blogosphere...

First of all, there are a few methodological problems with Nutting’s analysis — especially the beginning and the end point.

Nutting basically takes much of 2009 out of Obama’s column, saying it was the “the last [year] of George W. Bush’s presidency.” Of course, with the recession crashing down, that’s when federal spending ramped up. The federal fiscal year starts on Oct. 1, so the 2009 fiscal year accounts for about four months of Bush’s presidency and eight of Obama’s.

In theory, one could claim that the budget was already locked in when Obama took office, but that’s not really the case. Most of the appropriations bills had not been passed, and certainly the stimulus bill was only signed into law after Obama took office...

So in every case, the president wanted to spend more money than he ended up getting. Nutting suggests that federal spending flattened under Obama, but another way to look at it is that it flattened at a much higher, post-emergency level — thanks in part to the efforts of lawmakers, not Obama...

In the post-war era, federal spending as a percentage of the U.S. economy has hovered around 20 percent, give or take a couple of percentage points. Under Obama, it has hit highs not seen since the end of World War II — completely the opposite of the point asserted by Carney. Part of this, of course, is a consequence of the recession, but it is also the result of a sustained higher level of spending.
Now Jon, you might try to argue that the spending was military spending and not domestic spending but I suggest you don't go there, not only for the sake of your crumbing argument but because even if you were right (and you are not), your liberal friends would not be happy with the pro-military claim.

(8) Implying that Obama has shrunk the public sector employment is yet another falsehood. Favreau doesn't specifically state that, but he's implying it and there is an important distinction he doesn't realize or simply glosses over.  The government sector employment that is dropping is at a state and local level (ironically the canaries in the coal mine of insolvency);
The vast majority of the public sector job losses have come at the state and local level, where balanced budget requirements coupled with plummeting tax revenues have caused many states to parse back the payrolls.

Since Obama took office, 636,000 state and local jobs have been cut. In 2011 alone, 113,000 jobs were cut in local schools, 68,000 jobs were cut in local government administration, and 78,000 jobs were cut in state government administration, according to a Commerce Department report.

“It’s the public sector that’s the thing contributing to that entire overall decline of jobs since he took office,” said Heidi Shierholz, a labor market economist at the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute. “It just wipes out a huge share of the job growth.”

But while state and local jobs evaporated, Labor Department statistics show that the federal government , not counting the postal service, has grown by 143,000 employees during Obama’s tenure, a fact that Obama’s Republican rival Mitt Romney is quick to criticize.
(emphasis added)
Factually the claim is correct, but it is not at the behest of the GOP in Congress or certainly not because Obama is a closet fiscal conservative.
(9) Deficits are falling at the fastest pace in 60 years.  That's the type of claim that wins Obama votes but it's not going to win him a pass on the truth-o-meter, and the same goes for you Jon.  Claiming the fast reduction after presiding over the biggest deficit run-up in history is like telling the police officer at the scene of an accident that you were slamming on the brakes and not telling him that just prior to that you had sped up to 120 mph in a 50 mph zone.
So much for the pitch portion of your little piece Jon.  Time to go back to blasting conservatives who have taken over the soul of the GOP or are still fighting for it with moderates, depending on which part of your missive we are reading.
(10)  Conservatives remain unsatisfied. Hey, a truth. Alright Jon, I'll give you one.
(11)  They want more tax cuts. More spending cuts. And I’m picking up signals that they’re not entirely thrilled with the Affordable Care Act.  It's fair to say we want some spending cuts - not as you define them (reductions in the rate of increase in spending), but as we define them (spend bleeping less!!).  We don't like detest Obamacare, and we have some pretty good reasons for that.  As for more tax cuts, there's not unanimity on that.  We've got to fix the debt both you and your predecessor have run up.  There is some support for the logic behind the Laffer curve, but the exact details aren't uniformly agreed upon.
And that's a good thing.  Unlike the propaganda-wing driven Democratic party, the GOP is actually a big tent, and welcomes differing views.  We're not lemmings led astray by some dubious claims.  We are by nature questioners and we want honest debate, not contrivances. So don't take it personally when we point out your flawed take on our party.  We're just trying to set the record straight.
All that said, I'm less than half way through your piece Jon.  I guess there will have to be a part 3. 


  1. "Domestic spending outside of Medicare and Medicaid..."

    Such deception. They cook the numbers. At least this time, they made the mistake of leaving in their fudge-factor.

    This is similar to the bogus claims of low Obama deficits where they hide the actual amount of the record-level deficit and present the number as a percentage (dividing it by something unrelated).

  2. I glossed over that point because it merits it's own critique. But thanks for pointing it out. I probably should have mentioned it in passing.

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