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Regarding the blatant falsehood that Obama has not offered a detailed plan to avoid sequestration

David Brooks, the supposedly reasonable conservative columnist for the New York Times, has foolishly joined the chorus of voices claiming that President Obama has yet to produce a plan to avert the painful sequestration that now looms on the horizon.

But Steve Benen has thrown a WITHERING SPOTLIGHT on Brooks’ nonsense:

As best as I can tell, New York Times columnist David Brooks is a well-connected pundit. Powerful people return his phone calls, and when he wants information from top governmental offices, Brooks tends to get them.

And with this in mind, it’s puzzling that Brooks based his entire column today on an easily-checked error. The conservative pundit insists President Obama “declines to come up with a proposal to address” next week’s sequester mess, adding, “The president hasn’t actually come up with a proposal to avert sequestration.”

I’ll never understand how conservative media personalities get factual claims like this so very wrong. If Brooks doesn’t like Obama’s sequester alternative, fine; he can write a column explaining his concerns. But why pretend the president’s detailed, already published plan, built on mutual concessions from both sides, doesn’t exist? If you’re David Brooks, why don’t you just pick up the phone, call the West Wing, and say, “Do you folks have a proposal to address the sequester or not?” I’m certain an administration official would help him by sending him exactly what he’s looking for, and then he wouldn’t have to publish claims that are demonstrably wrong.

UPDATE: David Brooks is now WALKING BACK his claim that Obama has no plan. He must have read this blog post.

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3 Comments

  1. I would love to know where Benen came up with these figures:

    ” Obama has already accepted over $1.2 trillion in spending cuts” and “over $2.4 trillion in debt reduction has already happened.”

    I believe these are the spending cuts for not attacking foreign countries. Which is like me saying I plan on saving $300,000 by not buying a Lamborghini. Further, all the cuts to discretionary programs will take place sometime in the future. Does anyone honestly believe that these cuts are really going to happen with the next administration? Of course not.

    The fact is this: Until Democrats start making cuts today, take all this convoluted talk about future spending cuts with a huge grain of salt.

    Seems to me like Benen is accusing Brooks of being a liar, then proceeds to make up his own lies.

  2. Neftali: To borrow your phrase, I would love to know where you came up with crapola about “spending cuts for not attacking foreign countries.” You just made that up, right?

    During fiscal cliff negotiations in December, the White House offered what the New York Times described thusly:

    The White House says the president’s plan would cut spending by $1.22 trillion over 10 years, compared with $1.2 trillion in cuts from the Republicans’ initial offer. Of that, $800 billion is cuts to programs, and $122 billion comes from adopting a new measure of inflation that slows the growth of government benefits, especially Social Security. The White House is also counting on $290 billion in savings from lower interest costs on a reduced national debt.

    Of the $800 billion in straight cuts, the president said half would come from federal health care programs; $200 billion from other so-called mandatory programs, like farm price supports, not subject to Congress’s annual spending bills; $100 billion from military spending; and $100 billion from domestic programs under Congress’s annual discretion.

  3. What they offered and what’s reality is two completely different animals.

    There is one place that is the universal truth about Obama’s policies.

    Here.

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/Historicals

    Until we actually see the amount of spending go down, both as a figure of real dollars and as a percentage of GDP, all these proposals you listed are hogwash.

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