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Friday, January 23, 2009

 
Factcheckers

by dday

In this economy, I guess the media isn't hiring them:

Reports of a recent study by the Congressional Budget Office, showing that the vast majority of the money in the stimulus package won't be spent until after 2010, have Democrats on the defensive and the GOP calling for a pullback in wasteful spending.

Funny thing is, there is no such report.

"We did not issue any report, any analysis or any study," a CBO aide told the Huffington Post.

Rather, the nonpartisan CBO ran a small portion of an earlier version of the stimulus plan through a computer program that uses a standard formula to determine a score -- how quickly money will be spent. The score only dealt with the part of the stimulus headed for the Appropriations Committee and left out the parts bound for the Ways and Means or Energy and Commerce Committee.

Because it dealt with just a part of the stimulus, it estimated the spending rate for only about $300 billion of the $825 billion plan. Significant changes have been made to the part of the bill the CBO looked at.


This was not only a major part of the GOP pushback on the recovery package the past couple days, it was trumpeted by all the usual suspects on cable news. At first I thought it odd that Republicans gave a damn whether stimulus spending happens quickly, considering they've spent the last several months blocking any stimulus at all. Of course it was just a way to undermine the plan, and the media played happily along. Thing is, the new head of the Office of Management and Budget promptly refuted this study, with numbers and everything, but he wasn't really part of the news reports. He said/she said balance would have been an IMPROVEMENT upon this fiasco. But conservatives rule their world.

It's pretty clear that the media has no ability to or interest in understanding this stuff, because then they wouldn't have their precious "conflict". So they regurgitate whatever some GOP staffer feeds them, just to spice things up. Cable news' ratings soared this past year in the midst of an election based on change, but they haven't changed one bit.


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