Wednesday, October 06, 2004

That pesky $200 billion number and other factchecks

Kerry used it and Edwards used it. Here's where it comes from:
Edwards, for his part, asserted that the war in Iraq has cost $200 billion "and counting," an assertion that Cheney called him on. Cheney said the government has "allocated" $120 billion. As of Sept. 30, the government has spent about $120 billion, and it has allocated — or plans to spend — $174 billion. The tab should run as high as $200 billion in the next year once other expected supplemental spending is added.
So instead of the 200 number, the Kerry campaign should be using a 120-spent and 174-allocated double number. Or in other words 120 spent so far with a total of 294 planned for. The 200 number falls inside that so it is legitimate but in going to a single quotable number it allows the Bush (hswib) campaign a means to refute it.

Cheney's contention on tax-cut-affected small businesses is bogus.
Cheney said Kerry's tax-cut rollback would hit 900,000 small businesses. This is misleading. Under Cheney's definition, a small business is any taxpayer who includes some income from a small business investment, partnership, limited liability corporation or trust. By that definition, every partner at a huge accounting firm or at the largest law firm would represent small businesses. According to IRS data, a tiny fraction of small business "S-corporations" earn enough profits to be in the top two tax brackets. Most are in the bottom two brackets.
They both have done some stretching of the facts to "sex them up". I really wish the Kerry-Edwards campaign would hold the line on veracity a little better. When you dabble in that mud wallow it tends to dampen your powder when you are taking shots at the other party's mendacity. That is their major weakness and we can't let them get a pass on it. The credibility gap cuts both ways.

But big kudos to the press for getting the factchecking out there. We need more of it if we want to get the truth from our officials whatever party they are from.

1 comment:

Dustin said...

That is interesting since I can think of 10 local businesses that would fall under Cheney's claim. I worked for one of them. I'm not very knowledgable of small business owners either, even though my last employer was one of them.