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Opening Arguments

A tad off

Cool duel of the day. Paul Krugman: Those Republicans are against reality:

Just to be clear, I’m not talking about policy substance. I may believe that Republicans have their priorities all wrong, but that’s not the issue here. Instead, I’m talking about their apparent inability to accept very basic reality constraints, like the fact that you can’t cut overall spending without cutting spending on particular programs, or the fact that voting to repeal legislation doesn’t change the law when the other party controls the Senate and the White House.

Am I exaggerating? Consider what went down in Congress last week.

[. . .]

Then House leaders announced plans to hold a vote cutting spending on food stamps in half — a demand that is likely to sink the already struggling effort to agree with the Senate on a farm bill.

But here's Josh Barro: Paul Krugman is against reality:

In his column this morning, headlined "Republicans Against Reality," Paul Krugman writes that "the modern G.O.P. is lost in fantasy, unable to participate in actual governing." 

One example from last week, per Krugman: "House leaders announced plans to hold a vote cutting spending on food stamps in half."

But House leaders did no such thing.

The Republican plan is actually a 5% cut to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, commonly known as food stamps), up from the 2.5% cut they were seeking previously.

Krugman may have missed this because he's been misled by his own paper's coverage of the issue. He links to an August 1 Times article about the new Republican proposal, which has a headline saying Republicans want to "Slash Food Stamps," and which doesn't provide the context that the $40 billion cut would be off a spending baseline of about $780 billion.

The smug Krugman scolded for exaggerating the numbers (and by someone who doesn't even think the 5 percent cut is the right policy). A good morning.


Tue, 08/06/2013 - 12:21am

Hey Leo, you forgot to include the last paragraph in Mr Barro's article, I'll correct your oversight by including it here.  "If you want to argue that today's Republican party is dumb and incoherent and extreme and petty, there is ample evidence at your disposal.  There's no need to distort the party's policy stances to make the point."