On a scale of forgetting your pencil at home to forgetting your 50th wedding anniversary, this ranks somewhere around forgetting your lunchbox.
Last week, a Washington Post columnist started a Twitter hoax. This week, a Washington Post columnist fell for one.
Jonathan Capehart, an editorial writer and columnist, took “@RepJackKimble (R-Calif.)” to task Monday for tweeting that “Bush fought 2 wars without costing taxpayers a dime.” Capehart responded in a blog post that President Bush advocated for “two giant tax cuts that weren’t paid for and two big wars that were largely kept off the main federal balance sheet.” He added a chart from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities to back up his argument.
We’ll come back to that chart a little later. The funny part of this story: the professional journalist was arguing with a fake congressman.
Although Capehart stands by the budget deficit numbers, neither he nor anyone else can stand by the congressman. A “correction/clarification” appended to his post says: “The Twitterer RepJackKimble cited below is not a real member of Congress.”
Wow, man, those fake Republican congressmen are even dumber than real Washington Post columnists!
The episode serves as an oddly fitting footnote to last week’s Twitter-themed controversy at the Post. The paper suspended its sports columnist Mike Wise for publishing fabricated information on Twitter — after Wise explained that he’d cooked up a fake scoop about Pittsburgh Steeler quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s suspension from the team to prove a point about how journalists are quick to use information found Twitter as a source.
For those of you keeping score at home:
- One Washington Post columnist posted something fake on Twitter to prove how quickly the media will bite on a fake lead;
- Another Washington Post columnist, in an entirely separate incident, bit on a fake lead he saw on Twitter.
Like I said: funny.
Now: about that chart. Have a look:
Notice how much of the deficit is still caused by the Bush tax cuts…in 2019. What the hell? 2019? We’re still going to be blaming Bush in 2019?
Can I just ask: what about the Reagan tax cuts? He brought the top marginal rate down from 70% to 50%, and later to 28%. Much of that tax cut is still in force, and nobody – not even the most liberal Democrat in Congress – is saying we should go back to 70%.
Democrats have owned the government for nearly two full years. Why aren’t you blaming those cowards?
If we’re still blaming the Bush tax cuts, why not the Reagan tax cuts? Why not the Kennedy tax cuts?
For that matter, why aren’t we taking tax increases into account? If tax cuts can still be blamed for deficits sixteen years later, why not increases? The Bush Sr. tax hike? The Clinton tax hike? How did they affect that chart?
What effect is the 16th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution having on that chart? Huh? If the Bush tax cuts are having such a horrifying effect, surely the 16th Amendment is having the exact opposite – but much larger – effect.
Oh, pshaw. Obviously, that’s ridiculous. And it’s ridiculous because so many other decisions have been made between then and now. Between the 16th Amendment and now; between the Reagan tax cuts and now.
And, also, between the Bush tax cuts and 2019. Unless, of course, your whole modus operandi is to Blame Bush.