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March 15, 2005

Joe "Let Me Endorse Some Phony Republican Numbers" Lieberman

Paul Krugman notes that not only is he Joe "I voted for the bankruptcy bill before I voted against it" Lieberman, he's Joe "Let Me Endorse Some Phony Republican Numbers" Lieberman as well:

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: The $600 Billion Man: The trustees never said that waiting a year to 'fix' Social Security costs $600 billion. Mr. Bush was grossly misrepresenting the meaning of a technical discussion of accounting issues (it's on Page 58 of the 2004 trustees' report).... The same type of 'infinite horizon' calculation applied to the Bush tax cuts says that their costs rise by $1 trillion a year. That's not a useful measure of the cost of not repealing those cuts immediately. So anyone who repeats the $600 billion line is helping to spread a lie....

But in his latest radio address, Mr. Bush - correctly, this time - attributed the $600 billion figure to a 'Democrat leader.' He was referring to Senator Joseph Lieberman, who, for some reason, repeated the party line - the Republican party line - the previous Sunday. My guess is that Mr. Lieberman thought he was being centrist and bipartisan, reaching out to Republicans by showing that he shares their concerns. At a time when the Democrats can say, without exaggeration, that their opponents are making a dishonest case for policies that will increase the risks facing families, Mr. Lieberman gave the administration cover by endorsing its fake numbers....

Mr. Lieberman stated clearly what was wrong with the bankruptcy bill: 'It failed to close troubling loopholes that protect wealthy debtors, and yet it deals harshly with average Americans facing unforeseen medical expenses or a sudden military deployment,' making it unfair to 'working Americans who find themselves in dire financial straits through no fault of their own.' A stand against the bill would have merged populism with patriotism, highlighting Democrats' differences with Republicans' vision of America.... [M]any Democrats chose not to take that stand. And Mr. Lieberman was among them: his vote against the bill was an empty gesture. On the only vote that opponents of the bill had a chance of winning - a motion to cut off further discussion - he sided with the credit card companies. To be fair, so did 13 other Democrats. But none of the others tried to have it both ways.

Some of the others did try to have it both ways, in a more constructive fashion. They voted against closing debate, and then voted for the bill on final passage. That's a much more real form of opposition that Lieberman's.

Posted by DeLong at March 15, 2005 07:10 AM