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March 30, 2005

Why Oh Why Are We Ruled By These Liars? (Assistant Secretary Rob Nichols, This Is Your Life! Department)

From Josh Micah Marshall:

Talking Points Memo: by Joshua Micah Marshall: March 27, 2005 - April 02, 2005 Archives: TPM Reader JM could barely believe what he was hearing ...

It was a bit shocking to hear Rob Nichols, assistant secretary for public affairs at the Treasury Department, actually say out loud that U.S. government bonds in the trust fund are just worthless IOUs, causing an uproar from the audience. (This guy works for the Treasury Department!?) He also was emphatic that there would be exactly zero transition costs for establishing private accounts. 'After all, it is simply like pre-paying your mortgage.' He said this prepayment would require only $700 billion for the first 10 years, and to shouts of what about the second 10 years, claimed that they hadn't run the numbers. The audience wasn't buying it judging from the catcalls. Finally, Sally Canfield, assistant to Denny Hastert, tried to throw out the line about how each year we delay costs another $690 billion, until brought to a screeching halt by a cry of 'Liar' from someone in the crowd.

"They hadn't run the numbers" for what happens in the second decade of Bush private accounts? Do they really think the press corps and the people are dumb enough to believe that? And why do they think it's to their advantage to set out such transparent lies? Would anyone support a long-run plan proposed by people who haven't "run the numbers" beyond the first ten years?

Posted by DeLong at March 30, 2005 08:34 PM