Data 1, Righties 0

Obama Administration

Erick Son of Erick and other righties have been having a grand time making fun of Matt Yglesias and calling him stupid because they think they caught him in a mistake. Except they didn’t.

Yglesias made a video titled “How Scary Is the Public Debt?” intended to explain that the public debt is not scary. Yglesias’s figure for the public debt is lower than what the Treasury says is the national debt, because Yglesias left out debt owned by one branch of government to another branch. But this point flew right over their muddled little heads, and they’ve been hooting about Yglesias making a mistake for the past several hours in complete oblivion of what Yglesias actually was talking about. John Aziz explains this.

Other than the number discrepancy that wasn’t actually a discrepancy, the righties’ basic issue with Yglesias is that they disagreed with him and don’t like him very much, but typically, they come up short explaining why. Mostly they just insulted Yglesias.

When Erickson eventually got around to trying to rebut Yglesias (after writing 263 words in a 394 word piece), the RedState editor pulled out arguments that were brief and devoid of both context and substance. . . . after that, Erickson was right back to bashing Vox’s “left-wing propaganda.”


Of course, the real issue is that on the Right it is apostasy to say that the public debt is not scary, so what Yglesias says must be propaganda. Yeah, that’s it.

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  1. c u n d gulag  •  Mar 28, 2014 @8:06 am

    Many-chinned Erick Erickson, the son of a many-chinned man named Erick, who is himself the many-chinned son of a many-chinned man named Erick, going back many, many, many, generations of many-chinned sons of many many-chinned men named Erick, going back to the original many-chinned Erick “The Fat, Obnoxious, and Nasty Man of Many Chins and a Loud and Lazy Douche” is a many-chinned ass.
    The last name of the original many-chinned man, Erick “The Fat, Obnoxious, and Nasty Man of Many Chins.” is lost to history.
    But if we can find the Viking word for “Festering Bunghole,” then we might be making a pretty good guess.

    He’s always wrong, like Bill “Kill ‘Em If They’re Brown” Kristol, except with an extra sneer – and more “chins” than the Hong Kong phone directory.

  2. maha  •  Mar 28, 2014 @9:10 am

    It’s just as well the Vikings didn’t live to see how some of their descendents turned out. I wouldn’t wish that kind of disappointment on anybody, even if their people did used to sack and pillage my people.

  3. Dan  •  Mar 28, 2014 @9:16 am

    Data vs. rightwingnuts. There’s a guaranteed unfair fight!

  4. c u n d gulag  •  Mar 28, 2014 @10:00 am

    And then, there’s the many chinned Lars Larson, son of…

    What, did the ancient Vikings used to stash their loot in the skin under their chins?

  5. Dolorous Stroke  •  Mar 28, 2014 @10:17 am

    I constantly marvel at the ability people have to reject reality when it is politically expedient. And when I try to think of times when I may have been fooled the way that I see so many people being fooled today, it is the scariness of the debt that comes to mind.

    Near the end of the Reagan/Bush I era, I came to believe that the growing debt was a serious problem that would damage the country for years to come. I bought into the idea that a goverment budget is just like a household budget. I didn’t have the expertise of an Yglesias at my fingertips to show me I was wrong.

    I imagine the Pete Petersons of the world were promulgating the debt fear then as they are now. But it was also used by some on the political left as a cudgel against Republicans. Even today, when people talk about what a great president Reagan was, or what an awful one Clinton was, I find the simplest way to shoot them down is by bringing up fiscal responsibility.

    And Dick Cheney’s statement that Reagan proved that deficits don’t matter is a good way to shoot down people who complain about the currenct deficit (down 60% under Obama), but it is important to note there is a lot of truth to the statement as well.

  6. Stephen Stralka  •  Mar 28, 2014 @12:27 pm

    Well, what is the proper context for understanding the debt? How do you know how much debt the world’s largest economy can afford? Yes, 17 trillion is a huge number, but there are a lot of huge numbers involved here. You can’t just keep jumping up and down and shouting that 17 trillion is a huge, huge number. It’s such a catastrophe we should be able to observe some kind of negative effects.

    (Erick Erickson Tufnel: “This one goes to 11.”)

  7. Monty  •  Mar 28, 2014 @1:57 pm

    Lord knows I’m not Yglesias’ biggest fan, but seriously? Left wing propaganda??

    The biggest problem with his video is that it compresses too many actual facts into 96 seconds without giving wingnut views equal time.

  8. Bonnie  •  Mar 28, 2014 @6:30 pm

    Wingnuts don’t give liberals equal time. Why should we give them equal time? There is no fairness doctrine any more. If there were, Faux news couldn’t exist.

    The Democrats should keep pointing out how much of the debt/deficit has been paid off under a Democratic President. Plus, remind all Americans that there was a budget surplus when a Democrat left the White House and a Republican came to the White House (won’t say he was elected because he wasn’t elected). All this debt/deficit was CREATED by a Republican President AND a Republican Congress from 2000 through 2008. They are the ones who need to be taking it on the chin for the largest debt/deficit ever!

  9. Doug  •  Mar 28, 2014 @10:57 pm

    The national debt is scary! Yglesias set up a great joke and left off the punch line. Let me get wonkish, and stay with me – it’s worth the effort.

    Take the national debt and divide it into quintiles (20%) chunks, not according to population, but according to income. Assume for easy numbers a national debt of 10 trillion. The bottom quintile, the poorest 20%, ‘own’ only .38 trillion of the national debt if you divide it by income. The richest 20% ‘own’ 4.8 trillion of that 10 trillion debt – damn near half the debt. Want to look at just the top 5%? They would own 2.13 trillion of the national debt.

    That’s if you divide the debt proportionately by income. If you assume a graduated scale, you shift even MORE of the debt up the scale to the top 5%. A good guess would put a quarter to one third of the national debt on the shoulders of the richest 5%.

    Scary? Damn right the national debt is scary! The richest one-half of one percent are wetting their pants. They know these facts – which the rest of the country and the media doesn’t know or won’t say. The lions share of all the policy manipulation by the GOP over the last decade has been an effort to shield the richest of the rich from liability to taxes and the national debt.

  10. Swami  •  Mar 29, 2014 @1:03 am

    I doesn’t matter to Erickson if he is right or wrong. All that matters to Erickson is that he gets the exposure he so desperately needs. He is aspiring to the position Limbaugh now holds as the chief airbag of conservatism. So he is forced by circumstance to latch on and wrangle with any argument or point of view that anybody on the left puts forward. Sorta like a streetwalker.. you take whatever comes your way.
    It seems to me that to quibble over a numerical discrepancy kinda misses the point that that Yglesias is making. I’m surprised Erickson didn’t take a cue about subjectivity when Yglesias used the word “scary” in his presentation. Everything is wrapped in subjectivity when scary is factored into the equation.

  11. c u n d gulag  •  Mar 29, 2014 @9:01 am

    Thanks for the info.

    And what we need to do, is look at that top group, and say, “Would you rather help us pay that off with a part of your treasure? Or with all of your blood? Because, if you decide on the former, you only lose a bit. But if you choose the latter, then you and your family lose it all.
    Take a few minutes to decide. The electric tumbrel’s need a few minutes to charge, and the guillotine’s need oiling.”