Sunday, November 20, 2011

Just Another Example of Why George Will Is Wrong Again

He is Entitled to His Opinion, But In His Column He Just Makes Up Stuff

Washington Post columnist George Will writes an opinion column.  Opinions are fine, everybody ought to have one.  Opinions are beliefs.  Facts are, well, facts.  So for people like Mr. Will when his opinion is not supported by the facts he just makes up the fact in a way that does support his opinions.

Mr. Will is fomenting against government spending and raising taxes these days, and the Congressional committee charged with coming up with a deficit reduction package.  Here is Mr. Will on some background information.

Sensible people who remember the last grand budget bargain will be dry-eyed about not having another now. Although only 21 of the 242 Republicans in the House and eight of 47 Republicans in the Senate were on Capitol Hill in 1990, everyone there should remember the results of that year’s budget agreement, wherein President George H.W. Bush jettisoned his “no new taxes” pledge: Taxes increased. So did spending. And the deficit. Economic growth decreased.

Now when Mr. Will talks about taxes increasing, and spending increasing and the deficit increasing, these are facts, which unfortunately for Mr. Will can be checked.  Here is what really happened.

  1. In 1990 taxes were 18% of GDP, in 1993 taxes were 17.5% of GDP.  Strike 1 for Mr. Will.

  1. In 1990 expenditures were 21.9% of GDP, in 1993 expenditures were 21.5% of GDP. Strike 2 for Mr. Will.

  1. In 1990 the deficit was 3.9% of GDP, in 1993 the deficit was 3.9% of GDP. Strike 3 for Mr. Will and he’s out.

Of course Mr. Will completely omits the years after Mr. George H. W. Bush left office, when tax rates were raised and the deficit was eliminated and economic growth and job creation soared.  Those facts alone would completely obliterate his argument, and so they can be easily ignored.

A good newspaper will publish a variety of opinions, as it should.  But a good newspaper will also requires that when a columnist quotes facts to support those opinions those facts should be factual.  But this is the Washington Post, no factual facts are required in their quest to become the darling of Conservatives.

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