Talking about real money in CongressMarch 7th, 2011 by Steven Gardner
Over in the righthand column we now have a widget that offers you the latest from PolitiFact.com’s Truth-O-Meter.
Some truth-o-metrics played a role in preparing the story for
this weekend that discussed possible local impacts of federal
budget cuts. One of the questions I ran across is how much cutting
is really going on. That started with the Washington Post The Fact Checker blog
“Democrats keep misleading on claimed budget ‘cuts.’”
The entry makes clear that Democrats are not meeting Republicans halfway on budget cuts by offering $52 billion in cuts compared to Republicans’ $100 billion.
For one thing, the $100 billion figure Republicans are using, such as in the quote I included from U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Camas, is not correct either. For reasons I’m not sure I can adequately explain, the Republican cuts are actually about $61 billion and Democrats are closer to $10 billion.
If you’re into math, you know that 10 is not really close to half of 61 and that 61 is not 100. As a story in today’s Post explains, though, that’s less of an issue than the fact that Republicans and Democrats are about $50 billion apart.
In preparing the story I wrote I did my darndest to get a Republican voice in the story to respond to the comments by union guy Ivan Weich. I wanted a voice from Congress to match the comments from Norm Dicks’ spokesman. I first called Herrera Beutler and got no response. I talked to someone in Dave Reichert’s office who said he’d try to get someone, but that was the end of it. I then called the offices of Doc Hastings, Cathy McMorris Rodgers and the Republican National Committee. No luck at any of those places.
I was disappointed, but in the end I wasn’t surprised. We are, after all, JUST the Kitsap Sun. None of those representatives have voters in our districts so it benefits them nothing to call us. They might have made an exception for the papers from Seattle, Tacoma or Spokane, but that’s probably it. I can’t say I blame them, and they are all probably just as happy that I pulled quotes from their press releases rather than getting a specific answer about potential closures at local Social Security Administration offices. There might be a philosophical upside to calling us back, but not one that translates into stronger re-election chances in 2012.