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Tilting at Windmills

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December 5, 2009

WHEN MICHELE AND PAT GET TOGETHER.... Yesterday, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) chatted with crazed TV preacher Pat Robertson on "The 700 Club." The combined crazy quotient was enough to nearly cause a rift in the space-time continuum.

Most of the ensuing insanity was rather boilerplate -- you won't be surprised to hear that neither right-wing nutjob supports the president -- but there was one exchange worth highlighting. Bachmann shared her concerns about health care reform and its effect on the economy.

BACHMANN: This will be a job killer, which is why President Obama's chief economic adviser Christina Romer has said, if this health care bill goes through, Pat, an additional 5.5 million jobs will be lost because small business will have to shed more jobs -- they can't afford to have the jobs because they have to pay more tax to the government.

ROBERTSON: They know that when their facing 10.2 percent unemployment -- they know this is going to kill another 5 million jobs?

BACHMANN: They know this. This is their own numbers, and yet they're persisting forward.

Well, those administration officials sure are wacky, aren't they? They think addressing a dysfunctional health care system will cost 5.5 million jobs, but they're doing it anyway. The White House is obviously filled with history's greatest monsters.

Except, of course, none of this is even remotely true. Matt Finkelstein explained:

Romer has repeatedly argued that health reform is an economic necessity, and that the proposals under consideration would benefit small businesses while creating jobs. Bachmann is not only putting words in Romer's mouth but also completely misrepresenting her position. [...]

In reality, House Republicans arrived at the 5.5 million jobs estimate by making a faulty calculation based on a paper Romer published in 2007. Like they did during the stimulus debate, the Republicans misapplied Romer's previous work to suit their argument. Accordingly, the non-partisan PolitiFact.com examined the job loss claim and determined it was false.

But accuracy has no place in the debate over health care policy. What's more, it's not just the unhinged clowns repeating this bizarre claim -- House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) made the exact same argument yesterday, in print no less.

In other words, expect to hear to hear this baseless claim quite a bit in the coming weeks -- it's apparently at the top of the new set of GOP talking points.

Steve Benen 10:20 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (20)

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Comments

Nobody knows for sure how many jobs will be lost because of Obamacare. Perhaps Bachmann's estimate is on the high side, but there will definitely be millions of jobs lost.

Posted by: Al on December 5, 2009 at 10:33 AM | PERMALINK

Al you are painfully misinformed, but an interesting character nonetheless.

I know that health care reform will be successful and will help stabilize the economy.

You want to know how I know? Because the republicans are saying the opposite is true. You see, everyday is opposite day with the GOP and nutbaggers like yourself. You people are consistently wrong, on EVERYTHING.

Posted by: citizen_pain on December 5, 2009 at 10:36 AM | PERMALINK

I thought that preserving human life was the paramount concern for Xtians like Bachmann and Robertson. With over 44 thousand Americans dying each year because they don't have health coverage, shouldn't saving those lives be more important than the loss of 5.5 million jobs (even if those job losses exist only in the Republican alternate universe)?

Someone needs to ask every single Republican, every time they get up to talk:

Are you opposed to health care reform because you believe that human life is sacred only until it's born, or are you opposed to it because you believe that human life is sacred, but not as sacred as corporate profits?


Posted by: SteveT on December 5, 2009 at 10:40 AM | PERMALINK

Al - why do you persist on providing us with your emotional beliefs as opposed to providing us with some empirical, reasoned evidence to help us honestly debate you?

The legislation being entertained in the Senate doesn't bear the name Obamacare! That term only suits to inflame your passions toward our president, while dishonestly projecting something that simply is not!

Take a look at what Aetna did to its own employees this week, and start thinking about the necessary positive effects we will experience as citizens of the greatest nation on earth with a health care system that works more efficiently and more cost effectively once the Congress of the United States passes a bill that then they put on the president's desk to sign into law.

Obamacare is a term that insults honest debate! Al - start over! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on December 5, 2009 at 10:47 AM | PERMALINK

I am truly curious, where do they think these job losses would result from? Insurance companies? Large companies that provide health insurance would suddenly have to pay lower premiums? Smaller businesses would have help providing health insurance to their workers? I don't get it.

I am confused because I thought it was the other way around, that the healthcare system couldn't handle the millions of people who would suddenly have insurance and would want to see a doctor, thus destroying the system for everyone else. Wouldn't having millions more insured people mean that there would be a lot more demand in health care services?

Make up your minds, people. You can't argue that something is way too big and way too small at the same time.

Posted by: zoe kentucky on December 5, 2009 at 11:07 AM | PERMALINK

Actually, there will be jobs lost: once insurance companies can't rescind people's policies on a whim, they won't need to keep those giant staffs who pore over people's medical records to find discrepancies. And if we go to a system where everyone uses the same billing codes, there go all of those jobs for medical billers.

Of course, that's like arguing that we should never have allowed cars on the road because it was going to decimate the carriage and livery industries. Progress happens, and jobs become obsolete. Why should we prop up an inefficient industry just so a few people can continue to make millions of dollars from it?

Posted by: Mnemosyne on December 5, 2009 at 11:09 AM | PERMALINK

Wingularity, the- the point at which the insanity from the far right and those controlling the Republican Party [continues] to grow exponentially until it reaches an unsustainable weight and collapses upon itself. This is also known as the Purity Spiral, wherein the density of wingnut increases compared to mainstream conservatives to the point of pure wingnut. As the ratio rises, this creates a phenomenon wherein no logic or sanity can penetrate or escape. When rightwing argument has become completely inaccessible to the uninitiated, it has reached the Wingularity.
http://www.balloon-juice.com/?page_id=28600

Posted by: anonymous on December 5, 2009 at 11:12 AM | PERMALINK

apologies for forgetting to [\bold] correctly....

Posted by: anonymous on December 5, 2009 at 11:13 AM | PERMALINK

Pat and Michele. Yikes. If I was a photon in that TV studio I'd go virtual rather than help to send a signal from that pair into the airwaves.

Posted by: MattF on December 5, 2009 at 11:16 AM | PERMALINK
it's not just the unhinged clowns repeating this bizarre claim -- House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) made the exact same argument yesterday, in print no less.
Comon' Steve, you aren't suggesting that Boehner isn't an unhinged clown? Okay, he may not be unhinged, but I assure you he is a clown. Just take a look at him Posted by: veblen on December 5, 2009 at 11:21 AM | PERMALINK
What's more, it's not just the unhinged clowns repeating this bizarre claim -- House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) made the exact same argument yesterday, in print no less.

Unhinged clown is as unhinged clown does.

Posted by: noncarborundum on December 5, 2009 at 11:25 AM | PERMALINK

Bachman is fun because she is sincerely crazy and not too bright so she doesn't use the key qualifiers to make a deliberately misleading statement technically true.

It is clear (actually known) that she and Boehner are basing their totally invalid argument on the Romer and Romer paper on the short term effect of tax cuts. She probably doesn't understand that the short term stimulus due to tax cuts depends on the increase in the deficit so tax increases which are returned to the public as subsidies to help buy health insurance are not contractionary.

The people who argue that the Romer's said that any spending increase causes job losses (the opposite of what the Romers think and have argued for decades) are the same ones who claim to be worried about the deficit. They don't understand the difference between short term (deficits cause high GNP as we have just seen *again*) and long term (deficits crowd out investment and cause low GNP).

I also suspect that they get the number from counting spending cuts as tax increases -- that is by applying the Romers' coefficient to the total costs of the subsidies and calling reduction in say the medicare advantage boondoggle a tax increase.

To edit Bachman to sly Republican one has to replace the clear verb "says" with "'s analysis implies" ignore what the analysis suggests about the effect of spending increases and count spending cuts as tax increases.

Oh and also define "small firms" to mean "large firms"

Posted by: Robert Waldmann on December 5, 2009 at 11:33 AM | PERMALINK

Boehner is not an unhinged clown.

He is a all-too-well-hinged liar and son-of-a-bitch.

Bachmann may actually believe some of the nonsense she spews. She may not actually be capable of knowing what the objective truth is.

Boehner is smart enough to know what's true, but doesn't care. He repeatedly chooses to say whatever crap will advance his cause at any given moment, with utter disregard for the truth. He is a cancer on the body politic, not a clown.

Posted by: biggerbox on December 5, 2009 at 11:49 AM | PERMALINK

I am confused because I thought it was the other way around, that the healthcare system couldn't handle the millions of people who would suddenly have insurance and would want to see a doctor, thus destroying the system for everyone else. Wouldn't having millions more insured people mean that there would be a lot more demand in health care services?
Make up your minds, people. You can't argue that something is way too big and way too small at the same time.-zoe kentucky

Zoe, you're being way too critical a thinker in expecting any Republican argument to maintain any consistency of logic. It's their job to make horrific pronouncements that confirm you're suspicions about those godless liberals, and it's your job to nod along and say, "yep". Your expecting rationality just gets in the way of the kabuki theater.

Posted by: about time on December 5, 2009 at 11:53 AM | PERMALINK

Nobody knows how many goats Al will have sex with this week. Perhaps my estimates are a bit high, but he will certainly have sex with a dozen.

Posted by: Marc on December 5, 2009 at 12:28 PM | PERMALINK

Does anyone who visits this site regularly not recognize parody when they see it? If he is not, then I am truly living in the Twilight Zone.

Posted by: Al is a parody on December 5, 2009 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

"If Al is not..."is what I meant to say, in case you did not read the Posted by: line

Posted by: Al is a parody on December 5, 2009 at 1:03 PM | PERMALINK

since steve didn't provide a link to politifact here's the relevant cut and paste..

Obama's economic adviser — Christina Romer, chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers — has never said that a tax in the health care bill would cost up to 5.5 million jobs. Republicans have used her 2007 research to develop a calculation for job losses for any type of tax increase. If you have a number for tax revenues generated, then this model will give you a number of jobs lost. But there are factors that make this type of analysis troublesome when it comes to the health care bill.

Romer's 2007 research, for example, said that tax increases that fund spending for social programs tend to balance out, and economic growth stays on an even keel. Another problem is that the Republicans take tax increases that happen over 10 years and treat them as if they happen in one year, which inflates the numbers of jobs that might be lost.

Finally, this particular Republican analysis includes more taxes than just the surtax of page 336; it also includes the employer mandates of page 313. We find this analysis to be problematic and contrary to how Obama's economic adviser said the model should work.

Posted by: dj spellchecka on December 5, 2009 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

"What's more, it's not just the unhinged clowns repeating this bizarre claim -- House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) made the exact same argument yesterday, in print no less."

And you think Boner is hinged, why?

Posted by: Sarah Barracuda on December 5, 2009 at 3:50 PM | PERMALINK

So why isn't Romer insisting on appearing on the 700 Club to refute these claims. After all, her work was misrepresented there. Or going on some other teevee show (preferably at least on Fox so the same people will be watching) with Bachman? Or making those offers, being refused, and then going on the teevee to describe how these people won't let her tell the truth about her work? I thought this administration was going to start "calling out" people who come up with this stuff. I guess maybe they they are - in vague and obscure ways on some website somewhere that nobody (particularly the people who listen to this crap)will ever see it.

Posted by: emjayay on December 5, 2009 at 5:38 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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