Friday, January 13, 2006

Mallard Fillmore is lying again

Two letters in today’s Express-News take the noxious comic strip Mallard Fillmore to task. The first writer scolds the strip’s author Bruce Tinsley for his “junior high cruelty” in taking cheap shots at Sen. Edward Kennedy relating to the Alito Hearings.
I’ve said before that Tinley, like Rush Limbaugh, relies on crude junior high level schoolyard bullying techniques for most of what presumably is supposed to be humorous in his strip.

But today’s strip is just flat-out false, lying propaganda of the worst kind. He throws out the following statement as it if was an accepted or demonstrable fact:

The “Bush tax cuts” have brought in more money to the treasury than ever before...

And then claims that the media is involved in some kind of conspiracy to hide or coverup this information.

First off, the sentence makes no sense as tax cuts by definition reduce the amount of money going to the treasury. What I’m sure he is trying to refer to is the one-time jump in corporate tax revenues that occurred last year which helped to temporarily reduce the size of the deficit. It was debatable then whether Bush’s tax cuts had anything to do with it, but none-the-less it is old news today as the deficit is now expected to shoot back up to record levels later this year.

WASHINGTON, Jan. 12 - The White House acknowledged on Thursday that the budget deficit would climb back above $400 billion this year, erasing the brief improvement last year and complicating President Bush's vow to cut the deficit in half by 2009....

The Times article explains the earlier bump in revenues this way:

Since President Bush took office in 2001, the federal budget has swung from a surplus of more than $100 billion to deficits as high as $412 billion in 2004. Last year, the deficit narrowed unexpectedly to $319 billion, mainly because of a surge in corporate tax revenues and taxes on stock-market gains.

Mr. Bush has attributed much if not most of the rising deficit to several unforeseen shocks: a recession in 2001, the collapse of the stock market bubble, huge new spending on domestic security after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and the cost of wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

But budget analysts outside the administration have long argued that the government spending has been very high under Mr. Bush while tax cuts have chipped away at revenues.

As a percentage of gross domestic product, a measure that economists prefer over simple dollar amounts, government spending has climbed sharply, from 18.5 percent in 2001 to nearly 20 percent for each of the past three years.

By contrast, tax revenues plunged to as little as 16.3 percent of the nation's economy from 19.8 percent in 2001.

In other words, we are spending more while taking in less money - the height of fiscal irresponsibility. Bush wants to blame Hurricane Katrina, but he is not willing to suck it up and deal with the crisis today. No, instead he puts it all on the government’s credit card for our children and grandchildren to have to deal with one day, while continuing to press for ever more and deeper tax cuts for the rich.

And the sad fact is that far more people are likely to read the lies in this Mallard Fillmore cartoon than will read the truth in the NYTimes article.

What I would like to know is why do the newspapers allow Tinsley to get away with this? Whenever there has been anything even slightly questionable in a Doonesbury strip there is always a hue and cry from the far-right and the strip is pulled and replaced by editors all over the country. And yet they let Tinsley lie on a regular basis with no comment.

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