A question for the civility-mongers

Kevin Drum catches Bruce Bartlett of NRO in a rare moment of truth-telling: butchering Medicare and raising taxes are necessary to get the deficit under control, Bartlett says, but it would be politically inadvisable to talk about that reality until after the election, so let’s not.

Of course, the President’s re-election campaign will be devoted to dissembling that simple fact. Any Democrat who points out that the logic of the tax cuts for the half-million-dollar-a-year crowd involved an attack on entitlement spending and tax increases for the less wealthy will be accused of scare-mongering and peddling conspiracy theories.

So here’s the question for the self-appointed guardians of the national civility, such as Nicholas Kristof: If it’s wrong to call a President who currently plans to run a second national campaign centered on dissembling the budget question a liar, because the word “liar” is uncivil, what, pray, are we to call him?

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

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