Annals of Fiscal Responsibility Chutzpah

Via Sullivan, someone named James C. Capretta says that in light of the Republicans’ attempt to end Medicare:

with a Republican plan on the table, the media will surely start to ask Democrats, “Hey, where’s your plan?” This will force them to either come clean with their tax-hike vision, or become the party that pushed the country toward a debt-induced economic crisis. Either way, with more clarity about where the parties actually stand, Republicans can win the public fight.

So who is this James C. Capretta, anyway?  Turns out, at least from his bio at the Ethics and Public Policy Center (a right-wing fake think tank that came to prominence in the 80’s for urging greater sympathy to right-wing torture regimes), he is basically a Republican functionary, who worked for Capitol Hill Republicans, went to the George W. Bush Administration, and now is the grateful recipient of wingnut welfare.  But this is really the highlight of his resume.  Capretta

was an Associate Director at the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) from 2001 to 2004, where he was the top budget official for health-care, Social Security, education, and welfare programs.

So the Associate Director of OMB during the first three years of the Bush Administration, which took a huge surplus and turned it into a series of crushing deficits, is now lecturing the Democrats on fiscal reponsibility.  We don’t let convicted felons vote: an equivalent rule should be to deny credibility on budgetary matters to anyone who worked for George W. Bush.

In any event, it shows how little Capretta appears to know about the health care debate that he seems to know nothing about the good ideas to reduce Medicare costs.  No doubt, it is a very hard job, but if you were going to name two ideas, they would be 1) comparative effectiveness research, so that Medicare doesn’t pay for expensive yet ineffective treatments, and 2) providing funding for seniors to voluntarily write advanced directives, in order to start trimming the grotesquely expensive and ineffective treatments in the last three months of life.

Well, guess what?  Those are precisely the things that the Right mendaciously attacked as “death panels”, to which Politifact gave its coveted Lie Of The Year award. 

So there’s your Republican strategy: lie about the other side’s genuine efforts at cost control, attempt to end Medicare, and then whine about your opponents don’t have a plan.  All in a day’s work for your typical right-wing apparatchik.

Author: Jonathan Zasloff

Jonathan Zasloff teaches Torts, Land Use, Environmental Law, Comparative Urban Planning Law, Legal History, and Public Policy Clinic - Land Use, the Environment and Local Government. He grew up and still lives in the San Fernando Valley, about which he remains immensely proud (to the mystification of his friends and colleagues). After graduating from Yale Law School, and while clerking for a federal appeals court judge in Boston, he decided to return to Los Angeles shortly after the January 1994 Northridge earthquake, reasoning that he would gladly risk tremors in order to avoid the average New England wind chill temperature of negative 55 degrees. Professor Zasloff has a keen interest in world politics; he holds a PhD in the history of American foreign policy from Harvard and an M.Phil. in International Relations from Cambridge University. Much of his recent work concerns the influence of lawyers and legalism in US external relations, and has published articles on these subjects in the New York University Law Review and the Yale Law Journal. More generally, his recent interests focus on the response of public institutions to social problems, and the role of ideology in framing policy responses. Professor Zasloff has long been active in state and local politics and policy. He recently co-authored an article discussing the relationship of Proposition 13 (California's landmark tax limitation initiative) and school finance reform, and served for several years as a senior policy advisor to the Speaker of California Assembly. His practice background reflects these interests: for two years, he represented welfare recipients attempting to obtain child care benefits and microbusinesses in low income areas. He then practiced for two more years at one of Los Angeles' leading public interest environmental and land use firms, challenging poorly planned development and working to expand the network of the city's urban park system. He currently serves as a member of the boards of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy (a state agency charged with purchasing and protecting open space), the Los Angeles Center for Law and Justice (the leading legal service firm for low-income clients in east Los Angeles), and Friends of Israel's Environment. Professor Zasloff's other major activity consists in explaining the Triangle Offense to his very patient wife, Kathy.

8 thoughts on “Annals of Fiscal Responsibility Chutzpah”

  1. When they are good, they are very, very good at long term framing of national discourse and policy zero sum games. The Plutocrats, and their functionary Plutocratican Party have learned their history lessons well – Capital is winning, and the right’s total, complete, flagrant disregard for anything outside the ends and means of aggrandizement of wealth is a sign we are entering endgame. Between redistricting, Citizen’s United, Fox/Limbaugh, the Supreme Court, and BushCo’s highly successful setup for “starving the beast”….the die is being cast for the next twenty to fifty years, regardless of relatively non-unified resentment and resistance. It’s going to take more than a couple ‘landslide’ elections to turn this ship, never mind reverse it. Either everyone – everyone – gets off their a***s and fights this, or it’s a done deal.

  2. Is the Really Bullshit-based Community another Soros outlier aping the Talking Points Memo, Media Mutters, Think Process gang of Three? You marxists are the phoniest paraphiliacs in the leftist menagerie, and useful idiots like yourselves probably don’t cost much to Georgie-boy and his gang of arbitrage-dollarbusters.

  3. Overall good, but we do, in most states, let convicted felons who have served their time vote. Which is as it should be: pay your debt to society, and rejoin society.

    Of course Capretta has never served any time…

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