Budget nonsense from Right Blogistan

Give THIS President rescission authority? I don’t think so.
And if Glenn Reynolds or any of his followers really believes that the deficit is going to disappear in 18 months, I have $10,000 that says he’s wrong.

The incumbent President of the United States has abused every power he has, and some he doesn’t have. He has presided over a profligate fiscal policy, never once vetoing an appropriation while his co-partisans controlled Congress. Now that the Democrats will be passing the appropriations bills, he wants “rescission” authority: in effect, a line-item veto that allows him to punish his enemies by eliminating projects that benefit their constituents.

And Glenn Reynolds can’t understand &#8212 or pretends not to understand &#8212 the good reason for that unwillingness. Sometimes fake na├»veté is hard to tell from real stupidity. But I suppose we ought to give Glenn the benefit of the doubt and conclude that he’s just trying to fool his dimwit partisan readers.

As Machiavelli says, most people are so eager to believe what makes them feel good that whoever wants to trick people will easily find people who want to be tricked.

Glenn also believes, or wants us to believe that he believes, that the federal deficit will disappear in 18 months. This belief is based on a link-to-a-link-to-a-link to a retired businessman who’s done some sort of linear extrapolation from noisy revenue data. He doesn’t even say it’s going to happen, only that it would happen if current trends were to continue. In other words, it’s complete garbage. And Glenn doesn’t believe it himself, except in an Orwellian way.

I will bet Glenn, or anyone else, $10,000, or any fraction of that amount, at 2-to-1 odds, that the federal budget is in deficit for Fiscal Years 2008 and 2009. I will be stunned, though delighted, to find any takers. As of last March, CBO projected deficits of $235B for 2008 and $194B for 2009.

If he’s not willing to bet, Glenn should take it back, and promise in the future to stick to parsing his cases and leave difficult matters involving arithmetic to the grown-ups. He’s giving the rest of the arrogant, opinionated professors a bad name, and we resent it.

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