Truth will out

Jack Lew cleans Charles Krauthammer’s clock.

Charles Krauthammer is a liar, and not an especially skillful one. And he tells his lies by accusing others of “fraud.”

Jack Lew, by contrast, is a clear-minded truth-teller.

But what else is new?

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

26 thoughts on “Truth will out”

  1. Fair assessment! Charles’ first two sentences are the tell. It seems Charles is an “Everyone” kind of guy!

  2. Shhh! Don’t tell the Chinese that US government bonds are worthless. Or all of the other investors in the USA and through out the world that keep buying them.

    Of course if the House Republicans decide to vote to make the US government default on it’s obligations pulling the rug out from under the world’s economy… But if they are crazy enough to do that all of the rest won’t matter anyway.

    Hey Krauthammer, That $20 bill in your pocket. That’s nothing but an IOU! Worthless paper. Send it to me and I’ll take care of it for you.

  3. How can you call Charles Krauthammer a liar? He knows the biggest truth: that his penis is small and it will feel bigger if Israel bashes its wogs and the Republicans bash their wogs. Everything else is a mere Straussian fib, designed to advance this greater truth.

  4. The “trust fund is worthless” line is just the Animal House defense – “Hey, Americans, you f**ked up! You trusted us.”

  5. G,

    What do you think should be done with the money? Kept in a safe full of hundred-dollar bills? Of course the excess is going to be invested. And Terasury bonds are a perfectly sensible investment. Think they are not safe? Funny, investors are buying them despite their microscopic yields. That tells you something very important.

    Are you complaining that the government is overborrowing and is not managing its finances properly? If that’s true, don’t blame Social Security. Blame the mangers. You know, the manic tax cutters, the people who finance wars with credit cards, and so on. Amazing how conservatives suddenly are all green eyeshade when Social Security or something that might help workers or the poor comes up, but fall all over themselves handing out tax breaks to the wealthy. It’s scuzzy and dishonest. Don’t fall for it.

  6. Raising the retirement age is fine for paper-pushers like me, Krauthammer, and most of the readers of this blog. It’s a grim idea for masons and carpenters and cashiers who have physical demands on them all day. Current retirement ages are barely tolerable for them, raise it more and it is trouble for sure. I’m not seeing much creative thought about this, mostly probably because those of us who try to think about Social Security are the paper pushers. I think a humane solution is going to involve some kind of means test, lowered pension paid on top of part time work for masons, etc. Maybe we make hiring criteria for jobs like construction inspector and restaurant inspector include 20 years’ work in the industry, so nobody goes into those jobs straight out of school and there is good work to do for carpenters with arthritis and bum knees? As I said, I don’t have a solution I am confident of, but I am sure that 70-year-old arthritic carpenters are not a humane solution to anything.

  7. Meanwhile, Mark, in even more depressing news:
    http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2011/03/13/state-departments-p-j-crowley-stepping-down/?hpt=T2


    P.J. Crowley is abruptly stepping down as State Department spokesman under pressure from the White House, according to senior officials familiar with the matter, because of controversial comments he made about the Bradley Manning case….Speaking to a small group at MIT last week, Crowley was asked about allegations that Manning is being tortured and kicked up a firestorm by answering that what is being done to Manning by Defense Department officials “is ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid.”

    I won’t mock you or quote you because I’m sure this sickens and saddens you as much as me.

  8. (Mark): “Charles Krauthammer is a liar“.
    This is the new civil tone, right?

    The label depends on this:…
    (Jack Lew): “This is not a ‘claim.’ This is the projection…
    …that is, on the difference beweeen “claim” and “projection”.

    Whether the government will keep its promise of a Social Security pension is a prediction, not a fact. All action, including economic activity, occurs in the present. Investment, whether public or private, occurs in the present. One does not plant a tree or buy corporate bonds because one will harvest fruit or enjoy enhanced income at some future time, one invests today because one today imagines a future benefit.

    The fantasy of a Social Security lockbox never made sense. Whether the government puts greenbacks in a coffee can and buries them in the yard behind the Treasury building, puts IOU’s made out to “The Social Security Trust Fund” in a vault, or makes dollar-denominated entries in an account book, the material fact is that the State takes money from some people today and gives it to other people today. Whether FICA taxes are invested, in fact, depends on whether the difference between the (hypothetical) un-FICA tax base and the FICA-regime tax base generates more taxable revenue when the State’s promises come due.

  9. @dave

    Raising the retirement age is fine for paper-pushers like me, Krauthammer, and most of the readers of this blog

    It’s even more extreme than that: Krauthammer had a terrible accident as a young man, and has been a paraplegic for forty years. In that time he’s been a psychiatrist and a columnist, jobs that his physical disabilities do not interfere with (I make no judgment about his mental abilities). In a way, it’s easy to see how he is blind to the difficulty of asking menial laborers to suffer through another several years before retirement – he is literally unable to perform physical labor, but has had a very nice life. Why should anyone else be any different?

  10. (Mark): “Charles Krauthammer is a liar“.
    This is the new civil tone, right?

    Calling someone a liar in not uncivil if it is accurate. “Liar” is not an epithet; it is a descriptive word for one who knowingly states a falsehood. If journalists would use it when politicians lie, then our discourse would be at a higher level.

  11. (Henry): “Calling someone a liar in not uncivil if it is accurate.
    It is uncivil. It is banned in the IIDB forum, for example. It was uncivil for Joe Wilson to call out “You lie!” during President Obama’s address to Congress. The media even made an issue of Justice Scalia muttering to himself “That’s not true” when Obama discussed the Citizens United case. If Mark wants to discuss the important issue of whether the government will keep its pension and health care promises, making personal attacks distracts rather than advances the discussion.

  12. This is the new civil tone, right?

    Please.

    An uncivil tone would be to, say, something like “carry your gun to the next Krauthammer book signing to show your solidarity with the Sierra Club”. See how that works? Of course you do. And so does everybody else here. Your tactic doesn’t work here.

    HTH.

  13. Malcolm, Joe Wilson’s remark was uncivil because of the context in which he made it, which was that Obama had the floor. (Wilson was also the one who stated a falsehood — I don’t know if he did so knowingly or out of ignorance — but that’s another matter.) As for Alito’s (not Scalia’s) muttering, that too was a matter of context; Supreme Court justices typically do not do that at State of the Union addresses.

    I realize that to accuse someone to his face of being a liar raises hackles and is not conducive to level-headed discourse, but if the word is used accurately in print (electronic or otherwise) to state that someone has knowingly stated a falsehood, then it should be said. If you’d prefer that one instead say that Krauthammer (or whoever) knowingly stated a falsehood, that’s fine with me.

  14. Henry, thanks for the Alito correction. As to the rest: we could more productively argue whether Treasury IOUs qualify as “investment” or not than whether to assert one side or the other is a “lie”.

    “Supreme Court justices typically do not do that at State of the Union addresses”.
    Presidents do not usually use the State of the Union address to criticize Supreme Court rulings with which they disagree.

  15. I’ll go a little further than Henry . . . Malcolm, you are being either disingenuous or foolish. This, too, is not uncivil, because it represents the only two options for your 2:49 comment regarding Joe Wilson’s idiotic outburst.

  16. @Malcolm

    Presidents do not usually use the State of the Union address to criticize Supreme Court rulings with which they disagree.

    Sadly, no.. That took me almost thirty seconds with Google.
    Obama’s statement was perhaps unusually direct, but then the effect of the court’s ruling was unusually partisan, and the decision was unusually different from previous rulings on the same issue. And it’s fairly relevant, and fairly inescapable, that Roberts, Alito, Thomas, and Scalia are rabid partisan ideologues, especially the two who installed Dubya. That description doesn’t encompass their entire identities, but it’s nonetheless accurate.

  17. (C.S.): “Malcolm, you are being either disingenuous or foolish. This, too, is not uncivil, because it represents the only two options for your 2:49 comment regarding Joe Wilson’s idiotic outburst.
    I said it was uncivil. Do you disagree?

  18. Malcolm Kirkpatrick says:

    “(Mark): “Charles Krauthammer is a liar“.
    This is the new civil tone, right? ”

    It’s more civil and far more accurate than the GOP, so yes, it is. GOP ‘civility’ is well-established by now, as anything but.

  19. Mark, in terms of ‘truth will out’, this is like Keynes’ famous saying about the long run. Krauthammer has infested the public intellectual stage for (IIRC) at least three decades now. It’s more likely that he will die before he loses his public stage.

  20. “Whether the government will keep its promise of a Social Security pension is a prediction, not a fact.”

    Whether social security is based on the same type of promises that Krauthammer accepts as fiscally responsible in other contexts is a fact.

    That Krauthammer pans one and promotes the other is at least hypocrisy, which is certainly a form of lying.

    Joe Wilson was uncivil because he interrupted the president’s speech, which would have been the case whether he screemed “Viva la GOP” or “you lie.”

    Whether someone is lying or not is a judgment and adjudging someone to be a liar, calling them a liar, and proving they are a liar is not uncivil. It is not a personal attack, but an attack on what they have said, at least in the instant context.

    Ranting that it is uncivil doesn’t make it so.

    But that is the typical response one sees from the likes of Kirkpatrick, who attempt to draw attention away from the issue by whining falsely about the nature of the attack and trying to turn the attack back on their opponent.

    After all, if calling someone a liar is uncivil, then quite clearly calling someone uncivil is equally uncivil itself, as it is, under Kirkpatrick’s test, an attack on the person, rather than a judgment as to their argument.

    The best defense may be a good offense, but in political discourse it is dishonest and disingenuous.

  21. Joe Wilson was uncivil because he interrupted the president’s speech, which would have been the case whether he screemed “Viva la GOP” or “you lie.”
    Or applauded?

  22. “Or applauded?”

    If intended and used to interrupt and draw attention to the audience member and away from the speaker, then yes.

    Audiences typically wait for a pause and applaud together directing attention towards the speaker with accolades, something expected and not considered an “interruption” as that term is typically used in such contexts.

    Uncivil = discourteous; rude.

    A written indictment of someone as having lied in another written work certainly is neither discourteous nor rude.

    But as I point out, if it is, then so is calling someone “uncivil” and so is accusing someone of “perpetrating a fiction.”

    After all, calling someone a liar through the use of a synonymous phrase is nonetheless calling them a liar and stating that Jack Lew is “perpetrating a fiction” is calling Jack Lew a liar.

    So, by your own definition, then, you and Krauthammer engaged in personal attacks that were consequently uncivil.

    If you find Kleiman’s lack of civility, according to your standards and your rather strange definition of “uncivil” annoying, go first and clean up they own house, second chastise Krauthammer for his uncivil writing, then come back here and try again.

  23. Dave,
    I did not make an issue of my opposition’s incivility when Rep. Giffords was shot.
    Anyway, you have a point. If you say “A” and I believe B (=>not-A), I can say “B”
    or I can say “Not A, B”, or I can say “You’re mistaken; not A, B” or I can say “you’re wrong; not A, B”, or I can say “you’re lying. B”, or I can say “you’re a liar. B”, or I can say “you’re an asshole”. There’s a continuum. Professor Klieman’s civility posture would be more convincing if he pulled to the “Not A, B” end of this continuum and away from the “teabagger” end of the continuum. Seems to me, anyway. I may be wrong. I read Ace of Spades, which gets coarse. Maybe political activity requires this. Not every religion needs a God, but every religion needs a Devil.

  24. Adding on to Warren Terra’s remarks about Krauthammer – he’s also paid for a job which a whole bunch of people can do. He’s not adding any actual analysis or insight; just right-wing BS.

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