|PolitiFact has covered this twice, in November and in January, with the same "False" ruling.|
But shlock might describe this short little Grading PolitiFact ditty which doesn’t offer any further good explanation for why saving money and cutting expenses are two different things, and that is somehow proof that PolitiFact got this fact-check of Romney wrong. He can do his “You just don’t have a clue--I’m the only one who really gets it” routine all he wants on this, but I can even tell him from my years as an accountant that “reducing expenses” and “saving money” are often used interchangeably. And if context is so very important (as writer Bryan White alludes to in quoting PolitiFact Principles about context at the start of his post) he totally ignored the context of Romney’s claim.
As an example, let’s say my income was reduced to where I had to live off my credit cards (something like what our government is doing now). It would behoove me to start looking for ways to save money/reduce costs—to reduce the amount I was having to pay with the credit cards. For example, I might decide to get rid of my cell phone, or buy a “prepaid” one. That would save $35-50 (or more) a month I might be paying off my credit card. That would be reducing my costs, that would be reducing the amount that would be added to my credit card (my "deficit"), that would be saving money. Grading PolitiFact wants you to believe that cutting costs and saving money are “not necessarily the same thing.”
And if I said I was saving $50 a month in cell phone bills by getting a prepaid phone that would not be quite correct. Because I’d have to figure in the cost of the prepaid phone. That’s what is happening here. Romney is misleading because he’s expressing the $95 billion in absolute terms.
Let’s try a little experiment here by word replacement: if the PolitiFact ruling had said Obama “ wants to cut government spending by rolling back President Barack Obama’s signature health care law” instead of “wants to save money by rolling back President Barack Obama’s signature health care law” would it have made any difference in the rest of the ruling and the ruling result? If they had done that, would anything in the rest of the ruling explanation needed to have been changed to coincide or force it to agree? You can see my point. Romney said in his USA Today op-ed “The federal government should stop doing things we don't need or can't afford” directly followed by the example of “Repeal ObamaCare, which would save $95 billion in 2016.” (Of course, had it been this way, I would expect that Grading PolitiFact would have a reverse position, reproving PolitiFact by saying “saving money” morphed into “cutting government spending.”)
So PolitiFact went with Romney’s precise statement—“which would save $95 billion”—yet Grading PolitiFact disputes that as a “morph” from reducing expenses, which is basically the same thing. This is not even splitting hairs, this is pedantry at its extreme.
Sometimes Grading PolitiFact will take unreasonable issue with PolitiFact’s changing the words in a subtitle to their quote of what the person actually said in the title. Often it’s a slight re-interpretation of the statement, although PolitiFact is not basing its ruling on that re-interpreted subtitle. If it’s a long statement of statistics, PolitiFact often re-states it as to the what the statistics were about. But somehow Grading PolitiFact thinks this is some sort of immediate clue that it’s being purposefully misinterpreted. It seems similar chicanery was used here.
Romney engaged in recidivism with this misleading claim as well: he used it in a New Hampshire debate in January, prompting this analysis from FactCheck.Org: (emphasis added)
Romney claimed that repealing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act would save “$95 billion a year.” But that only accounts for spending in the law, not spending cuts and revenue-raising provisions that potentially could save even more.
The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that the coverage expansion elements of the law — providing subsidies to individuals to help them buy insurance, expanding Medicaid and offering tax credits to businesses to help them provide coverage — would cost about $1.4 trillion over the 2012-2021 period, and $1 trillion once CBO factors in related coverage savings, such as an excise tax on high-cost health plans offered by employers. That would be $100 billion per year, a bit higher than the figure Romney used. However, that narrow look at the law doesn’t factor in the revenue-raisers or cuts in the law that would save money. And CBO has said those provisions would more than offset the cost.
Also, my conservative counterpart relies heavily on the “doc-fix” as reason to not believe the offsets to the $95 billion will materialize. According to FactCheck.Org:
Those Medicare savings make up about 40 percent of total projected cuts. Still, even if zero dollars of those potential savings come through as planned, the law calls for new tax revenue and savings from other steps, such as changing Medicare Advantage. That makes Romney’s claim misleading and, at best, inflated.
Something needs to be said as well about Romney’s USAToday op-ed itself: it was pure unadulterated spin. If the “liberal” PolitiFact wanted to poke snark at Romney’s cost-cutting suggestions, it could have made its “liberal side” known then; instead it considered those suggestions with objective seriousness.
|Can't crack all those nuts with|
a "Straw Man" defense.
Almost all the items in Romney’s list would hardly make a microscopic dent in the federal budget; in my family budget analogy, it’s like me saying well, to reduce costs, to save money, I’m going to buy the cheaper toothpaste (which might save me $6 a year or 50 cents a month?)….now if the cheaper toothpaste results in a cavity when I get to see the dentist, that “savings” now becomes far greater expense than the savings of the cheaper toothpaste; in a sense, this is the long-term, insidious result of defunding Planned Parenthood and block-granting Medicaid, especially to those southern "red" states who have the higher rates of obesity, diabetes and heart disease. The Planned Parenthood “reduction” is specifically targeted to the pro-life crowd. The streamlining (“Consolidate, eliminate and streamline federal departments, agencies and offices”) is the same swill I’ve heard from politicians (Democrat and Republican) running for office for years and years.
Keeping social security and those defined-benefit programs so that those benefitting from it today (the older white male predominantly Republican boomers) will have their cake and eat it too while future generations are forced to pay their bill seem to be part of Romney’s design. Those programs (along with the huge defense budget which Republicans do not want to cut) will keep the overall federal budget burgeoning despite Romney’s efforts. So besides the fact that what he said was misleading, it’s not really going to change anything as far as reducing the massive federal budget or reducing deficits. But then he can always blame the Democrats.