Saturday, July 16, 2005

Selective quotation? WHAT selective quotation?

Canadian wingnut Damian Penny, touting the miracle cure of Commander Chimpy's tax cuts, quoting from the New York Times:

For the first time since President Bush took office, an unexpected leap in tax revenue is about to shrink the federal budget deficit this year, by nearly $100 billion.

On Wednesday, White House officials plan to announce that the deficit for the 2005 fiscal year, which ends in September, will be far smaller than the $427 billion they estimated in February.

Mr. Bush plans to hail the improvement at a cabinet meeting and to cite it as validation of his argument that tax cuts would stimulate the economy and ultimately help pay for themselves.

Based on revenue and spending data through June, the budget deficit for the first nine months of the fiscal year was $251 billion, $76 billion lower than the $327 billion gap recorded at the corresponding point a year earlier.

The Congressional Budget Office estimated last week that the deficit for the full fiscal year, which reached $412 billion in 2004, could be "significantly less than $350 billion, perhaps below $325 billion."

The big surprise has been in tax revenue, which is running nearly 15 percent higher than in 2004. Corporate tax revenue has soared about 40 percent, after languishing for four years, and individual tax revenue is up as well.

Most of the increase in individual tax receipts appears to have come from higher stock market gains and the business income of relatively wealthy taxpayers. The biggest jump was not from taxes withheld from salaries but from quarterly payments on investment gains and business earnings, which were up 20 percent this year.

And the continuation of that article, precisely where Penny stopped quoting (emphasis gleefully added):

That was similar, though much smaller than a sharp rise in tax revenue during the stock market boom of the late 1990's, which was followed by plunges in revenue when the market bubble burst.

But many independent analysts cautioned that the improvement, though notable, could prove ephemeral and that it did little to eliminate much bigger fiscal problems just over the horizon. "Lawmakers who allow themselves to be lulled into thinking that the economy is growing its way out of the deficit," wrote Edward McKelvey, an economist at Goldman Sachs in New York, "are unlikely to support the painful measures needed to reach a more lasting solution."

For one thing, analysts note, federal spending has continued to climb rapidly, about 7 percent this year. Despite cutbacks in many domestic programs, spending has surged for the war in Iraq as well as in certain benefit programs providing health coverage.

In addition, while a lot of the increase in tax revenue flows from the improving economy and higher incomes, part of the jump stemmed from a special factor: the expiration of a temporary tax break that allowed companies to write off their investment in new equipment much more rapidly than normal.

That tax break reduced revenue by about $61 billion in 2004, but it merely postponed taxes that companies would have to pay once their equipment was fully depreciated.

You see, boys and girls, why it's so important to follow the links and read the original. Otherwise, you'd think Mr. Penny was being honest and forthright, and we can't have that, can we?

AFTERSNARK: In what seems to be an attempt to appear fair and balanced, Penny follows his lengthy, carefully-snipped quote with an apparent caveat:

The tax cuts are not the only reason revenues are rising, as the Times report makes clear, but neither have they starved the government as Paul Krugman suggests.

Now, given that that last link is labelled simply with the name "Paul Krugman", you'd think it was a link to, you know, Paul Krugman, who'd probably have a different opinion on the efficacy of Admiral Bunnypants' tax cuts.

But, no. In fact, it's a link to the NRO's Donald Luskin, easily one of the stupidest human beings on the planet, who is criticizing Krugman. Fair and balanced? Yeah, I got your fair and balanced right here, buddy.

1 comment:

Ahistoricality said...

Nice catch. I think the heat that Krugman is getting is really interesting, considering the, ahem, flexible relationship of right-wing commenters with facts....