My job is to assess not the rightness of each argument but to deal in the real world of campaign politics in which perception often (if not always) trumps reality. I deal in the world as voters believe it is, not as I (or anyone else) thinks it should be. And, I'm far from the only one.
Doug Elmendorf, the director of the Congressional Budget Office, told House lawmakers today that, in reality, the Affordable Care Act will reduce unemployment (via Greg Sargent).
At the same hearing, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) had a striking exchange with Elmendorf in which the two agreed the health care law would not lead to layoffs.
So let me get this straight. Over the last 24 hours, we've learned several noteworthy facts about the Affordable Care Act from the non-partisan CBO: it will lower unemployment; it will reduce the deficit by more than $1 trillion; it will increase wages; it will bring coverage to tens of millions of Americans; and there's no evidence at all that the law will increase part-time employment over full-time employment.
And despite all of these relevant details, Republicans and a few too many reporters still believe the CBO's findings are bad news for Democrats and proponents of the health care law.
Chris Cillizza said yesterday of the initial coverage of the CBO report, "The worst headline for Democrats this year," despite the reality that those headlines were wrong. Today he added:
Matt Yglesias' response rings true: "Personally, it would make me very sad to have a job that was more about explaining who was perceived to be right about important arguments than a job that's about trying to explain who is in fact right."
Maybe it's old-fashioned thinking, but I still hope, desperately, that things like journalism, evidence, reason, and a desire to help news consumers separate fact from fiction still matter. I hope with equal vigor that, to borrow a phrase, I'm far from the only one.