Politifact fritters away its credibility

Politifact, a project of the St. Petersburg Times, has declared as the Lie of the Year, “A government takeover of healthcare.” This is a deeply silly choice, dubbing an imprecise overstatement “a lie.” The Wall Street Journal has a good response, which points out that the White House has hopped onto Politifact's horse.

Peter Suderman at Reason, meanwhile, has an excellent response to Politifact's silliness, including this description of how — objectively speaking — the health-care bill was very close to a government takeover:

Nor do they mention that the PPACA sets up a system in which health insurers are regulated so extensively that they are more or less transformed into quasi-public utilities. The new regulations include a rule that caps administrative costs and profits as a percentage of premium revenue—a rule that pushes the boundaries of the government’s regulatory authority so much that the Congressional Budget Office has said that if the rules were any stricter, it would turn the health insurance industry into “an essentially governmental program.”

Suderman has some good nominees for a lie of the year, but I have my own:

“We have excluded lobbyists from policymaking jobs.” Barack Obama, 2010 State of the Union.

Guess what? Obama by that point had already hired nearly 50 former lobbyists for policymaking jobs, including four in his Cabinet. I asked the White House to square the facts with Obama's claim. They gave me this Clintonian response: “we have turned away lobbyists for many, many positions.”

The emperor has no clothes, and our “watchdogs” are focussing their fire on Wisconsin congressional candidate Rebecca Kleefisch. It's embarrassing.

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