By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Jacoby joins Brooks in getting CBO study wrong

Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby today repeats David Brooks’ error in using an outdated, incomplete Congressional Budget Office study to argue that President Obama’s stimulus package won’t inject money into the economy quickly enough to do any good.

Jacoby writes that “less than half of the $355 billion the bill allocates to infrastructure and other ‘discretionary’ projects would actually be spent by the end of 2010; of that, a mere $26 billion would be spent in the current fiscal year.”

Unlike Brooks, Jacoby does credit an accurate source — a Washington Post story from last Wednesday, which makes clear the CBO study’s limitations, if not its utter worthlessness. But Jacoby himself doesn’t make it clear, thus leaving the same wrong impression as Brooks.

In today’s New York Times, David Leonhardt lays out how and why too many in the media got it wrong. And he reports that, on Monday evening, the CBO put out an up-to-date report estimating “that about 64 percent of the money, or $526 billion, would be spent by next September.” Here (PDF) is the CBO study to which Leonhardt refers — readily available, as Leonhardt notes, since Monday evening.

I’m not sure when Jacoby’s deadline is, but surely he had time to peruse the new study.

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  1. Bruce

    Wow, the Boston Globe published erroneous material.I’m, like, shocked.Would it be worth my while to check your archives for a post criticizing the Globe for running erronous stories about the Sarah Palin “rape kit” smear, days after that myth was thoroughly debunked?

  2. Dan Kennedy

    Bruce: Live with it.

  3. Neil

    So Bruce, your logic is that Dan is a hypocrite for pointing out that Jeff Jacoby repeated Brooks’ mistake in using an outdated, incomplete CBO study, unless months ago he also criticized the Globe for running an erroneous story about Sarah Palin charging victims for their rape kits?Which story the Globe never actually published, according to a Nexis search of the Globe, in the link Dan provides. (Dan I presume you wrote that article, but the byline just says “by”.) Even so, I guess the point you are trying to make is that Dan points out errors on one side but not the other, so is a biased leftie. And though the example you gave isn’t, you know, exactly valid, there’s no need to get all technical about it and you stand by your implication anyway because, doggonit, that’s what you think!It looks like this exposes Jacoby as lazily riffing off other opinion (to borrow–somebody’s phrase), and not keeping up with this story even to the extent that many civilians do, rather than looking at the source. This is supposedly the first of two columns. Maybe he should use the second one as an opportunity to analyze the actual new CBO report and come to his own conclusions. Get me rewrite!

  4. Dan Kennedy

    Whoops. I didn’t realize Media Matters had left off the byline on its analysis showing that Sarah Palin did, indeed, charge for rape kits. It was written by Eric Boehlert

  5. acf

    Jacoby had plenty of time to know the veracity or reality of the CBO report, especially since it was widely exposed in advance of the submission deadline for his piece. The facts, however, interfered with the goal of his article which was to denigrate the Democrats plans, and as Bush’s intelligence to attack Iraq, the facts were carefully chosen to support the end.

  6. O'Rion

    The Times rid themselves of Kristol on Monday. Maybe they could do the same a week hence, with you-know-who at the Globe.

  7. Mark

    Even accepting the 64 percent figure, that is still too much additional spending that can’t qualify as stimulus.Most of the stimulus should be taken out and moved through the normal appropriations process.There is so much pork in this bill that is being passed off a solution to a national emergency.

  8. Amused

    Jacoby phones it in. Always has. Always will. He must be bursting with envy at the right-wing wackos who have turned their columns into regular and lucrative talking-head gigs. He probably hasn’t noticed that these right-wing wackos who are enjoying the world of instant cable news analysis at least bring an original thought to the table from time to time, no matter how silly these thoughts may be. Jacoby, on the other hand, exhibits laziness that only survives, ironically, because he’s the house right-winger and therefore has a certain amount of immunity from having his lazy slop criticized in-house for the lazy slop that it is.

  9. Neil

    Part 2 of this two-part article published today, as threatened. Jacoby makes no mention of the non-existent CBO study in Part 1.In spite of this shocking lapse, I don’t disagree with his conclusion that the government paying for people to “dig holes and fill them in” as one of his commenters suggested, will help. Jacoby says “You do not become more prosperous by writing yourself a check.” There’s the rub, and well put. I don’t recall him complaining much though about similar profligate spending during the Bush years though so it comes off as just another partisan hit. If it’s bad economic policy, then it’s bad no matter who does it.Elsewhere in Jacoby’s paper meanwhile, the Globe Magazine sails on its merry consumerist way, oblivious. Someone who buys so much stuff their closet collapses under the crush–a true role model for our times. A patriot, in fact.Come on Jacoby, get on that!

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