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A New Coalition, &c. — The Fallout and My Right-Wing Talk Radio Debut

2010 September 29
by J.A. Myerson

Warner Todd Huston with Bush Press Secretary and Fox News host, the now deceased Tony Snow

“Libertarian Politics Live,” a right-wing internet-based radio show, having found my latest article for The Busy Signal, invited me to talk about it with Breitbart-protege Warner Todd Huston, who also did a feature on the upcoming One Nation Working Together rally in Washington. Here is the audio of that radio show (the relevant segment starting roughly a half-hour into the program), along with a fact-check (after the jump) on my own claims, an embarrassing number of which I got wrong.

Fact checking by me, based on questions by my personal ombudsman: me.

How many members does the AFL-CIO have?

There are more than 11 million AFL-CIO members in 56 constituent unions. I got my numbers completely jumbled, which does not do violence to my point, which could as easily have been made if my memory weren’t lousy.

Do state constitutions include the federal bill of rights?

They don’t. They do, however, include bills of rights of their own, which mostly are very similar, if not identical to the federal one. For instance, here is New York’s. Note “Freedom of worship; religious liberty.” For comparison, try Tennessee’s (a state as politically different from New York as there is), which also has a Bill of Rights very similar to the federal one, including regarding religious freedom. Additionally, it is a legal truism of long standing that the federal constitution’s bill of rights applies in the states, via the 14th Amendment, which my opponent(s) in this debate lamented, apparently nostalgic for the “rights of the individual” as recognized before the civil war forced everyone to acknowledge that black people are individuals.

What were the tax rates under Reagan and what are they now?

Okay, so this one was just a mis-understanding on my part, for which I apologize. We were talking about totally different taxes. Nevertheless, my point stands that a return to the Reagan tax rates would considerably increase taxes and would be the bane of the conservative politician’s existence. Evidence.

Are Bush’s tax cuts the biggest in history?

I was wrong; they are not. They were the biggest in history when enacted. Now, of course, the biggest in history are Obama’s. Good grief. See this.

What percentage of the budget is military spending?

Oh boy. This was the point I was probably most arrogant and dismissive on, and it is actually substantially more up for debate than my depiction of it suggested. The government pie chart shows that the military receives a PLURALITY (different from a majority) of the budget. However, that is deceptive, as I’ll show in a moment, and it really is a majority. The gentleman opposing me said that “entitlements” were bigger. That is also deceptive, because it groups social security and medicare, each of which are individually smaller than the military budget, but when combined, overtake it – again – according to the government, which, I hasten to repeat, is deceptive about this. Here is a study in closer to real terms that shows the military commanding what I think I rightly called a majority of the federal budget. In this model, human resources (entitlements) are 30% of the budget, not the 25% I wrongly claimed. Anyhow, on a point with as much grey area as this, I should have been more humble. Mea culpa.

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