Honesty and TV Booking


House Democrats have the congress considering a bill that involves around $540 billion in new taxes, along with several hundred billion in offsetting spending cuts, in order to pay for a substantial expansion of health insurance coverage in the United States. $540 billion is a lot of money. But it’s a lot less money than $800 billion or $1 trillion. And yet Steve Benen observes that Rep Mike Pence (R-IN), a member of the GOP leadership, keeps going on TV to repeat the fake larger number:

Either way, Pence probably shouldn’t be chairman of the House Republican Caucus, and he certainly shouldn’t be invited onto national television regularly to repeat bogus claims to the public.

It seems like this should be a no-brainer. Politicians engage in a volume of misrepresentation that is, at first, quite shocking. Then you realize it’s not shocking. Politicians wouldn’t lie of lying was likely to generate newspaper headlines like “Pence Lies About Health Insurance” or got bookers to say things like “sorry, Senator, you can’t come on our network anymore since you were so dishonest or ill-informed in your two previous segments.” But nobody does business that way so why not lie? It’s easier to campaign against $1 trillion in new taxes than $540 billion in new taxes.