What’s more surprising: that the President is being disingenuous, or that I’m so surprised at the level of disingenuousness?

Barack Obama, speaking in Richmond last month:

“Now, I’m not a math teacher. But I know a little bit about math. They’re proposing about $4 trillion worth of tax cuts. About $700 billion of those tax cuts are for people who typically are millionaires and billionaires, and on average would get $100,000 in tax relief–$700 billion that we don’t have, we’d have to borrow in order to provide these tax cuts. And 98 percent of Americans wouldn’t see any benefit from it. And keep in mind that because we don’t have it, it would actually end up costing more than $700 billion, because we’d end up having–since we’re borrowing it, we’d have to pay interest on it. . . So when you add it all up, essentially their proposal would drastically expand the deficit instead of shrinking it.”

That’s via the outstandingly named Veronique de Rugy.

Reaction: what. A crock. Of…oh, never mind. Can’t say that word, in case my grandmother reads this.

There are two columns in my checkbook: deposits and withdrawals. The taxes are deposits. The spending is withdrawals. If I “don’t have” the money, it means I want to spend more than I’m going to have.

Spending matters, too. What about the spending, Mr. President? You may believe that spending more is better policy, but you still can’t ignore that a deficit still means spending more than you have.

I do appreciate the President pointing out that the $700 billion is a pittance compared to the overall Bush tax cut effect of $4 trillion. That’s a factoid that hasn’t gotten enough play.

One more thing: de Rugy compares that $700 billion, which is the effect of that portion of current tax policy over the next 10 years, to a few other measures:

Well, now.

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