by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Chris Cillizza, the Clown Prince of Fake News noted for his blue-framed glasses and his inability to deal with criticism, has rolled out another conventional wisdom claim that deserves debunking but should not require it given its utter departure from the facts. Headline: “Why Chris Christie is right. And Ted Cruz is wrong.” The subject, as you may imagine, is the debate raging between a vindictive soon to be jobless Chris Christie, having played the part of Salacious B. Crumb in 2016 to no avail, and Cruz, who is having to justify to the press why he voted against the Sandy relief bill when Texas will clearly be in need of something even more sizable to rebuild after Harvey.
The truth, despite Cillizza’s claim, is that the Sandy bill contained everything but funding for a traffic study in Fort Lee. Here’s an easy way to tell whether a bill primarily contains emergency spending: the spending is right now. It’s an emergency. Here’s a way to tell when it isn’t: when the spending is directed at things that have nothing to do with said emergency, and are instead funding things years into the future. The Sandy relief measure was an example of the latter.
Here’s the CBO score. Note when the bulk of money was actually expected to be spent. According to CBO’s outlay tables, 24 billion dollars of the allocated funds weren’t expected to be spent until 2016 or after. The hurricane, for reference, was in 2012. And according to CBO, nearly 4 billion of the spending in that bill didn’t even pretend to be for emergencies: 3.459 billion was actually designated as non-emergency spending.