A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Ride into the Danger Zone

The Air Force’s much-criticized F-22 has been a favorite subject of much of the blogosphere, particularly since Mark Bowden’s feature article praising the fighter appeared in the March issue of The Atlantic . Tuesday night the discussion went mainstream, with Obama’s oblique reference to “Cold War weapons we don’t use.” As we said in our article over on the main site, Obama is right to describe the F-22 this way. Development on the fighter began in 1981,

When Economists Agree

We’ve been telling you for the last couple of weeks how economists are divided over the virtues of the stimulus bill. But, as former chair of the Council of Economic Advisers and current Harvard Professor Greg Mankiw reminds us, we shouldn’t get too carried away with our skepticism of economists. While they might have differing views of macroeconomics, there are still a lot of areas where they agree. Mankiw provides us with a list of principles that most economists accept,

On Logical Fallacies

We’re always pleased when our readers write to us with questions or comments that really make us think. Here, for example, is reader K.S., who writes:
Perhaps it was intended facetiously, if so I apologize for this “correction.” However, in your piece on ACORN you concluded with the following statement, “We’re accustomed to seeing logical fallacies in political arguments. But working two of them into a single argument is unusually bad logic.”
All fallacies are errors in logic,

When Economists Disagree, Part II

In a post last week, we explained some of the difficulties involved in trying to determine whether or not the stimulus package will work. As we said at the time:
Well, for one thing, economists have very little data with which to work. There are plenty of theoretical models out there, but those models are largely untested. … [O]ur long period of relative prosperity means that economists haven’t been able to plug a lot of real-world situations into their models to see how well those models hold up.

The Stimulus Bill and ACORN

Q: Does the stimulus bill include a $5.2 billion payoff for ACORN?
A: The bill does include funds for which ACORN would be eligible to compete – against hundreds of other groups. But most is for a housing rehabilitation program ACORN says it never applied for in the past and won’t in the future.

Military Oath

Q: Is President Obama planning to have the military swear an oath to him rather than to the Constitution?
A: No, the "news report" that makes this claim is intended as satire.

Will the Stimulus Work?

A lot of readers have asked us to sort through the various arguments about whether or not the stimulus bill (which, at the moment, is actually two different bills, one in the House and one in the Senate) will actually work. But we just don’t know the answer to this one. For that matter, even the experts don’t know. On one side, Nobel laureates Paul Krugman and Joseph Stiglitz argue that the only problem with the stimulus bill is that it needs more spending and fewer tax cuts.

The $79 Billion Iraqi Surplus, Re-reconsidered

During the 2008 campaign, we repeatedly called out then-candidate Barack Obama for complaining that the U.S. was spending billions in Iraq while the Iraqi government sat on a projected $79 billion surplus. We said that Obama’s projection didn’t account for updates to the Iraqi budget. But things were slightly more complicated than we originally thought: On paper, Iraq’s budget showed a surplus of up to $57 billion, but the U.S. Government Accountability Office pointed out that the Iraqi government had shown little ability to spend all that it had budgeted.

Comparing Inauguration Costs

Q: Did Barack Obama’s inauguration really cost 4 times as much as George Bush’s 2005 inauguration?
A: Claims of a huge disparity are untrue. Actually, an apples-to-apples comparison shows that the two inaugurations likely cost about the same.

We Wondered Where They Went…

Someone whose work we criticized a fair bit in 2004 and 2006 explains why, perhaps, so little was heard from MoveOn.org and other groups in 2008 in this piece fromNational Public Radio. Money was scarce, but other factors — such as the presence of factcheckers — may have had an impact.