Romney economic adviser Avik Roy was on Up with Chris Hayes today. He pooh-pooh the carried interest loophole, saying, “Carried interests—I can’t remember the exact numbers—but what I think it raises for the government is something like $15 billion dollars or 4 billion—some tiny number that really doesn’t do much…”
I see this all the time from conservatives. If it is something they want to cut, a million bucks wasted can take up a whole day on Fox News. The government lost $500 million on Solyndra, and Fox News and the rest of the right wing echo chamber has been talking about it for a year. But $15 billion or $4 billion (or $2 billion, according to the Wall Street Journal) is nothing.
Let’s think about this. Romney can’t be bothered to state a position on the carried interest loophole. It’s just too small. But he can be bothered to state that he wants to stop funding PBS. And how much will that save? The total federal spending on PBS was less than $450 million last year, or less than one-quarter the size of the “tiny” carried interest loophole (using the smaller WSJ number).
Everyone understands that this is what we get from Romney. He is the prototypical politician: slippery with them facts. But Avik Roy is supposedly a serious guy. He is supposed to make the best case for Romney, but not distort the facts. Yet this is exactly what I expect from people like Roy. Let me say it again: the center of gravity of politics in the United States has moved so far right that no reasonable person can continue to be Republican. So Chris Hayes can pretend that Roy is an honest and serious guy, but he isn’t. He is just another conservative freak who happens to be good at lying with numbers.