And Here's What Republicans Are Telling Constituents About Debt

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
April 25 2011 9:20 AM

And Here's What Republicans Are Telling Constituents About Debt

I've been following the news about the town halls put on by Republican members of Congress, and finding the occasional story of real talk or ersatz anger tripping someone up. I also noticed this, about an event hosted by Rep. Randy Hultgren, R-Ill.

[M]ost of the discussion was dominated by the budget and a GOP presentation called "The Facts About Our Debt."

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And here's the presentation.

A lot to chew on there, but the conclusions are really interesting. The House GOP's priorities, as they see them, include "no changes for seniors" and "fulfill the mission of health and retirement security for all Americans." That was the line before the Ryan budget was introduced (these talking points were rolled out in March), but it jibes nicely -- "if you're over 55, nothing changes" is a good way of selling the next part of the plan, the long-term privatization.

Go on to the rest of the conclusions. They correct misinformation, which is not something talking points actually do. They point out that earmarks and foreign aid make up only 2.4 percent of spending, which is a fraction of what people think. A constituent who sees this doesn't think he can scrap NPR and stop the debt crisis. Progress!

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter.