Whopper of the Week: Paul O’Neill

“It’s a nonsense set of statistics”
Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill, commenting on the Citizens for Tax Justice study showing that 43 percent of the proposed Bush tax cut (since revised upward to 45 percent) would go to the richest 1 percent, as quoted by Charles Babington in the March 1 Washington Post

“In truth, the number is neither difficult to obtain nor highly disputed. The richest 1 percent of Americans would get between 31.3 percent and 45 percent of Bush’s tax cut. Without the estate tax cut–which is about a quarter of Bush’s tax package–the haul for the richest 1 percent would be 31.3 percent, according to Citizens for Tax Justice. Even a conservative economist such as the Heritage Foundation’s William Beachagrees with that. ‘It’s not a controversial number,’ he said.”
Dana Milbank, “Tax Cut Statistics Disputed,” in theMarch 2 Washington Post


Bonus Whopper: Fun with self-contradiction. Which passage by Washington Post movie critic Stephen Hunter is true, and which is the whopper? You decide:

“Perhaps you don’t remember it, or perhaps it was over years before you were born, but ‘50s America was a peculiar place. It was not evil, as so many suggest, but neither was it particularly innocent, as so many others suggest. It was, rather, complacent and blind and bland. It was a giant suburb, mallifying, highway-building, power-lawn-mower trimmed, split-leveled, television-drugged, munching placidly on its collective cud, enjoying its triumph in the ever-receding war and the bountiful rewards of consumer goods and cars with tail fins.”
Hunter’s Feb. 21 obit for director Stanley Kramer


“Harris gives us the moment in which Pollock ceased to be one of the pack, and the pack instead became lots of hims. That is, when he discovered the potential of paint flung, spattered, tossed at, dripped upon the canvas. Something in that gesture caught the American ‘50s ever so brilliantly: the sense of things speeding up, accelerating up to and beyond the limits of control, where everything was new again.”
–Hunter’s Feb. 23 review of Pollock

Whopper Archive:

Feb. 23, 2001: Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton

Feb. 16, 2001: Oscar spokesman John Pavlik

Feb. 9, 2001: Lynne Cheney

Feb. 2, 2001: Bobby Thomson

Jan. 26, 2001: Denise Rich (Rules for submitting whoppers explained here.)