Lies upon lies

Doubling down on President Obama’s earlier lies about the effects of the sequester on Capitol janitors, the White House is now offering this:

On the issue of the janitors, if you work for an hourly wage and you earn overtime, and you depend on that overtime to make ends meet, it is simply a fact that a reduction in overtime is a reduction in your pay.

Glenn Kessler looked at this one too:

Still, the White House has kept up its spin offensive, claiming that a cut in “overtime” was a de facto pay cut and thus the president was right — or at least not wrong.

So, we wondered: How much overtime do Capitol Hill janitors actually make? . . .

It averaged $304 per employee in fiscal year 2012 and $388 per employee thus far in the current fiscal year. “Cleaning technicians do not earn what I would consider to be a great deal of overtime pay,” Swanson said.

In other words, overtime amounts to only pittance of the overall pay — about $6.50 a week on top of wages of $1,000 a week. That’s much different from Carney’s claim of having to “depend on that overtime to make ends meet.” Indeed, even before the sequester was implemented, Capitol Hill janitors have already earned more overtime pay than they did in all of last year.

A White House spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.

I’ll bet.

Finally, Kessler had an insight on how the White House messaging machine works:

First of all, we should note that the White House’s story kept evolving as we reported last week’s column. It’s almost as if the president’s aides had to scramble to come up with reasons why the president could be correct, without actually knowing the facts.

So, when we forwarded to White House aides an AOC memo saying no furloughs were planned, White House aides latched onto a line about overtime reductions. For a couple of hours, we were also told that the janitors were on contract — and contracts were being curtailed. But that line of reasoning turned out to be incorrect. Then, after the statements from the Capitol were issued, there was no longer any response.

But, as seen by the quotes above, the talking point about “overtime” did not fade away.

Kessler is too charitable. When this bunch repeatedly says things “without actually knowing the facts”, it’s reasonable to assume that they don’t actually care what the facts are. Still, I’m glad he’s starting to figure this out. Maybe he will be less willing to cover for them in the future.

(Previous post.)

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