Tuesday, October 26, 2010

8 Nasty Lies That Must Be Debunked Before the Election

The public has been misled on a ton of issues like tax cuts, the deficit, the economy, and the cost of health care. October 25, 2010 |

By Dave Johnson, Campaign for America's Future

There are a number of things the public "knows" as we head into the election that are just false. If people elect leaders based on false information, the things those leaders do in office will not be what the public expects or needs.

Here are eight of the biggest myths that are out there:

1) President Obama tripled the deficit.

Reality: Bush's last budget had a $1.416 trillion deficit. Obama's first budget reduced that to $1.29 trillion.

2) President Obama raised taxes, which hurt the economy.

Reality: Obama cut taxes. 40% of the "stimulus" was wasted on tax cuts which only create debt, which is why it was so much less effective than it could have been.

3) President Obama bailed out the banks.

Reality: While many people conflate the "stimulus" with the bank bailouts, the bank bailouts were requested by President Bush and his Treasury Secretary, former Goldman Sachs CEO Henry Paulson. (Paulson also wanted the bailouts to be "non-reviewable by any court or any agency.") The bailouts passed and began before the 2008 election of President Obama.

4) The stimulus didn't work.

Reality: The stimulus worked, but was not enough. In fact, according to the Congressional Budget Office, the stimulus raised employment by between 1.4 million and 3.3 million jobs.

5) Businesses will hire if they get tax cuts.

Reality: A business hires the right number of employees to meet demand. Having extra cash does not cause a business to hire, but a business that has a demand for what it does will find the money to hire. Businesses want customers, not tax cuts.

6) Health care reform costs $1 trillion.

Reality: The health care reform reduces government deficits by $138 billion.

7) Social Security is a Ponzi scheme, is "going broke," people live longer, fewer workers per retiree, etc.

Reality: Social Security has run a surplus since it began, has a trust fund in the trillions, is completely sound for at least 25 more years and cannot legally borrow so cannot contribute to the deficit (compare that to the military budget!) Life expectancy is only longer because fewer babies die; people who reach 65 live about the same number of years as they used to.

8) Government spending takes money out of the economy.

Reality: Government is We, the People and the money it spends is on We, the People. Many people do not know that it is government that builds the roads, airports, ports, courts, schools and other things that are the soil in which business thrives. Many people think that all government spending is on "welfare" and "foreign aid" when that is only a small part of the government's budget.

This stuff really matters.

If the public votes in a new Congress because a majority of voters think this one tripled the deficit, and as a result the new people follow the policies that actually tripled the deficit, the country could go broke.

If the public votes in a new Congress that rejects the idea of helping to create demand in the economy because they think it didn't work, then the new Congress could do things that cause a depression.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Demonizing Government Is Not Smart!

Dwight Eisenhower famously cautioned us to... "beware the military industrial complex." What he was warning us about was an atmosphere in which the private sector co-opts the public sector for the benefit of their bottom line. That has pretty much happened in the U.S. because the electorate has bought the line t...hat the private sector is good and the public sector is bad; that government is bad.

Ronald Reagan was good at delivering snappy lines including, "Government isn't the answer. Government is the problem." Then he proceeded to lead us into a substantial recession and left us with more debt than our government had accumulated in its history. That's bad governance. Government isn't bad. Bad governing is.

That's why Bill Clinton's "middle-way" succeeded in leaving us with a balanced budget and a surplus for the first time in decades. He recognized that the private sector has a place in our society but there are things that government can do if they're well managed. I disagreed with him on many issues but he certainly worked with a Republican Congress to put us on the road to recovery.

Then George W Bush spent every dollar of that surplus and trillions more by granting tax breaks while launching two wars that we could ill afford. He insisted that government is bad; that the private sector could solve our problems if we just reduced taxes and got out of their way. I didn't agree with Bush on much of anything, although I supported his approach to immigration reform but he just didn't seem to understand that government isn't bad; bad governing is.

Right now our government is struggling to dig us out of a recession bordering on depression at a time when people seem to buy the concept that Ronald Regan and George W Bush put forth; that government is the problem.

There's a roll for the private sector and one for the public sector and we must be vigilant to negotiate a proper balance between the two.

We all want strong national security, public education, safe prescription drugs, clean air & water, well built bridges & highways, scenic national parks, comfortable retirement and health care for our elders and we don't seem to want to pay for them.

Remember: government isn't bad; bad governing is.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Valerie Jarrett Insults Lt. Dan Choi & the President is Wrong

Watch this video from Think Progress (link above) before reading on.

This is just insulting. Valerie Jarrett cannot possibly "share" Dan Choi's frustration unless she has experienced the discrimination he has. A person of color should know that.

If our president believes DADT is unconstitutional he should let the federal court ruling stand. Unconstitutional laws should not have to be repealed. They should be ruled so by a court and set aside. That is why we have a judiciary. A federal court has ruled and this president has refused to accept that court ruling. What is it he does not understand? I wonder what sort of constitutional law he taught at the University of Chicago.

And I do not understand why he does not issue a stop loss order; that he does not just stop enforcing it. This is just unconscionable.

Our president is talking out of both sides of his mouth. He either believes it is unconstitutional and stops enforcing it. Or he doesn't and he admits it. He can't have it both ways. This is a civil rights (and security) issue; not a political football to be tossed around at will.

Mr. President, put on your big boy pants and stop enforcing this unconstitutional law.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Does out President have any balls?

I do wonder whether our president has any balls. If he has he certainly doesn't seem to want to use them.

He came into office with a good bit of political capital and didn't use it. He dilly dallied around with healthcare: "negotiated" from the middle instead of from the left - which, of course, resulted in a pale, weak, watered down product that in the end didn't draw any votes from the Republican party.

Why didn't he lay out what he wanted? Why did he leave it to Congress to write the legislation; a Congress that is all over the board - from left to right - and could not possibly have come up with rational legislation. And he used up 14 months doing it. Fourteen months that we couldn't afford to give.

This president has so much potential & doesn't seem to realize it. The Republicans aren't going to meet him half-way. He needs to step up to the plate and take charge.

The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico signaled to me that he just doesn't connect on an intuitive level. He's an intellectual first, last, and always, at a time when we
need a president who is smart and intuitive.

We criticized G W Bush for failing to show up in New Orleans for several days after Katrina hit the Gulf Coast. While Pres. Obama got there a bit quicker he certainly didn't impart a sense of urgency when he arrived. He strolled along the beach, looked down, and kicked the sand, and when he spoke he didn't express any compassion.

It's a good thing he brought intellectual capital to the White House but without some compassion, without a sense of urgency, without the balls to stand up for something, his presidency may be wasted.