What Ain’t Actually True

Republicans have bombarded the public with such an ongoing barrage of crap that liberals are finding themselves devoting full time to shoveling, and have little opportunity to present solutions that actually work. The sheer volume of conservative misrepresentation and outright falsehoods is a bit like a mud avalanche.

Here are a few from Dave Johnson, “Eight False Things The Public ‘Knows’ Prior To Election Day”, Truthout, 22 October 2010. I have called your attention to him before.

The lie, followed by the reality:

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.

Notice that Johnson’s article is nearly a year old, but that belief in these and other conservative nonsense is nearly as strong now as it was then, at least among conservatives.

I issued a challenge in this blog some time ago that no one took me up on. What I did was list half a dozen items, and said that if anyone could prove that any one of them was true, I would give serious attention to becoming a conservative. Not one of those items has been refuted, either directly, or in any serious article that I have seen. Today I issue the same challenge, using this time the eight articles of Dave Johnson’s article.



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