Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Half Truths, Fibs and Outright Lies

Half Truths, Fibs and Outright Lies

 In this season of continuous debates and TV ads a bit of truth is hard to find.  Facts have become pesky little things to be avoided at all costs. Here are a just a few of the most common untruths about Obama’s presidency and the facts behind them. 

(Note: I borrowed heavily (plagiarized) from Andrew Sullivan’s recent article which you can read here: )  
Obama is a big government socialist:   
Overall government employment has declined 2.6 percent over the past 3 years. (That compares with a drop of 2.2 percent during the early years of the Reagan administration.) To listen to current Republican rhetoric about Obama’s big-government socialist ways, you would imagine that the reverse was true. It isn’t.
The auto industry ‘bail out’ was a failure:
Since Chrysler and GM emerged from bankruptcy in June of 2009, the auto industry has added back more than 170,000 jobs, the best period of job growth in more than a decade, while at the same time saving hundreds of thousands of jobs. Meanwhile, in May 2011 Chrysler repaid $7.6 billion in loans, with interest, that it received from the American and Canadian governments. General Motors made it’s final payment of $5.8 billion to the U.S. and Canadian governments back in April of 2010, paying off in full, with interest, its $6.7 billion in loans. Did you miss that bit of news on Fox? Does hundreds of thousands of jobs saved and created, loans repaid in full and interest paid sound like a failure?
The stimulus failed because it didn’t bring unemployment down to 8% in its first year:  
The 8 percent prediction was made before Obama took office and was wrong solely because it relied on Bush administration statistics that claimed the economy was only shrinking by around 4 percent, not the 9 percent Obama found when taking office. Adjust for that statistical miscalculation and the stimulus did exactly what it was supposed to do. It put a bottom under the free fall.

Obama has made the recession worse:  
When Obama took office,  around 750,000 jobs a month were being lost, an annualized drop in growth approaching 9 percent. By continuing the bank bailout begun by George W. Bush, initiating a bailout of the auto industry, and passing the stimulus package he managed to halt the job collapse by the beginning of 2010. As a result of decisions made by the Obama administration, the U.S. has added 2.4 million jobs in the last three years, more than the net jobs created under the entire Bush administration. In 2011 alone, 1.9 million private-sector jobs were created.

Obama has raised taxes. 
Plain not true! He has aggressively lowered taxes on most Americans. A third of the stimulus was tax cuts, affecting 95 percent of taxpayers; he has cut the payroll tax, and recently had to fight to keep it cut against Republican opposition.  On the other hand Reagan, the patron saint of conservative politics, raised taxes 11 times and raised the debt ceiling 18 times
Obama is a big time spender:
Under Bush, new policies on taxes and spending cost the taxpayer a total of $5.07 trillion. Under Obama’s budgets both past and projected, he will have added $1.4 trillion in two terms, compared to Bush’s $5.07 trillion. Under Bush and the GOP, non-defense discretionary spending grew by twice as much as under Obama. This makes Obama look like a fiscal conservative.

Obama is an apologist for America and weak on defense:
Obama reversed Bush’s policy of ignoring Osama bin Laden, immediately setting a course that eventually led to his capture and death. When the moment for decision came, the president overruled both his secretary of state and vice president in ordering the riskiest—but most ambitious—plan on the table. He even personally ordered the extra helicopters that saved the mission. In addition he has significantly decimated Al Qaeda’s ranks with targeted drone strikes and other military operations. 
Any politician is fair game during an election, but to continuously provide the American public with such misleading and clearly false information undermines the very basis of our democracy.  Democracy depends on a well informed citizenry, but how can we make informed decisions when we are being fed on a feast of lies. The purpose of a free press was seen by our founders as an assurance that the public would have access to unbiased, well reported information. Yet in this age of partisan networks, corporate funding of campaigns, and chain e-mails truth is becoming harder to find while half truths, fibs and outright lies are becoming the political norm.
At least that is the view from my valley.

Note:  I've decided to add new lies as I read about them:

2/1/12:                 Lie: "Obama's "bailout" of the auto industry was a complete failure."
                            Fact: "Chrysler, propelled by higher sales of Jeeps and other revamped cars and trucks, reported its first annual net income since 1997, capping a pivotal turnaround year that many thought would never come....U.S. auto sales are expected to rise by about a million this year, to near 14 million...Obama cast the deciding vote to save Chrysler and authorized much of the $12.5 billion in government funding that bailed out the company. Of the original bailout to Chrysler and its financial arm, the government said it was repaid all but $1.3 billion....Chrysler's turnaround has helped the U.S. economy. Chrysler now employs 57,200 people, 9,400 more than it did when the company left bankruptcy protection in 2009. On Thursday, Marchionne is expected to announce more than 1,000 new hires at the company's assembly plant in Belvidere, Ill. Chrysler is expected to add a third shift at the plant..."
                        That sounds like a vital American industry saved, tens of thousands of jobs saved and new jobs created and the American people repaid their investment (not 'bail out') with interest.  That does not sound like a failure from where I sit here in my little valley.                    

2/1/12:         Lie:  "Obama's health care plan will raise costs for seniors by causing premiums for Medicare Advantage to rise and enrollment to drop"
                      Fact:  "Premiums for the Medicare program that allows recipients to choose private insurance have dropped an average of 7% while enrollment has grown by 10%....Premiums are down on average, enrollment is up, and thanks to the Affordable Care Act, we have unprecedented new tools to ensure that seniors and people with disabilities are getting the best value out of their coverage."

1/28/12:         Lie: more people have been put on food stamps by Barack Obama than any president in American history.”  Newt Gingrich
                Fact: "More were added under Bush than under Obama, according to the most recent figures....We asked the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition service for month-by-month figures going back to January 2001. And they show that under President George W. Bush the number of recipients rose by nearly 14.7 million. Nothing before comes close to that.

And under Obama, the increase so far has been 14.2 million. To be exact, the program has so far grown by 444,574 fewer recipients during Obama’s time in office than during Bush’s.

It’s possible that when the figures for January 2012 are available they will show that the gain under Obama has matched or exceeded the gain under Bush. But not if the short-term trend continues. The number getting food stamps declined by 43,528 in October. And the economy has improved since then.
Gingrich strains the facts when he accuses Obama of being responsible. The rise started long before Obama took office, and accelerated as the nation was plunging into the worst economic recession since the Great Depression.
The economic downturn began in December 2007. In the 12 months before Obama was sworn in, 4.4 million were added to the rolls, triple the 1.4 million added in 2007.

1/21/12:    Lie:  President Obama is the worst domestic energy President ever
               Fact:  "There are 1,069 rigs drilling for oil in the U.S. this week. The figure reflects a huge surge in U.S. oil drilling, up nearly 60% in the past year and the highest total since at least 1987....The U.S. pumped 3.9 million barrels a day from onshore fields in March, up 5.9% from a year earlier and the most in nearly a decade.”  Wall Street Journal, Aug 27, 2011
Under the Obama administration, there have been 4,244 permits given out for onshore drilling on federal land in 2011. 


  1. Hurray for all of us . . we won't have to miss you quite so much - maybe we can't sit at the table and enjoy a cup while we schmooze - BUT - we can her your voice in our heads as we read what's on your mind - at least the part you're sharing today . . .
    Thank You!

    1. great to see you here. I'm working on my next one "Ishmael, Isaac and Karl Rove" and really look forward to your input on it....I could even call it "Ishmael, Isaac, The Hatfields and McCoys and Karl Rove" , but that gets a bit out of hand. Just waiting for my editor (our boy) to approve it.

  2. Good to see you blogging, Jay. I always enjoy your stuff on Facebook. I'll be a regular reader.

    Terry Gosdin

    1. Thanks! My next, "Ishmael, Isaac and Karl Rove" should be up soon. Please let me know what you think and share if you think others would be interested.