The Republican candidates are out on the Old Washington Trail. It leads from Iowa to New Hampshire to the Carolinas, with stops in Nevada and other similarly insignificant places along the way.
The costumes are atrocious, the tricks are many and the treats are, well, few and far between. But the missatements of fact…well…they are better than on any April Fool’s Day in recent memory. The exaggerations are monumental and the lies are deliberate and enormous.
Take Michele Bachmann’s comment that “President Obama has the lowest job approval ratings of any President in modern times.” Well, perhaps if you are a Republican, a big lie is a good lie. The fact is that President Obama’s lowest ratings are higher than almost all prior Presidents’ lowest ratings and higher even than some of their medium ratings.
On Memorial Weekend, Michele Bachmann said that President Obama had caused grocery prices to go up by 29% since taking office. The fact is that grocery prices have not gone up 29%, although they have gone up by 3.6%, which, according to the BLS, was caused not by the President but by a variety of weather conditions affecting crops.
“Forty per cent of American Tax payers pay no taxes at all,” says Bachmann. Wrong. That lower income 40% that Bachmann seems to hate, pays payroll taxes, sales taxes, property taxes and very often state taxes. The reason that the lowest income earners pay no federal income taxes is two fold. First their incomes have actually gone down, so the lowest two quartiles in the country actually have less income than ever. And second, the Bush Tax Cuts lowered the rates on everyone, so to make taxes as low as they became for the top categories, the commensurate tax rates for lower categories had to be cut to practically nothing–or nothing at all.
She said that under President Obama only one oil drilling permit had been issued. The facts are slightly different. First, prior to the Gulf oil spill, hundreds of drilling permits of all kinds had been issued. Second, after the oil spill in the Gulf 35 shallow water permits have been issued and 6 deep water drilling permits have been green-lighted. So, once again, more lies from Michele Bachmann.
And then there is Mit Romney who said, that President Obama went “around the world apologizing for America.” Not only is this false, but President Obama’s efforts to reach out to the Muslim world have resulted not only in more trust in the U.S. according to surveys, but may have been responsible for some aspects of the Arab Spring in Egypt, Libya, Iran, Yemen and Syria.
Mit Romney says that President Obama has never worked in the “private sector” and Michele Bachmann says that she has never had a government job. President Obama was an attorney working for a private lawfirm, and he was a published author before becoming a State Senator, U.S. Senator and President. Michele Bachmann simply makes no sense whatsoever. She worked for a federal agency, the IRS, as a tax lawyer and works today as an elected member of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Lies, lies, lies lies…..
Governor Perry of Texas—running for President—says, and these are whoppers—that the American Recovery act—the Stimulus—created no jobs, zero jobs. (It created a documented 2,000,000 jobs)
Governor Perry, in an attempt to deflect his part in not closing down the borders to the satisfaction of his fellow Presidential challengers claims that President Obama has done nothing, zero to increase activity on the border. The facts are exactly the opposite. The border patrol has doubled in the last five years, including over 20,000 border patrol agents since 2010 alone, 17,000 of whom went into…you guessed it…Texas.
In arguing against health care reform for his health insurance lobbyist friends, Governor Perry has said that the number of uninsured in Massachusetts is about the same as it was when Romneycare was introduced. That is wrong. Over 300,000 people have been insured and it is 3-to-1 popular in that state.
Governor Perry also said that the President influenced the Ex-Im Bank to loan $2 billion to Brazil for offshore oil drilling. That isn’t true. The Ex-Im Bank Board of Governors, first of all, in early 2009 consisted of all-Bush appointed Republicans. Second, Politifact not only called this a lie by Perry but a “Pants-on-Fire” or indisputable lie—that there was no evidence of involvement by the President but much evidence to the contrary.
How about Herman Cain’s tax plan, the infamous 9-9-9 plan? He says that everyone would get a tax cut. Is that true? No. It is not. The poor and people up to $200,000 per year would get a tax increase. Those over $200,000 would get a tax cut, starting at $19,000, and culminating in a $455,000 tax cut for those making over a million.
How about good old Newt. Newt Gingrich is one of the political world’s best all-time liars. He is able to stretch a point until it breaks. He can find the most obscure point and make it the principal point in a discussion, even though it changes the facts to make the statement itself totally false.
For example, Newt says that the United States Defense Budget is less today “as a percentage of GDP than at any time since Pearl Harbor.” Not only is that not true, according to defense budget experts, but it is also misleading.
No one, according to these economists, would peg 4.8% or any amount to the GDP. The GDP does and should go up every year. But defense costs do not automatically go up because circumstances change over time. For example, even when adjusted for current dollars, our budget is $300 billion more than it was during an average of the peak years of the Cold War era.
Moreover, at the beginning of World War II we had one of the lower military budgets in the world and we had to build it up to take on the chief responsibility among our allies for armaments. Today, our $700 billion (and more unreported) budget is already not only the largest, but larger than the military budgets of all other countries combined.
So Newt not only dissembled on the truth and the facts….he simply told a big, fat lie.
Then of course there are the broad, sweeping allegations by the Republican Party as issued by a number of anonymous sources but spread far and wide via the Internet. One of the most popular is the Email sent out to all Republicans and then spread by them into the general populace that the Obama Administration would raise Medicare Premiums to $104 in 2012, and $247 by 2014.
Well, first of all, these numbers are calculated every year, so there are no numbers at this point for 2014. So that is clearly and unquestioinably a lie. Second, the current 2011 Medicare part B premium is already $115.40, not $99. But that $115.40, it was announced not long ago, will actually go down in 2012 to $99.90 because of some factors having to do with a larger pool of eligible retirees.