Thursday, May 24, 2012

Lies, Lies And More Lies

The Republican Party and the Romney Campaign have embraced a strategy of misinformation, false narrative, obfuscation and bold face lies in their effort to defeat the President.  Millions of busy Americans who have more important things to do than wade through the daily minutia ladled out by the media will go to the polls believing these falsehoods to be statements of fact.  So as a public service to those who seek the truth about the President’s record we offer the following “fact checked” summary. 
According to the Republican Party and Mitt Romney…
“The President has dramatically increased government spending…putting our nation in financial peril.”  That is a lie.  Government spending under Obama is at the same level that it was under George W. Bush.  In fact government spending under Obama has increased at the slowest rate since 2002.  In spite of the stimulus, bank bailout, auto bailout, and two ongoing wars, government spending per capita has actually dropped under Obama.
“The President has failed to create jobs.”  That is a lie.  When Obama took office the country was losing private sector jobs at a rate of 700,000 per month.  Not only has Obama stopped the hemorrhaging but the country has realized 26 consecutive months of job growth.  4.2 million private sector jobs have been created under the Obama Administration.  Nationwide unemployment was over 10% when Obama was sworn in.  It now stands at 8.1%.  The unemployment numbers in key swing states are even better: Ohio/7.4%, Virginia/5.6%, Iowa/5.1%, Colorado/7.9% and Nevada/6.9%.  The nationwide unemployment numbers would be even lower if not for the austerity programs initiated by Republican state legislatures who laid off 700,000 local government workers.  
“The President has increased taxes.”  That is a lie.  The tax rates under the Obama administration are exactly the same as they were under George W. Bush….the lowest in our history.  The only tax changes written into law under the Obama Administration have been tax decreases: the Make Work Tax Credit and the Payroll Tax cut.  Obama has actually cut taxes, not increased them.
“The President has authorized a massive increase in regulations that are strangling corporations and small businesses and hampering their ability to succeed.”  That’s a lie.  The Obama Administration has gone through a complete review of the current business regulations and eliminated those that were redundant, unnecessary and hurtful to the economy while maintaining those that guaranteed public safety and a fair commerce.  The result is that there are now less regulatory hurdles for businesses to navigate than there were under the “business friendly” Bush Administration.  And as for hampering corporate America’s ability to succeed...that’s another lie.  Corporations and small businesses are recording record profits, exceeding the soaring profits they were making prior to the 2008 recession.
“The stimulus failed.”  That is a lie.  Virtually every economist says that the stimulus authorized by Obama kept the country from falling into a depression.  They say that the problem with the stimulus was that is wasn’t big enough to offset the damage brought about by Wall Street greed.
“The auto bailout was a bad idea.”  That is a lie.  The auto industry was on the verge of liquidation.  They needed a bridge loan to maintain operations until they could arrange for a managed bankruptcy.  But no one was willing to lend them the money…not even Romney’s Bain Capital.  The Bush and Obama administrations stepped in and made the loans which saved the industry from liquidating. Had the industry been allowed to liquidate, as Romney suggested, an estimated 1.5 million jobs would have been lost. Today the auto industry is flourishing.  Demand is so high that they are putting on a third shift.  Romney has stated that the President followed his recommendation and therefore he (Romney) will “take a lot of credit for the auto industry’s revival.”  According to Steve Rattner the “car czar” who managed the auto bailout for the Bush Administration; that’s another Romney lie.
“The bank bailout was a bad idea.”  That is a lie.  Republicans would like to saddle Obama with the bank bailout but in fact it was started by George W. Bush.  Once again every economist will tell you that due to the size and scope of the banks in danger of default; allowing them to go under would have plunged the country into a deep depression.
“The President apologizes to our enemies.  He is weak.  His foreign policy is one of appeasement.”  That is a lie.  Osama bin Laden, public enemy #1, is dead by all accounts thanks to Obama’s courageous decision to authorize the mission.  Presidents Clinton and Bush had earlier opportunities to take bin Laden down but passed.  In addition to bin laden, 22 of the 30 most wanted al Qaeda leaders have been eliminated under Obama’s watch.  Al Qaeda is in disarray thanks to the unending drone attacks authorized by Obama.  And the President continues to hunt those that attacked us on 911 by taking the fight to Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. Obama has ended the war in Iraq and increased the troop levels in Afghanistan. He has recently struck a deal with the Afghan government that will maintain an American presence in the region for another decade. In spite of pressure from Republican leaders to send in troops, the Obama administration, in particular Sec. of State Clinton and Sec. of Defense Gates put together a coalition that removed Libya’s Gadhaffi from power without placing one single American boot on the ground.  In an effort to halt Iran’s nuclear production he has authorized sanctions that are that are strangling the Iranian economy.  When Iran threatened to cut off the flow of oil through the Strait of Hormuz Obama sent in a carrier fleet to send a stern message that such a blockade would not be tolerated.  During a recent NATO meeting the President refused to meet privately with our alleged “ally”, Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari.  The intentional snub was due to Zardari’s ordering the closing of a supply line critical to US troops.  You may disagree with the President’s foreign policy but to call it “weak” and “a policy of appeasement” is just a lie.
“This President is the most divisive President in our history.  He seeks to pit one American against another.”  That is a lie.  We can understand how the President’s call for a tax increase on millionaires would be deemed divisive by his opponents. But that pales in comparison to the manner in which Republicans have conducted themselves.  They have openly questioned the President’s citizenship and his Christianity.  They have said he is not an American and does not believe in American exceptionalism.  They have called him “different”, a Muslim, a fascist, a communist, a socialist and a nigger.  They publically called him a liar…shouting “you lie” as he was delivering his State of the Union address to the nation.  The day after his inauguration the Republican Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell, said his number one goal was not to create jobs or fix the economy…but to make Obama a one term President.  Minority Whip Eric Cantor abruptly walked out of a meeting with the President and Speaker of the House Boehner refused to take his phone calls.  In the Senate they have used the filibuster more times than ever in recorded history to block his agenda.  And in the House the Tea Party members have said “no” to anything that might give him a win.  Meanwhile the President, in a failed effort to reach consensus, has backed off on a number of his policies including: closing Gitmo, repealing the Bush tax cuts, increasing taxes on the rich and decreasing defense spending.  There is definitely divisiveness in our government. But to pin the blame on the President is just another lie.
“The President’s policies have failed.”  This is perhaps this biggest lie.  When Obama came into office the banking industry was in crises, the auto industry was about to close down, unemployment was at double digits, the country was hemorrhaging 700,000 private sector jobs per month, the economy was in freefall, we were conducting two costly wars and Osama bin Laden was sending us videos condemning us as the “Great Satan.”  Under President Obama’s direction, the banking industry has stabilized and the auto industry is thriving.  The unemployment numbers are steadily declining and the country has produced 26 consecutive months of job growth.  The economy is slowly growing.  Corporations are making record profits.  The war in Iraq is over and Osama bin Laden and many of his henchmen are dead. 
The President’s Republican opponents don’t like to talk about the monumental pile of crap that the previous administration left waiting on Obama’s desk. While that shortsightedness may find political footing, it is disingenuous and does not pass the smell test.  The fact that President Obama has managed to get us to where we are…given where we were when he took office…is pretty remarkable and cannot be viewed rationally as anything but a success.
There are plenty of things to criticize about the Obama Administration.  Perhaps the President could have shown more leadership in working with Congress to overcome the gridlock that permeates Capitol Hill.  Perhaps he should have spent less time on health care reform and put more effort into rebuilding our infrastructure and modernizing our schools.  We are all entitled to form our own opinions.  But the facts are the facts.  And while we are each entitled to our own opinions we are not entitled to our own facts.         


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