Setting the record straight - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Opinion

Setting the record straight

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Posted: Tuesday, November 9, 2010 11:00 am | Updated: 3:49 pm, Thu Dec 2, 2010.

I find it shocking and sad that a high school teacher in our community could be so woefully uninformed, yet so willing to show it to the world ("So much for Obama's promises," AFN, Oct. 27). It is yet another example of how the hatemongering of the right-wing radio and blogosphere have polluted the minds of Americans. And shame on you, AFN, for being willing to publish such nonsense. There's a difference between opinion and lies! Might I respectfully refute many of his false statements? I cite as my source truth-out.org, a nonpartisan website designed to do just this, called "Eight False Things the Public KNOWS Before Election Day." If you visit the site, you will find this piece, which contains internal links so you can see exactly where the information comes from. You will also find similar pieces on factcheck.org, the website of the Annenberg Policy Center, also nonpartisan.

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. Forty percent 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.

One more thing. He says that being forced to buy health care is "chillingly Orwellian." Well, folks, then 1984 is already here, because we've been "forced" to buy car insurance for years. And nobody in his right mind objects to that - who wants their car totaled by some jerk who refuses to buy insurance? Or by someone who can't afford to buy it? Same thing goes for health care - if we are going to protect people's health, we all have to get on board. It's called caring for each other. And I, for one, am glad that we care enough to do it.

We, as Americans, are letting the ignorant drive the bus if we let this kind of thing go unchallenged. We are in truly scary economic times, but blaming Obama and the Democrats for the whole thing is completely insane. How about, instead of lying and blaming, we start getting involved in a good way. Read and ask questions, don't just believe any old junk that ends up in your Internet mailbox ... or your community newspaper.

Sarah Nelson is a former teacher who has lived in the Ahwatukee Foothills area since 1997.

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