Political propagandists’ lies have expanded to a gargantuan scale. Even more alarming is those lies’ success in duping the gullible public.
Health care costs provide a notorious example. According to a recent poll, 50 percent of Americans believe that health care costs have increased under President Obama. Only 5 percent know that this growth has dramatically slowed under Obama, to a 3.75 percent average annual rate, lowest since this data first appeared in the 1960s. Many dupes evidently believe Rush Limbaugh’s preposterous claim that Obama has doubled health costs.
It was President Reagan who presided over the highest health cost increase, averaging 10.7 percent annually, nearly triple Obama’s rate.
My data come from the National Bureau of Economic Research. Limbaugh’s wild exaggeration springs from his imaginatively fevered brain, which recoils from truth like a tackle-dodging halfback.
The Republicans’ anti-health care campaign features another big lie: a charge starkly articulated by Sarah Palin, that health care reform established “death panels” empowered to require euthanasia for the sick and elderly. This fabrication is easily rebutted by simply reading the health care reform act’s Section 1233, Advance Care Planning Consultation. Section 1233 provided for advance-care planning — explanation of living wills, durable power of attorney, health proxy’s duty, list of national and state resources, end-of-life services, and orders for life-sustaining treatment. To extremist Republicans, however, any discussion of terminal health care equals “death panels.”
Economic performance is another subject in which Republicans not only mangle the truth, but reverse the truth. Labeled Marxist-communists by Republican troglodytes, Obama is denounced for flouting the free market. But under Obama, the S & P 500 index has more than doubled, from 900 to 1,840. Under George W. Bush, this index lost 23 percent of its value, plunging from 1,170 in 2001 to 900 in 2009. And these data are just the most recent. For nearly a century, stock appreciation under Democrats has averaged 13 percent, more than double the Republicans’ 6 percent.
It’s the same for other basic economic data. GDP growth has averaged 70 higher under Democrats. Unemployment has averaged less under Democrats (under George W. Bush, we suffered a net loss of private-sector jobs. He did, however, unlike Obama, increase public-sector jobs). And under Democrats federal debt has fared better — much better.
Here’s a question for diehard Republicans: Why do communistic Democrats do so much better at running a capitalistic economy than so-called free-market Republicans? And why do these professed free marketers support socialistic subsidies for multimillionaire farmers, corporate tax dodgers, and other rich exploiters?
• C.W. (Bill) Griffin is a retired consulting engineer. He has lived in Ahwatukee Foothills for 22 years.