Monday, October 25, 2010

Eight False Things The Public “Knows” Prior To Election Day

From Campaign for America's Future

By Dave Johnson

There are a number things the public "knows" as we head into the election that are just false. If people elect leaders based on false information, the things those leaders do in office will not be what the public expects or needs.

Here are eight of the biggest myths that are out there:

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. 40% 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.

This stuff really matters.

If the public votes in a new Congress because a majority of voters think this one tripled the deficit, and as a result the new people follow the policies that actually tripled the deficit, the country could go broke.

If the public votes in a new Congress that rejects the idea of helping to create demand in the economy because they think it didn't work, then the new Congress could do things that cause a depression.

If the public votes in a new Congress because they think the health care reform will increase the deficit when it is actually projected to reduce the deficit, then the new Congress could repeal health care reform and thereby make the deficit worse. And on it goes.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Unconditional Love

Unconditional love is an amazing and wonderful thing. It's also very dangerous, and if you ever have to prove it, something horrible must have happened.

I have experience with unconditional love. I have unconditional love for my family, and for my dogs. It doesn't matter what they do, I will love them. No matter how horrible.

What I don't have is unconditional love for a sports team and the players on that team. It scares me that other people do. There was a startling display of unconditional love this weekend among sports fans. Pittsburgh Steelers fans seem to have unconditional love of the Steelers and Ben Roethlisberger.

benBig Ben had one hell of an off-season. He was accused of "sexual assualt" for the second time in eight months. He wasn't charged with a crime, mostly because he's Ben Roethlisberger, but even so he admitted to some pretty scary things.

Yet he was welcomed with open arms back to the Pittsburgh Steelers this weekend, because the team was badly in need of a player to fill the quarterback position. The substitute players were horrendous, and the fans were eager to have a better player in that spot.

I understand that. If you are a fan of a team, you want that team to be successful. I expected most fans to look past the horrible reprehensible things that Big Ben has done. It's just the way people and their attitudes to sports are. Many people can overlook a lot of misdeeds if a person can help their team on the field.

What shocked me was the totality. I know quite a few Steelers fans. Unsurprising since they are the most successful NFL franchise ever. They have fans everywhere, not just in Pennsylvania.

I could not find one single Steelers fan that said "I don't care how good he is or how much the team needs him. What the guy did was horrible and I don't want him on my favorite team."

Among every Steelers fan I know, and even ones I searched out on the internet it's consistent. How can this be? I could easily believe that most fans would give him the "benefit of doubt." But 100%? How is it possible that not one person is so offended that they want to be rid of the guy? Every single person is okay with the "he wasn't found guilty of a crime so I'm going to ignore the incidents completely" rationalization?

Mike Vick killed and mistreated dogs. He was vilified, run out of town and sent to prison. Mistreating animals is horrible and a particular behavior that I personally find reprehensible. Roethlisberger was accused of SEXUAL ASSAULT....TWICE! And somehow 100% of the people, even women, look the other way.

Lets face it. Sexual assault is the worst thing you can do in this country. I know most people think it's murder, but they're wrong. If you look at parole statistics you'll find that murderers will generally get paroled from prison after serving significant time. If you are found guilty of sexual assault, you are doing the whole time. Nobody gets parole for sexual assault. NOBODY.

The only explanation I can come up with other than unconditional love is mass hysteria. Maybe because so many people are okay with it, those who really have a problem with it are keeping it to themselves? Or does the subject matter make them so uncomfortable it is just easier to pretend it didn't happen?

It can't possibly be that he's "paid his debt" and "learned his lesson." This guy got a four-game suspension for getting away with the most reprehensible crime our society has. TWICE. His penalty is not even close to "payment" for anything.

Again, I do not expect the sports world to shun Ben Roethlisberger and toss him out of football forever. I'm not talking about any one particular fan I know or any person who should feel a certain way about what happened. How you feel is how you feel. I'm not judging anyone.

I am just astounded that NOBODY seems to feel the way I thought some should. Are they out there and I just can't see them? Maybe the outrage happened months ago and it all just faded away, wounds healed by time and five weeks of an NFL season?

And what if it was me? What if it were the quarterback of my favorite team? Or the center fielder? How would I feel? I think I know, but do you really know until you are tested? Would I be the one making excuses and lame rationalizations? Would I be looking the other way?