25 Sep 2018

There is a long list of pervasive problems in the political press, and we'll go into different facets in future posts, but two false stereotypes related to centrists and pragmatists in the Democratic Party have gotten to the point where they've become a problem in need of a fact check and thorough debunking. Some in the media have been spreading the blatantly false narrative that, in the Democratic tent, you're either a progressive, or an establishment centrist. The problem with this is that the proverbial map doesn't match the territory - the reality being that the Democratic Party leadership struggle is between liberals and progressives, with the shrinking minority of moderates left in the party not having nearly enough votes to have any chance of leading the party. Dem Power Struggle Not Centrists vs Progressives This misconception is bizarre, as centrist observers and activists - many of us being ex-Democrats because of things like this - kno...

16 Sep 2017

two-faced Trump is no independent
None of us can do much more than speculate over what President Trump's motivations were for siding with Democrats over the short term debt ceiling deal, but we can say that doing so doesn't magically make him an independent (much less a centrist), no matter how many absurd articles claim otherwise. Trump is a Nontraditional Republican - Not Centrist or Independent Donald Trump is as much of an independent centrist as water is dry. Not only is he a member of a party, which precludes someone from being an independent - by definition, but he's the leader of that party. Him not being the leader or a member of one of the two primary factions - establishment mainstream conservatives or Tea Party right wingers - doesn't mean he's not a Republican. Like it or not, he's a Republican. He defeated a slate of people who are what those pretending that Trump is a centrist and/or independent in a Republican primary. Millions of Republicans flocked to his ra...

12 Sep 2017

chart showing the tens of trillions in debt Bernie Sanders' single payer plan would add to the national debt
Left wing Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is set to release legislation based on his 'single payer', socialized healthcare plan soon, which means it's time to revisit the false claims he made about it during the his presidential campaign against Hillary Clinton, and especially the huge gap between the reality of how much it would cost, and how much Sanders falsely claimed it would cost.     In line with Sanders' pattern - falling  inline with that of corrupt politicians from time immemorial - of giving more than he takes and passing the bill to future generations to pay off, the Sanders campaign released cost estimates of around $13.8 trillion over the first ten years. The problem with that is it's completely disconnected from reality - independent estimates from economic think tanks put it around half of the actual cost. This chart, from the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget - a widely respected nonpartisan fiscal organi...

20 Apr 2011

It's amazing that people still get away with saying obviously wrong, and repeatedly debunked, junk economics like this, but here we are. Illinois congressman Joe Walsh made a comment on This Week with Christiane Amanpour, saying that "Every time we've cut taxes, revenues have gone up, the economy has grown." Politifact decided to take a look at that, and found it to be sorely lacking. Here is the main thrust of what this bit of voodoo math gets wrong (bold mine): ...economists expect tax revenues to go up each year due to economic growth, population growth and inflation, even if tax rates stay the same. So saying "revenues have gone up" isn’t particularly meaningful in that context. Given that, it would be more significant to be able to say what effect tax changes have on the overall economy. But this isn’t easy, because so many things affect the economy more than the federal tax code. What this means is that you can raise taxes during a b...

18 Apr 2011

Politifact caught Michele Bachmann in another bit of demagoguery in a speech she made earlier this month, saying that "The top 1 percent of income-earners pay about 40 percent of all taxes into the federal government." Turns out she's close (its just under 40%) if she would have said just income taxes, but it is far less if you are talking federal taxes in general. Here is what Politifact has to say about the claim: The most recent hard data on this question comes from the 2007 tax year. It can be found in a Congressional Budget Office report released in 2010. CBO’s report shows what share of the federal tax liability was carried by various income groups. Here’s the rundown of the federal tax burden for the top 1 percent: Federal income taxes: 39.5 percent share Federal payroll taxes: 4.1 percent share Federal corporate taxes: 57.0 percent share Federal excise taxes: 4.7 percent share Total federal tax share for the top 1 percent: 28.1 ...

13 Apr 2011

Take a gander at the following comments that Indiana Congressman Mike Pence made on This Week with Christiana Amanpour. He was talking about Paul Ryan's budget proposal, dropping this nugget about the changes it would make to Medicare: "For Americans 55 or older, we're not proposing a single change in Medicare... What we want to do for Americans under the age of 55 is make sure they can participate in the same health plan that members of Congress do." Let's start with the glaringly obvious lie, contained within the sentence itself - even if the second part was true, that the plan doesn't change Medicare at all. Funny how he can say that, then a few words later explain how it, you know, changes it so they can get the same health plan Congresspersons do. That clearly doesn't make any sense at all. But the real substance lays with the statement that it would give seniors access to the same plan members of Congress get. Politifact deconstructed thi...

21 Feb 2011

FactCheck.org has a nice write up looking at some of the statements both sides have been making recently about spending issues. Not surprisingly, both sides are taking liberties with the truth. A few examples from the post, specifically talking about President Obama and Congressman Paul Ryan: Both sides are misrepresenting important facts. Obama claimed that by the middle of this decade his budget “will not be adding more to the national debt.” But that’s not true. The debt will continue to grow by more than $600 billion even in 2015, the year with the least red ink projected. The president also claims that the “discretionary” budget is only 12 percent of the total. It’s actually 36 percent. Obama, like President Bush before him, is referring to “non-security” spending that excludes not only the Pentagon but the Department of Homeland Security and veterans’ benefits. Republican Rep. Paul Ryan, chairman of the Budget Committee, repeated a...

15 Feb 2011

The Obama administration has been... how to say this kindly... bending the truth an awful lot lately. This time Politifact caught President Obama himself. The President claimed that his budget would make it so that, "by the middle of this decade our annual spending will match our annual revenues. We will not be adding more to the national debt." Does that hold water? Strangely enough, it doesn't even hold water using the President's own numbers. From Politifact: Over the next 10 years, according to the president’s budget, there will be projected deficits every year. Here’s a rundown: Year   Deficit 2010: $1.293 trillion 2011: $1.645 trillion 2012: $1.101 trillion 2013: $768 billion 2014: $645 billion 2015: $607 billion 2016: $649 billion 2017: $627 billion 2018: $619 billion 2019: $681 billion 2020: $735 billion 2021: $774 billion So, with deficits every year for the next 10 -- and no surpluses -- the nation’s accumulated...

04 Feb 2011

It isn't clear to me at all why the Obama adminstration would stoop to lying about this. They already have the American people overwhelmingly for keeping the aspect of the health care bill that bans the denial of health care because of preexisting conditions, yet they chose to lie about it to, assumedly, drum up opposition to the effort by republicans to repeal the bill... which, of course, everyone knows has no chance at all of passing. I don't get it... Here is what was said, from Factcheck.org: The administration was making the argument that these millions of Americans would be at risk of losing (or not obtaining, or paying more money for) insurance if the health care law were to be repealed. The headline on the HHS press release said: "129 million Americans with a pre-existing condition could be denied coverage without new health reform law." Democrats have repeated that assertion. Rep. Nancy Pelosi claims on her website that "Health a...

06 Dec 2010

Andrew Becker, a reporter with the Center for Investigative Reporting, has an article being cross posted at The Washington Post describing how the Obama Administration, trying to seem like it is tough on illegal immigration, has used some serious voodoo math to pretend like they deported more illegals this year than last  year. When ICE officials realized in the final weeks of the fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30, that the agency still was in jeopardy of falling short of last year’s mark, they scrambled to reach the goal. Officials quietly directed immigration officers to bypass backlogged immigration courts and time-consuming deportation hearings whenever possible, internal emails and interviews show. Instead, officials told immigration officers to encourage eligible foreign nationals to accept a quick pass to their countries without a negative mark on their immigration record, ICE employees said. The option, known as voluntary return, may ...