The biggest political "lie" of 2010?
The winner is: the Republican assertion that Obamacare is a "government takeover of health care." A website called PolitiFact based this on the votes of 4,000 of its readers. ABC's "Nightline" featured PolitiFact's editor, and "Nightline" reporter Jake Tapper heartily agreed this was the "biggest lie of the year." Tapper, normally pretty sane, concluded the piece by saying, "Way to deceive the public"!
Under Obamacare, the federal government mandates that every man, woman and child purchase health insurance or face a tax; that insurers carry those with pre-existing illnesses and not drop anyone; that insurers allow "children" up to age 26 to remain on their parents' policy; that employers provide health insurance to employees or pay a tax; and that the states add 30 million previously uninsured to the Medicaid program irrespective of their ability to pay for it.
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This is a "government takeover." And it is a lie to characterize it as a "lie." Calling an opinion, and a perfectly reasonable one at that, a "lie" stretches the definition into something unrecognizable.
OK, we're game. Here, in no particular order, are the top 10 political lies of 2010.
- Ninety-five percent of "working families" received a tax cut.
No. The bill gave tax cuts to those who pay taxes – and gave money, "tax credits," to those who pay little or nothing in taxes. We used to call this welfare.
- The General Motors bailout "worked."
Did it? Tell that to GM's bondholders. CNBC's Larry Kudlow wrote: "The GM bondholders own $27 billion, and they're getting 10 percent of the common stock in an expected exchange. And the UAW owns $10 billion of the bonds, and they're getting 40 percent of the stock." What would have happened had the government stepped aside and let the private sector take over – a natural and necessary consequence of running a business into the ground? What about "moral hazard" – shielding a company from the effect of its poor decisions – which, in turn, encourages negligence and sloth on the part of other companies deemed "too big to fail"?
- Obamacare will "bend the cost curve down."
The alleged "savings" occur only by assuming politically unlikely and unpopular cuts in Medicare. Then there are sub-lies, including: "If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor." Obama later admitted, "I think that some of the provisions that got snuck in might have violated that pledge."
- The tea party is "racist."
The proof? The head of the NAACP told CNN's Anderson Cooper that tea partiers used the racially coded rallying cry "take our country back." Unfortunately, Cooper ran a montage of Democrats like Bill Clinton, Howard Dean and John Kerry rousing supporters by demanding that they "take our country back." Yes, a handful of idiots held up stupid signs. And no, they weren't impaled and set on fire. Quick, somebody call Sharpton!
- The $800 billion "stimulus" funded millions of "shovel-ready" jobs.
Vice President Joe Biden's June "Summer of Recovery" report claimed that "shovel-ready" projects created jobs. "Between ... tax relief, direct aid and shovel-ready projects, the Recovery Act has ... created or retained between 2.2 and 2.8 million jobs." Even Obama, in October, admitted, "There's no such thing as 'shovel-ready projects.'" Oh.
- Stimulus "saved or created" 3.5 million jobs.
The administration had predicted that 90 percent of the "saved or created" jobs would be private-sector. Reason columnist Veronique de Rugy writes, "Four out of five jobs created were created in the public sector. (Two years into the stimulus) 682,370 jobs were reported created, not 3 million, and over 510,000 of these were in the public sector."
- There is a "consensus," according to the White House website, that the stimulus plan "pulled us back from the brink of economic disaster."
Consensus? A poll by the Pew Research Center found that nearly two-thirds of Americans thought the stimulus did not contribute to job creation.
- The 111th Congress was the "most productive" since – pick one – the New Deal, LBJ's Great Society or the beginning of the republic.
Define "productive." The deficit tripled from the '08 budget. The past two years produced almost $4 trillion in new debt, more than any Congress in history. This congressional "productivity" cost the Democrats their House majority and their Senate supermajority.
- Bush-era "deregulation" caused the Gulf oil spill.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Bush placed "the employees of Big Oil in charge of regulating their own industry." The oil extraction business remains heavily regulated. Obama's administration, not Bush's, approved the Deepwater Horizon project.
- Guantanamo Bay will be shut down in 2010.
Obama promised a closure in the first, and then the second, year of his administration. Gitmo exists for a reason. It confines Islamofascists who want to kill American "infidels." No other country that we can trust to keep the would-be killers confined wants them. "I'm going to close down Guantanamo" is yet another I'm-not-Bush promise that crashed-landed onto the mean streets of the real world. OK, technically not a "lie." But, whatever.