Seniors: TRUTH About Hot Political Issues

Oct 23rd, 2010 | By Sharon Shaw Elrod MSW EdD | Category: Senior Moments Blog

SCJ has attempted to highlight a number of issues senior citizens are concerned about in the past few months that the general public believes, but that in reality are false.  For example, some people believe Social Security is either broke or going broke; in reality, it has a trillion dollar trust fund and it’s health will continue for a minimum of 25 years; some project 37. 

The  problem with believing what is not true is that if we go to the polls with misconceptions, we will elect people who will not be and do what we expect. 

The Campaign for America’s Future and Huffington Post published an article this past week by Dave Johnson, a Fellow at the Campaign for America’s Future.  He identified eight of the biggest myths that people believe.  Following are those eight myths;

SCJ is in process of adding links to documentation of those myths, so if they are not all there as you read this article, come back and check on it in a few hours/days. 

1) President Obama tripled the deficit. 
Reality: Bush’s last budget had a $1.416 trillion deficit. Obama’s first reduced that to $1.29 trillion.  Use your search engine and the terms ‘Federal Deficit Bush Administration’ to see in excess of two million articles dealing with the deficit the Bush administration created in its last year in office.  Here is one example in the Huffington Post

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.  Search the phrase, ‘obama tax cuts’ and ‘obama tax increases’ for millions of references on the issue.

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.”) In fact, the bailouts passed and began before the 2008 election of President Obama.  Again, you can search the phrase, ‘when did the bailout pass congress?’ to get over 1.7 million search results to confirm this information.

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.  See the SCJ article on what employers do with tax savings, based on the research from Moody Analytics, Inc, on how employers respond when their taxes decrease.

6) Health care reform costs $1 trillion.
Reality: The health care reform reduces government deficits by $138 billion.  Again, the CBO analyzed the information and determined health care reform will reduce the deficit by $1.38 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.  SCJ published an article in July regarding myths about Social Security, with each one documented with links; check it out.

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.  Take a second look at the article SCJ published on where your tax money goes

Johnson goes on to say,

“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. “(emphasis added)

“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.(emphasis added) 

“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. (emphasis added)… And on it goes.

Democracy can only work if We the People can separate truth from fiction.  Our lives and those of our children depend on this.



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