As a scientific discipline within biology, genetics is a relatively new field of study that is slightly over 150 years old, and through technological advances has enabled scientists to make predictions and develop treatments for myriad disorders. In genetics, a feature of a living thing is called a trait and they can be overt or unseen features that are controlled by heredity and environment. There is a trait among conservatives that may or may not be genetic, but regardless of the source, spreading misinformation and outright lies is endemic and a requisite feature of Republicans, corporatists, and right-wing media-types that is as predictable as the sun rising in the East. This vile trait is spreading to all media, but none more troubling than local newspapers that often provide the only political news residents ever see.
In an opinion piece carried in newspapers around the country yesterday, the president and founder of the Galen Institute, Grace-Marie Turner, argued that the Affordable Care Act was hampering economic recovery and that repealing the legislation was key to job creation. Now, whether Turner is predisposed to lying or not is irrelevant, because she is a liar here and now, and whether she learned or inherited the character flaw doesn’t change the fact that nothing in her article was remotely true. She proffered lame arguments rife with misinformation culled from the Koch brothers, Heritage Foundation, and the pharmaceutical industry that funds her work. Turner’s screed has her name attached to it, but the wording and phraseology was straight out of the Heritage Foundation, Cato Institute, and Koch brothers manifestos that blame much of the nation’s economic ills on the yet-to-be fully-implemented health law. Turner started off with a bang-up line that said, “The best thing that Congress can do to unleash jobs creation is to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.”
It is not coincidence that Turner, like Eric Cantor, has blamed Democratic legislation for killing jobs, and she followed Cantor’s lead by blaming job losses on laws that are not enacted yet. It follows then, that her specific numbers and reasoning are suspect from the start. She began citing a recent U.S. Chamber of Commerce survey that said 39% of small businesses say the law is either their first or second obstacle to new hiring. She also claimed that a bank president said “We’ve frequently heard strong comments to the effect of” my company won’t hire until we know what health insurance costs are going to be. But wait, Republicans have been claiming it was the cost of regulations, or corporate tax rates, or fuel costs that are the reason companies are not hiring new workers. The truth is that companies are not hiring because Americans are not spending because there are no jobs. Businesses of all sizes are sitting on large inventories and until Americans begin purchasing again, of course they will not expand and create jobs.
Turner then goes off on a strange tangent claiming the Affordable Care Act will increase marginal tax rates which will discourage the unemployed from seeking work. Wait, what? Oh, it makes sense that Turner would tie the health law to higher taxes. She also cited James Sherk of the Heritage Foundation whose job growth analysis shows that “jobs creation came to a screeching halt in the month after the measure was enacted.” According to Heritage, in March of 2010 a hiring freeze began, and in the 15 months after the law passed less than one-tenth of jobs were created than the pre-health law rate of job creation. Turner said there are other data points to strongly indicate the uncertainty of health costs is depressing hiring; she just did not cite those data points.
Turner did say that larger companies like McDonalds and CVS drug stores are replacing human workers with electronic ordering systems because of the health law. Most fast food restaurants installed electronic ordering systems during the Clinton Administration, but as liars are wont to do, Turner distorts a fact to fit a larger lie. The article cites another survey by the National Federation of Independent Business Research Foundation (NFIB) that said small business owners “expect the new law will increase taxes and the federal deficits so they are not hiring.” The NFIB is a conservative group dedicated to anti-union, anti-tax, and pro-business advocacy that parrots libertarian talking points; its PAC contributes to politicians who oppose the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and unions.
Turner completes the Heritage Foundation’s anti-health law recitation statement by saying, “Clearly, the health law is killing jobs, not creating them, and the best thing that Congress could do to spur jobs creation is to repeal the unpopular health law and lift the heavy cloud of mandates and regulatory burdens threatening employers.” The only parts of the health law implemented in fall, 2010 were consumer protections such as; no discrimination against children with pre-existing conditions, prohibitions against dropping coverage, lifetime limits on coverage, and extending coverage for young adults on their parents’ policy. There are other aspects of the health law that have been implemented but they have not killed jobs or raised taxes like Turner argues. Her contention that job creation was humming along until the health law was passed is beyond misinformation; it is a lie. During Bush’s Administration, only 1 million jobs were created during 8 years of economic malfeasance. The pertinent question for Turner is; where were jobs being created prior to March of 2010 when the health law was passed and signed into law?
Turner and her ilk will never answer simple questions about the myriad jobs created before the healthcare reform law because there were none. Turner’s opinion first appeared in the Rupert Murdoch owned New York Post that is an extension of Fox News, and in fact, most of the citations in Turner’s article emanated from neo-conservative think tanks that are public policy arms of the Republican Party. It is disgusting that McClatchy newspapers have begun reprinting Fox News’ stories because it makes them as unscrupulous as the Post and Fox.
Actually, unscrupulous is too kind when describing the media and especially the genetically predisposed liars in the conservative ranks. America has a serious unemployment problem that requires serious solutions but Republicans are not creating jobs so they use fear mongering and deceit to shift the focus from job creation to why the health law is killing jobs. There were no facts regarding the 30-40 million Americans who will have affordable health care or the millions of jobs it will create when fully implemented. Turner did not reveal that her funding comes from the pharmaceutical industry that is desperate to maintain their prohibitive prescription costs.
It is disappointing that any media carries stories like Turner’s without fact-checking or revealing the sources of information in the article, but Americans should be used to hearing only one side of an issue. It is sad, though, that nearly all media outlets have been pandering and promoting conservative’s lies to curry favor with the Republican Party. The least the media could do was present both sides of an argument and let the public decide the merits of an issue like the health law and its effect on jobs. Obviously, by the time the law is fully implemented, Americans may find they like the benefits of the health law and Republicans can ill-afford to let that happen.
There was a time that Americans were allowed to make choices based on truth and information, but Republicans know the more the public learns of their tactics and characteristic lying, the less chance they have of maintaining their hold on power. What many Americans do know is that Republicans will lie, cheat, and steal votes to stay in power, and hopefully with more newspapers going out of business they will turn to the Internet where there is the option of hearing both sides of an issue. There is only one side being preached in the media and it is misinformation from Republicans and their neo-conservative think tanks, pundits, and liars in Congress. It is tragic, but America doesn’t stand a chance at succeeding and neither does the truth.