‘Tis that magical time of the year, when televisions, radios, and the Internets (we still love ya, Dubya) abound with myriad lists of the best, worst, and most dramatic things, events, people, and places of the year. List-mania shouldn’t be limited to the pop culture world of sports, music, and movies; it should also include politics.
At least that’s what PolitiFact thinks, having recently posted its list of Lies of the Year, where this year’s winner is the oft-recited lie that the “stimulus created zero jobs.” The whopper of a Republican lie received an impressive 24% of the vote in a recent reader’s poll.
While it’s easy to sit here nearly three full years after President Bush left office and simply say that the struggling economy is President Obama’s fault, that would require some serious amnesia.
The 2008 stock market crash, which included an 1,874 point (18%) drop during a week-long span in October, set the stage for President Bush handing President Obama the single worst economy the nation had seen since the Great Depression and saying “Good luck–gotta run.”
The stimulus, according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, resulted in increasing employment by between 1.4 million and 3.3 million people. (For more information, see FactCheck.org.)
Technically, even the ultra-conservative Bush administration understood that government intervention was necessary to prevent a complete economic collapse, but their contribution did not have much of a positive effect on the economy. Bush’s Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 is the fancy name for the bank bailout.
The bank bailout is when Bush officials handed out government money by the truckload to bankers and investors, ensuring that huge CEO bonuses could be paid while millions of Americans suffered the consequences of a mortgage crisis, falling wages, and soaring unemployment.
While bailing out the banks was part of the focus of President Obama as well, he directed more of the money toward shoring up the economic foundation of the banks rather than lining the pockets of millionaires.
The key to Obama’s government intervention, however, was the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (known as the Stimulus Bill), which focused on investing in education, health programs, and infrastructure, as well as providing direct temporary relief for those affected by the economic collapse through social programs, such as extending unemployment benefits.
Programs associated with this type of stimulus is what put millions of Americans back to work, so even though the unemployment rate continued to increase during this time, it did so much less dramatically than it otherwise would–and ensured that this year’s lie of the year would be that the stimulus created zero jobs.
The second lie on the list relates to another of the Republicans’ favorite talking point, abortion, with the focus on Planned Parenthood. The lie quotes Arizona Republican Senator Jon Kyle claiming that well over 90% of what the organization does is related to abortion services, when the actual number is closer to 3%, according to FactCheck.org.
What’s an 87-point inaccuracy among friends?
The third lie on the list is the Democrats’ first appearance, and rather than a factually inaccurate whopper like the first two by Republicans, it’s a shades-of-grey lie.
The Republicans voting to end Medicare is the lie. Technically, it is a lie since there was never an “End Medicare Now” bill in Congress; however, the Democratic claim is accurate in spirit. When Republicans in the House passed Paul Ryan’s budget plan, they voted for replacing Medicare with a voucher system, which, if it had passed, would have been the first step toward the end of Medicare.
Getting the message out has never been the Democrats’ strong suit, and this is further proven by the fact that they can’t even lie as well!
(Image from disneycharacters.tk)