The case for re-electing President Barack Obama rests on five arguments, the most important of which is that Romney/Ryan represent sexism, racism, homophobia and fascism.
1) Obama "inherited" the worst set of economic conditions since World War II.
False. Based on unemployment, inflation and interest rates, the recession of 1981-82 was worse. Unemployment during the early '80s reached 10.8 percent, inflation 13.5 percent, and prime interest rates reached 21.5 percent. During this so-called "Great Recession," the numbers peaked at 10.2 unemployment, 5.6 percent inflation and 7.25 percent for the prime interest rate.
2) Obama's economic policies "rescued the economy from falling off a cliff."
False. Nearly 350 economists, including several Nobel laureates, publicly urged Obama to following the path President Reagan pursued -- cutting taxes, slowing the growth of domestic spending and continuing deregulation.
Most business economists think Obama's "stimulus" plan accomplished little, if anything, with some academic economists, like Stanford's John Taylor, believing that the stimulus actually made things worse: "I just don't think there's any evidence. When you look at the numbers, when you see what happened, when people reacted to the stimulus, it did very little good."
TARP, begun under President George W. Bush, supposedly prevented financial institutions from collapsing. But Neil Barofsky, in his new book called "Bailout: An Inside Account of How Washington Abandoned Main Street While Rescuing Wall Street," argues that TARP completely failed in its mission: to increase liquidity to jumpstart lending.
The reason for intervention in the first place is that banks had become "too big to fail." Not only did the banks park the money and make risk-free profits off the spread, but banks became bigger than ever after TARP.
ObamaCare promises to provide health insurance to nearly 30 million Americans currently uninsured. Obama said it would bend the health care cost curve down, that it would decrease the deficit and that if you like your doctor or your current health insurance plan, you can keep it.
But Jonathan Gruber, the economist who designed both RomneyCare and ObamaCare, now admits some are going to pay more -- and some a lot more -- for their health insurance: "It is true that even after tax credits some individuals are 'losers,' in that they pay more than before (Obama's) reform." Rick Foster, the chief Medicare actuary, testified that it is "false, more so than true" that ObamaCare bends down the cost curve. He also said it is "not true in all cases" that if you like your plan you can keep your plan.
What about the "investments" in the green jobs of the future? At $529 million dollars of lost taxpayer money, Solyndra is one of many money-hemorrhaging "clean energy" flops. Other belly-flops backed by federal loans include Beacon Power and Abound Solar. A Washington Post investigation traced $3.9 billion in grants and financing to 21 companies that were backed by firms connected to five Obama administration staffers and advisors. Cronyism?
3) Bush's irresponsible tax cuts and "unpaid-for wars" of Afghanistan and Iraq caused the deficit.
False. Obama frequently bemoans the "cost" of $700 billion in tax cuts for "millionaires and billionaires." CNN's Fareed Zakaria blames the "Bush tax cuts" for the deficit. But the $700 billion Obama speaks of is spread over 10 years. This comes to a mere 5 percent of the deficit.
As to the costs of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, a study by Brown University estimates the costs at between $3.2 trillion and $4 trillion. This, too, is over about 10 years (the approximate duration of the wars), or an average of $360 billion per year. This comes out to about 25 percent of the estimated $1.5 trillion deficit.
4) We are better off now than four years ago.
A new poll for the Washington paper The Hill found 52 percent of likely voters believe the country is now in "worse condition" than four years ago, while 31 percent believe it's in "better condition." After accounting for inflation, median household income dropped 2.6 percent during the 18-month recession. It fell another 4.8 percent from the start of the "recovery" through June 2012. Unemployment stood at 7.8 percent when Obama entered the White House. It is 8.3 percent right now. We've added over $6 trillion in new debt in the last four years -- and the deficit tripled since Bush's last full year in office.
5) The other guys -- former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Rep. Paul Ryan -- are worse: sexist, racist, homophobic and fascist.
The chairman of the California Democratic Party, John Burton, following the Republican convention, gave us this preview of coming attractions: "(Republicans) lie, and they don't care if people think they lie. As long as you lie, (Nazi propaganda minister) Joseph Goebbels -- the big lie -- you keep repeating it."
Welcome to the 2012 Democratic National Convention: Republican attendees are advised to keep their sheets and hoods at home.
COPYRIGHT 2012 LAURENCE A. ELDER
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