The Pardu

The Pardu
Watchful eyes and ears feed the brain, thus nourishing the brain cells.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Lemon Joins Velshi

The Rand Paul/Don Lemon early morning interview is garnering quite a bit of Internet chatter.  The chatter is from various perspectives, generally based in how the writer feels about the participants: Lemon and Paul.

If one has an affinity for the insanity and callousness of the Tea Party, Paul may come across as some innocent victim of the "main-stream media".  If one has little to no respect for those who claim 'The Tea party', it makes sense that more commentators other than those employed by MSNBC should take these people to task.  Well, it does appear that my bias is showing.

Both Paul's (Ron and Rand) have tendency to go on 'friendly'  interview networks with attempts to 'twisty-talk' their way around the central focus of the interview.   MSNBC's Rachel Maddow proved my point when Paul stood for an interview that ended is a rambling idiotically feeble effort to explain how pre-Constitutional United States of America. The central issue was Rand's personal beliefs that places him squarely in the arena of those who feel that 'states rights' should supersede federal governance. Rand also clearly stated the he believed in civil rights but was reticent about saying a restaurant owner could turn away potential customers based on race. As one who joined the Air Force in the late 1960's (to serve country and avoid the draft), Rand's bigoted beliefs hit me squarely in the face as I witnessed 'Whites Only' signage in many places as I was  stationed in Biloxi Mississippi.  Yes, Paul (the younger) claims that Tea Party. So his beliefs in states rights kind of supports the signage that I personally witnessed.

If competent interviews do not pinned down the Paul's of the world, our nation suffers.   

When competent interviewers tackle the evasive tactics of the Tea party and 'no taxes increase' crowd the subjects of the interview do not seem to speak so authoritatively as when they are allowed to ramble for long minutes on Fox News.

I am attaching the Lemon interview and I am linking to an article that I wrote a couple of weeks back. the latter of the two relates to Ali Velshi's interview with Rick Santorum. 


Lemon on Paul



Velshi on Rick Santorum and Norquist


http://www.theprogressivesinfluence.com/2011/07/ali-velshi-cnn-sane-one.html






While I remain critical of CNN, I take my hat off to a couple of on-air personalities who delve deep and hard into the psyche and beliefs of people who either have great impact on segments of the nation or those who wish to have said impact on the nation.


If you think my point earlier in this article about how our paradigms affect our perception of the Lemon interviews check-out these links.

A. The Conservative View  http://hotair.com/archives/2011/07/31/cnn-anchor-to-rand-paul-i-hope-youre-happy-with-yourself-mr-tea-party/


B. The Progressive View  http://www.mediaite.com/tv/cnns-don-lemon-and-sen-rand-paul-clash-over-the-tea-partys-role-in-the-debt-crisis/

Did you notice the marked difference in articles?


The bottom-line reason for my efforts here relate to my 'over-the-top' concern and disdain for anything Tea Party.  If on-air personalities do not work to expose the fallacies of the Tea Party and the innate nuttiness of their leaders, the nation loses.  


Rand Paul and his ilk consistently speak about cutting spending. They cut spending for those who most need federal assistance while balking at defense spending cuts and taking hands-off positions on taxing those who could chip-in much more towards the nation's financial well being.


If the likes of Rachel Maddow, Velshi and Lemon do not take-on the rhetoric and authoritarianism from people such as Paul, those people are allowed a free pass to reach millions across the nation.  Paul's fiscal conservative messages keep bad company.


Applause to Lemon's interview as he attempted to pin down Paul as one who does not seem to care that a majority of U.S. voters want a balanced approach to deficit/budget negotiations.  I take a bow to Velshi for his straight forward approach as he interviewed the dangerous Grover Norquist and the mentally deficient Rick Santorum.

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Reasons to Fight Trumped by Media and RIGHT-Wing Malfeasance


It is amazing the extent or scope of empirical data to support any desire of the President is he was inclined to plant his feet in concrete and fight the insane manipulations and political maneuvering from the RIGHT.  It appears the President is not inclined to plant his feet. 


Many who spend hours writing about issues that have manifest in the latest subterfuge from the write are growing increasingly angry as we watch President Obama, give, give and give.  I find it impossible to believe that he refuses to opt for another option on raising the debt ceiling and following all polling data that indicates a desire for a balanced approach in dealing with the issue related to the deficit and federal budgets.  A deficit that was not caused by Obama. The President's "OVER THE TOP SPENDING" has been undertaken for the most part in dealing with the Bush mess. Not only has he done the right things in cleaning up Bush's messes, he waters-down that good with consistent folding to the RIGHT. The RIGHT has proven that they cannot properly administer federal governance at the federal level.  Why do people feel they will suddenly do better?

Before I turn this article over to another author who adroitly supports the arguments of many, allow me to pose one question.  Of the three most recent stock market crashes, which political party was in the Oval Office?  Of all administrations since Eisenhower, which administration passed a balanced budget on to the following administration?  


The following is not a short read. There are no short reads that can do justice to issues of RIGHT-WING malfeasance and subterfuge. 


Why do "debt hysteria" media narratives and Bush's deficit spending dominate the Obama presidency?

Sat, 07/30/2011 - 10:17am 



Many Republicans in Congress are embracing the "debt hysteria" media narrative, so much so that addressing the debt takes priority over jobs and the economy. The 
question is, why? 
A recent Gallup poll shows that, when Americans are asked what is the most important problem facing our country, only 16% point to the federal deficit or the debt, while 74% identify job creation or other economic issues as their deepest concern — this despite the hundreds of millions of dollars spent on debt ceiling hysteria bombarding us from our TV sets.  

But, with an eye on the 2012 election, some Republican strategists feel that the federal debt is the better issue for electioneering and obstructionism.  The debt is going to grow — regardless of whether the jobs market improves — between now and the election. With some creative math and a few billion dollars in campaign commercials, it's very easy to make it seem as if President Obama alone is responsible for the enormity of the U.S. debt (more on this below).  If, on the other hand, the media narrative was about jobs and the economy, there might be the political will in Washington to DO SOMETHING about jobs and the economy. This would make Obama's reelection very likely. So, the more they can use their news channels, Congressmen, and radio stations to point the national conversation toward the federal debt and away from jobs and the economy, the better chances Republicans will have in 2012.  That's why Republicans favor a solution that schedules a third season of "Debt Hostage Reality TV" for early 2012, and that's why Obama opposes this.

For the next several years at least (until such time as the majority of Americans have migrated to social media where We the People have a fighting chance), we are stuck with the narratives that right wing media holdings choose for us (and thus for policymakers Washington).  So let's ask the question: is there any truth to the notion that is the basis of the electioneering strategy that led to the Debt-Ceiling Hostage Crisis?  Did President Obama cause the deficit and the debt?  Or, is there at least a case to be made so that the hundreds of millions of dollars worth of campaign ads next year won't have to lie to us completely?
Please take a moment to look at this graphic entitled Policy Changes (as opposed to inherited policies) Under Two Presidents and note that President Obama's numbers include projections through 2017.  As Ezra Klein of The Washington Post explains quite plainly:
Obama’s major expenses were temporary — the stimulus is over now — while Bush’s were, effectively, recurring. The Bush tax cuts didn’t just lower revenue for 10 years. It’s clear now that they lowered it indefinitely, which means this chart is understating their true cost. Similarly, the Medicare drug benefit is costing money on perpetuity, not just for two or three years. And Boehner, Ryan and others voted for these laws and, in some cases, helped to craft and pass them.

To relate this specifically to the debt-ceiling debate, we’re not raising the debt ceiling because of the new policies passed in the past two years. We’re raising the debt ceiling because of the accumulated effect of policies passed in recent decades, many of them under Republicans. It’s convenient for whichever side isn’t in power, or wasn’t recently in power, to blame the debt ceiling on the other party. But it isn’t true. [MORE]
However, if you look at the statistical analysis as Egberto Willies cited in his recent essay criticizing President Reagan for tripling the national debt (see National Debt chart above) — Obama, too, looks pretty bad.  That analysis measures the federal debt as a percentage of our gross national product (GNP).  Obama took over at a time when our economy was collapsing, creating a steep drop in gross national product. This required emergency spending, passed by both the Bush and the Obama administrations, to avoid a complete global economic collapse. Thus the debt increased suddenly.  The GNP fell suddenly.  So as a percentage of GNP, the debt increased sharply.
Another way of measuring the national debt is in dollars adjusted for inflation. This is what you see in the Gross Federal Debt graphic by National Priorities Project. There is a dramatic increase in our national debt beginning around 1980 and continuing to this day (with the exception of the 2nd half of the Clinton administration when there were budget surpluses). Both methods for measuring the debt reflect poorly on Reagan, but in Obama's case, debt as a percentage of GNP reflects poorly while dollars adjusted for inflation is consistent predecessors.  (Perhaps that's why those slick infomercials starring Rep. Paul Ryan tend to focus on 
the debt as a percentage of GNP.)
The debt hysteria narrative likes to focus on spending alone, without consideration of any other factors like revenue, or the size of the GNP.  But if you look at the full picture, hysteria is clearly optional.  Really, it's not required here.  As our population has grown, so too has the size of government.  Our economy has also grown tremendously during the period shown on the colorful chart you see here.
Bush 43, Obama, and Reagan/Bush 41 all increased spending by about the same ratio.  Clinton is the only president in recent history to see that ratio level off.  Hysteria campaigns about the debt and the deficit tend to be scheduled by agenda-driven media outlets like Fox News with very predictable timing. Is it any wonder why Americans who consume Fox News products suddenly became hysterical about spending on Jan. 20, 2009.  The bailouts three months before might have been a better time, but Fox News was too busy trying to elect John McCain.  The numbers didn't look any different on Inauguration Day than they did on Jan. 19, but the media coverage certainly made a switch, and the electioneering strategies followed. 

This is why the Debt-Ceiling Hostage Crisis teleplay was scripted, cast, shot, acted, edited and disseminated by a collaboration of agenda-driven media empires, their mouth pieces in Congress, and Republican campaign strategists.  This on-going series has brought in very good ratings because it attracts and entraps bankable stars like President Obama and Speaker John Boehner, and, it because is filled with dramatic conflict — some of it genuine, like the possibility that we'll see the first ever Great Depression On-Purpose (another name for it could be the Tea Party Depression).  Thus, it has been picked up by profit-driven news outlets and other types of media that try to adhere to journalistic standards.  It truly is a headline story.
But, behind all the spectacle and theater, the data shows that the rapid expansion of our federal deficit and debt since 1981 has to do with the OTHER side of the ledger — revenue — which has been drastically curtailed during this, the era of trickle-down economics.  Since 1981, corporations and the super-wealthy have been successful in reshaping our tax code to reduce their contributions to America, while the middle class and the poor have been expected to make up the difference.  The theory was that "a rising tide lifts all boats."  If we lavished the wealthy and large corporations with tax loopholes and subsidies, the rest of us would benefit enough to make up for the lost tax revenue. 

It sounded good at the time, but trickle-down economics has clearly failed.  As Michael Stafford has written, while our economy has doubled in size since 1981, the 80% of the income growth went to 1% of the population who now control 40% of our nation's total wealth.  And, they've invested all that extra money well... in massive media holdings, exclusive lawmaking conferences, and lobbying firms to increase their influence in Washington.  With that influence, they've rewritten Wall Street and other oversight laws to further increase their wealth.  And that wealth has, in turn, been used to further increase their share of power.  This is what we call the Cycle of Corruption.
The enormity of the 2007-2008 economic collapse, and, pockets of anxiety over demographic shift, have made it possible to sell to millions of people a false narrative that makes it seem plausible that 30 years of bad policy can be blamed on our African American President. If not for these two factors, and the power of agenda-driven media to exploit them, we would not be seeing these terrifying events unfold.  We'd be watching a whole different reality TV show.  If John McCain were president, the debt ceiling would have been raised as a matter of course, just as it has been for decades (17 times under Reagan)And there would be no massively expensive electioneering strategy called the Debt-Ceiling Hostage Crisis.  Certainly, there would be almost zero appetite among Republicans in Congress to cause, or threaten to cause the world's first Great Depression On-Purpose.


Now, I recognize that billions of dollars have been spent on the narrative that says "the media" is biased toward the left, and, I recognize that this argument has been supported by all of the most popular TV shows and radio programs, all of which have millions of devoted, very conservative fans. But let's get real, and forget the labels for a moment:
It's a simple fact that media empires are very costly to acquire, and, for that reason, there is a much greater danger that they become biased toward the interests of those people who can afford to purchase them.  Could it be any other way?  Our nation's economic survival is not a question of left vs. right. Media content that uses partisanship and social issues to make it look that way must be exposed for what it is: soap opera. The Debt-Ceiling Hostage Crisis is a professional wrestling marathon with a little more clothing, and a little less sincerity.

By overwhelming majorities, Americans want the President and Congress to focus on creating jobs and protecting the economy.  Instead, members of Congress are threatening to cause our nation's first ever debt default and with it an economic crisis, deliberately destroying jobs, exploding the federal debt, and imploding our economy.  The President has no choice but to embrace this media-induced political ambush, and try to salvage our nation's economic viability, for his own sake, and for ours.

So, the nation's media and RIGHT-Wing philosophies, beliefs and  strategies have again moved President Obama, thus the nation further to the RIGHT.  


There is no good end to this ongoing story.  
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Saturday, July 30, 2011

Life After Bush, the Shame of the RIGHT, The Centrist President

"We've got the American people who agree with that balanced approach," the president said Tuesday. (A)


As I watch the lopsided debate and negotiations related to the debt ceiling 'farce', I remain perplexed at how the White House and President Obama can continue to fall victim to the 'slick' manipulation of the socio/political RIGHT.

The President accurately stated earlier in the week that the American People prefer a balanced approach to solving the artificial  debt ceiling/budget issue. He clearly states such but I am not seeing any evidence that he is confident of his statement.

A balanced approach to the problem is no longer even on the table.  I see no data associated with  word 'taxes'.  NONE!  

It seems that two things have shaken-out related to this whole debacle.  First, if poll data is any indicator, people have paid attention to information regarding the top 2 per cent of income earners.  They have paid attention and have passed their thoughts on the matter: the higher income folks in the nation need to pay more towards solving the nation's financial woes.  second, is it possible that Wall street and other major political influence-rs have delivered the 'word' to the President and top Dems; 'word' to leave taxes out of the negotiation? The latter is of course, inquiry rooted speculation and has no basis in fact. The first point is clearly factual as indicated in the following table.



A revealing set of data, Mr.President!
Gallup



NBC/Wall
Street Journal



CBS News


ABC/Washington
Post
According to the survey, two-thirds say the people who represent them in government should agree to a compromise plan to raise the debt ceiling, even if it's a proposal with which they disagree. Only 27 percent say they would like their federal lawmaker to hold out for the basic plan they want, even if the debt ceiling is not raised by the deadline. 




















Indicates that 58 percent of Americans support the president's proposal, which would reduce the federal deficit by $4 trillion dollars over the next decade by cutting federal spending, increasing taxes on corporations and the wealthy, and reducing the level of spending on Medicare.












Indicates that two-thirds of Americans say any agreement should include spending cuts and tax increases, with 28 percent saying a deal should only include spending cuts and 3 percent saying it should only include tax increases



Indicates that more than six in ten Americans say any agreement on the deficit needs to include a combination of spending cuts and new taxes. 
According to the poll, 72 percent of independents, 69 percent of Democrats and 57 percent of Republicans say their lawmaker should agree to a compromise plan.

Thirty-six percent of those
questioned say they support a proposal by Republicans in Congress which would reduce the Federal deficit by $2.5 trillion over the next decade by cutting Federal spending and would not raise taxes on corporations or the wealthy.

According to the survey, there is little partisan divide on the question. More than seven out of ten Democrats and more than two-thirds of independent voters support a balanced approach, as do 55 percent of Republicans and 53 percent of self-described tea party movement supporters.


According to the survey, large majorities of Democrats and independent voters support the combined approach, with nearly half of Republicans also in agreement.


An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll released Tuesday highlights the rise of concerns over the consequences of not raising the debt ceiling. According to the survey, 55 percent of the public, including 63 percent of Democrats, 59 percent of independents, and 47 percent of Republicans, say that not taking action would be problematic.According to the CBS News poll, 46 percent of Americans say the debt ceiling should be raised, with 49 percent disagreeing. But the 46 percent figure is up 22 points from early June.


More Polling Data.....


A Quinnipiac University poll released last week had similar findings. The survey indicated that two-thirds of the public supported a deal that included spending cuts as well as tax increases for wealthy Americans and corporations. Nearly nine out of ten Democrats and two-thirds of independents questioned supported the inclusion of tax increases. Republicans in that poll were divided on the issue.

"Recent polls seem to indicate that Americans are getting more nervous about the consequences of not raising the debt ceiling by August 2," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "They may not like tax hikes and they may not like spending cuts, but they really don't like the idea of another steep economic downturn. That may have whetted their appetite for any sort of a plan, despite the details." (B)
The sad, sad truth of living with Bush.


While the RIGHT goes completely 'skin-crawling' bat feces crazy when any reflects back on how we got in the mess, progressive should take very opportunity to remind them and their supports of the facts. The following very short video is the very best illustration of the Bush 'gift' top the nation, I have ever witnessed.

Bush'd


The video lays it out very thoroughly.  Clinton passed a healthy economy to Bush.  Bush and conservative America did not do same as President Obama took office.
Perspective.  The nation certainly needs to get a handle on the deficit and annual budgets.  Fine, no argument!
Argument.Obama's spending has  for the most part, been in response to the financial horrors he inherited from the very Right-wing members of Congress who supported Bush ( "99% of the time").  Did you notice the commentator indicated that Obama's spending is projected through 2017.  Did you also notice the figures included the Obama Stimulus Packages.  What happens if there was no need for a stimulus package? What happens if the nation was not at the precipice of an economic abyss commonly referred to as a 'Depression'? What happens if John McCain and (YOU KNOW WHO) had won the 2008 Election? (Rhetorical question..no need to answer).
The salient point of the last paragraph is....we sit and watch, hear and smell daily comments about Obama's spending. The paid 'hit people' from the RIGHT speak daily about how the President is not leading. One very notably arrogant Wall Street Journal mouth-piece actually wrote that the President is a 'loser'. SHE also referred to the President as 'sly'.  SLY!!!!!???? Two and half years after Bush, anyone who calls the President a 'loser' and 'sly', is obviously on some political mission that should be apparent to anyone with average intelligence. 
So, all of that said and all of those facts laying bare, why are we hearing about debates and negotiations at all. The RIGHT has taken tax increases off the table. They have refused to consider the President's "Grand Bargain". They continue to make 'howling' calls to the moon about the President not handing them a plan.  I thought the $4.3 trillion 'grand bargain' constitutes something of a plan.  The real problem is the President refuses to act as their butt-boy and hand them a plan that they can secure blessings from the Tea Party and the GOP Party Leader Rush Limbaugh.
If the President and the DEMs go forth with more give-aways to the RIGHT for sake of doing the right thing, our nation travels further down a road of disaster.
President Obama should pay close attention to the various polls and his own comments related to the American People.  
What happened to the balanced approach?
SOURCES:
A. http://www.kirotv.com/news/28598889/detail.html
B. http://www.cnn.com

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FactCheck.org........Ferrets Out the Truth

When it comes to FactCheck.org there is no need to consider exerts, cuts and pasts, opining.  The information is as straightforward as one needs.

The current debt-ceiling/budget issue has taken over international news. Despite efforts by some to denigrate the matter to a 'yawn' while showing unscrupulous hardheadedness in fair and balance approach in fixing the problem, it is a real problem that is draining energy, time and resources from much more pressing problems: Jobs for one.

I received the following from FactCheck.org email.  Thought I would share.  The numerous links takes the reading to the point of "not in one sitting', but each link is relevant to proper review of the back and forth half-truths, non-truths and stretched-truths.

 There is nothing more powerful than an informed brain...The Pardu 2011



Debt Limit Debate Round-Up

Here's a look at the false and misleading claims that have plagued the political battle.
 
July 29, 2011

Summary

The last few weeks have been filled with debate, accusations, stalemate and false claims about the debt ceiling and how — and whether — it should be raised. As the Aug. 2 default deadline looms, here's a look at the less-than-factual talking points we've addressed.
Republicans constantly repeat that President Obama is demanding a "blank check," when in fact he's seeking borrowing authority to pay obligations already approved by Congress — and has said he'd accept deep spending cuts to get approval of that authority. For his part, the president has said raising the debt limit has been "routine" for every president since the 1950s. True, but his request is anything but routine; it would be the largest increase in history, in inflation-adjusted dollars.
Some in the GOP have claimed that the government could continue to make interest payments on the debt and avoid default, even without borrowing any more. But to do that, the government would have to cut all non-interest spending by 34 percent next fiscal year to make ends meet. And if some programs (like Social Security or Medicare) were cut less, others would have to be cut even more deeply.
Read on to the Analysis for more on these claims and others from the debt-limit debate.

Analysis

Will Congress agree on a way to raise the debt limit before Treasury says the government can't pay all of its obligations? We only wish we could predict the future. But we can give a rundown of the misleading and false claims that have fueled the long, partisan debate.

What's a Blank Check?
Republicans, including House Speaker John Boehner and Rep. Michele Bachmann, have said that the president wants "a blank check." Not true. First, he's asking to borrow money to pay obligations Congress has already approved. Second, Obama has proposed cutting spending by between $1.5 trillion and $1.7 trillion over 10 years in exchange for increasing the borrowing limit.

Boehner said in his July 25 speech that the president "wants a blank check today." At a July 28 appearance at the National Press Club, presidential candidate Bachmann said that "President Obama has asked for a $2.4 trillion blank check to get himself through the election in 2012." The conservative group Crossroads GPS also has made "no more blank checks" the theme of a major ad campaign.

We're a little perplexed by this popular talking point. A "blank check" would be authorization for unlimited spending. But Obama has been seeking, as Bachmann mentioned, a $2.4 trillion increase in the debt limit, according to various reports — that's a lot of money, but not a blank check. Plus, as we mentioned, the president has proposed well more than a trillion in spending cuts, according to White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, as well as tax increases to raise revenue. That's not a $2.4 trillion check with no strings attached. Republicans haven't agreed with what the president has supported to reduce the deficit, but it's false to characterize his proposals as a "blank check."


Not Exactly 'Routine'
Obama said it has been "routine" for presidents to raise the debt limit in the past. "Since the 1950s, Congress has always passed it, and every president has signed it," he said July 25. That's true — in fact, every president since the 1940s except for Harry Truman raised the debt ceiling. But this increase is the largest in history, in inflation-adjusted dollars.

We only found a few occasions that came anywhere close to the $2.4 trillion increase the White House wants this time around. There was a $1.6 trillion increase, in inflation-adjusted dollars, under President George H.W. Bush, and a $1.2 trillion increase, also inflation-adjusted, under President George W. Bush. During President Jimmy Carter's term, the limit was raised by nearly $1.4 trillion and $1.3 trillion in two separate instances.

34 Percent Spending Cuts
Bachmann claimed that the U.S. wouldn't default if it didn't raise the debt limit, "because very simply the Treasury secretary can pay the interest on the debt first and then from there we have to just prioritize our spending." And Sen. Jim DeMint said that "we're not talking about draconian types of situations" if the ceiling isn't increased.

But we did the math, and the government would have to cut spending next fiscal year by 34 percent if the debt limit doesn't go up, and if interest payments are exempted from those cuts. If popular programs like Medicare and Social Security were also exempted, everything else the government spends money on would have to be cut by 53 percent. It's a matter of opinion whether such cuts are acceptable, but Bachmann and DeMint suggested these wouldn't amount to drastic budget slashing.


Social Security and the Deficit
Democratic Rep. Xavier Becerra of California said that he would "fight to take [Social Security] off the table" in budget negotiations, because it "hasn't contributed 1 cent to the deficit that we face today, nor 1 cent to any of the national debt, the $14.3 trillion."  We take no position on whether Social Security should be cut, but it's wrong to say it's not contributing to the deficit.

Social Security benefits paid were more than payroll taxes in 2010, leading to a cash deficit of $49 billion. For 2011, the Social Security and Medicare Boards of Trustees project a $46 billion deficit. And those figures don't include the billions more the government will have to borrow to cover that reduction in payroll taxes that was in last year's deal to extend the Bush tax cuts.


First Time Flirting with Default?
Obama's communications director, Dan Pfeiffer, said the country has "never been in a situation where we have been in danger of defaulting on our obligations." Actually, we have.
The U.S. was in danger of default three previous times under President George W. Bush, according to a Congressional Research Service report. Treasury used accounting measures to avoid default when the government was just millions away from hitting the debt limit in 2002 and 2003. In 2002, Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill threatened to resign, telling Congress: "You're going to have to raise the debt ceiling or you're going to have to find a new Treasury secretary, because I'm not going to go to jail because you failed to act and I have to take some extraordinary action that is unconstitutional. I'm not going to do that."
The country also came close to defaulting in 1995-1996 under President Bill Clinton.


Falsely Accusing the President
Speaker Boehner said Obama is against "fundamental changes to our entitlement programs." But Obama has supported raising the eligibility age for Medicare, means-testing benefits and decreasing future Social Security payments, and he says he has proposed cuts of $650 billion over a decade. Whether those are "fundamental changes" is opinion, but it's false to imply that Obama isn't willing to cut Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell claimed that Obama "rejected the only plan the Democrats have proposed" to increase the debt limit, a reference to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's plan. But that's not true. In fact, White House Press Secretary Carney issued a statement that said the Senate Democrats' proposal was "a responsible compromise" that both parties should support. And in his speech to the nation July 25, the president said: "The Senate has introduced a plan to avoid default, which makes a down payment on deficit reduction and ensures that we don’t have to go through this again in six months. I think that’s a much better approach, although serious deficit reduction would still require us to tackle the tough challenges of entitlement and tax reform."

McConnell's spokesman told us that since the Reid plan didn't raise taxes and Obama has called for doing so, he must not support Reid's plan. But that reasoning is completely contradicted by Obama's explicit support for the Reid proposal.



Won't Get Much from Oil Companies
Obama said Republicans would rather cut Medicare than get rid of tax breaks for oil companies and corporate jet owners. But voters should know that the revenue from raising those taxes wouldn't even amount to 1 percent of the deficit.

The president, in his July 25 speech, said that "most Americans … don’t understand how we can ask a senior citizen to pay more for her Medicare before we ask a corporate jet owner or the oil companies to give up tax breaks that other companies don’t get." But most Americans may not know that those popular-sounding revenue raisers would only bring in about $39 billion over 10 years. That's less than one-half of 1 percent of the $9.5 trillion projected deficit over those 10 years. And it's also a small fraction of the $1.2 trillion in tax revenue the president reportedly has been seeking.


Reagan Wasn't So Reluctant
In a campaign ad, Texas Rep. Ron Paul — no fan of raising the debt limit — falsely suggested that President Ronald Reagan was reluctant to increase the debt ceiling in 1987. But Reagan actually said he had "no objection whatsoever" to doing so.
 
Paul's ad quoted a New York Times article as saying, "'Mr. Reagan reluctantly agreed Saturday to sign the legislation, which also raises the government debt ceiling." … (The emphasis was included in the ad graphics.)

But Reagan's reluctancy in signing the bill had to with his objection to spending cuts that would be triggered under certain circumstances, cuts that he thought would hurt national defense. As we mentioned, Reagan didn't object to raising the debt limit. In fact, he signed legislation to do so 17 times during his eight years in office.


And the debate isn't over yet. We'll be watching for more questionable claims as it rages on.

– by Lori Robertson
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