Comedian Gallagher once said that he sometimes turned up the brightness control on his TV set, but that it didn't help; people on the TV still kept saying dumb things. Yes, I imagine some of us feel the same way. Below are some of the items that I have looked into that are sometimes said on TV, yet they in my mind are simply wrong by either logic, research or data. Most of the items are financial, but a few common political ones at the end. As always, I want to reach the right answers. If you think I am wrong on these, let me know.
WE ARE GOING TO TAKE $500 BILLION OUT OF MEDICARE TO MAKE IT STRONGER
The reason is said to be fraud fixes. Well, since fraud fixes require no conversation and since the money is taken out front end before fraud is determined, the fraud would seem to be in the explanation.
PUBLIC HEALTH WILL SAVE MONEY
It is quite impossible to give free medical to millions of people and also to hire thousands of government employees, and supply those government employees with buildings, expenses and all and it be free.
GOVERNMENT JOBS COUNT IN ECONOMY FIXING
Wrong. About the sole government income is from taxes. So every government employee added plus their expenses and pensions places an even higher tax burden on the private sector.
THE STIMULUS PACKAGE SHOULD HAVE CREATED JOBS
Wrong - in my opinion. Feel free to do your own research. But the last time I tracked the breakdown of the stimulus package, it seemed that most money went to government agencies and to state and local governments or perhaps unions. One of the reasons for this was that a number of state governments seem unable to balance their own budgets. Well, giving money to government has little to do with creating jobs in the private sector. I have heard but not verified that US government has grown 25% recently - now that would be a logical outcome of the stimulus package.
For the next issues - use this graph based on US BEA data which I have used here before. Profit is primarily US income (mostly IRS) minus their expenses.
THE BUSH TAX CUTS DID NOT WORK
Wrong. After two recessions in 2001 - the dot.com recession and 911 on travel, the Bush tax cuts showed good growth between years 2003 and 2007.
GIVING TAX BREAKS TO THE WEALTHY REDUCES INCOME
Wrong. See the above graph and last explanation. The years 2003 to 2007 show increased US revenues.
THE BUSH ECONOMY WAS MOSTLY DUE TO WAR
No. Looking at the chart the three recessions during the Bush era dominate over all else. There were the two in 2001, and then also a housing mortgage recession in 2008. In between there was an improving trend from 2003 to 2007 due to the Bush tax cuts. While the war of course had some effect, its amount was so limited that it is hard to tell from this graph. Note that 2007 also had both wars, and yet its value was similar to at least some of the Clinton years. So a cost yes, but the major part of it? Absolutely not. How much the war cost would need information in addition to this chart.
RECESSIONS CAN BE FIXED BY THE LATEST 2000+ PAGED OBAMA REGULATIONS
Maybe. I cannot be certain since I have not read these regulations, but based on conversation by the Obama administration, I doubt it. My reason is that in order to fix something, one must first understand the problems. In my opinion, the three recessions over the last decade were due to three DIFFERENT reasons. They were:
1. Dot.Com recession in 2001 - over-priced technology stocks including internet stocks crashed dropping the stock market badly losing money for many and jobs for others.
2. The Al Qaeda Islamic Extremist attack on 911 caused the second recession, also in 2001.
3. The Housing Mortgage Recession of 2008. This problem was said to have grown since bad mortgages were also bundled and sold between banks and financial institutions.
While Washington seems to blame all three recession solely on industry and have industry regulations but none for government or increased security seems to be a government lack of understanding of the issues. Some of us feel that government controlled Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac - who may control 50% of US mortgages or so was more than a little involved in the cause of the 2008 recession. In addition, these two companies were often controlled by Democrats Chris Dodd and Barney Frank and some news commentators are certain that they have found out that Barney Frank encouraged them to take bad mortgages in order to help the poor. At the same time, Bob Woodword's new book quotes Obama as saying that the US could withstand another 911. Well, in spite of the perhaps 6000 American lives lost in 911 and the wars afterwards, 911 was also one of the three recessions.
For me to believe that Obama and the US government are serious about reducing recessions, in order to win my vote, they would have to have made the security against Islamic Jihadists more secure and not less as they have done, and also they would have had to fire Chris Dodd and Barney Frank and put many controls on Fannie and Freddie. However, I understand that the regulations package had ZERO regulations for Fannie and Freddie and that Chris Dodd and Barney Frank were not only not fired, but given the job to write regulations for everyone BUT themselves. Meanwhile the regulations for industry should have been much shorter and easily understood, since industry was only involved in 1 or 1.5 of the 3 recessions of the last decade - my opinion.
POLITICAL BUT NON FINANCIAL NEWS NONSENSE
I realize that this is outside much of the framework of this linked-in discussion, but I think it adds to the reasons why it is no longer easy to trust many news Networks. Some common headlines:
Bush and Cheney Outed CIA Agent Valerie Plame and Scooter Libby is Guilty
Wrong. The article that outed CIA agent Valerie Plame was written by writer Robert Novak. Mr. Novak is now deceased; but before he died, on a television show (I watched his lips) he named his source as Richard Armitage. So now we have a confession and full disclosure. But almost everyone ignores those facts. Special Prosecutor Fitzgerald ignored Richard Armitage - who was in the Bush admin, but an anti-war anti-Bush person, and prosecuted Scooter Libby for obstruction or justice, or some nonsense similar. To this day, some news outlets ignore the truth and blame Bush and Cheney.
Sarah Palin was Guilty of an Ethics Violation in Firing a State Trooper
Wrong. What most news sources failed to say was that the state trooper was still employed while she was being accused of this so called ethics violation. So then, her crime was: "thinking about firing someone but then not doing it"? Yes, a thought crime. We take up TV news time for this? No matter also that the trooper had threatened Sarah's parents, tasered a youngster and was also found drunk in his car. The only way this news article worked was when networks purposely told only 30% of the story.
Bush Fired 10 Lawyers and He and His Attorney General should lose their Jobs.
Wrong. I have never heard anything that even resembles a crime. First of all, I understand that those lawyers serve at the pleasure of the president - that means no crime possible. Secondarily, Clinton fired 93 lawyers and no one cared, and several presidents fired over 90. When the news commentators are confronted by Clinton firing 93 at least some seemed to know that and said "but, but, Clinton fired them at the right time - when coming into office and Bush fired them later". Well, then, that would imply a law I have not heard that says presidents must fire lawyers within this or that period. I have not heard of such a law. To my way of thinking, the person firing lawyers the day they enter office is more likely to do so for political reasons. Letting them work and observe them as Bush did, well, that at least MIGHT suggest someone looked into their worth before firing them. But also note that Obama fired inspector general Walpin after Walpin was investigating one of Obama's friends. The law that Obama even voted on says it should take 30 days before the firing of such an inspector. Obama clearly broke the law, unlike Bush who did not, but the news did not care.
The method of Walpin's firing could be a violation of the 2008
Inspectors General Reform Act, which requires the president to give Congress 30
days' notice, plus an explanation of cause, before firing an inspector general.
Then-Sen. Barack Obama was a co-sponsor of that legislation.
Climate Warming is Agreed by All Scientists
Wrong. Richard Lindzen of MIT has taken measurements in space and now even doubts that the earth has much of a greenhouse effect at all. It was also Richard who pointed out that if the government gives many millions of dollars in research to those who try to prove global warming, but zero dollars and bad press to those who find there is no global warming, as he says, "guess what answer you might get?". Also - did you know that CO2 is not much more than 0.03% of our atmosphere? That can block something? And the group who wants the world "green" has pushed Obama's EPA to declare CO2 a poisonous gas even though many green plants need CO2. Seems a built in oxymoron. And of course, if you and I exhale today, we might expel CO2 and thus be breaking the law. Well, many scientists think that this is all just a ruse to tax people. The best site for information collect on this I have seen is: climate depot at: http://www.climatedepot.com/. The owner of this site claims to have argued climate data with NASA itself .... and won. I am not going to say that all of climate warning is wrong. What I will say, is that so far, this has been very bad science.
"Weapons of Mass Distortion" - by L. Brent Bozell III
Quote of the Month:
After reading the above book I had been talking with the Mother in Law of one of my sons, who was also a librarian. I said that news is no longer news but now commentary and opinion. Without pause she responded: "And there is no such thing as a non-fiction book". Wow. No moss grows on that nice Librarian lady.