So, it turns out having a baby makes it a lot harder to blog regularly.
But fear not! For you have in front of you, just in time to share with your undecided voter friends, the 2012 Basic Conservative Election Overview!
The Current Situation
Shoddy journalism, political ads, debates, fact-checkers, fact-checker fact-checkers, and bloggers like me have all conspired to make the truth very slippery indeed this year. Many people believe many things that are simply not true. Some of those things are asserted as truth by the President and his challenger nonetheless, with the full, cynical knowledge that the majority of people listening won’t bother to check–and those that do are political nerds that have already made up their mind about who to vote for, and a few lies won’t change that.
So, depending on who you listen to, we’re currently experiencing an unending recession, or finally seeing the economy recover. If there’s been no recovery, it’s either because George W. Bush dug too deep a hole for us to climb out of in four years, or a huge expansion of government has put the brakes on the economy. The last four years (interestingly) have either seen massive government growth, or the most conservative, spendthrift administration since WWII.
The problem is, each of these statements generated responses saying “that’s not true, here’s the truth!” (That last one is one of my favorites.) And each of those responses generated responses. And each of those… you get the idea.
So let’s take a look at….
The Current Situation (Really)
President Obama inherited a mess. There is no question. The US economy entered a recession in Dec. 2007, kicked off by the bursting housing bubble. Each side has attempted to place 100% of the blame for that on the other side–but there is blame enough to go around, as everyone had their role to play.
The President also came in to office with a plan. The job losses could be stopped with an $800 billion dollar stimulus–in fact, his administration released an analysis that stated that, with the stimulus, unemployment would never reach 8%, and by 2012, would return to below 6% (chart at right).
So in February of 2009, one of the first orders of business of the new Congress and new administration was to pass and sign the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
By October of 2009, unemployment had sailed past 10%. Just last month, we finally, mercifully dipped below 8% for the first time since 2009. Various people have updated the now-infamous chart to reflect what really happened (second chart).
We may not have gained much in the way of jobs from the stimulus. President Obama himself, a couple of years after signing the bill, joked that the shovel-ready jobs he promised were “not as shovel-ready as we expected.” Hilarious.
Many have argued that the stimulus, though it didn’t create many new jobs as hoped, saved millions from being lost–millions! It’s just that nobody can seem to agree on how many. That’s because it’s all speculative. Especially considering that in their rush to present all the jobs saved, the White House started counting people multiple times. From the linked article (emphasis added):
“…contract administrators employed by the state may oversee more than one stimulus project, meaning that they can be double or triple counted in stimulus employee counts.
For example, Bill Cass, NHDOT’s director of development, explained that one administrator is overseeing four projects, and has staff supporting him. Both the administrator and his staff would have been counted four times each in the report’s employment numbers.“
All this to say, the stimulus gives new meaning to “overpromised and underdelivered.” Lots of people throw around lots of numbers, but there are a few things we can be certain of: 23 million people unemployed or underemployed. The left screams when you mention that number “because only 12 million or so are actually unemployed!” But this is a number that the government tracks–the two most useful BLS unemployment numbers are what’s known as the U3 (official rate), currently 7.9%, and the U6, which includes people who have given up looking for work, and people who are working part time only because they cannot find full time employment–currently 14.6%, which is where that 23 million number comes from. And I think those people are getting just as screwed by this economy as those in the 7.9%.
Another thing we can be sure of: the stimulus wasn’t the only thing that was supposed to improve the economy. Despite attempts to place the lack of recovery on the Tea Party and Republicans in Congress preventing the President from being able to get a single thing done, the President got pretty much everything he wanted in his first two years. The stimulus, the CARD act, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform act, an extension of current tax rates (2009 Obama: “You don’t raise taxes (on anyone) in a recession.”) and a boost to the stimulus, plus a few bills addressing housing and hiring incentives–all passed in 2009 and 2010, each one promising to turn the economy around. Obamacare is a series of posts all its own, but let’s at least mention it here, lest we forget that the President really did get everything he wanted.
And yet, as I said above, the official unemployment rate is still 7.9%, up from last month. The economy is still growing far too slowly to pull us out of our slump. And the anemic growth we have seen is itself slowing.
We were told that if we simply spent enough money, none of this would happen. We spent the money. We borrowed it from our children, spent it, and we will now hand them the bill. And yet there is no recovery.
The President has tried. He did exactly what he campaigned on, and it has failed to produce results. This year, he’s campaigning on doing more of the same. More “investment,” which in government-speak, simply means stimulus. But we tried that. All it did was explode the deficit. So his solution is to continue spending like we have, and simply take a little more from those millionaires and billionaires. They can afford it, then we’re in the clear!
But the math does not work. Even if, like the President, you consider anyone making over $250,000 a year a millionaire, letting the “Bush tax cuts” expire on those tax brackets will bring in at most, according to official numbers, $80 billion next year. Our deficits are well over $1000 billion and have been ever since 2009. The President is arguing to cut our deficit by a few percent in words that imply that if we simply raise these taxes on the rich, the debt will be covered. It’s a lie. He’s simply arguing for more of the same.
We have another option. Mitt Romney has spent his life finding ways to balance budgets and turn failures into successes. People attack Bain Capital because some of the companies they bought laid people off, or went out of business. Yes, that happened. Of course that happened. Romney and Bain specialized in buying failing companies and turning them around. Complaining about his record is like attacking an ER doctor for sometimes losing patients. Yes, by the numbers, maybe your pediatrician has never had someone die on the table–but I’d rather have a surgeon who’s dealt with messy situations before if I come in with a ruptured appendix. Romney’s record is phenomenal. Paul Ryan has passed budgets when the President could not–budgets that balance, and make the necessary changes to our bankrupt Social Security and Medicare systems to keep them afloat.
These are men with solid records and a serious plan to fix our mess. President Obama wants to keep doing what we’re doing–what has failed for four years so far–but he’ll get those evil millionaires.
There is only one serious option. This Tuesday, vote Republican.
For those of you that live in states where your vote for President “won’t matter,” or don’t think local races make a difference, please remember that spending bills originate in the House–and historically this has had more of an impact on the government’s spending and debt than the President. I made an embarrassingly low-quality chart to demonstrate:
This is the difference between voting Democrat and voting Republican. This is what you need to remember. The left and the media will yell that Mitt Romney doesn’t care about the poor, or the 47% that won’t vote for him (though they were okay with candidate Obama dismissing anyone that wouldn’t support him in 2008 as bitterly clinging to guns, or religion, or racism). The left and the media will try to convince you Republicans want to ban contraception (they don’t), that Republicans are racist (re-read your history), that Republicans are pro-rape (don’t get me started)–but this chart is the difference. If Senator Obama was right four years ago that borrowing trillions to finance irresponsible spending is unpatriotic (he was), then this chart is all you need to know.
One final note. There were a couple of lies in the recent weeks and during the debates that I didn’t get a chance to write up, but I can’t let pass. One is President Obama’s continued assertion that he’s cut taxes on small businesses and the middle class–18 times, lots of tax cuts, tax cuts for everyone! Unfortunately, the cuts he’s referring to are generally negligible and/or already expired. In fact, he’s put on the books a myriad of tax hikes on small businesses and the middle class–he just made sure they didn’t kick in until 2014, long after it would affect his re-election. And the left has long attempted to conflate “not raising taxes” with “cutting taxes”.
The second lie that I can’t help but comment on came from Vice President Biden during his debate. He looked America in the eye and told a flat-out lie on par with calling the sky yellow. I will quote directly from the USCCB response.
“…the following statement was made during the Vice Presidential debate regarding the decision of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to force virtually all employers to include sterilization and contraception, including drugs that may cause abortion, in the health insurance coverage they provide their employees:
“With regard to the assault on the Catholic Church, let me make it absolutely clear. No religious institution—Catholic or otherwise, including Catholic social services, Georgetown hospital, Mercy hospital, any hospital—none has to either refer contraception, none has to pay for contraception, none has to be a vehicle to get contraception in any insurance policy they provide. That is a fact. That is a fact.”
This is not a fact. The HHS mandate contains a narrow, four-part exemption for certain “religious employers.” That exemption was made final in February and does not extend to “Catholic social services, Georgetown hospital, Mercy hospital, any hospital,” or any other religious charity that offers its services to all, regardless of the faith of those served.”
I put this fully in the category I mentioned at the top of my article–a bald-faced lie told with the full understanding of the truth and the cynical knowledge that the only people that will bother to check won’t change their vote over it. Our Vice President represents everything that we all know is wrong with politics and politicians today and deserves the support and vote of absolutely no one this Tuesday.
Alright. Nothing left to do now but vote. I hope you will, too.