Friday, September 7, 2012

Checking (Part One) published a preliminary evaluation of claims at the Democratic Convention after the first night. They should have waited until their staffers came back from the convention. Their article is filled with erroneous criticisms of true statements made by Democrats.

In its title, FactCheck called these statements "disinformation". Disinformation is deliberately false information created to deceive or confuse people. Soviet Russia perfected the use of disinformation in its propaganda campaigns. Disinformation requires secrecy about the sources of the false information.

FactCheck's calling Democrat statements "disinformation" is almost equivalent to comparing the Democratic party to the KGB. The word has no place in an article written by a neutral source.

Romney would raise taxes for the middle class

FactCheck called the claim that Romney would raise taxes on the middle class to be false. The disputed claim is based on a report by the Tax Policy Center, a bipartisan non-profit organization. The Tax Policy Center report states that it would be impossible for Romney to make all the tax cuts he plans for the wealthy without raising taxes on the middle class. Romney claims that he will make up for tax shortfalls by eliminating tax deductions, without specifying which ones he will target, and by increasing the prosperity of the country.

If Romney makes his tax cuts, amounting to $5 trillion, that heavily favor the wealthy, one of three things has to happen: 
  1. Assuming he pays for those tax cuts with tax deductions, Romney will raise taxes on the middle class by eliminating or reducing tax deductions they currently rely on, such as mortgage deductions, deductions for dependent children, education deductions and charitable giving deductions. The loss of these deductions will raise taxes for the middle and lower class.
  2. Assuming he reduces government spending to pay for those taxes, Romney will reduce government expenditures on Pell grants, college loans, early childhood education, and health care (by repealing Obamacare), causing the middle class to pay more for goods and services currently subsidized by the government. This will create a burden for the middle class that is equivalent to a rise in their taxes; or
  3. Romney will continue to explode the size of the debt as the Republicans did under Bush, weakening government and making it incapable of providing services that the middle and lower class currently rely on, such as Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, (which provides for the elderly and disabled as well as the poor). Cuts to these programs will create a burden for the middle class that the economy may never recover from.
Factcheck discounts these options and trusts Romney's promises to keep middle class taxes the same and make up the difference in increased prosperity caused by lower taxes on the wealthy. Factcheck not only assumes that Romney will keep his promise, but that the conservative analysis of the effects of tax cuts for the wealthy will bring prosperity. This approach didn't work when Reagan tried it and it didn't work when Bush tried it. A definition of insanity is trying the same thing twice and expecting a different result.

Factcheck concludes by saying that Romney has promised to increase neither middle class taxes or the national debt. He hasn't said how he will do it, but "as things stand", Democrats who say he will increase middle class taxes are misrepresenting what he said.

Factcheck knows (or should know) that Romney cannot possibly keep both promises. Democrats are not misrepresenting what Romney said. They are drawing the only possible conclusion that can be drawn from his promises. The Democrats have an obligation to expose their rival's blunders.

Jobs growth under Obama

Factcheck not only agrees with the Democratic claim that the economy created 4.5 million jobs, they demonstrate the math. They assert, however, that Obama should be blamed for the job losses that occurred during his first year in office, before he passed the stimulus plan and before he presented his first budget to congress. Factcheck knows. or should know, that President Obama cannot be held responsible for events that happened before he came into office, such as Bush's off-budget wars and massive tax cuts. Factcheck's attempt to blame Obama for Bush's budget busters is precisely what the Republicans are trying to do. Factcheck should be criticizing them for this falsehood, not repeating it.

Pell Grants

Keynote speaker Castro made the statement that Romney's budget "guts Pell grants". Factcheck accepts Romney's promise that he won't decrease the amount of Pell grants. They don't compare this promise to other statements he has made during the campaign, as when he promised to eliminate the Department of Education, which administers Pell Grants for college students. They also fail to observe that Romney, if he intends to reduce government spending from its present 24% to 20% of the GNP, will have no choice but to gut Pell grants, along with a number of other programs that benefit the middle class and poor. Here again, Factcheck should make a close analysis of the assumptions that surround Romney's promises. Romney cannot keep promises that are cancelled out by his other promises.

(To Be Continued)

No comments: