Lying Sack of Mitt
On CNBC’s The Kudlow Report, Mitt Romney made the following observation.
“Well, I think the president made an error coming into office and deciding that the economy would take care of itself and he focused his energy on a series of liberal plans that he and his friends have been working on for years; take over the health care industry, a massive regulation of financial services in this country, trying to impose unions where employees don’t want them, a new energy policy, slowing down the leasing of federal lands for the production of oil and gas.”
In eighty-five words, Willard told seven lies, and later in the interview he outdid himself and tried to peddle alternative history on a grand scale. First, the president did not make any decision “that the economy would take care of itself.” The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 abbreviated ARRA (Pub.L. 111-5) is commonly referred to as the Stimulus or The Recovery Act. It is an economic stimulus package enacted by the 111th United States Congress in February 2009 and signed into law on February 17, 2009, by President Barack Obama. This was less than a month after President Obama’s inauguration. The ARRA is a favorite target of Republican candidates and groups, and more than a few ads falsely claim it did not create or save any jobs. The truth is, however, As FactCheck.org has written, “the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office released a report in August that said the stimulus bill has lowered the unemployment rate by between 0.7 percentage points and 1.8 percentage points” and increased the number of people employed by between 1.4 million and 3.3 million.” While it is difficult to determine the precise number of jobs created and saved by the ARRA all nonpartisan economists and economic commentators say there is no doubt that the number is significantly positive. According to FactCheck.org, “Simply put, more people would be unemployed if not for the stimulus bill.” Mitt’s initial comment is thus a misrepresentation wrapped within a prevarication.
Second, President Obama did not “focus his energy on a series of liberal plans.” The President is a gifted politician. He is an intelligent person. He is a good and decent man. He is not, however, a doctrinaire liberal in any meaningful and accurate use of that label. His instincts and preferences are seemingly progressive, but his proposals and his policies are largely pragmatic. The Republicans are so fixated on their own narrow point of view that they see any divergence as radical socialism and attribute it to profound and relentless liberalism, if not socialism. Despite this fantasy which Mitt strives to arouse and encourage, Barack Obama is not a person who “focused his energy on a series of liberal plans that he and his friends have been working on for years.” It may be comforting to believe this and feel good to assert it, but is simply is not so. As Roger D. Hodge, author of the Mendacity of Hope, observes, “The Republican Party’s opposition to the Obama Administration has nothing really to do with conservatism or liberalism. The Republicans simply wish to seize power again, and they will apparently say anything toward that end.”
Willard managed to slip in the most popular of Republican canards, the one about taking over the health care industry. This has been refuted so frequently and so thoroughly that it is incredible any candidate or spokesperson can repeat it with a straight face. It shows how craven much of the media are that people who make this blatantly false claim are not hooted from the set. The ACA does not take over the health care and none of the proposals made in the tortuous effort enact this signature piece of legislation even advanced this as an objective. In http://expatspost.com/creative/lord-of-the-lies/ – an effort was made to drive a stake through the heart of this specimen of “living dead” untruth. Among other dubious distinctions, the takeover claim was PolitiFact’s Lie of the Year for 2010, but Mitt blithely repeats it in 2012 and an alleged journalist gives him a pass.
Mitt was far from through with the falsehoods, however. He skipped happily on to attack “a massive regulation of financial services in this country.” After a worldwide financial meltdown — and a $700 billion taxpayer-funded bailout, the need for a serious regulatory response seemed clear to most competent observers. The outcome was “the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010” better known as Dodd-Frank. Critics including Willard make false attacks against the law in an effort to undermine it. They may be intentionally misleading or just misguided, but they are certainly wrong about the law’s purpose and impact. The law does not perpetuate or aggravate a “job killing uncertainty.” It addresses the inherent uncertainty of a secretive and reckless financial system that led to a catastrophic dysfunction that was years in the making. In order to rebuild broad prosperity, false talking points and greed-driven accusations must not divert or deter efforts to restore confidence in and order to our financial system. The Dodd-Frank law is squarely aimed at effective regulation of the largest and most complex Wall Street firms — the ones that were most responsible for the financial crisis and still represent the most risk to a stable and proper system. Mitt Romney often says that Dodd-Frank is “a killer for the small banks.” .As usual, he completely misrepresents the law “which came to Congress and asked us to modernize and strengthen financial regulations, leveling the playing field against the shadow banking industry — entities such as payday lenders and mortgage brokers that had been created to avoid regulation.” In truth, community banks, which were not responsible for the crisis, will pay lower premiums for deposit insurance and continue to work with their existing regulators. Although the nation has more than 6,000 banks, the bulk of the new regulations apply only to a few dozen of the largest ones, each holding more than $50 billion in assets. Some community banks have expressed concern about an overzealous FDIC, but to the extent this zeal exists it is a reaction to the crisis, not a consequence of the Dodd-Frank act. Romney’s rant about massive regulation of the financial industry betrays a desire on his part to return to a time in which nobody — consumers, regulators, or even other banks — knew what the Wall Street high rollers were doing until it was too late to stop their exaggerated risk taking. This would destroy confidence in the financial markets and trust in the banking system. It would harm or reverse the recovery. It would once again put Americans at the mercy of banksters who have already ripped off too many families, trust funds, charities, and businesses without a single meaningful consequence falling upon them.
Mitt accused President Obama of “trying to impose unions where employees don’t want them.” This must have come as a surprise to both the president and the unions. Perhaps, Mitt regards the desire of NLRB Chair Mark Pearce “to require businesses to hand over lists of employee phone numbers and emails to union leaders before an election.” Because Romney and most prominent Republicans seem to have a pre-National Labor Relations Act view of unions, they would regard any facilitation of union contact with employees as an attempt to impose unions. These people are not troubled in the least by deliberate and determined efforts to impede union organizing thereby preventing a fair consideration of organizing drives by employees. As usual, Mitt never gives any specifics and the purported journalist interviewing him does not ask for any evidence or explanation.
Romney wrapped up his opening salvo of falsehoods with the claim that President Obama enacted a new energy policy thus, “slowing down the leasing of federal lands for the production of oil and gas.” This claim rests on a particularly novel interpretation of federal lands which encompasses virtually every foot of land on the Atlantic, Pacific, and Gulf coasts. The fact that the Obama administration has not thrown all of these open to exploration and drilling is construed as “slowing down the leasing of federal lands.” Given the Deep Water Horizon disaster a bit of slowing down might be perfectly sensible. Despite this justifiable caution, domestic oil production is at the highest level in eight years, and America is less dependent on foreign oil than it has been in sixteen years. The graph shows the trend in domestic oil production.
It hardly can be said that the production of oil has slowed under President Obama. In regards to natural gas – the following chart shows the facts.
As the chart shows, domestic production of natural gas has increased every year President Obama has been in office. Now domestic production is at an all-time high.
For Mitt, the preceding seven bald faced lies were not enough. He had to try to slip in the coup de grace. “Well, I’m not going to predict, you know, the economic future, but I can tell you that you don’t raise taxes on people in the middle of a downturn like this, particularly one that’s gone on for three and a half years.” Note the smoothness and subtly of this prevarication. He leads with the standard Republican pitch about no tax increases and then, puts the beginning of the Great Recession precisely where he needs it to be for campaign purposes.
This shows how deceitful Mitt is and how lax those covering him are. The downturn Mitt refers to: “Great Recession started in late 2007” according to most competent economic commentators, among them, Robert J. Samuelson of the Washington Post, who refuses to vote in any election to protect his impartiality as a journalist. Thus, Mitt cleverly misinformed any viewers of the Kudlow Report, and escaped challenge by the largely fawning Kudlow. Why did Mitt do this beyond his general disregard for accuracy and truth? 2012 and 7 months minus 3 years and 6 months yields 2009 and 1 month, and assigns the start of the downturn to January 2009 when President Obama was inaugurated.
This is a truly powerful distortion because it could lull people into falsely recollecting that the Great Recession began under President Obama. It could also obscure the true authors of our troubles – the Bush Administration and the policies it pushed through Congress during the Republican’s last ascendancy. For the good of the Republic, we the people need to understand what happened and when and why it happened. If Mitt Romney gains the Presidency through distractions, distortions and skillful deception, he will be an illegitimate president because consent gained through fraud is no consent at all. The graph below gives the lie to Mitt’s brazen effort to rewrite history.
This chart shows first that the downturn started well before President Obama took office, it also shows that almost immediately after he took office, things began to improve.
Perhaps inadvertently, Mitt said something sensible and accurate toward the end of the interview. “And we ought to give, whichever president is going to be elected, at least six months or a year to get those policies in place.” Unfortunately, this highlights another repeated falsehood that pollutes his stump speeches and almost every utterance of significance he makes. This sensible assertion of six month to a year gives the lie to Mitt’s most ferocious attack on President Obama’s achievements. The light of truth and logic in this area as in so many others will set us free of the tsunami of slime if only we have ears to hear and eyes to see.
In the cutthroat world of high finance, lying may be a valuable skill. In the race for the presidency it is a “fire bell in the night.” Mitt Romney must be prevented from lying and buying his way into the White House. It is the patriotic duty of all citizens and especially those who purport to be journalists, to challenge lies when candidates spout them and reveal the purveyors of deceit as the bad actors they are.
As Ezra Klein explains in the following video, by Mitt’s criterion, the jobs record for which President Obama should be held accountable is somewhere between “pretty damn good and absolutely great.” Thus, the opening salvo of the Romney campaign is by Romney’s own judgment hogwash. Like almost everything else Romney says, “In the real world, it’s just another Republican lie.
Tags: financial services, healthcare, jobs, journalism, lies, Oil and Gas, propaganda, Regulation, romney, Unions