Five Big Lies In Obama's Fairness Speech
Election '12: One thing is certainly true about President Obama - no matter how many times people point out the falsehoods in his speeches, he just keeps making them. Case in point: his latest "economic fairness" address.
In that speech Tuesday, Obama once again tried to build a case for his liberal, big-spending, tax-hiking, regulatory agenda. But as with so many of his past appeals, Obama's argument rests on a pile of untruths. Among the most glaring:
• Tax cuts and deregulation have "never worked" to grow the economy. There's so much evidence to disprove this claim, it's hard to know where to start. But let's begin with the fact that countries with greater economic freedom - lower taxes, less government, sound money, free trade - consistently produce greater overall prosperity.
Here at home, President Reagan's program of lower taxes and deregulation led to an historic two-decade economic boom. Plus, states with lower taxes and less regulation do better than those that follow Obama's prescription.
Obama also claimed the economic booms in the '50s and '60s somehow support his argument. This is utter nonsense. Taxes at the time averaged just 17% of the economy. And there was no Medicare, no Medicaid, no Departments of Transportation, Energy or Education, and no EPA. Had Obama been around then, he would have decried it all as un-American.
• Bush's tax cuts on the rich only managed to produced "massive deficits" and the "slowest job growth in half a century." Budget data make clear that Obama's spending hikes, not Bush's tax cuts, produced today's massive deficits.
And Obama only gets his "slowest job growth" number by including huge job losses during his own term in office. Also, monthly pre-recession job growth under Bush was about 40% higher than post-recession growth has been under Obama.
• During the Bush years, "we had weak regulation, we had little oversight." This is patently false. Regulatory staffing climbed 42% under Bush, and regulatory spending shot up 50%, according to a Washington University in St. Louis/George Washington University study. And the number of Federal Register pages - a proxy for regulatory activity - was far higher under Bush than any previous president.
• The "wealthiest Americans are paying the lowest taxes in over half a century." Fact: the federal income tax code is now more progressive than it was in 1979, according to the Congressional Budget Office. IRS data show the richest 1% paid almost 40% of federal income taxes in 2009, up from 18% back in 1980.
• We can keep tax breaks for the rich in place, or make needed investments, "but we can't do both." Not true. Repealing the Bush tax cuts on the "rich" would raise only about $70 billion a year, a tiny fraction of projected deficits. With or without the Bush tax cuts, the country can't afford Obama's agenda.
Obama's continued dismal approval ratings suggest that voters aren't buying into these lies - yet.
But they might, if he's able to endlessly repeat them without a peep of protest from the mainstream press.