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The Ant Hill : Do You Believe the Unbelievable??

The Ant Hill

by Anthony Jovinelli

 Do You Believe the Unbelievable??


So, how do you believe the unbelievable?

It’s up for Debate…


Fact checking of the Presidential Campaign and Debates can be a tremendously tedious task to tell the truth. So many claims made and so much is at stake. The course of the next four years will be decided on November 6th. Our one vote, for that day, is based on a myriad of statements, retorts, TV ads and Mudslinging. Donald Trump insists on seeing President Obama’s documentation while Superstars like George Clooney and Sarah Jessica Parker hold $1,000.00 a plate fundraisers for him.

So, where does the truth lay in all of this? Somebody has to clear out the massive smoke screens and FactCheck.Org has. This is an organization that depends solely on public funding, to keep politicians held accountable for the actions and words… In a new TV ad, President Obama makes an inflated claim to have added 5.2 million new jobs. The total added during his time in office is actually about 325,000. Also, don’t believe the hype about the unemployment rate decreasing. That figure is based off of the number of people on unemployment as it relates to the number of available jobs in the country. The percentage has decreased, not because more people have jobs, it is because there are less jobs to be had due to the multitude of businesses succumbing to the bad economy. As for Mitt, Romney claimed 580,000 women have lost jobs under Obama. The true figure is closer to 93,000.

Obama lifted a Romney quote about wind energy out of context in an attempt to draw a sharper contrast between himself and Romney on renewable energy. Romney didn’t call wind energy “imaginary,” as Obama claimed. Rather, Romney said that wind and solar cannot “power the economy.” Romney contested Obama’s characterization during the debate.                                                                Obama: So, for example, on wind energy, when Governor Romney says these are imaginary jobs, when you’ve got thousands of people right now in Iowa, right now in Colorado, who are working, creating wind power with good-paying manufacturing jobs, and the Republican senator … in Iowa is all for it.                                               Romney: I don’t have a policy of stopping wind jobs in Iowa and that — they’re not phantom jobs. They’re real jobs. I appreciate wind jobs in Iowa and across our country. Romney opposes the extension of wind production tax credits (though he does support funding for basic research into cleaner energy technology, including wind). But Romney didn’t call wind energy jobs “imaginary.”

Romney said that “I am not going to have people at the high end pay less than they’re paying now” under his tax plan. But that’s not what he said earlier, as Obama correctly noted. Obama stated that during the Republican primary, Romney stood onstage and said, I’m going to give tax cuts — he didn’t say tax rate cuts; he said tax cuts — to everybody, including the top 1 percent, you should believe him, because that’s been his history. Romney pushed back, explaining that “I’m not looking to cut taxes for wealthy people.” But his remarks this time were different in tone and substance than what he said before, as the president suggested. Obama was referring to an exchange during a Republican primary debate, when Rick Santorum charged that Romney “suggested raising taxes on the top 1 percent.” Romney countered: I said today that we’re going to cut taxes on everyone across the country by 20 percent, including the top 1 percent.

Obama claimed that Romney “said we should let Detroit go bankrupt,” while Romney countered that “the president took Detroit bankrupt. … That was precisely what I recommended and ultimately what happened.” There’s some truth and misleading bits on both sides here. Romney wrote a Nov. 18, 2008, op-ed, published in the New York Times, that carried the headline “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt.” He argued against a bailout but for a “managed bankruptcy” in which he said that the “federal government should provide guarantees for post-bankruptcy financing and assure car buyers that their warranties are not at risk.” The automakers did go through a managed bankruptcy but not exactly the way Romney proposed. Obama provided loans and made equity investments in General Motors and Chrysler. Both President George W. Bush and Obama used federal funds through TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program). GM and Chrylser got $80 billion, and nearly $41 billion has been repaid. Obama required the car companies to come up with reorganization plans as a condition for receiving the federal aid.                                          A Congressional Research Service report on the restructuring of GM published in September concluded that “Without the U.S. government assistance, GM would not have been able to pay creditors, suppliers, or workers and would most likely have entered bankruptcy earlier with a less certain outcome.” It said that government support enabled an orderly reorganization and “may have reduced collateral damage to many auto suppliers and some of the other automakers who buy parts from them,” but it also “exposed the U.S. government to risk that not all the assistance would be recovered.”

Romney repeated a few other old claims that have been checked before:

  • He said Obama “doubled” the deficit. Romney is wrong. Obama inherited a projected $1.2 trillion deficit when he took office, as we wrote after the last debate. The government actually ended up with a $1.4 trillion deficit that year — a record. And deficits have remained high since then. It’s true that Obama hasn’t delivered on his 2009 State of the Union address promise to cut the deficit in half by the end of his first term. CBO estimates the president’s latest budget plan would drop the deficit to $702 billion in fiscal 2014 and $539 billion in fiscal 2015.
  • Romney accused Obama of saying “no” to an oil pipeline from Canada, which isn’t entirely accurate. In fact, no final decision has been made on the cross-border Keystone XL pipeline project, which would run from Hardisty, Alberta, in Canada to Steele City, Neb. The TransCanada pipeline company says it will submit a new application soon and anticipates quick approval of the project “in the first quarter of 2013, after which construction will quickly begin.” The Obama administration denied TransCanada’s original route in November 2011 because of concerns that it would pass through the ecologically sensitive Sandhills area of Nebraska.
  • Romney said health insurance premiums had gone up by $2,500. Not true. The average premium for a family employer-based policy has gone up $1,975 between 2010 and 2012, according to an annual survey of employer plans by the Kaiser Family Foundation and Health Research & Educational Trust. That’s the total increase for both employers and employees. And Kaiser’s 2011 and 2012 reports said that the amount paid by employees hadn’t changed much.
  • Romney claimed, as he has in many stump speeches, that Obama “said that by now we’d have unemployment at 5.4 percent.” Romney is referring to a speculative report issued at the beginning of Obama’s presidency containing projections — not promises — about how the stimulus would affect the economy.  Those projections relied on prevailing economic models that quickly proved to have underestimated the depths of the recession at that time.

Q: Do companies get a tax break for shipping U.S. jobs overseas?
A: Not specifically for that reason. But companies can deduct business expenses, including the cost of moving a job to another state or even out of the country.

So, if all of this is confusing, don’t be disheartened. It’s meant to be. As the Campaigns proceed and the Election gets closer, they want you thinking more about Donald Trump and The Big Bird controversy than about the actual issues at hand. I leave you with 2 more thoughts. Before you make the decision about whose button to push on November 6th, fact check what is being said. The website I provided is only one of many dedicated to translating political jargon into language for us common folk. Also think about the past four years. If you are happy with the direction the country is moving then your choice is obvious.


“The Noblest question in the world is: “What good can I do in it?”

Ben Franklin

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