Sunday, 23 September 2012
I live in a swing state so I always get interesting mail come election time. I thought I'd share the propaganda this year with pictures. All of the ads are anti-obama, but I live in a poor, liberal and predominantly minority neighborhood so I guess they're trying harder to sway my vote. I will also rate each factual claim on how true it is (albeit in my opinion) and tally up the results at the end.
1) Obama officials "admit" 55 billion of stimulus cash may have been lost through waste, fraud and abuse. Not true. The guy they hired to monitor how the stimulus was spent to prevent waste, fraud and abuse predicted that between 40 and 55 billion would be lost to it based solely on the size of the money amount and a study from the year 2000 on typical rates of waste, fraud and abuse - it had nothing to do with the contents of the bill itself and was a prediction made before any money was spent, not a conclusion made after the bill took effect.
Plus the goal of the stimulus was to pump enough cash into the economy to make us stop losing jobs, and it did that. We haven't had a net loss of jobs once since the stimulus ended. So it's kind of like looking at this picture:
and saying "Fire department officials ADMIT that nearly 7 percent of this water may have been WASTED!
So anyway, I give this one
Claim 2: 1.9 million was spent studying exotic ants. This claim is actually true. They don' tell you it's because ant diversity is a good metric for the health of an ecosystem and they're studying "exotic" ants to compare the ecosystems of virginal, tropical areas to those of industrialized areas in order to try to develop a system for telling objectively whether an ecosystem is getting better or worse, but the actual fact is true so I give it:
$144,541 was spent to see how monkeys react under the influence of cocaine.
This one is technically true, but incredibly dishonest - the way they word it it makes it sound like scientists are getting monkeys coked up and studying their behavior, when the study was actually to study the way their brains became addicted to try to find drug treatments for addiction in humans, ie a magic pill that will make you not want to do drugs or drink alcohol any more. If you think this is a waste of 144 grand, mark this one as "true". I'm going to generously give it:
Ohio's unemployment rate is 10.6%
Everything I'm googling says 7.2% - unemployment but since unemployment rate calculations employ a bit of hocus pocus no matter who is doing them, and because unemployment is in reality high and because they qualified their statement, I'll give them
Claim 5: Since obama took office 88,000 ohio workers have lost their jobs.
This is technically true, but irrelevant. They tallied the number of ohioans employed the month obama took office and compared it to the number employed now, which is 88,000 less - they ignore that ohioans lost 277,400 jobs since 2007 when the recession actually started and that most of the president's term we've been gaining jobs. When obama came into office the country was losing nearly a million jobs a month. It's kind of like handing someone the steering wheel when the car has already gone off the road and denouncing them a bad driver for hitting a tree. But since the figure is technically accurate, I will give this one:
Total score, 60/100
This one's factually redundant but I'm posting it just to be thorough.
I lol'd at the line "WORST RECOVERY EVER." Like totally omg.
I may be reading into this a bit much but this is the only one so far with both mitt and obama on it and I can't help but notice their choice of background colors... I wonder what they're trying to highlight about the two candidates...
But anyway, to the "facts":
Claim 1: Barrack obama said businesses don't create jobs - bold faced lie. What he said was actually that no one succeeds in a vacuum and that a business did not create the system in which it operates:
"If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen." By "that" he was referring to the things he listed earlier, ie america. This claim was busted a long time ago and they keep repeating it.
President Obama says the private sector is "doing fine". Half true. While those two words did leave his lips, he was describing the rate of recovery relative to local governments. What he actually said was:
"The truth of the matter is that, as I said, we’ve created 4.3 million jobs over the last 27 months, over 800,000 just this year alone. The private sector is doing fine. Where we’re seeing weaknesses in our economy have to do with state and local government — oftentimes, cuts initiated by governors or mayors who are not getting the kind of help that they have in the past from the federal government and who don’t have the same kind of flexibility as the federal government in dealing with fewer revenues coming in. And so, if Republicans want to be helpful, if they really want to move forward and put people back to work, what they should be thinking about is, how do we help state and local governments and how do we help the construction industry. Because the recipes that they’re promoting are basically the kinds of policies that would add weakness to the economy, would result in further layoffs, would not provide relief in the housing market, and would result, I think most economists estimate, in lower growth and fewer jobs, not more."
To characterize his statements as being oblivious to the plight of the average american is very dishonest. But since the words "the private sector is doing fine" left his lips, I will give this one
The next claim that obama's policies have "killed jobs", while I think is a crock of shit, I can't honestly evaluate objectively because it gives no specifics.
Claim 3: Obama promised to create millions of jobs and hasn't. As stated in the above quote, that is simply not true.
Now onto the claims about romney.
Claim 1: Romney's plan will create more "take home pay".
This is a euphamism for cutting the federal income tax rate, but as romney himself said, 47% of americans are too poor to pay it, not to mention their wages consistently go down under republican administrations as do their share of the nation's wealth, so while I personally think this is total spin and is just economic hocus pocus of taking a dollar out of one pocket and putting ten cents back into the other and calling it a gift, and that the majority of americans will be poorer under his plan (even factoring in the general shittiness of the economy), I will generously give this one:
Because it will add more "take home pay" for roughly 50 percent of americans in at least one sense of the word.
Claim 2: Romney has a plan to create 12 million jobs by the end of his first term.
I googled this to see what his plan was, and I will by extension add the claims of the plan to the tally. Here's his amazing plan:
Claim 3: "And unlike the President, I have a plan to create 12 million new jobs. It has 5 steps. First, by 2020, North America will be energy independent by taking full advantage of our oil and coal and gas and nuclear and renewables."
In the ad it said he would create 12 million jobs by the end of his first term - even if his plan could produce 12 million new jobs (which is doubtful since his new plan contains no actual math, job data or estimates) his first term will not end in 2020, so:
Claim 4: "Second, we will give our fellow citizens the skills they need for the jobs of today and the careers of tomorrow. When it comes to the school your child will attend, every parent should have a choice, and every child should have a chance."
He is referring to a private school voucher program - your child will not go to school, grow up and start working before his first trerm ends, nor will this magically make there be a job there waiting for him when he graduates. Furthermore increasing demand for private schooling decreases demand for public schooling so jobs-wise it's a wash.
"Third, we will make trade work for America by forging new trade agreements. And when nations cheat in trade, there will be unmistakable consequences."
Even though this sounds like white noise and annoys me I'm not going to count this for or against because it's just rhetoric, there's no actual claim to evaluate.
Claim 5: "Fourth, to assure every entrepreneur and every job creator that their investments in America will not vanish as have those in Greece, we will cut the deficit and put America on track to a balanced budget."
Romney's plan as a matter of mathematical fact, will increase the deficit dramatically. As will the plan of nearly every republican because it is impossible to close the deficit through spending cuts alone, especially when republicans always cut taxes and spending at the same time which entirely negates the positive effect on the deficit.
Claim 6: "And fifth, we will champion SMALL businesses, America’s engine of job growth. That means reducing taxes on business, not raising them. It means simplifying and modernizing the regulations that hurt small business the most. And it means that we must rein in the skyrocketing cost of healthcare by repealing and replacing Obamacare."Many claims have been made that the healthcare reforms will cost jobs, some studies say it will net jobs, others that it will lose them. But the estimates are all in the thousands, not the millions, so...
The rest of the ad is basically the same stuff repeated from the speech, so yeah - on to the final piece of propaganda:
Claim 1: Obama said his plan would skyrocket electricity rates.
True. Though to be fair he said this in 2008 before the economy went into the shitter and hasn't made a move to do anything about cap and trade since it did, probably because it would be hard on families.
100/100 (almost forgot what they looked like)
Claim 2: The plan "could" cost americans $1,761 a year. I'm gonna give this a half true because that estimate does exist, but an MIT study put it at more like 300 bucks a year per family and a lot of that will be covered by pre-existing subsidies, so yeah.
Claim 3: It will be the equivalent of a 15% income tax hike - do I even have to debunk this? Seriously?
Overall score, 50/50
Averaged over all three ads (ignoring the redundant one): 40.83/100
So there you have it. Remember to vote.