Rebutting Right Wing Zombie Lies

SUBMITTED BY DENNIS CRAWFORD ON 3 MARCH 2013–3:01PM

We now live in an era where disinformation is spewed out by the Right Wing Media 24/7. Millions of Americans get most (or all) of their news from the Right Wing Media and as a result, they are very poorly informed. For example, polling reveals that a much higher percentage of Fox viewers believe that we found WMDs in Iraq when we didn’t find any.

The presence and influence of the Conservative Media has led to a number of very influential Right Wing Zombie lies. The GOP has also been complicit in spreading these lies because they know that their agenda is very unpopular with a majority of the American people. They know they have to cloak their genuine beliefs with Right Wing Zombie lies in order to win elections.

I’m going to take a swing at rebutting some of the more prominent lies but I must confess rebutting Right Wing Zombie lies is a full time job. Here we go.

1. Tax cuts pay for themselves.

Because most of the GOP tax cuts go to the wealthy, right wingers have to justify this by telling people that these tax cuts don’t cost them anything and are a free lunch. However, the empirical evidence certainly doesn’t back up this claim.

The GOP aligned Heritage Foundation (a source frequently relied upon by the GOP) in a 2006 analysis of extending the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts estimated that only 30 percent of the gross revenue loss would be recouped through increased economic activity generated by the tax cuts.

Even the architects of the Bush tax cuts don’t believe that they pay for themselves. Robert Carroll, a U.S. Treasury Department official during Bush’s second term said: “As a matter of principle, we do not think tax cuts pay for themselves.” On September 28, 2006, Stanford economist Edward Lazear, chairman of the CEA in Bush’s second term, testified before the Senate Budget Committee: “Will the tax cuts pay for themselves? As a general rule, we do not think tax cuts pay for themselves. Certainly, the data…do not support this claim.”

It should also be noted that federal tax revenues declined from 21% of GDP in 2000 to 15% of GDP by the time Bush left office in early 2009. At the same time, federal spending as a percentage of GDP increased from 18% to 24%. It’s pretty obvious that Bush ushered in a new era of huge deficits.

2. Conservative Republicans support small or limited government.

The reality is that the GOP supports big government and isn’t afraid to use the power of government to achieve its political and economic goals. The GOP has used big government to limit the most sacred right of all — the right to vote. In many of the battleground states like Florida and Pennsylvania, GOP controlled governments passed voter suppression laws that required government identification to vote, and placed severe limits on early voting and voter registration drives.

This tells us that the GOP knows that they can’t win an election on the merits in swing states — they have to change the rules to make it harder for Democrats to vote. However, these voter suppression laws backfired on the GOP in 2012 and made minority voters impacted by these laws even more determined to vote. Millions of voters waited in lines for hours last year to cast their vote for President Obama and the Democratic ticket. This backlash probably caused Romney to lose Florida.

The Republicans have also used big government to break up voluntary organizations of citizens like public sector unions. This was an obvious political strategy by the GOP to make it harder for unions to turn out voters and contribute to Democratic candidates.

Imagine the outrage from the GOP if some Democratic controlled government in a blue state made it harder for corporations to contribute to GOP aligned Super PACs? We would be hearing all kinds of screaming from the GOP about an assault on “liberty, “freedom,” or the “Constitution.”

Conservatives also believe that government should make reproductive health care decisions for women and their doctors. Moreover, these same so-called “small government” conservatives support legislation that would make it so that employers would be free to decide whether to cover contraception for their employees. Apparently, the GOP’s idea of freedom of choice doesn’t extend to all Americans — just to those who do the hiring. The GOP doesn’t believe in freedom for individuals — they only believe in freedom for businesses.

The only people in America who get the “benefit” of the conservatives’ so-called “limited government” philosophy are the wealthy and the large corporations who receive tax breaks and deregulation.

3. Right Wingers are fiscal conservatives.

Dwight D. Eisenhower was the last Republican President to balance the budget back during the 1950s. Republican icon Ronald Reagan tripled the national debt during his Presidency due to tax cuts and a defense spending spree.

More recently, George W. Bush doubled the national debt during his Presidency. The nation’s fiscal situation took the biggest turn for the worse in its history during the Bush Administration. Bush squandered President Clinton’s hard won annual $238 billion surplus by turning it into a yearly $1.3 trillion deficit by the time he left office in early 2009.

The Republicans have been talking a good game on the deficit beginning as of high noon on January 20, 2009 but as we Democrats know, it’s only credible if you have amnesia. The reality is that conservatives only “care” about the deficit when we have a Democratic President. In addition, Republicans use their faux concern about the deficit as a weapon in their attempt to reduce spending on programs they oppose like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Modern history demonstrates that then a Republican occupies the White House, it’s “Katy bar the door” when it comes to spending.

4. President Obama blew up the deficit with a big spending spree.

One of the misleading claims you hear from the Right is that Obama blew up the deficit. They make the false claim that President Obama increased the annual deficit from $450 billion to $1.3 trillion. In reality, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office said that Obama inherited an annual deficit of $1.3 trillion from the Bush Administration.

What they don’t tell you that President Obama is the smallest government spender since Eisenhower. Since Obama took office, federal spending has grown at an annual rate of 1.4%. In contrast, federal spending grew 7.7% during the Presidency of George W. Bush and nearly 7% per year during the Reagan Presidency. Spending grew 3.5% during the Clinton Presidency.

Since Obama has taken office, the deficit has declined from the $1.3 trillion annual deficit he inherited from Bush in 2009 to $845 billion in 2013. The budget deficit has declined from 10% of GDP when Obama took office, to 5.5% of GDP in 2013. That is the biggest decline in the deficit since the country demobilized in the late 1940s after World War II.

There are so many Right Wing Zombie lies, I could write a Russian novel about them but I took the opportunity to rebut some of the most pernicious ones. The next time you are at a cocktail party and one of your Republican friends says “of course tax cuts pay for themselves,” you will be ready with a quick and accurate rebuttal.

The major rationale for most of these Zombie Lies is to obscure the true agenda of the conservative movement and the Republican Party. The GOP and movement conservatives know that billionaires, oil companies, insurance companies and Wall Street aren’t very popular. That requires them to cloak their platform in Zombie Lies.

I’m a trial lawyer, a Democratic activist and a sports fan.

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