On Wednesday we bore witness to the release of the CBO’s report on the economy which included an appendix on the effect the Affordable Care Act is predicted to have on the economy. Unsurprisingly, ACA opponents fell all over themselves to report that the CBO had vindicated their “Obamacare is a Job Killer” talking points. However, it takes a bit more than copy and pasting
Newspapers in the battleground states of Florida and Ohio were riddled with ads from the conservative political action committee Government is Not God claiming the darndest things. Politifact, the Pulitzer Prize winning factcheck website, took notice and essentially gave what can only be described as a serious smackdown.
Last night at the Democratic National Convention during his Obama nomination speech, Bill Clinton stated, “”Since 1961 … our private economy produced 66 million private-sector jobs. So what’s the jobs score? Republicans 24 million, Democrats 42 million.”
“Since 1961, for 52 years now, the Republicans have held the White House 28 years, the Democrats 24,” Clinton said. “In those 52 years, our private economy produced 66 million private-sector jobs. So what’s the jobs score? Republicans 24 million, Democrats 42 million.” In the packed convention hall, it was one of the night’s biggest applause lines.
A Romney ad opens with a picture of President Bill Clinton signing the 1996 landmark welfare reform act, which shifted the program from indefinite government assistance to one based on steering people toward employment and self-reliance.
The words “unprecedented success” flash on the screen [This, despite frequent claims from Republicans welfare programs are failures and contribute to the “nanny state”] . Clinton and a bipartisan Congress, a narrator says, “helped end welfare as we know it by requiring work for welfare.”
After a flurry of attack ads in the past two weeks, President Barack Obama this week released a TV ad in which he spoke directly into the camera and discussed how his policy approaches differed from Mitt Romney’s. He cited taxes as one area where they had different philosophies. Obama said, “Gov. Romney’s plan would cut taxes for the folks at the very top.”
The ad is from an outside spending group called American Commitment, which said on its website that it supports “free markets, economic growth, constitutionally limited government, property rights, and individual freedom.” It’s a 501(c)4, so it doesn’t have to disclose its donors. (For more details about American Commitment’s connections and spending, check out this report from the Washington Post.)
Before the Affordable Car Act, insurance companies spent a large percentage of consumers’ premiums on non-medical costs (called the medical loss ratio) such as high pay for management, administrative costs, marketing and of course profits for shareholders. However, now with the implementation of the health care reform these companies are required to devote at least 80% of those premium dollars to customers’ health care. If this does not occur then the difference is returned to individual in the form of premium discounts or rebate checks beginning this year. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation study reported below those rebates will total ~ $1.3 billion dollars. One has to wonder, how many of those recipients were rooting for the Supreme Court to throw the law out.
There is something truly baffling about the 2012 presidential candidates hotly debating Planned Parenthood and birth control. These battles were fought — and won — half a century ago. At that time, the vast majority of Americans, nearly all mainstream religious organizations and leaders in both political parties accepted contraception as beneficial to families, society and the world.
The move toward mainstream acceptance of contraception began in the early 20th century and accelerated in the 1940s. In 1942, the Birth Control Federation of America changed its name to the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Abraham Stone explained at the time that “planned parenthood” signaled “the need for individual couples to plan their families and for nations to plan their populations.”
As the birth control movement became mainstream, it still took several years for the nation’s leaders to endorse it. In 1959, President Dwight D. Eisenhower declared: “I cannot imagine anything more emphatically a subject that is not a proper political or government activity or function or responsibility. . . .
Just a few years later, President John F. Kennedy — a Democrat and the nation’s first Catholic president — supported family-planning programs as part of foreign aid. Even Eisenhower, JFK’s Republican predecessor, eventually came around, admitting in the mid-1960s: “Once as President, I thought and said that birth control was not the business of our federal government. The facts changed my mind. . . . Governments must act. . . . Failure would limit the expectations of future generations to abject poverty and suffering and bring down upon us history’s condemnation.”
For the next two decades, every American president promoted contraception as an essential part of domestic and foreign policy. Even the Catholic Church considered lifting its prohibition on contraception — and almost did.
The polarized rhetoric of the 2012 election cycle presents voters with a false choice of whether the government can create jobs or should just get out of the way. The real debate should be about which policies work and which don’t.
I spent three years reporting on the $840 billion stimulus plan that the Obama administration pushed through Congress in 2009. My conclusion: government can create jobs — it just doesn’t often do it well.
This week the Pulitzer Prize winning political fact check website, Politifact, chose for its 2011 Lie of the Year the Democrat claim that Republicans voted to end Medicare as part of Paul Ryan’s budget plan, which instead privatizes significant portions of the program. While the claim was false, there is debate over whether or not it was an appropriate choice. Was the often repeated falsehood influential or widespread enough to meet the criteria for the biggest lie of 2011?