So we’re going to bust a few RWEC* myths real quick-like.
Consider, in particular, one fact that might surprise you: The total number of government workers in America has been falling, not rising, under Mr. Obama. A small increase in federal employment was swamped by sharp declines at the state and local level — most notably, by layoffs of schoolteachers. Total government payrolls have fallen by more than 350,000 since January 2009.
So, Myth #1 : Obama, the socialist/communist, has vastly expanded the size of BIG GOVERNMENT….gone.
Krugman also gets at Myth #2: The stimulus was a total waste of money, what we needed was tax cuts.
So as I said, the big government expansion everyone talks about never happened. This fact, however, raises two questions. First, we know that Congress enacted a stimulus bill in early 2009; why didn’t that translate into a big rise in government spending? Second, if the expansion never happened, why does everyone think it did?
Part of the answer to the first question is that the stimulus wasn’t actually all that big compared with the size of the economy. Furthermore, it wasn’t mainly focused on increasing government spending. Of the roughly $600 billion cost of the Recovery Act in 2009 and 2010, more than 40 percent came from tax cuts, while another large chunk consisted of aid to state and local governments. Only the remainder involved direct federal spending.
This is one of those weird facts that tends to get lost in the OMGSOCIALIZM!! rhetoric of the right. After being pared down enough to get past the unprecedented number of filibusters in the Senate, the “Stimulus” became more of a “Stop-Gap”, and indeed, that’s what it did, stopped the hemmoraging job losses that Bush scurried away from and left as a testament to his governing prowess.
Myth #3: TARP was a huge waste of money that we’ll never recover from.
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) – The total final cost to taxpayers of the much-maligned $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program will be around $50 billion, the Treasury Department estimated on Tuesday. The two-year TARP program, which officially expired on Sunday, initially used government money to make capital injections into large and small financial institutions to stabilize the financial system. Eventually it expanded into other programs including a spending endeavor seeking to help lenders and borrowers modify mortgages and avoid foreclosures. According to a recent Treasury transactions report, earlier this week, roughly $255 billion is still outstanding.
Turns out that investing in our own country was actually a pretty good idea. $50,000,000,000 to keep our entire financial system from imploding and unemployment from jumping to 25%?** That’s a deal pretty much anyone would take, and it’s less than a month’s worth of the Pentagon’s yearly budget.
Myth #4: Obama has left the border wide open and refuses to enforce U.S. immigration law.
WASHINGTON — The United States deported a record 392,000 illegal immigrants over the past year, nearly half of them people with criminal convictions, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Wednesday.
The number deported during the 2010 fiscal year ending September 30 surpassed the record of 389,000 deportations set the previous year.
More than 195,000 of those deported were convicted criminals, according to the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.
“This administration has focused on enforcing our immigration laws in a smart, effective manner that prioritizes public safety and national security and holds employers accountable who knowingly and repeatedly break the law,” Napolitano said.
Immigration agents have audited 3,200 employers suspected of hiring illegal immigrants, debarred 225 companies and individuals, and levied 50 million dollars in penalties — more than during the entire Bush administration, ICE said.
Deportations of convicted criminals were up 70 percent in 2010 compared to 2008, the final year of the Bush administration, the agency said.
And there’s an even better aspect to this, they aren’t going after the low-hanging fruit. This isn’t some b.s. enforcement deal where they are instructing people to go to grade schools to pick up ESL kids and heading to Home Depot parking lots to pick up day laborers, this is actually kicking criminals out of the country.
Not people who want to work for a better life for them and their kids, or those who were brought to this country as children and know no other home, but those who violate our criminal laws through violent acts and theft. They are going after the demand for ultra-cheap labor by enforcing laws on the high end (employers). This, to me, is the right way to deal with problem (this and comprehensive Immigration Reform, which I seriously doubt a split Congress will be able to pass, but at least we’ve made progress.)
The thing about this is whole excercise of pointing out how these persistent myths are just that is that it’s a waste of time for the most part (on my part). This is why I mentioned that DERP IS ON THE RISE.
“Derp” is, to put it bluntly, the response I generally get from those who can’t accept that Obama is an American, enforcing our laws, making pragmatic decisions about the future of our country, and doing so effectively. In response to these facts I’ll get something about him not being an American, being a Muslim, being a devoted Socialist or Communist, and the fact that we have a pragamtic, educated, eloquent, progressive leader gets lost in the noise.
The fact that it turns out he’s a rather centrist pragmatic is met with guffaws. So stands the situation today. Should be more interesting in a month or so…
* Right Wing Echo Chamber, wherein Fox/WSJ/News Corp picks up a story from Drudge/blogs, which is recycled across various AM radio/TV shows/columns and across the blogs, then Fox reports how no one else is covering it, how it has become a “controversy
“. Rinse-recycle-repeat. With “repeat” being the operative word. All four misconceptions dealt with above have one core similarity; in the echo-chamber to even question their veracity is grounds for dismissal from the body politic.
** For those that don’t recall, after the first failed vote on TARP, this happened
. Had it not passed later, the resulting crash would have redefined “epic fail”.