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Illustrating the Costs of Obama's Failure to Confront the Right-Wing Lying

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A couple of very recent news items illustrate the price being paid by Obama --and the Democrats, and indeed America-- because of Obama's reluctance to confront and denounce the disgraceful fear-mongering lies of his political opponents.

Here's a passage from an article by Sam Stein on Huffington Post:

For starters: the non-partisan Center for Budget and Policy Priorities reported on Wednesday that "Middle-income Americans are now paying federal taxes at or near historically low levels." How low? The average family of four right now is paying 4.6 percent of its income in federal income taxes -- the second lowest percentage in 50 years.

Citizens for Tax Justice, a self-described non-partisan organization, released a report on Tuesday that read: "The 2009 economic stimulus bill actually reduced federal income taxes for tax year 2009 for 98 percent of all working families and individuals." This total includes the 95 percent of working families that will or have received tax credits in the range of $400 to $800.

The health care bill passed by the administration, meanwhile, includes a tax credit that could cover up to 35 percent of the premiums a small business pays to insure its workers. The Recovery Act, meanwhile, included such tax breaks as a $1,500 credit for home energy improvements, and an $8,000 credit for first-time home buyers.

It has been a buffet of tax breaks and credits offered by this administration (occasionally to the chagrin of progressive economists, who want more focus on stimulative federal spending).


Yet polling numbers indicate that Americans are barely aware of these developments. Indeed, a good chunk of the country believes it has been saddled by this administration with tax hikes. Back in mid-February, a full 24 percent of respondents to a CBS News/New York Times poll said that their taxes had increased under Obama. Fifty-three percent said they had stayed the same. Only 12 percent thought their taxes had gone down.

"Belief is triumphing over reality," explained Bob McIntyre, director of Citizens for Tax Justice. "Part of it is they watch the wrong television shows and believe it. Part of it is the tax cut that went to almost everybody, the making work pay credit, was dribbled out... people didn't get a check. They paid lower taxes and might not have noticed it.


Why is it that while more than 90 percent of Americans have had their taxes cut, only 12 percent of us know it?

The obvious answer is that the demagogic lies of the Republicans are having greater effect than the occasional statements --albeit true-- by Obama and the Democrats. People pay attention to communication steeped in energy, and hate and fear trump mere information. The energetic communication that can trump the Republican lies would be something along the lines of: "The Republicans are lying, and their failure to deal responsibly with our national issues is a disgrace."

Here's a brief passage from another news article:

A new Associated Press-GfK poll finds Americans oppose the health care remake 50 percent to 39 percent. Before a divided Congress finally passed the bill and Obama signed it at a jubilant White House ceremony last month, public opinion was about evenly split.


Now why do you suppose that is? Why would that bounce that health care enjoyed in the immediate aftermath of the Democratic victory have disappeared?

Here's what I think:

In the aftermath of the passage of the health care reform measure, the Republicans became even more strident in their denunciations of the measure. They would repeal it. They would go to Court and have it declared unconstitutional. They would refuse to enforce the new law within their state boundaries. They made news with further lies, distortions, bogus arguments, and complete fabrications.

And while all that talk of hate and fear and insurrection was going on, Obama --as usual-- failed to call out the Republicans for their despicable, seditious, dishonest rhetoric.

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Andy Schmookler, an award-winning author, political commentator, radio talk-show host, and teacher, was the Democratic nominee for Congress from Virginia's 6th District. He is the author of various books including The Parable of the Tribes: The (more...)
 

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It seems to be our nature to cherish beliefs beyon... by Richmond Shreve on Saturday, Apr 17, 2010 at 1:03:06 PM
"Perhaps Obama has a blind spot. Maybe he thinks t... by Andrew Bard Schmookler on Saturday, Apr 17, 2010 at 1:15:22 PM
Although I think that you are a better person than... by Blaine Kinsey on Saturday, Apr 17, 2010 at 4:40:55 PM
The last sentence in the first paragraph should st... by Blaine Kinsey on Saturday, Apr 17, 2010 at 8:23:34 PM
Well before the presidential election, I realized ... by sharon jarvis on Tuesday, Apr 20, 2010 at 3:46:18 PM