Archive: Veritas
Romney’s Call for 500,000 Jobs Per Month is Pure Bluster

On the campaign trail, Mitt Romney added another rhetorical superlative to his record when he criticized the slow but steady employment improvement by saying, “We should be seeing numbers in the 500,000 jobs created per month.” In fact, such a figure would be an aberration.

Although the most recent employment numbers reflected 19 months straight of growth, the 115,000 jobs figure from March, 2012 is one everyone would like to see go higher. But Romney’s half-million jobs a month figure has never been consistently maintained, and has in fact only been reached a few times, according to the New York Times’ Peter Baker.

Baker looked at the past 50 years and found only five instances where job growth reached 500,000 in a month. First, the following presidents never attained Romney’s ideal:

  • John F. Kennedy (1961 – 1963)
  • Lyndon B. Johnson (1963 – 1969)
  • Richard M. Nixon (1969 – 1974)
  • Gerald R. Ford (1974 – 1977)
  • George H.W. Bush (1989 – 1993
  • George W. Bush (2001 – 2009)

The list of presidents who did see that rate of growth is short, and to some, surprising.

Both Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton saw the creation of 500,000 jobs once each during their eight years in office.

The only president in the last 50 years to see it happen twice (and in only four years at that) was…Jimmy Carter.

The final president to see that level of employment growth was Barack Obama in 2010. No doubt Obama will meet — and break — fellow Democrat Carter’s record in his second term.

Reagan Placed a Higher Tax Burden on Americans Than Obama

The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein recently refuted the Republican/Tea Party touchstone that Obama has placed a higher tax burden on Americans than other presidents. Klein shows you have only to look to Ronald Reagan for evidence.

Today’s problems, Klein says, are radically different from Reagan’s era, and they began under Clinton, who allowed the crumbling of the wall between insured and uninsured investing and the deregulation of the mortgage industry, and were exacerbated under Bush II, who continued deregulation and used deficit spending to finance tax cuts for the rich and the war he declared in Iraq.

Contrary to popular belief, taxes are lower under Obama than they were under Reagan. In 1983, when Reagan was trying to get the economy out of recession, revenues were 17.5 percent of GDP. In 2010, when Obama was trying to guide the economy into a recovery, revenues were 14.9 percent of GDP.

Taxes are so low under Obama in large part because of the Bush tax cuts and the effects of the financial crisis. But they’re also low because of the tax cuts passed by Obama in the stimulus bill.

Klein adds that the long-term outlook under the Obama plan is good.

In 1988, when Reagan left office, revenues were 18.2 percent of GDP. Under the Congressional Budget Office’s alternative-fiscal scenario — which is their most realistic projection — revenues only rise to 18.4 percent of GDP by 2021. If Obama manages to pass his most consistent tax-policy demand and sunset the Bush tax cuts for income over $250,000, that would rise by less than half a percentage point. In other words, taxes were never as low under Reagan as they are under Obama, and Obama’s policies would not lead to a significantly different tax burden than Reagan’s policies did.

Finally, Klein notes that Obama isn’t done yet so while we can definitively rate Reagan’s initiatives, Obama’s are a work in progress.

Raising Taxes on the Rich Would In Fact Fuel Job Growth

We’ve all heard the Republican argument that if we continue to keep personal income taxes low for Scrooge McDuck, he will take this personal money he would otherwise pay in taxes and which he could spend on any number of things – a newer car, travel, really, really expensive and delicious june bugs – and invest it in enterprises that produce jobs.

Republicans tells us, as did former Gov. Mitt Romney, “With over 20 million people who are unemployed or who have stopped looking for work, the last thing we should be doing is raising taxes on job-creators, entrepreneurs, and small business owners across America.”

Except they’re dead wrong. Michael Linden, at the Center for American Progress, crunched the numbers.

In the past 60 years, job growth has actually been greater in years when the top income tax rate was much higher than it is now.

For instance, in years when the top marginal rate was more than 90 percent, the average annual growth in total payroll employment was 2 percent. In years when the top marginal rate was 35 percent or less—which it is now—employment grew by an average of just 0.4 percent.

And there’s no cherry-picking here. Pick any threshold. When the marginal tax rate was 50 percent or above, annual employment growth averaged 2.3 percent, and when the rate was under 50, growth was half that.

In fact, if you ranked each year since 1950 by overall job growth, the top five years would all boast marginal tax rates at 70 percent or higher. The top 10 years would share marginal tax rates at 50 percent or higher. The two worst years, on the other hand, were 2008 and 2009, when the top marginal tax rate was 35 percent. In the 13 years that the top marginal tax rate has been at its current level or lower, only one year even cracks the top 20 in overall job creation.

You Actually Could Solve the Deficit Problem with Tax Increases

Maybe you heard this recent assertion, which swept through rightwing media outlets: Raising taxes on high income earners can’t solve the federal deficit problem because the deficit is higher than the entire taxable income of Americans who earn more than $100,000. But you likely didn’t hear that it’s not true.

Here’s what the Wall St. Journal said in an editorial, which got the ball rolling.

According to Internal Revenue Service data, the entire taxable income of everyone earning over $100,000 in 2008 was about $1.582 trillion. Even if all these Americans – most of whom are far from wealthy – were taxed at 100%, it wouldn’t cover Mr. Obama’s deficit for this year.

And here’s what the WSJ said when it was pointed out by FactCheck.org that they were wrong.

An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that the total taxable income of Americans earning over $100,000 in 2008 was $1.582 trillion. The correct figure is $3.4 trillion.

The projected deficit is $1.645 trillion. You do the math.

But Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Ok.), apparently can’t, because he repeated the false claim on a recent FOX News Sunday segment, with an added twist about the futility of including those who net between $100,00 and $250,000 after deductions. The point was to show that the deficit problem can only be solved by cutting spending, not by also increasing revenues. People who are not mathematically — or ideologically — challenged see that it will take both.

Pres. Obama is proposing $2 trillion in spending cuts and $1 trillion in additional tax revenue over 12 years. Seems reasonable to us.

Newt Backed Mandated Health Care

Newt Gingrich has publicly backed mandated health insurance (President Obama’s preference) in two books:

From his 2008 book, Real Change: “Finally, we should insist that everyone above a certain level buy coverage (or, if they are opposed to insurance, post a bond). Meanwhile, we should provide tax credits or subsidize private insurance for the poor.”

From his 2005 book, Winning the Future: “You have the right to be part of the lowest-cost insurance pool and you have a responsibility to buy insurance… We need some significant changes to ensure that every American is insured, but we should make it clear that a 21st Century Intelligent System requires everyone to participate in the insurance system.”

Bush Signed Light Bulb Rules

Republican Tea Partiers in Congress, like Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas), insist that energy rules setting higher standards for, among other things, light bulb efficiency are proof of a “nanny state,” evinced by First Lady Michelle Obama speaking against childhood obesity.

Pres. Obama is blamed for “dictating” that Americans must use compact fluorescent light bulbs but a) Obama is not to blame, and b) no one is dictating any such thing.

  • The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 was signed into law by Pres. George W. Bush
  • Nothing in the act bans the use of incandescent bulbs or requires they be replaced with compact fluorescents. The act does increase efficiency standards on all bulbs.
  • The U.S. Energy Department projects higher standards will save money for both families and businesses
  • Independent observers have seen no evidence of constituents lobbying members of Congress to “save incandescent bulbs”

Republicans Continue to Justify Cuts in Programs They Hate — By Lying

To justify ending Florida’s Prepaid College program — the largest in the country — Republican state Sen. Evelyn Lynn claimed the popular plan is, “a huge liability — far larger than pension, far larger than most anything we have.”

Nationwide, Republicans and tea party members echo the cry that because tax revenues are down, programs they have long targeted must be cut. Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R/Tea) is using the message to cut education funding and gut environmental and consumer protection laws.

But in this case, and so many others, Republicans are simply making stuff up to bolster their flimsy logic.

  • The Florida Prepaid Tuition program has $10 billion in assets and $9.5 billion in liabilities
  • For those able to do math, this means the program is running with a $500 million surplus
  • Two years ago, Sen. Lynn herself floated the idea of raiding the Florida Prepaid plan to fund other initiatives

Boehner, Republicans Want You to Believe U.S. is ‘Broke’

House Speaker John Boehner routinely offers this diagnosis of the U.S.’s fiscal condition: “We’re broke; broke going on bankrupt.” Trouble is, it’s not true, according to Bloomberg News.

“The U.S. government is not broke,” said Marc Chandler, global head of currency strategy for Brown Brothers Harriman & Co. in New York. “There’s no evidence that the market is treating the U.S. government like it’s broke.”

  • The U.S. is able to borrow at historically low interest rates, paying 0.68 percent on a two-year note that it had to offer at 5.1 percent before the financial crisis began in 2007.
  • Financial products that pay off if Uncle Sam defaults aren’t attracting unusual investor demand.
  • Tax revenue as a percentage of the economy is at a 60-year low, meaning if the government needs to raise cash and can summon the political will, it could do so.

The U.S. does face long-term fiscal dangers — since 2009, federal debt measured against total economic output has increased by more than 50 percent and the White House projects annual budget deficits continuing indefinitely. But as long as we are paying our bills, we ain’t broke, Mr. Boehner.

Huckabee Is the One Distorting the Facts of Single Motherhood

Fundamentalist Republican candidate for president Mike Huckabee said, “Most single moms are very poor, uneducated, can’t get a job, and if it weren’t for government assistance, their kids would be starving to death and would not get health care.”

Facts:

  • 79.5% of custodial single mothers are employed
  • 27% of custodial single mothers and their children live in poverty; the other 73% do not
  • 22% receive Medicaid; 78% do not
  • 23.5% receive food stamps; 76.5% do not
  • 12% receive some form of public housing or rent subsidy; 88% do not

Republicans Desperately Want You to Believe The Stimulus Failed, But Facts Tell a Different Story

GOP House leader John Boehner and other Republicans insist stimulus spending was a waste. But did the Recovery act fail?

NO. According to the Economic Policy Institute:

The Recovery Act was enacted at a time when the private economy was contracting by more than a 6 percent annual rate and losing more than 750,000 jobs a month. In the first full quarter after its enactment, the Recovery Act had cut average monthly private job losses by more than a third and slowed the economic contraction to a -0.7 percent annual rate… EPI analysis shows that by the end of 2010 the Recovery Act had created or saved 3 million to 4 million jobs, and up to 5 million full-time equivalent jobs. It had also boosted gross domestic product by up to $560 billion and reduced the unemployment rate up to 1.8 percentage points.