Friday, November 5, 2010

Leaders With Facial Hair Are A Bad Sign II(b): Eight Myths Article

A follow-up to Part II.

The pictures in this video are eye candy; meaningless leftovers from other videos, nothing more. This is a somewhat tangential follow-up, and I don't feel like spending three hours finding pictures for it.

Remember the article I linked in that video that purportedly dispelled eight myths about the current political climate? For reference, I've linked it in the love bar here too. One of my viewers sent me a link to an article (link in love bar) that opposes that original article. I don't want to get derailed from the point of this series, but this seems important. Just remember that seven of these eight have nothing to do with the main conversation, and the one that does relate disqualifies Boykin's attempt to use the bailouts as a sign that we're headed for Marxism. Here's what I've found about each one of these so-called myths.
  1. The Right says that President Obama tripled or even quadrupled the deficit. The liberal article says that he reduced the deficit. The response article cites accounting trickery. I'll never figure this one out. Fortunately, I've found an article (link in love bar) with a claim that I can believe: both sides are lying. I'm going with that one for now.
  2. The Right says that Obama raised taxes. The liberal article says that he cut taxes. The response article agrees. He goes into some other details about why he's unhappy anyway, but I'm going to ignore that, as it's irrelevant to the original point.
  3. The Right says that Obama bailed out the banks. The liberal article says that it was Bush. The response article agrees. He gripes that then-Senator Obama voted in favor of the bailouts. Again, I'm ignoring this; we're not talking about whether Obama is a hypocrite. We're talking about whether the bailouts suggest that Marxism is coming.
  4. The Right says that the stimulus didn't work. I'm going to ignore this one. I've been a software engineer for 24 years, and I've had it up to here with people saying "it works" or "it doesn't work" when it's obvious that the disagreement is about what it means to "work" or "not work". Talk about relevant facts or shut up.
  5. The Right says that businesses will hire if they get tax cuts. The liberal article says that other factors, not tax cuts, affect hiring. Both articles implicitly appeal to common sense, and in case you don't know it by now, I am anti-common-sense. Common sense says that the world is flat. We need hard data before we can decide anything.
  6. The Right says that health care reform costs $1 trillion. The liberal article says that it reduces government deficits by $138 billion. The response article goes into details that sound like more accounting trickery. I'm going to assume that both sides are lying. I can't know whether someone is telling the truth when the technical details are over my head.
  7. The Right says that Social Security is a Ponzi scheme, is "going broke," that increased longevity resulting in fewer workers per retiree is a problem, etc. The liberal article says that Social Security has run a surplus since it began, has a trust fund in the trillions, is completely sound for at least 25 more years and cannot legally borrow so cannot contribute to the deficit. The response article disputes this with some details that are over my head. I'll assume that both sides are lying. Further, can't we just talk about the truth? Why are epithets like "Ponzi scheme" necessary? If SS is bad, then can't someone just articulate why it's bad? You might as well just say, "SS is dumb." It has the same weight as saying, "SS is a Ponzi scheme."
  8. The Right says that government spending takes money out of the economy. The liberal article says that government spending on roads, schools, and other infrastructure puts money into the economy, and that welfare and foreign aid, which seem to be one of the Right's big gripes, are a tiny fraction of government spending. The response article ventures into territory that seems rather dishonest to me: first, it counts SS, Medicare/Medicaid, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, and “other” mandatory programs as "welfare" and then says that the welfare budget is 60%. If you have the truth, then why water it down with stuff like this? It makes me think that he's lying, or at least hiding something incriminating. He goes on to say that roads and schools account for only 3.3% of the budget. Notice that he never disputes the Left's claim that government spending on roads and schools puts money into the economy. I can think of only one reason for him to mention how much of the budget is accounted for by roads and schools: to distract from the fact that he cannot dispute the original claim.
In conclusion, I can't agree that the response article effectively disputes the original article. However, I really just don't care. I really just don't care who is in charge of the government, Left, Right, Up, Down. I don't care whether our leaders are hypocrites, adulterers, or drug abusers. What I care about most is the fact that there are billions of people sick, starving, and uneducated, and that's just not ok. We need to figure out a way to get everyone healthy, fed, and educated first, and worry later about lazy bums who would exploit the system. If we can fix this, then who cares whether it's a Ponzi scheme run by hypocrites and adulterers? Thanks for listening.

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