Editorial: Cutting through the partisan lies
Try to explain why this statement is false: “Cutting the federal deficit will create jobs.”
The simple answer is because government spending creates jobs by putting money in the hands of those who will spend it, thus priming the economy.
Cutting government spending, as Republicans in Congress want to do, will create the opposite effect of what they are saying will happen — an important point for America taxpayers and voters to understand.
“Less government spending reduces overall demand,” explains Robert Reich, professor of public policy a the University of California at Berkeley, who also served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton. “This is particularly worrisome when, as now, consumers and businesses are still holding back. Fewer government workers have paychecks to buy stuff from other Americans, some of whom in turn will lose their jobs without enough customers.”
There are other common “untruths” that Republicans are trying to weave into the public consciousness, including these two: “Cutting taxes on the rich creates jobs,” and “Cutting corporate income taxes creates jobs.” On the latter point, Reich explains: “American corporations don’t need tax cuts. They’re sitting on $1.5 trillion of cash right now. They won’t invest it in additional capacity or jobs because they don’t see enough customers out there with enough money in their pockets to buy what the additional capacity would produce.”
But what really irks Reich is that economic truth doesn’t seem to matter: “Republicans figure if their big lies are repeated often enough, people will start to believe them… What worries me almost as much as the Republican’s repeated big lies about jobs is the silence of President Obama and Democratic leaders in the face of them. Obama has the bully pulpit. Republicans don’t. But if he doesn’t use it, the Republican’s big lies gain credibility.”
Which is also why taxpayers must learn to think critically about statements they hear on the news. Today, with the overwhelming amount of news available — much of it created by partisan sources who are not even trying to be objective (that’s not their purpose) — it is more important than ever for consumers of news to think critically; to challenge what they hear or read; to get multiple sources; and to weigh which arguments or statements make sense and which don’t.
Angelo S. Lynn
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