Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Unchallenged by Facts, Bachmann Tells a Big Whopper

I watched the New Hampshire Republican Presidential Debate with interest last night. I was curious what this pack of seven aspirants for the most difficult job in the world would say to differentiate themselves from one  another.

 I found that most of the"debate" were unchallenged attacks upon President Obama and his administration of the past two and one-half years. What a smart deal they made to not attack one another, but instead, to use the two hours of free prime television time to attack President Obama without having to substantiate any of your facts. CNN Moderator John King couldn't even get Tim Pawlenty to "bite" when he asked him why he had called Mitt Romney's Massachusetts health care initiative "Obamneycare" on last Sunday's talk shows. Tea Party favorite Michele Bachmann was the winner of the debate because she came off coherent and relaxed contradicting her weird and extremist past persona that sees unamerican and socialist conspiracy at work in President Obama's policies:

In a move toward a more controlled style that sounded less conspiratorial, she told some of the biggest and unchallenged whoppers of the night, and since her primary target wasn't there to defend himself, she thought she could get away with it.  Her biggest lie was that the Health Care Law would kill 800,000 jobs.
Let's look at just this one charge from Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN): “The CBO, the Congressional Budget Office, has said that Obamacare will kill 800,000 jobs. What could the president be thinking by passing a bill like this, knowing full well it will kill 800,000 jobs?”   Ms. Bachmann, like so many other charismatic Tea Party spokespersons, likes to get her "facts" from her own conservative blogs and digests rather than from primary sources, like the actual CBO Report.  She picked out this "factoid" from such sources as an edited  You Tube of  CBO Director Doug Elmendorf    that further promoted false conclusions in conservative magazines/blogs including  Yuval Levin's article in The National Review (he had to correct later in an "Update") and The Weekly Standard Blog of Jeffrey Anderson.  The truth is that the CBO Director was citing the CBO Report of August 2010, Chapter 2, page 48, Box 2-1. "Effects of Recent Health Care Legislation on Labor Markets" that reads (italics added):

"The expansion of Medicaid and the availability of subsidies through the exchanges will effectively increase beneficiaries’ financial resources. Those additional resources will encourage some people to work fewer hours or to withdraw from the labor market. In addition, the phaseout of the subsidies as income rises will effectively increase marginal tax rates, which will also discourage work. But because most workers who are offered insurance through their jobs will be ineligible for the exchanges’ subsidies and because most people will have income that is too high to be eligible for Medicaid, those effects on financial resources and marginal tax rates will apply only to a small segment of the population.

Other provisions in the legislation are also likely to diminish people’s incentives to work. Changes to the insurance market, including provisions that prohibit insurers from denying coverage to people because of preexisting conditions and that restrict how much prices can vary with an individual’s age or health status, will increase the appeal of health insurance plans offered outside the workplace for older workers. As a result, some older workers will choose to retire earlier than they otherwise would."

In other words, people would voluntarily leave the workforce because of incentives and changes in the new health care law that would enable people to obtain private insurance on health insurance exchanges without limitations due to pre-existing condition and to possibly receive new subsidies to afford insurance.  This would allow persons afraid to leave a job and employer provided health insurance to retire, change careers, start a new business, go back to school, etc.

Debate assumes that there are at least two opposing views who attempt to win over their opponent with facts and logical argument. Ms. Bachmann, who is by training a lawyer and by occupation a politician, is not stupid; she favors the use of rhetoric and ad hominem  attacks as her main means of winning the hearts and minds of the jury -- the American people.  The facts be damned!

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