Free Markets, Free People

myths


Debunking the Obama economic litany in one chart

Ye olde “a picture is worth 1,000 words”:

IBD has the article.  One of my favorite myths is the Bush “tax cuts” (tax rate) and deregulation cause the recession.  Yeah, not so much:

It’s a standard Obama talking point. But it’s not true. Bush’s tax cuts did not cause the last recession.

In fact, once they were fully in effect in 2003, they sparked stronger growth — generating more than 8 million new jobs over the next four years, and GDP growth averaging close to 3%.

Those tax cuts didn’t explode the deficit, either, as Obama frequently claims. Deficits steadily declined after 2003, until the recession hit.

Nor was Bush a deregulator. Conservative Heritage Foundation’s regulation expert James Gattuso concluded, after reviewing Bush’s record, that “regulation grew substantially during the Bush years.”

Even the Washington Post’s fact-checker, Glenn Kessler, gave Obama’s claim three out of four “Pinocchios,” saying “it is time for the Obama campaign to retire this talking point, no matter how much it seems to resonate with voters.”

What did cause it?  What we’ve been saying since it happened, that’s what:

The housing bubble. And that, in turn, was the result of a determined federal effort to boost homeownership by, among other things, pressuring banks to lower lending standards.

So while the rest of the surrogate media “fact checks” Romney, here’s a basic fact check on Obama. And yes, if you’re still wondering … he’s full of it.

~McQ
Twitter: @McQandO
Facebook: QandO


Destroying the “taxing the rich is the solution” myth

If you listen to Democrats, all we need to do to solve the debt and deficit problem is to let the Bush era tax rates expire and raise the tax rate on the rich.  We’ve had Warren Buffet, among others, saying “hey, tax me more, I can afford it”.  And, of course, those standing their ground on principle saying revenue isn’t the problem and tax increases aren’t the solution are roundly condemned for being greedy and protecting the rich.

Well what if we increased the taxes on the rich?  What if we increased them dramatically?  Is our deficit problem likely to be solved?  The answer, of course, is “no”.  And here are the numbers:

“Even taking every last penny from every individual making more than $10 million per year would only reduce the nation’s deficit by 12 percent and the debt by 2 percent,” the non-partisan Tax Foundation’s David Logan writes.

“There’s simply not enough wealth in the community of the rich to erase this country’s problems by waving some magic tax wand,” said Logan.

Rest assured you’d only get one shot at all the money as well.  The  next year the majority of the rich — and that most likely would include Warren Buffet — would find ways to hide their income from such a level of taxation.  Human Nature 101.

So 12% of the deficit and 2% of the debt with 100% taxation.  Sound like a solution to you?  Of course not.   How about raising taxes in general,  good idea right now?

If you said, “no”, you’re in good company:

The majority of economists surveyed by the National Association for Business Economics believe that the federal deficit should be reduced only or primarily through spending cuts.

The survey out Monday found that 56 percent of the NABE members surveyed felt that way, while 37 percent said they favor equal parts spending cuts and tax increases. The remaining 7 percent believe it should be done only or mostly through tax increases.

Whether the president likes to admit it, we’re in danger of a double-dip recession, and one way to guarantee it is to raise taxes during such an unstable time as now.  Obviously if taxes are increased on the rich, it won’t be 100%, so the impact on the debt and deficit are likely to be minimal at best.  And it would be an action counter to what economists believe to be the best approach to avoiding a double-dip.

That most likely means that Democrats will continue to pursue such an increase with a single-minded purpose.  Or, in short, they still don’t get it — it’s the spending, stupid.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


Don’t bother buying this book

Marvin Kalb and his daughter Deborah have written a book called “The Haunting Legacy: Vietnam and the American Presidency from Ford to Obama”.

I can give you one very good reason not to even bother buying or reading the book.  It comes from an email interview Kalb did with TIME’s Battleland:

Why did you write Haunting Legacy?

The Vietnam War was the only war the U.S. ever lost, and it left a deep scar on the American psyche. From then on, American presidents, whenever faced with the need to send troops to war, worried about getting trapped in another Vietnam, meaning another war without a clear mission, without an exit strategy, without Congressional support. Deborah and I wanted to explore this crucial dimension of recent American history. That’s the reason we wrote the book.

Bullsquat.  “Losing” a war usually means you were there to fight it and got beaten.  That’s not the case with Vietnam, although it is a very persistent myth.  If we lost anything it was the political war (and will), certainly not the war on the battlefield.

So someone who would make a statement like the first in that paragraph has zip for credibility with me.   Our last combat troops left South Vietnam in August of 1972.  Saigon fell in April of 1975.  Who is the “we” that lost the war?   I think we all know who that is and Kalb was right there with the bunch of ‘em painting a picture that wasn’t accurate and is still doing it.

Screw ‘em.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


Old myths about Vietnam resurface

In the wake of the Richard Blumenthal nonsense, Larry Pressler, former Republican senator from SD and a Vietnam vet writes a pretty good indictment of the deferment generation Blumenthal represents and how their thinking about war in general evolved from the time they’d have had to participate to the time when others would have to do so.  Unsurprisingly they’re more for the latter than they were for the former.

But there was a line in his article that again perpetuates a myth about the Vietnam war:

The problem is that for every person who won a deferment or a spot in a special National Guard unit, someone poorer or less educated, and usually African-American, had to serve.

Let me say this very clearly: NOT TRUE.

Goodness knows there have been a number of studies that address this canard.  And their findings do not support the contention.  Here are the raw numbers:

Of all the men and women who served in Vietnam, 275,000, or 10.6%, were black. The remaining 88.4% were Caucasian. At the time of the Vietnam War, Blacks represented approximately 12.5% of the total U.S. population.

There is a persistent myth that Blacks were used as “cannon fodder”, being assigned to infantry units where they were forced to “walk point”. This is not supported by the casualty data which indicates that 86.8% of those killed in action were Caucasian, while 12.1%, or 5,711, were Black. Again, this number is approximately the same as the percentage of Blacks in the general population during the war.

Another study produced the same result:

Sociologists Charles C. Moskos and John Sibley Butler, in their recently published book “All That We Can Be,” said they analyzed the claim that blacks were used like cannon fodder during Vietnam “and can report definitely that this charge is untrue. Black fatalities amounted to 12 percent of all Americans killed in Southeast Asia – a figure proportional to the number of blacks in the U.S. population at the time and slightly lower than the proportion of blacks in the Army at the close of the war.”

So put that one to bed if you hear it repeated.  It’s simply not true.  Nor is the “poor and less educated”.  Perhaps in in the context that Pressler uses it (he’s talking about the “elite” in Ivy League schools at the time) it has some legs, but in the context of the force as a whole it doesn’t hold up:

Servicemen who went to Vietnam from well-to-do areas had a slightly elevated risk of dying because they were more likely to be pilots or infantry officers.

Vietnam Veterans were the best educated forces our nation had ever sent into combat. 79% had a high school education or better.

Certainly the military was strained then and those of us who served at that time remember the Cat IVs (if I’m not mistaken 100,000 were admitted and didn’t last long – they simply weren’t equipped to handle the military), but in general, it was, as General Barry McCaffrey notes above, the best educated force we’d ever fielded at the time.

There are a few other myths I’d like to see go away and now seems the perfect time address them with some statistics:

91% of Vietnam Veterans say they are glad they served.

74% said they would serve again even knowing the outcome.

There is no difference in drug usage between Vietnam Veterans and non veterans of the same age group (from a Veterans Administration study).

Vietnam Veterans are less likely to be in prison than the general population – only 1/2 of one percent of Vietnam Veterans have been jailed for crimes.

97% were discharged under honorable conditions; the same percentage of honorable discharges as ten years prior to Vietnam.

85% of Vietnam Veterans made a successful transition to civilian life.

Vietnam veterans’ personal income exceeds that of our non-veteran age group by more than 18 percent.

Vietnam veterans have a lower unemployment rate than our non-vet age group.

87% of the American people hold Vietnam Vets in high esteem.

Here’s one of my favorite myths – most Vietnam veterans were drafted:

2/3 of the men who served in Vietnam were volunteers. 2/3 of the men who served in World War II were drafted.   Many men volunteered for the draft so even some of the draftees were actually volunteers.

Approximately 70% of those killed were volunteers.

And, of course, you’ve heard the one about the average age of the infantryman in Vietnam being 19?  It wasn’t.  It was 22.55 years old.

While I certainly agree with Pressler’s greater point about those like Blumenthal, he doesn’t need to use myths in place of facts to do so. The attitude toward Vietnam vets has changed significantly and for the better over the years. However, these myths, perpetuated by the anti-war crowd and the media have persisted and cast a shadow on their service.  Time to put them to rest once and for all.

~McQ

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