The Tea Party Express rolled through my little town in Southeast Michigan yesterday. They didn’t have a lot of new things to say, but what they repeated was interesting. The Obama administration is spending too much money. The Obama administration is raising taxes. The Obama administration is ruining the economy. There are probably a few others that I’ve missed, but you get the general drift.
The Inconvenient Truth is that none of these things are true.
In fact the Obama administration has done many of the things that the Tea Party wants some new crop of legislators to accomplish.
He has cut taxes for middle class families more than $240B since he took office. Approximately 40% of the stimulus plan that the Tea Party feels was wasted, funded the sort of tax CUTS that the Tea Party has been clamoring for. He also provided tax breaks for college costs, extended unemployment benefits, and provided tax breaks for energy conservation which all benefit primarily the middle class.
He has reduced deficit spending from the $1.46T dollars posted in the last year of the Bush administration to $1.29T in his first budget.
The economy has just recorded the fifth consecutive quarter of positive growth. The recession is officially over. The stock market is comfortably in the 11K range which economists say is a predictor of continued growth rather than a second recession. Growth is far slower and unemployment is far higher than anyone wants, but statistics prove that things are improving.
The TARP plan, begun by the Bush administration, but administered by the Obama administration will actually turn a $16B profit when it is done.
Recent results from the surge strategy in Afghanistan are also positive.
So what’s the problem?
As a recent Bloomberg poll shows, only a third of the voting populace believes it. The other two thirds are so invested in the narratives being spun by conservative media and candidates, that they are willing to ignore the facts.
I’m just curious how you govern in this sort of atmosphere where bias is so much more powerful than fact. There has to be come basic agreement on how you measure progress. There has to be some essential respect for the truth. In the absence of that, we leave ourselves vulnerable to demagogues, conspiracy theories, and mob rule.
When the truth is trumped by opinion, democracy suffers.