MYTH #1: President Obama is responsible for the TARP bailout.
REALITY: 100% false. TARP was proposed in September 2008 by Henry Paulson, George W. Bush's Secretary of the Treasury. Congress passed the Emergency Stabilization Act on October 3, 2008. The intent was to allow the Treasury to buy troubled, mortgage-backed securities, thus creating liquidity. Paulson wound up purchasing equity in nine major banks and using none of the money to buy the troubled assets. Just like with the invasion of Iraq, Representatives and Senators of both parties allowed themselves to be swept along by fear.
MYTH #2: Obama is a socialist -- and socialism is BAD!
REALITY: Well... by any definition, Obama is NOT a socialist. I don't think Obama wanted to acquire ownership in General Motors. I think either of the George Bushes -- even Ronald Reagan -- would have done the same thing. It was a difficult decision. Personally, I don't know what the right thing would have been. It's all speculation. But Obama did not take office thinking, "Oh boy, now I can seize an automobile company!" He and others in charge did what seemed to be the best for our country... it was patriotically motivated, whether we like it or not.
Besides, not all socialism is bad. Shared community resources are all socialist: libraries, police departments, fire departments, trash collection, sewer systems, roads... the internet, itself, is fundamentally socialist. Institutional Socialism -- like most fundamental views -- is not what we're addressing here.
Think of it this way -- say you belong to the Rotary Club. The membership votes on a proposal to donate a certain amount of money to a local charity. This donation will be taken from membership dues. Some members support this use of funds, and some don't. However, all, by dint to their agreement to membership in the Rotary Club, accept the decision of the majority of members. I suppose those that simply can't accept it become Odd Fellows.
The Government is OUR organization. If we use our membership fees (taxes) to fund libraries, clinics, food drives, public health care, then this is NOT fundamentally evil. It is our organization, after all.
What has demonized socialism is the linkage of DICTATORSHIP and SOCIALISM. Stalin in the USSR was a dictator. Hitler was NOT really a socialist... but he was a dictator. Most modern democratic nations incorporate some socialist institutions. Socialism is inherently democratic -- the majority determines use of some public funds for the common good. Don't like it?
So... if you don't like socialism in any form, then you tell that to the fire department as your house burns to the ground. Then, get a time machine a go back to Feudal society... you should be happy there.
MYTH #3: Obama is a lot like Hitler.
Obama is NOTHING like Hitler, except that he's a dynamic public speaker. Sarah Palin, in fact, has more in common with Hitler... her distrust of immigrants; her morbid fear of "communism"; her over the top chauvinistic nationalism.
- These ideas were held true by Hitler. See if any sound familiar in today's political debate:
- Linguistic diversity is bad for society.
- Democracy is bad because it grants power to ethnic minorities.
- Great nations grow from military power and keep order in the world.
- Communism is the enemy. (Hitler also thought Capitalism was the enemy... go figure.)
MYTH #4: Obama is responsible for the still faltering economy.
REALITY: The Republican contradiction is overwhelming: 1) government is incapable of restoring the economy, but; 2) the President is the reason the economy has not recovered!
There is an old business adage: a bad plan well executed is better than a good plan, poorly executed. The Republican minority has used the congressional filibuster for virtually every tiny bit of business -- from major initiatives to minor business such as innocuous staff appointments. The plans for economic recovery may not be the best -- however, the Republican have done everything possible to impede effective execution of these plans. These cynical politicians would happily see America suffer, if it means that Obama and his administration and congress appear to fail. It's about power, not policy.To doubt this sabotage, is to be politically naive.
MYTH #5: The bailout (TARP) was corporate socialism... a republican would have just let them fall.
REALITY: Well... yes it was corporate socialism -- but I don't think that's what was going on. The toxic assets were regulated primarily by gambling laws, not banking laws.
We don't know who was left holding the bag for the majority of these assets. I do have a guess. Here's a hint... they have a ton of money on deposit in the USA, and we owe them a lot of money. Answer 1: Saudi Arabia. Answer 2: China.
What do you suppose the reaction of China might have been to a call from Henry Paulson that went something like, "Uh... you know those credit default swaps that we used to secure a trillion dollars we borrowed to wage war in Iraq... well... gee... it seems that money is gone. Turns out that no one really understood how they were supposed to work... and... well... we can't pay you back... I'm sure you understand."
I've long wondered about the 911 bombing... all the bombers were Saudi... the only airplane allowed to fly after the bombing carried members of the Bin Laden family out of the US to their homes in Saudi Arabia. We let Osama Bin Laden slip though our fingers? I don't know... I'm just sayin'....
What I am saying... this is NOT Obama's fault... you can bet that no one will ever tell us the truth.
MYTH (shoot... I've forgotten what number we're on.. who cares by this point.) Obama and the Democrats are the problem.
REALITY: The problem is a handful of the ultra rich, heading up multinational corporations who would LIKE us to believe the Government is the BIG BAD WOLF. Do you know why? Because the US Government is the only institution with the clout to keep them from running roughshod over the rest of us. They would like to cripple the US Government... and they don't care if it's Republicans or Democrats. The fact is, they've found bunch of more willing stooges on the right side of the aisle. Those stooges have found a gullible constituency who are easily motivated by innocuous hot-button issues (e.g., Anti-Flag Burning Amendment) to vote against their own self-interest in favor of these super-rich few.
I find it likely that the same banks that were the recipients of billions in bailouts are now hoarding their funds, refusing to give loans to the small businesses that need money PURPOSELY to keep the economy from recovering -- hoping this will help their favorite stooges to win elections. Keep in mind that 80% of employment is from SMALL BUSINESS! Keep small business poor and the economy will NOT recover.
MYTH: Obama is Muslim... he was not born in the US... Michelle wants to abolish Christmas...
REALITY: Get real... we have BIG problems. Try to pay attention...
MYTH: Just about everything your hear is manipulation.
REALITY: Wait... this is true! It's ALL disinformation.
Here's the reality... electing a bunch of Tea Party right wingers will NOT fix things. Our next two years will be spent with the Birthers trying to subpoena Obama's birth certificate. Trying to dismantle the Health Care bill will result in the waste of THOUSANDS of hours already devoted to implementing the system, and general havoc. Two years (maybe 20 years, even) from now, we'll still be wallowing in recession, looking for someone to blame.
I can't tell you who to vote for... but I can tell to be very skeptical. Don't believe their rhetoric. (By the way... the one's that claim to be Libertarian, ask if they will, if elected, energetically support the legalization of marijuana.) Think hard, read all you can from every source you can find. Act as if your life -- and your child's life -- depends upon your intelligent, informed voting decision. This you can believe... it's not a myth!