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You, the Voter: Lying or Misinformed?

Unemployment is better, the deficit is better, and anyone who tells you otherwise is lying or misinformed.

This is a quote from the husband of an acquaintance of mine on Facebook. During my discussion with the individuals involved in that thread, it became apparent that the intended inference from this quote is that anyone voting Republican is either purposely misleading other voters or just plain ignorant. While I agree that a large portion of voters don’t put much thought into their choices on election day, one thing I’ve learned over the last few years is that people are MORE informed than ever about who they are voting for. Yes, there are still the party loyalists who pull the proverbial lever for their party of choice, but it’s becoming more and more common to vote a split ticket and, in my opinion, that’s a good thing.

The fact of the matter is, both of the major parties have a standard caricature of a typical voter. The left often pictures a southern, uneducated white male, pulling the lever for the Republicans because of their racist, homophobic, and general hatemongering attitude. Then the “neocons” view the typical Democratic voter as being an inner city dwelling, Welfare collecting, military hating sissy. Neither extreme comes anywhere near approaching reality.

This comment and its ensuing discussion centered around an article from that bastion of unbiased sources, the Daily Kos.

Point number one is as follows:

Q: What was the average monthly private sector job growth in 2008, the final year of the Bush presidency, and what has it been so far in 2010?

A: In 2008, we lost an average of 317,250 private sector jobs per month. In 2010, we have gained an average of 95,888 private sector jobs per month. (Source) That’s a difference of nearly five million jobs between Bush’s last year in office and President Obama’s second year.

My guess is this is connected, in one way or another, with CEA Chairman Austan Goolsbee’s recent White House presentation on the supposed resurgence of the job market here in the U.S. Unfortunately for leftists, it doesn’t quite tell the whole story, as usual. Notice that the numbers cited by the Daily Kos don’t include public sector numbers. Keith Hennessey, former White House economic adviser to President Bush, has put together an informative presentation of his own showing the other side of the story.

Regardless of whether you follow the numbers the Daily Kos would have you believe or Hennessey’s, unemployment is still basically hovering around the 10% mark and has been for nearly a year now. I’ve stated a few times recently and have heard several times in the media that I follow that unemployment is likely to remain at or near that level for the foreseeable future. This is confirmed by yet another source over at The Huffington Post, not my typical fountain of trusted information. Not only that but this same article also states that the unemployment numbers from the last two months have now been adjusted downward.

Q: What was the Federal deficit for the last fiscal year of the Bush presidency, and what was it for the first full fiscal year of the Obama presidency?

A: In FY2009, which began on September 1, 2008 and represents the Bush Administration’s final budget, the budget deficit was $1.416 trillion. In FY2010, the first budget of the Obama Administration, the budget deficit was $1.291 trillion, a decline of $125 billion. (Source) Yes, that means President Obama has cut the deficit — there’s a long way to go, but we’re in better shape now than we were under Bush and the GOP.

While this looks like good news on the surface, and it is if that number holds true, what they fail to tell you is that these numbers are often adjusted up, which means the number could be worse than at first glance. Considering the linked article above from The Huffington Post, this could be a real possibility if the numbers continue to head in the direction they indicate they are. That being said, if the slight reduction in the budget deficit holds, kudos to President Obama and his advisers. However, there’s a lot more work to be done and things certainly aren’t as rosy as they would have you believe.

Q: What was the stock market at on the last day of the Bush presidency? What is it at today?

A: On Bush’s final day in office, the Dow, NASDAQ, and S&P 500 closed at 7,949, 1,440, and 805, respectively. Today, as of 10:15AM Pacific, they are at 11,108, 2,512, and 1,183. That means since President Obama took office, the Dow, NASDAQ, and S&P 500 have increased 40%, 74%, and 47%, respectively.

As I argued in the Facebook discussion, I no longer hold out much hope that the stock market numbers really reflect the actual health of the economy in general. If we’ve learned anything over the last 15 years or so, it’s that all the “bubbles” are just waiting to deflate any real progress made by the market. Rumor has it that the housing bubble isn’t quite through with all its nastiness, either, so hold on to your hats.

Q: Which party’s candidate for speaker will campaign this weekend with a Nazi reenactor who dressed up in a SS uniform?

A: The Republican Party, whose candidate for speaker, John Boehner, will campaign with Nazi re-enactor Rich Iott this weekend. If you need an explanation why this is offensive, you are a lost cause.

I guess I’m a lost cause because I have trouble understanding why someone who is interested in engaging in historical reenactments should be a problem. If you’re going to be historically accurate in your reenactment, doesn’t someone have to play the part of the bad guy?

First off, what does this have to do with the first three points of the author’s article? It’s  got absolutely nothing to do with it other than having a chance to try to sucker-punch the opposition. I’m guessing the author is just grasping at straws, frustrated at his party’s likely impending doom on Tuesday and penchant for tossing that handy race card on the table at every opportunity. After all, why put forth the effort to simultaneously use more than two brain cells, when you can use that worn-out card and ungracefully back out of the discussion?

What say you, the voter?


2 Responses

  1. Nothing wrong with historical reenactments of Hitler ? You obviously aren’t Jewish.

    • It wasn’t a reenactment of Hitler but of World War II in general. If you’re going to reenact WWII, someone’s going to have to play the bad guys. What’s the difference between this and someone playing Hitler or another Nazi in a Hollywood movie? None. I don’t have to be Jewish to realize this isn’t bigotry.

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