Over the last few years the national debt has become a major issue in Washington, particularly with the growth of the Tea Party and the influx of conservatives in Congress during the past two cycles.
This week, PolitiFact came out with its list of finalists for the 2012 “Lie of the Year.” The “lies” cover everything from abortion to health care to taxes to the auto bailout, and hit claims made on both sides of the aisle.
Every year, PolitiFact’s “Lie of the Year” causes controversy. In 2009 and 2010, it rated “death panels” and “government takeover of health care” as the respective Lies, rankling conservatives, and in 2011 it ranked the Mediscare tactics of the left as its Lie. This year, seeing a lack of claims in PolitiFact’s list, Red Alert Politics has responded with its own list of Lies, including a claim by Vice President Joe Biden that Mitt Romney wanted “to put ya’ll back in chains” to a largely black audience.
Each of these “Lie of the Year” awards can be argued and debated endlessly. While “death panels” may not technically exist, it is clear that the Independent Payment Advisory Board does have the power and incentive to limit care to seniors. Is that an effective death panel? Only time will tell.
Over the last several months, PolitiFact has gone from being a respectable, if liberal, fact-checking website to the laughingstock of fact-check organizations. Last week, PolitiFact set itself up for more ridicule as one of its state affiliates went after current Congressman and Florida Senate candidate Connie Mack (R-FL) for stating, “Obama has no plan to reduce the deficit, let alone pay down the debt.”
According to PolitiFact’s flaw-filled analysis, Mack is mostly wrong:
Mack said that “President Obama has no plan to reduce the deficit, let alone pay down the debt.”
Recent reports by various tax administrations and committees have revealed that the IRS has wasted billions of dollars on tax credits to illegal immigrants. It is precisely because of this lack of accountability and fraud that proposals like the flat tax and FAIR tax should once again, be considered by those who are serious about reforming our tax system.
Last year, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) determined $4.2 billion had been given to illegal immigrants in IRS tax credits in 2010. This amount was up significantly from 2005, when just under $1 billion was wasted on this fraudulent use of tax credits. This $1 billion waste prompted Republican-led legislation to prevent the IRS from making such future errors, though the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) determined one effort would only save $7.6 billion over ten years.
In an editorial Tuesday, The USA TODAY attacked the airline industry for what it said “in another context [would be known] as a protection racket.” According to the editorial, airlines are overcharging customers through various fees – most egregious, apparently, is the common $25 checked-bag fee – and putting customers “in a state of high anxiety” to justify this practice.
The editorial is worth reading for two reasons: first, it completely ignores the basic economic concept called “supply and demand.” After all, airline customers can drive a vehicle or take a bus just about anywhere; nobody has to drive, especially domestically. Second, and more importantly, it joins Senator Mary Landrieu’s (D-LA) desire to use big government to micromanage the airline industry. According to USA TODAY, the airlines “invite… government intervention, such as a Senate bill that would mandate one free checked bag.”