Tuesday, September 28, 2010

"Public Notice" - a teabagger/GOP front

I saw an ad this morning on MSNBC, by Public Notice, that talks about rising deficits due to allegedly out-of-control government spending, and urges folks to vote on November 2 for a "small, caring government" - sounds like anti-Democrat, maybe even "compassionate conservative"! So I looked up their website; their "About" section says:
Public Notice is an independent non-profit dedicated to providing facts and insight on the economy and how government policy affects Americans’ financial well-being.

Through education and awareness projects, Public Notice engages Americans on today’s policies, to avoid tomorrow’s problems.

Americans, empowered with the facts, can lead Washington to be better stewards of the nation’s economic and fiscal future.
That is a very laudable objective. So I poked around, and saw a video clip filmed apparently during Glenn Beck's 8-28 rally, that asks folks five questions: Which President (1) Spent $3 trillion in a single year; (2) bailed out hundreds of large corporations; (3) spent billions of tax dollars on stimulus spending during a recession; (4) raised spending by many times the rate of inflation on non-defense items; (5) passed an expensive healthcare bill. The answer to all these questions is, apparently: Both Bush and Obama.

This may be a surprise, since Bush labeled himself as a "compassionate conservative", and Public Notice clearly lays some blame on him. But not quite. If one follows US politics closely (and I do!), then the "Bush was NOT a real conservative" is a common trope trotted out by Republicans to explain the record deficits created by President George W Bush's policies.
Second, though the health care reform bill passed by President Obama and the Democrats might seem expensive (how else does one pay to insure 33 million additional Americans?), "Public Notice" fails to note a crucial difference, given their "deficits are critical" theme:
  • President Obama's healthcare bill was fully paid for, as per the (truly) non-partisan CBO, and even reduces the federal deficit - by $130 billion over the first ten years, and by over $1.2 trillion over the second decade!
  • President Bush's Medicare prescription drug program, on the other hand, was NOT paid for at all, and in fact, raises the federal deficit by over $500 billion!
Third: Public Notice fails to understand that in a recession, the government *has* to spend money to make up for the lack of demand - otherwise, unemployment gets worse as manufacturers lay off workers. Don't take my word for it - read up Paul Krugman or other noted economists.

A final point. If Public Notice really was all about educating citizens, they would be more upfront about who is behind this group and its work - but the "About" section lists not a single name.

Sorry, Public Notice - but it is very hard to accept your "independent" claim. You are nothing but a front for teabagger Republicans.

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