Steve Chabot is just making stuff up

The Enquirer has clearly slipped over the past several months. Ok, well it'd been slipping for a lot longer than that, but it's become very evident recently. First there was the abhorrent editorial about health care reform that looked like it'd come right out of a G.O.P. press release, and now they've allowed former congressman - and currently republican candidate for the 1st district seat in the U.S. House of Representatives - Steve Chabot to pen an op-ed disagreeing with current representative Steve Driehaus' take that taxes are low.

It's fair to say that Chabot takes a few liberties with the facts. And when I say liberties, I mean he completely ignores them, makes up his own facts, and then tries to play them off as being true. Don't believe me? Let's take a look.

Chabot: The so-called economic stimulus package pushed by the Pelosi-Reid Congress, which Driehaus voted for, clearly hasn't worked.

Reality: According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, the stimulus package created 2.1 million jobs in the last three months of 2009 alone. This is backed up by multiple economic research firms, who also believe that the stimulus package saved us from a far worse recession, and possibly a depression.

Chabot: And the true unemployment rate is 17 to 20 percent if you factor in those who are underemployed, work only part-time or have given up looking altogether.

Reality: I couldn't find any record of Chabot citing underemployment/part-time workers when Bush was president, so I find it interesting that he's using those now to calculate unemployment numbers. The Obama administration took over an absolute mess, and has been losing less jobs every month, after months of accelerating job losses under Bush.

Chabot: Driehaus and congressional Democrats are allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire, meaning income taxes will be going up on virtually everyone.

Reality: Under the Bush tax cuts, the bottom 60% of income earners saved no more than $600 per year, whereas the top 1% saved over $53,000 per year. They disproportionately helped the upper class, and did very little for the bottom 80% of the American workforce.

Chabot: Driehaus also failed to mention that he voted for the much-criticized cap-and-trade legislation, which amounts to a new energy tax on every American. It would mean significantly higher costs to heat or cool your home and drive your car, and would run up the cost on virtually everything you buy.

Reality: I'm sure that Chabot is referring to the republican-pushed study that said that cap and trade would cost the average family $3,100 per year. This has been widely discredited. The EPA's own study came up with a cost of $98 to $140 per year for an average family. Other estimates have been somewhat higher, but none even close to the $3,100 figure.

Chabot: [Driehaus'] liberal allies in Washington are seriously considering imposing a new national sales tax on all of us. The plan is to have an "independent" commission study the potential options...and then recommend a VAT (Value Added Tax) after the election. Doug Elmendorf, the head of the Congressional Budget Office, has admitted that his people are already studying it.

Reality: First, Driehaus would hardly call himself a liberal. Second, multiple members of the Obama administration have already said that a VAT is not an option. Third, 85 Senate members have already signed a resolution against a VAT, so the chances of that getting through Congress are non-existent. Most every civilized country has a VAT of some sort, but that's not going to be happening here.

Chabot: [A] recent report showed that $316 billion of the $670 billion in increased taxes already passed by Congress over the past year, raised taxes on middle class families, not the wealthy.

Reality: The report that Chabot is referring to is a report published by the republican members of the House Ways and Means Committee. Some of the tax increases are hardly middle class specific ($65 billion on a tobacco tax increase), some of them are not actually taxes ($64 billion in fines for individuals and companies that do not comply with the Affordable Care Act, $13 billion from capping FSA contributions at $2,500), and some are just ridiculous ($2.7 billion for a 10% increase in taxes on tanning salons, which is silly since John Boehner clearly is the bigger utilizer of tanning salons). Also, the figures Chabot cites are over a 10 year period - while Chabot doesn't outright say that these "increases" are immediate, he doesn't do much to clarify that they aren't.

Chabot: Driehaus cited a study by Citizens for Tax Justice as his source that we should all thank him for our "low taxes." When a group has the term "justice" in its title, it's usually a tip-off that they're a liberal outfit.

Reality: This is true, since it's well known that justice has a liberal bias. Also, this means that all members of the Justice League, with the exception of Solomon Grundy, are liberal as well.

Chabot: Congress passed a trillion-dollar health care bill that many of its members didn't even read.

Reality: The bill came in at under a trillion dollars, and I'd like to know how Chabot is so certain that members did not read the bill. Also, it's hard to take Chabot seriously when he complains about the passage of a budget neutral health care reform bill, when he voted in favor of the Medicare Part D bill, which was little more than a giveaway to the pharmaceutical companies, and cost the country hundreds of billions of dollars and had no provisions for how to pay for it.

Chabot: Let's move to a flatter, simpler, lower and fairer income tax. And if a national sales tax is in our future, let's make sure that it replaces federal income taxes altogether.

Reality: Both flat taxes and (especially) national sales taxes are terribly regressive. A sales tax disproportionately hits lower and lower-middle class families, since they consume almost all of their income, whereas the upper class tends to save considerably more, since they don't need to use all of their income to survive.

It's a shame that the Enquirer gave Chabot a forum to spew his misinformation to their readership. Here's hoping that they give Driehaus ample opportunity to set the facts straight.
UPDATE: I should point out that the majority of my fact-checking took all of about a half-hour. If a blogger can poke this many holes in an op-ed that quickly, you ought to wonder why the editors of a major local publication couldn't do the same. Of course, that's assuming that the editors wanted to fact-check the op-ed; my gut tells me that wasn't a priority for them.

1 comment:

HD Notes said...

The second pure Obama stimulus is coming, or should in time for 2011, if they can get over that they can rule without all or sometime any Republicans.

This year 2.2 million households will lose their homes on top of the record 2009 1.9 million. This is on top of the 11 million households that are underwater. The second wave is coming, add to that commercial real estate.

But it is a great time for someone with money. wonder why I want Huff as my Realtor with the Sage from Omaha in their corner, lets go and get some market share!!!

Cicninnati Change and Hargrove Engineering are proposing their own plan today to Kroger.