To the editor:
Before people vote on Nov. 6, they should know the facts. Some of the television media, radio programs, newspaper columnists and opinion editorial pages are not providing facts, but half-truths, misleading or incomplete information, and flat out lies. Below are the facts, not opinions, provided on Politifact.com of some of these mis-statements of the truth. The website provides their source of the information and the reasons for their conclusions.
MYTH: President Obama said: "If you've got a business, you didn't build that".
FACT: President Obama really said: "If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you've got a business- you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn't get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet."
President Obama's point was that everyone benefits from the successes and help from other people and the support of the government through infrastructure and programs. We are in this together, not alone.
MYTH: President Obama took $716 billion out of Medicare to pay for his healthcare plan.
FACT: Neither Obama nor his health care law literally cut funding from the Medicare program's budget.
The health care law instituted a number of changes to try to bring down future health care costs in the program. The total anticipated savings comes to $716 billion over the next 10 years, as determined by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. So, yes, Obama's law did find $716 billion in spending reductions. They were mainly aimed at insurance companies and hospitals, not beneficiaries. The law made significant reductions to Medicare Advantage, a subset of Medicare plans run by private insurers. Medicare Advantage was started under President George W. Bush, and the idea was that competition among the private insurers would reduce costs. But the plans have actually cost the government more than traditional Medicare. The health care law scales back the payments to private insurers. If efforts to trim spending fail, Republicans are more likely than Democrats to let beneficiaries, rather than taxpayers and care providers, take the hit.
MYTH: Obama ended welfare work requirements.
FACT: The claim is a drastic distortion of what the Obama administration said it intends to do.
A new Obama program does not end welfare-to-work mandates. To the contrary, it strengthens the requirements by granting waivers to states seeking to make the work requirements more successful. The waivers would be granted to pilot programs that are individually evaluated; HHS is not proposing a blanket national change to welfare law. The Obama administration has said it will consider proposals from states that are aimed at finding better ways of getting welfare recipients into jobs. By granting waivers to states, HHS is seeking to make welfare-to-work efforts more successful, not end them. The waivers would apply to individually evaluated pilot programs - HHS is not proposing a blanket, national change to welfare law. And there have been no comments by the Obama administration indicating such a dramatic shift in policy.
It should be noted that the Republican governors of Utah and Nevada have expressed interest in obtaining waivers from TANF requirements in order to boost employment for welfare recipients.
MYTH: The National Rifle Association says that "Obama admits he's coming for our guns, telling Sarah Brady, 'We are working on (gun control), but under the radar.'"
FACT: We found no evidence of an Obama admission anything like the NRA suggests.
What happened is Brady gave an interview to the Washington Post, where she recalled what the president said to her during a private meeting. But the NRA makes a tremendous leap by concluding that the quote shows that "Obama admits he's coming for our guns." A person at the meeting said Obama was likely referring to an in-the-works program to get gun dealers in border states to forward some gun purchases to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Brady says she never talked to Obama about gun policy.
The NRA has taken a fragment of an unclear quote and prescribed the most far-reaching, conspiratorial conclusion. There simply isn't enough evidence for such a sweeping conclusion.
These are just a few examples of facts that have been mis-represented. There are many more. I encourage all voters to seek the truth so you have a clear understanding on who and what you are voting for or against. Regardless of your party affiliation, listen to more than one radio station, one television news network, one newspaper or website/blog. Investigate fact checker websites for yourself. Become an informed voter.