An ad from Crossroads GPS suggests that Rep. Martin Heinrich (D-NM), who is running for the Senate, is responsible for an “explosion” in debt since he took office. But the main drivers of the debt in recent years are Bush policies, such as tax breaks for the wealthy, and the recession – not policies that Heinrich voted for since he took office in 2009. In fact, the Recovery Act helped prevent an even worse economic collapse, and the Affordable Care Act reduces the deficit.Read more after the jump.
An ad from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce attacks New Mexico Senate candidate Martin Heinrich for allegedly voting to raise energy costs “by nearly $1,000 per year” and opposing “American energy exploration.” It’s true that Heinrich voted in the House for the American Clean Energy and Security Act, but nonpartisan experts concluded that the bill would have a minimal cost to consumers. Meanwhile, Heinrich’s “energy exploration” vote was against speeding up the process to restart drilling permits just a year after the Deepwater Horizon spill, when safety reviews were still being conducted.Read more after the jump.
Agreement among climate scientists and scientific organizations that the globe is warming and humans are contributing to it is nearly unanimous, and the hard evidence to back up that position is readily available. Concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are the highest they’ve been any time in the last 400,000 years; arctic ice is melting; and the global temperature has been steadily increasing, with all ten of the warmest years since recordkeeping began occurring within the last 12 years. As recently as 2008, the political consensus roughly mirrored the scientific consensus on the reality of climate change, but thanks to a concerted effort from corporations and industries that stand to benefit financially from lax oversight of emissions, the conservative establishment has slowly embraced climate change skepticism, with some flat-out denying that warming is occurring and others merely hedging on whether or not it’s a problem that needs to be addressed.
Many National Conservative Figures Are Climate Skeptics – A Change From 2008
In 2008, Both GOP And Democratic Candidates Believed In Global Warming. From the New York Times: “In 2008, both the Democratic and Republican candidates for president, Barack Obama and John McCain, warned about man-made global warming and supported legislation to curb emissions.” [New York Times, 10/15/11]
By 2012, GOP Presidential Candidates Were Skeptical Of Climate Science. From the New York Times: “But two years later, now that nearly every other nation accepts climate change as a pressing problem, America has turned agnostic on the issue. In the crowded Republican presidential field, most seem to agree with Gov. Rick Perry of Texas that ‘the science is not settled’ on man-made global warming, as he said in a debate last month. Alone among Republicans onstage that night, Jon M. Huntsman Jr. said that he trusted scientists’ view that the problem was real.” [New York Times, 10/15/11]Read more after the jump.
In an ad going after Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce complains that Brown supported the Affordable Care Act’s “higher taxes,” even though the health care law won’t raise taxes on most Americans and provides tax credits for millions. Citing Brown’s votes in favor of the Wall Street reform law and against a bill to increase drilling leases, the Chamber accuses the senator of supporting more regulations and opposing energy exploration, ignoring the devastating financial collapse and the Deepwater Horizon accident that had occurred just a year before.Read more after the jump.
American Crossroads sets a new standard for shameless dishonesty in a video pouncing on President Obama’s widely distorted comments about business owners. In the style of a sports highlight reel, the video starts with footage of the president saying, “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that.” In context, Obama was clearly referring to things that make up “this unbelievable American system,” including publicly funded “roads and bridges,” but American Crossroads leaves that part out. Amazingly, the video goes on to show clips of Obama explaining that Republicans have misrepresented his words, before replaying the same out-of-context clip and concluding that “the tape’s pretty clear.”Read more after the jump.
Americans now hold a trillion dollars in student loan debt, in large part because tuition has soared and state policies have shifted more and more of that increasing burden off taxpayers and onto would-be students. The remarkable threshold of aggregate debt has focused attention on a variety of legislative battles over financial aid programs. The interest rate on federally subsidized Stafford Loans was set to double this summer, for instance, until a late June compromise. Congressional Republicans had said the only impasse was over how to pay for the lower rates going forward, but the budget House Republicans passed this spring would have allowed the rates to double while also imposing steep cuts to the Pell Grant program for low-income students. The contrast between progressive and conservative aims for financial aid spending was perhaps clearest in 2010, however, when Democrats ended billions in giveaways to the banks who had acted as middle men for federally guaranteed loans; Republicans decried that efficiency move as a government “takeover” of the student loan industry.
Rising Tuition, Shrinking Public Funds, And A Trillion Dollars In Student Debt
Total Student Loan Debt Outstanding Has Reached Approximately $1 Trillion. From Inside Higher Ed: “Total student debt will pass $1 trillion soon, or surpassed that mark months ago or just last week, depending on which analysis you choose. (The Federal Reserve in March said total outstanding student loan debt stood at $870 billion. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau believes the debt surpassed $1 trillion several months ago. The Occupy movement picked April 25 to commemorate the $1 trillion mark with marches and protests.) Americans now owe more on student loans than they do on credit cards.” [Inside Higher Ed, 5/3/12]Read more after the jump.
At the Heritage Foundation Blogger Briefing on July 24, Eagle Forum president Phyllis Schlafly said:
However, I grew up during the Great Depression. And I read the list that the Heritage Foundation made up of all the amenities and all the advantages that people living in poverty today enjoy. And I went over that list of 50 and I didn’t have a single one as I was growing up except for a stove and an oven. We didn’t even have a refrigerator because my father lost his job, and I think today’s people in poverty don’t know what poverty really is.
From the Heritage Foundation to the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) to purely political organizations like FreedomWorks and the Club for Growth, nearly the entire infrastructure of the right criticizes President Obama for the current state of our national debt. It is instructive to look back on these groups’ positions on the two primary drivers of both recent and future deficits: President Bush’s tax cuts and the expansion of the war on terror to Iraq. AEI, Heritage, and the Hoover Institution may be debt hawks now, but their roles in pushing the costly and misguided invasion of Iraq began almost before the wreckage was cleared at Ground Zero in New York City. And while it’s unremarkable that conservative institutions would support reducing taxes, the promises made in debate over the Bush tax cuts by Heritage, Americans for Tax Reform, and the like fly in the face of their current griping about our indebtedness.
Conservative Institutions Blame President Obama’s “Spending Binge” For Rising Debt
Heritage Foundation Decries Obama’s “Vision” Of “Deeper Deficits.” From the Heritage Foundation’s response to President Obama’s budget proposal for fiscal year 2013: “The Administration’s apparent vision is one of bigger government, more spending, higher taxes, and deeper deficits. At a time when runaway spending and swelling deficits must be reversed, President Obama increases both.” [Heritage.org, 2/28/12]Read more after the jump.
Crossroads GPS attempts to link “three years of crushing unemployment” to President Obama’s “failed” investments in clean energy through the Recovery Act. In addition to misrepresenting the program that provided loans for Solyndra and other companies, Crossroads GPS conveniently overlooks what really ‘crushed’ the job market: a historically devastating recession that was destroying hundreds of thousands of jobs per month when Obama was inaugurated. Since then, the avalanche of job losses has turned into steady growth, with the private sector gaining 4.5 million jobs over the last 29 months. The ad also blames Obama for the rising debt without noting the disastrous fiscal impact of Bush policies, such as tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans, and the recession.Read more after the jump.
It’s no coincidence that conservative state legislatures launched an unprecedented wave of measures to make it harder to vote in the wake of the GOP’s sweeping state-level victories in 2010. With the dexterous hand of the American Legislative Exchange Council providing coordination, and the will to suppress the vote that’s animated the right for decades, the assault on ballot access isn’t really surprising either. But it is based on a deeply flawed premise: Claims of voter fraud are chronically exaggerated, and when organizations actually follow up on initial reports they almost always prove inaccurate or inflated. (President Bush’s DOJ, for all its zeal, turned up fewer than 100 convictions out of 300,000,000 votes cast.) However, for a movement that’s openly declared its hostility toward efforts to increase voter turnout in American elections, it doesn’t matter that there’s no fire behind all that smoke.
With Help From ALEC, GOP’s 2010 Wave Produced Voting Laws That Could Disenfranchise 5 Million Mostly Poor, Young, And Minority Voters
State-Level GOP Gains In 2010 Elections Led To Vast, Unprecedented Push To Restrict Voting Access. From the Brennan Center for Justice’s report on “Voting Law Changes In 2012”: “This year, at least thirty-four states introduced a record number of bills to require photo ID to vote. As Jenny Bowser, senior fellow at the National Conference of State Legislatures, observed, ‘It’s remarkable … I very rarely see one single issue come up in so many state legislatures in a single session.’ […] There are at least two major reasons for this change. The first is the stark shift in the partisan makeup of state legislatures after 2010. As noted, there is typically a sharp partisan divide over the issue of strict voter ID requirements, with Republicans generally pushing more restrictive measures and Democrats generally opposing them. This year, in every case but one, strict voter ID bills were introduced by Republican legislators. Newly elected legislators introduced about a quarter of these bills. As a result of Republican electoral success in state houses across the country in 2010, proponents of strict voter ID bills were able to garner much greater legislative support than in the past. In the 2010 elections, Republicans picked up at least 675 state legislative seats across the country. Republicans therefore controlled both legislative chambers in twenty-six states, up from fourteen earlier in 2010.” [Brennan Center for Justice, “Voting Law Changes In 2012,” 2011, internal citations removed, emphasis added]Read more after the jump.