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Bill Schuette, liar

by: Eric B.

Sun Jul 01, 2012 at 09:35:24 AM EDT

We take a break from the "If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine" routine at the Detroit News (dear Ari Adler, this is what a real temper tantrum looks like), to note that the Detroit Free Press allowed an Op-Ed contributor to use their space to mislead and misinform readers.

That is why the court's ruling also deals a body blow to our economy. This represents the largest tax hike in American history, at a time when we can least afford it. President Obama's health care act will make it harder for small businesses -- the real job creators -- to hire more workers.

You might have noticed the little embedded graphic from Politifact, one of those truth squading places. I hate to reference Politifact, especially after their hazardous adventures seeking false balance by going out of their way to call Democratic lawmakers and progressives liars over things that are, in reality, factually accurate.  But, this time they actually made a pretty rock solid case. Hence the giant, burning "Pants on Fire" award over the claim that "Obamacare" represents the largest tax hike in American history.

This claim is wrong.

While the health care law certainly is, on the whole, a tax increase, it’s not the largest in American history -- and as such -- cannot be the largest in the history of the world. (Luckily, there's enough U.S.-based research that we don't have to explore the tax increases of the Roman Empire, adjusted for inflation.)

And yes, their figuring did include revenue projection figures from the penalties that will be charged to people who don't buy any health insurance.  It's a factually false claim, put forward by the state's attorney general.

There are actually a lot of things wrong with Schuette's Op-Ed, like that it harms small businesses. Actually, what is expected to happen is that employers are expected to start dropping health insurance as a perk of employment because there are ways to get individuals to buy their own insurance (i.e. health care exchanges) without the employer coughing up an increasing amount of dough every year for increasing premiums.  And, contrary to the grousing by the governor and Bill Schuette, there are cost controls. Making young, healthy people pay into a system of private insurance companies (the idea that this is now government health is also unadulterated horseshit, but that's besides the point), means people are paying into a system they won't receive benefits from. The entire point of an insurance pool is to provide a means to cover costs for benefit recipients from premiums, which are larger than money paid out.

But, that could all be forgiven, because we're all smart enough to know that Bill Schuette isn't really interested in being the attorney general, the attorney of the people. Bill Schuette is and has always been a career politician who is less interested in questions of law than padding his resume for his next step up.  What is it for him, another Senate bid, a return to Congress, the governor's mansion? He is certainly guilty of lying and lying about a lot of things, but it's all done for reasons most of us realize come with the territory ... he's just out pimping votes.

No, the real criticism here ought to be directed towards the people who run the opinion pages of the Detroit Free Press.  You screwed up, fellas.  I'm not talking about allowing dissenting opinions to appear on your pages. I'm not talking about enabling talk of an armed insurrection against the American government because a court ruling went against you. I'm talking about publishing factual inaccuracies.

Should I launch into another of my lectures about how the first and primary job of a newspaper or media outlet is to inform its readers and that the second job is to not misinform and that the third job is to not confuse? Why bother.

Eric B. :: Bill Schuette, liar
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