Maybe it’s a waste of time to try to correct misinformation presented in your letters to the editor, but perhaps false ideas become widely believed because too few people bother to counter them.
The letter published July 17 says of President Obama: “He spent more in three years than the previous president spent in eight.”
Fact: In the first three fiscal years of the Obama presidency, the federal government spent $11 trillion. In the eight fiscal years of the George W. Bush presidency, it spent $22.7 trillion. (Sources: OMB; Statistical Abstract of the United States.)
It’s a myth that Obama has sparked a vast increase in federal spending. Under Obama, there have been only tiny increases over the last year of Bush’s budget — less than 1.5 percent per year — the lowest increases since President Eisenhower.
The annual deficits under Obama have been lower than the last year under Bush, and are mostly caused by lower revenues due to the recession and tax cuts, not new programs. Federal revenues are the lowest percentage of the economy in more than 50 years. (Sources: OMB; Statistical Abstract of the United States.)
The letter says that President Obama “has spent $90 million to hide his past history, from the issue of birth to schools.” This absurd figure has no factual basis. Even ardent birthers like Donald Trump have been claiming $2 million spent for the defense of various birther lawsuits, and this number is completely invented.
Fact: The Obama presidential campaign spent a total of $2.8 million on all legal fees in the first two years after the election. We don’t know specifically what this was for, but there are dozens of routine legal issues in winding down a big presidential campaign. The McCain campaign spent $1.3 million in legal fees during the same period. (Source: Federal Election Commission.)
The letter has other distortions, but I’m over the word limit, and the reader should get the point.
In search of ‘good’
“I am not a crook,” protested a certain occupier of the highest office in the land. “I was not in the loop,” declared another holder of high office, in a different year. “Behold! I bring you good tidings from the war front,” trumpeted his young son (who was) so very young and filled with hubris.
And now we have today’s contestant affirming his loyalty to the nation and his suitability to lead with integrity and wisdom. But we are told he has his wealth, or perhaps some small part of it — or more — deposited in a distant tax haven. Legal, no doubt, but a bit dodgy perhaps, at a moment when the nation is asked to circle the wagons in defense of the American dream.
Perhaps someone could ask Mr. Mitt Romney to clarify his balancing of loyalty with his desire to pay even less tax into the nation’s coffers.
What exactly do we have here, in this mishmash of human frailties? Are we sliding further down the slope towards a break up of a great democratic experiment?
Where are the good men and women?
Philip D. Williams