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Stephen Colbert schools Ted Cruz on Reagan's "Largest Tax Cut in History"
Published: Friday, 25 September 2015
On Sept 21, Ted Cruz appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and said that Ronald Reagan signed "the largest tax cut in history and spurred economic growth." Colbert countered, saying that he later reversed his "largest tax cut" and raised taxes when revenues did not match expectations. Politifact looked into his statement and found that Reagan's Economic recovery Tax Act of 1981 cut taxes $275 Billion, which included across the board rate cuts of about 30%. The next year, the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982 erased some of the benefits and was "the largest peacetime tax increase in American history". The year after that, Reagan signed a bill to keep Social Security afloat by raising payroll taxes and taxing Social Security benefits for high income taxpayers - a $24.6 Billion increase. The Deficit Reduction Act of 1984 erased other benefits of the 1981 Act, leading to $25 Billion more into the Treasury. He went on to raise taxes in 85, 86, 87, and 88 as well. On balance, Politifact found that the subsequent tax increased amounted to $133 Billion, so the net effect was actually a $142 Billion tax cut in 1981. Lastly, while Reagan cut taxes once, he raised them on at least subsequent 7 occasions.
Veteran Homelessness cut by 1/3 during Obama Administration
Published: Saturday, 01 August 2015
On a July 21 interview with Jon Stewart on "The Daily Show", President Obama stated that the Department of Veterans Affairs is now structurally better than when he took office despite still being underfunded and its employees overworked. He went on to make the statement above. This number is backed up by a yearly count done by cities all over America of both sheltered and unsheltered (i.e. living on the street) veterans. The reason the statement was rated Mostly True is because the unsheltered veteran number is measured different ways in different cities and also because the largest drop is from the unsheltered group. Obama went on to say that the main reason for the decline is that the budget for housing to reduce homelessness was increased from $400 Million in 2009 to $1.5 Billion in 2014.
GA Senate Democrats got scholarship money for minorities as part of transportation bill
Published: Wednesday, 13 May 2015
Senate Democrat votes were critical to passage of the transportation bill in the 2015 legislative session, a bill that provides much needed funds to support GDOT road improvements. Democrats were able to get two provisions for their support. One was a commitment from GDOT to give more improvement contracts to minority contractors and the second was for more scholarship funds available to minority students. Starting on July 1st, $3 Million will be available to women, Hispanics, African Americans and Native American students at Kennesaw, Georgia Tech and Georgia Southern, Mercer, and the University of Georgia who are pursuing Engineering degrees. For each $3,500 a student gets, (s)he must work in an Engineering-related field in Georgia for one calendar year or pay back the money plus interest.
Hillary wrong (well, actually, mostly right) about Rep candidates Citizenship claim
Published: Monday, 11 May 2015
PolitiFact noted that there are basically three different groups that the Republicans candidates fall into:
1. Those who do NOT support a path to citizenship (which would give the new citizens the right to VOTE) - Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Carly Fiorina, Rick Perry, and Rich Santorum
2. Those who did support a path to citizenship, but no longer do (or else the GOP PAC money would stop, I guess) - Scott Walker, Mike Huckabee, Chris Christie, Bobby Jindal, Ben Carson, and Jeb Bush
3. Those who DO currently support a path to citizenship - one. Lindsay Graham
PolitiFact rated her statement "Mostly False", but based on their own research, it seems her statement should have been rated a "Mostly True".
Gingrich wrong about foreign donations to Clinton Foundation
Published: Tuesday, 05 May 2015
Newt Gingrich stated matter-0f-factly on Sunday's ABC "This Week" that ,"The Constitution of the United States says you cannot take money from foreign governments without explicit permission of the Congress. They wrote that in there because they knew the danger of corrupting our system by foreign money is enormous. . . . She took money while Secretary of State. That is clearly illegal." A spokesperson for the Clinton Foundation pointed out that Hillary was not part of the foundation while she was a US Senator or Secretary of State. Gingrich based his statement on the Emoluments Clause, which is found in Article 1, Section 9 of the Constitution and states, "No person holding any office of profit or trust under them, shall, without the consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office or Title of any kind whatever from any King, Prince, or foreign state." Since Hillary was not affiliated directly with the foundation, the above does not apply to contributions the foundation received during her time as a Senator or Secretary of Sate. Also of importance, this section of the Constitution has never been enforced, according to American University Law Professor Steve Vladeck. University of Virginia Law Professor John Harrison referred to the Foreign Gifts Act, which defines how the clause actually works and said, "it doesn't say anything about foreign gifts by other entities such as the Clinton Foundation." PolitiFact gave his statement a Mostly False rating because they found some "experts" that asserted that the clause could also apply to spouses, in which case, Gingrich would be right. [This one should be rated False or Pants on Fire]
Published: Monday, 4 May 2015
Georgia's junior Senator stated on the Senate floor that, "The US is about to have the smallest Army since before WW2, the smallest Navy since WW1, and the smallest Air Force ever! This is simply unacceptable." Naturally, he was blaming President Obama's foreign policy for this. His source? A 2011 letter from Leon Paneta, (Defense Minister at the time), who warned of devastating results if the Pentagon budget was included in proposed sequestration cuts. PolitiFact found that the Pentagon has, thus far, been spared any cuts from sequestration. It also stated that the Army expects to have 450,000 soldiers by the end of 2019. In 1940, before a draft was enacted, the Army had 269,000 soldiers. The Navy and Air Force are measured by the number of ships and planes that are deployable. In 1915, the Navy had 231 deployable ships. Today, it has 273, which it expects to pare down to 234 by 2019. Perdue was right about the Air Forces numbers, but his assertion that the Obama administrations military budget cuts are negatively impacting our military might is incorrect. Why? Because of technological improvements that have been made over the years. In WW2, for instance, a bomber would carry a crew of ten. Todays planes require a crew of one. Also, as noted by Alex Roland, a military history professor at Duke University, "Even with recent cuts, the US still spends as much as the next seven biggest defense-spending counties combined." [Once again, PolitiFact was too forgiving. Seems this one should have been rated False]
The recently passed transportation funding bill is a billion-dollar tax increase for Georgians.
Published: Monday, April 27th, 2015
The Legislature made good this year on a promise it made in 2012 after voters said NO to a proposed transportation bill. House Bill 170, awaiting the governor’s signature, is projected to raise nearly $670 million in transportation funding next year by moving the state from a series of sales and excise taxes on gasoline to a single excise tax.
That plus a mix of new fees for drivers of electric car and heavy
trucks, the end of a popular tax credit for electric cars, and a $5
per-night fee on hotel/motel stays are expected to generate close to $1
billion a year to tackle the state’s backlog of transportation projects. [Sadly, this amount falls short of the level of funding experts said in a report to the Legislature that is actually needed to maintain our existing infra-structure.]
"Some people will pay more under this proposal. Those who drive a heavy truck and those who drive an alternative vehicle will certainly pay more immediately. Certain others may pay less or identical amounts at this juncture, but in succeeding years that burden will be indexed to inflation and is apt to increase.", said Jared Walczak, an analyst with the right-leaning Tax Foundation, who examined Georgia’s gas tax at PolitiFact Georgia’s request.
Deal's statement on education funding missing critical context
Published: Tuesday, April 14th, 2015
Gov. Nathan Deal has promised financially strapped local school districts that better days are ahead. He started down that road last year. When running for re-election, he won legislative approval of a 2015 state budget that reduced the education austerity cut to $747 million, the lowest since 2009. "This year’s budget, coupled with my proposal for next year’s budget, represents an infusion of over one billion additional dollars for K-12 education," he told a joint session of the state House and Senate on Jan. 14.
An austerity cut is the gap between what a district needs to provide a
quality education to all its students, as determined by the Quality
Basic Education (QBE) formula, and the amount of money the General
Assembly and governor approve. The first austerity cut was implemented in 2003, pre-Great Recession.
In the 12 years that have followed, the state’s 180 local districts have
collectively been short- changed about $8 billion, based on the state's QBE formula. As a result, many districts have been forced to raise class sizes, abandon the
traditional 180-day school calendar, drop electives, and/or furlough
staff in recent years. [ In Cherokee, the CCSD opted to privatize the custodial staff to a third party company, who offered custodians a lower pay rate and loss of health benefits. ]
Last year, Deal reduced the annual austerity cut -- which had hovered around $1 billion -- to $747 million by sending the districts collectively an additional $314 million. For the upcoming fiscal year, he proposed and lawmakers approved giving them an additional $280 million to reduce the austerity cut to about $460 million. Those back-to-back austerity reductions absorbed about $594 million -- or nearly half of the $1.2 billion. A billion-plus additional dollars will be in the budget, but most of the money is going to cover routine growth in student enrollment and to reduce austerity cuts.
ACA (Obamacare) a major reason 50,000 fewer people have died in hospitals
Published: Tuesday, March 31st, 2015
President Obama said this in a March 25 speech
The basis of this statement was a report produced by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. In it, it stated that, "approximately 50,000 fewer patients died in the hospital as a result of the reduction in hospital -acquired con- ditions, and approximately $12 Billion in health care costs were saved from 2010 to 2013." Lucian Leape, an adjunct professor of health policy at Harvard University's T.H. Chan School of Public Health said, "Hospitals were improving their their safety slowly on their own, but this [the Affordable Care Act] gave it a big boost. It's the first time we've seen significant, measur- able, significant decreases in any of the harms we cause by treatment failures."