|—||Rem Rieder, USA Today columnist, “The Danger of False Balance in Journalism.”|
Ghost stories are fanciful, frightening tales told to children. But the claim that Republicans would increase Medicare costs by $6,000 per beneficiary is a story Democrats use to scare senior citizens — and it’s just as false.
The fact is, the current Republican proposal is modeled on a plan that would lower seniors’ Medicare premiums and total medical costs by 6 percent, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. And past and present GOP “premium support” proposals wouldn’t have applied to anyone already getting Medicare.
Furthermore, CBO has now effectively retracted the $6,000 figure on which Democrats have always tried to base their claim.
Republicans have their own fairy tale about Medicare — the claim that Democrats are paying for Obamacare “on the backs” of seniors by cutting $700 billion in benefits. Both of these distortions are currently on display in a high-profile Senate race in Kentucky.
As we do every three months, we offer here a fresh update of selected statistical indicators of what has happened since Barack Obama first took the oath of office in January 2009.
This Week’s FactCheck Quiz questions:
- As of June 10, how many schools shootings have there been since the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in December 2012?
- In fiscal year 2009, 82 percent of unaccompanied children illegally crossing the Southwest border were from Mexico. What is the percentage in fiscal year 2014, as of May 31?
- Who said this: “Al Qaeda is on the run. That group of terrorists who attacked our country is slowly, but surely being decimated. Right now, about half of all the top al Qaeda operatives are either jailed or dead. In either case, they’re not a problem anymore.”
A TV ad falsely claims Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander is “responsible” for a surge of “illegal aliens” who are “overrunning our border” because he voted for “amnesty.”
The surge in illegal border crossings is the result of poverty and violence in parts of Central America and has been fueled by false rumors being spread in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras that the U.S. is issuing “permits” to those who wish to live in the U.S.
The immigration overhaul Alexander supported last year did not become law and did not change immigration policy.
Claims from gubernatorial candidates and their opponents about education funding in Michigan and Pennsylvania couldn’t appear to be more conflicting.
- In Michigan, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mark Schauer talks about reversing Gov. Rick Snyder’s “billion dollars in education cuts.” Snyder’s campaign adviser, meanwhile, claims “Governor Snyder increased school funding by $1 billion.”
- In Pennsylvania, Gov. Tom Corbett’s wife, Sue, is featured in an ad saying that Corbett “increased spending in the education department $1.5 billion over what it was when he came into office.” But according to the website of Corbett’s Democratic opponent, Tom Wolf, Corbett “cut state education funding by more than $1 billion.”
In a Republican primary runoff in Alabama’s 6th Congressional District, Paul DeMarco’s TV ad leaves the false impression that Gary Palmer supported a $1.2 billion tax plan. Palmer opposed the tax hike, but the ad-makers butchered an op-ed written by Palmer to make it appear otherwise.
In an interview on Fox News, former Vice President Dick Cheney went too far with his claim that President Obama “has stated repeatedly the terrorist threat is gone.”
To be sure, Obama, at times, has declared al Qaeda to be “on the run,” “decimated” and “on their heels” — all phrases, not incidentally, used by Cheney or his former boss, President George W. Bush, to describe al Qaeda. But Obama and Bush typically followed up those declarations with warnings that terrorism remains a threat, not only from al Qaeda but its affiliates and other extremists.
A Republican ad claims Mike Ross, the Democratic candidate for governor of Arkansas, voted “against taxpayers” more than 80 times while a member of the House. We find that number to be inflated.
The ad also ignores votes Ross cast in favor of the massive 2001 Bush tax cuts, several votes to permanently bury the estate tax, and to permanently extend the Bush cuts for low- and moderate-income taxpayers. Furthermore, some of the votes “against taxpayers” actually favored lowering taxes, or providing cuts for millions of households while raising them on those with very high incomes.