"It's been almost a year," Michelle said back on February 8, 2011 [ref].
I sincerely congratulate President Obama on the significant accomplishment of quitting smoking. There are many people who are never able to kick the habit. Hopefully he's kicked it for good.
Unfortunately, one habit that Obama hasn't kicked — and isn't even trying to kick — is that of lying.
I wouldn't make a big deal of this particular "discrepancy", except that it is symptomatic of a pernicious character deficiency in Barack Obama: He is a habitual liar — a chain liar, if you will.
Obama Lied About Reduced Health Insurance Costs
In his first presidential election campaign, Obama promised families a $2,500 reduction in health insurance premium costs. [ref, ref]
Does anyone reading this know anybody who is paying less today for their health insurance than before Obama was elected?
In fact, I'm now paying a lot more for my family's health insurance. I have a high deductible plan (HDP), in which my deductible and my annual out-of-pocket maximum increased over $2,000 combined at the beginning of 2013. But that wasn't the start of my increased costs. Before Obama was elected my company provided outstanding no-premium no-deductible health care. After Obama was elected, once the "Affordable Healthcare Act" was rammed through Congress, our insurance company changed the available plans, compelling me to choose an HDP plan over a more expensive premium-based plan. I estimate that my aggregate to-date health care cost increase due to Obamacare is in excess of $4,000.
But it gets worse. Much worse. We were just informed that in 2014 our out-of-pocket maximums will more than double, from $3,000 to $6,350 for an individual, and from $6,000 to $12,700 for my family.
Most families are seeing similar increases, according to Investor's Business Daily:
It turns out that family premiums have increased by more than $3,000 since Obama's vow, according to the latest annual Kaiser Family Foundation employee health benefits survey.
Family premiums aren’t the only premiums going way up. So too are individual premiums, on average by as much as 99% for men, and 62% for women, according to a Forbes report.
Based on a Manhattan Institute analysis of the HHS numbers, Obamacare will increase underlying insurance rates for younger men by an average of 97 to 99 percent, and for younger women by an average of 55 to 62 percent. Worst off is North Carolina, which will see individual-market rates triple for women, and quadruple for men. [ref]
Barack Obama lied about reducing healthcare costs.
Obama Lied About Not Raising Taxes on the Middle Class
Once again while on the campaign trail, Obama lied to get votes:
"I can make a firm pledge: Under my plan, no family making $250,000 or less per year, will see any form of tax increase," he said. [ref]
Obama specifically stated that payroll taxes would not increase. Nevertheless, on January 1, 2013, the Social Security payroll tax went up two percent, for everyone. [ref]
A Chain of Lies
"We are going to work with you to lower your premiums by $2,500. We will not wait 20 years from now to do it, or 10 years from now to do it. We will do it by the end of my first term as president."
"I can make a firm pledge: Under my plan, no family making $250,000 or less per year, will see any form of tax increase."
"My Administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in Government. We will work together to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration. Openness will strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness in Government."
"The day after [Benghazi] happened I acknowledged that this was an act of terrorism."
"I first learned about [the IRS targeting scandal] from the same news reports that I think most people learned about this."
"Raising the debt ceiling does not authorize more spending."
"You have never seen in the history of the United States the debt ceiling or the threat of not raising the debt being used to extort a president or a governing party and trying to force issues that have nothing to do with the budget and nothing to do with the debt."
"I think it's fair to say that during the course of my presidency I have bent over backwards to work with the Republican Party, and have purposely kept my rhetoric down."
The Heritage Foundation enumerates multiple different taxes imposed by the Obama administration that either directly or indirectly affect the middle class. Remember, any tax on business is a tax on the middle class, because the cost of the tax always get passed through to either worker or consumer in the form of reduced wages, fewer jobs, or higher prices [ref, ref]:
- Health Insurance Provider Fee (an annual fee on health insurance providers based on their market share)
- "Cadillac" Health Care Plan Tax (a 40% tax on health plans that cost more than a certain threshold amount)
- Prescription Drug Fees (a market share-based annual fee on manufacturers and importers of prescription drugs)
- Medical Device Tax (a 2.3% tax on medical device manufacturers)
- Business Regulation Costs (businesses will be required to spend more resources to comply with and report to the federal government)
- Reduced Medical Deductions (the floor on itemized medical deductions increases from 7.5% to 10% of annual income before a medical deduction can be obtained)
- FSA Limits (the amount of pre-tax dollars that can be set aside in flexible savings accounts is now capped at $2,500 a year).
- Taxes on Business Investment (expiration of the ability for businesses to immediately deduct capital purchases)
- Elimination of Corporate Income Tax Deduction (for expenses related to the Medicare Part D Subsidy)
Obama Lied about Having an Open and Transparent Administration
Unfortunately, fancy self-serving campaign web sites (that's what our government web sites have become) and taxpayer-funded political propaganda (that's what most government communication has become) aren't the same thing as being open and transparent.
Indeed, take away Obama's propaganda machinery and what you have left is the least transparent, least open administration we've ever had.
Washington lawyer Katherine Meyer has been filing Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) cases since 1978, dealing with six different presidential administrations.
"Of the six, this administration is the worst on FOIA issues. The worst. There's just no question about it," Meyer said. "This administration is raising one barrier after another. It's gotten to the point where I'm stunned — I'm really stunned." [ref]
According to an Associated Press report, in 2010 the Obama administration received 41,000 more FOIA requests than in 2009, but responded to 12,400 fewer [ref].
When the Obama administration does respond to FOIA requests, it does so based on the politics of the requesting party.
J. Christian Adams of PJ Media researched logs of FOIA requests made to the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division, and found "a pattern of politicized compliance" with the FOIA. "In no instance does a conservative or Republican requestor receive a reply in the time period prescribed by law. The logs demonstrate an unmistakable pattern — friends zoom in the express lane, while foes are stuck waiting on the shoulder." [ref]
Another Obama administration anti-transparency strategy is to get rid of or hide information so that it is not available to FOIA requests.
After the Bin Laden raid, in violation of both federal rules and the Federal Records Act, Admiral William McRaven ordered military files about the raid to be deleted from Defense Department computers, and sent to the CIA, where the records could be hid from the public. The administration made the post-op claim that the Seals that conducted the raid were temporarily "acting under the authority of the CIA" [ref].
Thomas Blanton, director of George Washington University's National Security Archive research institute had this to say about the administration's sleight of hand: "Welcome to the shell game in place of open government. Guess which shell the records are under. If you guess the right shell, we might show them to you. It's ridiculous." [ref]
Another way the Obama administration is hiding information is by using thousands of secret government email accounts to conduct official business. This from the Associated Press:
"The AP reviewed hundreds of pages of government emails released under the federal open records law and couldn't independently find instances when material from any of the secret accounts it identified was turned over. Congressional oversight committees told the AP they were unfamiliar with the few nonpublic government addresses that AP identified so far, including one for Secretary Kathleen Sebelius of the Health and Human Services Department." [ref]
Speaking of the Associated Press, it is the media that is often getting stonewalled and manipulated in its quest for information.
David Sanger has covered Washington for the New York Times for over twenty years. His take on the Obama administration's openness and transparency? "This is the most closed, control-freak administration I've ever covered." [ref]
Bob Schieffer, chief Washington correspondent for CBS News' experience has been similar. "Whenever I'm asked what is the most manipulative and secretive administration I've covered, I always say it is the one in office now," he said. "Every administration learns from the previous administration. They become more secretive and put tighter clamps on information. This administration exercises more control than George W. Bush's did, and his before that." [ref]
An unprecedented number of Federal investigations into "leaks" to the media have made it much more difficult for the media to perform its watchdog role on the government.
"In the Obama administration's Washington, government officials are increasingly afraid to talk to the press," says Leonard Downie Jr., a former executive editor of The Washington Post and current journalism professor at Arizona State University. "The administration's war on leaks and other efforts to control information are the most aggressive I've seen since the Nixon administration, when I was one of the editors involved in The Washington Post's investigation of Watergate." [ref]
According to R. Jeffrey Smith of the Center for Public Integrity, the investigations have been "a kind of slap in the face. It means you have to use extraordinary measures for contacts with officials speaking without authorization. I worry now about calling somebody because the contact can be found out through a check of phone records or e-mails. It leaves a digital trail that makes it easier for government to monitor those contacts."
And how is the government following that digital trail? The NSA, of course, which has way overstepped all Constitutional bounds in its secret surveillance of U.S. Citizens, and for which the Obama administration is fighting tooth and nail to maintain the secretive gathering and collection of confidential data.
I could cite much, much more evidence that the Obama administration is anything but transparent and open, but in the interest of some brevity will conclude my denunciation with a quote from John Podesta, formerly the chief of Obama's transition team, who vowed in 2008 that Obama's administration would be "the most open and transparent" in history [ref]:
"President Obama is ignoring the system of checks and balances that has governed our country from its earliest days…. In keeping this information from the American people, he is undermining the nation's ability to be a leader on the world stage and is acting in opposition to the democratic principles we hold most important. James Madison said that 'a popular government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy; or, perhaps, both'." [ref]
Yes, Obama lied about having an open and transparent administration.
Obama Lied about Benghazi
Then, when later confronted about his administration's lies, Obama lied to try to cover a lie: "The day after it happened," he said, "I acknowledged that this was an act of terrorism" [ref].
The fact is that on September 12, in an interview with 60 minutes he took pains to avoid characterizing the attack as terrorist [ref]. Vague references to terror don't offset the fact that, as I've already mentioned, his administration made a concerted effort over the next week or so to sell the American public on the idea that it was a spontaneous mob demonstration [ref].
Obama lied about who was behind the Benghazi attacks.
Obama Lied About Not Knowing About IRS Targeting
"I first learned about it from the same news reports that I think most people learned about this," Obama claimed [ref].
Without an insider squealing on the President, we might not be able to convict Obama of lying about this in a court of law. But as far as I'm concerned Obama is guilty on all counts in my court of public opinion, because it is inconceivable that Obama didn't know about such a huge scandal before the media reported it, especially when senior staff in the White House knew about the targeting for at least a year before [ref].
Shoot, even I knew about the targeting well before the mainstream media started reporting it (see my The IRS and Obama’s Enemies List article from December 2012, five months prior).
In fact, evidence points to Obama not only knowing about the scandal, but to him actually being behind the IRS targeting (see my Obama’s Ever-expanding Enemies List article). Perhaps the most damning evidence is the fact that Douglas Shulman, the IRS chief who oversaw the targeting, visited the Obama White House at least 157 times, with 118 of those visits during the period of time that the targeting occurred. The next most frequent visitor logged fewer than 90 visits [ref].
To further put those visits into perspective, DOJ head Holder logged around 60 visits, Treasury head Geithner logged just under 50, and national security officials Panetta, Gates and Hagel each logged fewer than 20 visits [ref].
Why did Shulman need so much access to the White House? His predecessor, Mark Everson, only visited the George W. Bush White House once in four years [ref]. Coincidentally, we've never heard any intimations of the IRS targeting liberals during the Bush administration, have we?
Obama Lied about the Debt Ceiling
Really? Let's look at the facts.
First, the debt ceiling is a credit limit; a cap on the amount of money the government can borrow; a ceiling on the amount of debt it can have.
Second, every single time the debt ceiling has been raised (dozens of times), the government's debt has rapidly increased to the maximum allowed by the debt ceiling.
To claim that a debt ceiling increase does not authorize more spending is just flat out false.
Here's a simple analogy:
Suppose I have a credit card with a borrowing limit of $5,000, and I've maxed it out. If I go to the credit card company and ask for an increase in my credit limit, am I not asking for authorization to spend more of the credit card company's money? Absolutely I am. And, having already maxed out my limit, what is the likelihood that if they increase my limit I'll max it out again? Pretty darn good, no?
Should it matter to the credit card company that I've already promised money to people? Heck no. That I've already promised money to someone doesn't change the fact that an increase in my credit limit is authorization for me to spend more money, and it shouldn't have any bearing on whether my credit limit is increased.
Now, if the credit card company were to look at my financial situation, and determine that I'm a safe credit risk, they'd probably raise my credit limit. But if they were to look at my situation and see that I've borrowed more than I'm likely to be able to pay back, they wouldn't increase my credit limit, because doing so would be irresponsible, and would increase my risk of not paying them back (of default).
Continuing to raise the U.S. debt ceiling does in fact increase our risk of default, by allowing our obligations of both principal and interest payments to increase. We are basically mortgaging our future.
I support this fact with a quote from a U.S. Senator:
The fact that we are here today to debate raising America's debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. government cannot pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our government's reckless fiscal policies. Increasing America's debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that "the buck stops here." Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better.
Which leads me to another Obama lie. Referring to the Republican opposition to increasing the debt ceiling, and to the associated government "shutdown" (really a "slimdown", since only portions of the government are shut down), Obama said:
You have never seen in the history of the United States the debt ceiling or the threat of not raising the debt being used to extort a president or a governing party and trying to force issues that have nothing to do with the budget and nothing to do with the debt. [ref]
We can't make extortion routine as part of our democracy. Democracy doesn't function this way…. The greatest nation on earth shouldn't have to get permission from a few irresponsible members of Congress every couple months just to keep our government open or to prevent an economic catastrophe. [ref]
Second, deciphering Obama's extremist rhetoric, what he is saying is that it isn't normal for Congress to use their votes as negotiating chips, in order to get concessions on some things before granting approval for others.
Sorry Obama, but that is, in fact, how "Democracy" works (thank goodness), and, particularly in respect to raising the debt ceiling, conditions have been attached time and time again to debt ceiling votes.
Obama's vote in 2006 against raising the debt ceiling was really a tactic he and other Democrats used to try to influence President Bush on tax policy. In fact, since 1978, Congress has used debt ceiling negotiations as leverage to get concessions and other bills passed more than twenty-seven times (almost every other year) [ref, ref].
No, Mr. President, what really isn't normal is for the POTUS to absolutely refuse to negotiate with the opposition party, and to vilify and condemn them in the process.
Yes, Obama did indeed lie about the debt ceiling and about the negotiations surrounding it.
Obama Lied about Being Bipartisan
"I think it’s fair to say that during the course of my presidency I have bent over backwards to work with the Republican Party, and have purposely kept my rhetoric down." [ref]
What a mountain of malarkey.
This from the President that refused to discuss tax policy with Republicans early in 2009 because he "won" the election [ref], who said he'll do what he wants to "with or without Congress" [ref], who has publicly trumpeted his refusal to negotiate with Republicans [ref], who goes way out of his way to avoid meeting with Congressional Republicans [ref, ref], who presided over the extremely partisan passage of Obamacare [ref], who has over and over and over again publicly placed the entire blame on the Republicans for any failure to come to an agreement on legislation or policy (I don't need a reference for this one — I constantly hear Obama blame Republicans, and I've never once heard Obama blame the Democratic party for anything).
Frankly, I have never seen a more divisive, partisan President than Barack Obama.
During his 2008 election campaign, Obama promised to "turn the page on the ugly partisanship in Washington", and "bring Democrats and Republicans together to pass an agenda that works for the American people" [ref]. He then proceeded to sign Obamacare into law, which didn't receive a single Republican vote.
According to Pulitzer Prize-winning PolitiFact.com:
Congress set records last year for just how polarized it has become.
One way to measure the partisanship by looking at how many partisan votes — votes where majorities from each party in the House and Senate vote against each other — have taken place during the most recent congressional session. Since 1953, Congressional Quarterly has tracked those votes, and its tallies show extreme levels of partisanship.
The House, led by a Republican majority that includes a slate of tea party members elected for the first time in 2010, set a record for the frequency of these party-line votes.
The Senate, where Democrats were in charge, held far fewer partisan votes, but the average Democratic senator fell in line with his or her party's majority more than any time in the last five decades — another record.
To be fair, partisan votes in Congress aren't always Obama's fault. However, he has pushed an agenda that is setting a course for this country that is so far removed from Republicanism, so out of line with the Constitution, so fiscally irresponsible, that he can't hardly expect the Republicans to vote with him.
If you're going to promise to "turn the page on partisanship" and "bring Democrats and Republicans together", you can't have a radical far-left agenda, and you have to be willing to negotiate and compromise.
Oh yeah. To negotiate with the Republicans, you actually have to be willing to meet with them.
Astonishingly, the Boston Globe reports that Obama didn't meet one-on-one with Republican House Leader John Boehner until after two years into his presidency. After five years in office, Obama had only met with top Senate Republican Mitch McConnell twice [ref].
The Boston Globe concludes that the divisiveness and partisanship in politics today is one of Obama's biggest failures:
In sum, one of the biggest failures of Obama's presidency is that, five years after he took office vowing to close the partisan divide, the capital he now oversees and the country he represents are far more divided than they were before he came.
Washington is as poisonous — and, to use Obama's words, petty and immature — as ever. Obama has not turned the United States into 50 purple states, where compromise is desired and citizens agree there are two sides to each coin. It is indisputable, longtime observers says, that the red states are redder, and the blue states are bluer.
Obama may not be principally to blame for this baleful trend. But he is also not a bystander. In the story of why Washington is more broken than Obama found it, analysts said that while Republicans bear considerable responsibility, so, in his own way, does the president. His leadership style has inspired millions of supporters but also has angered countless conservatives, who have coalesced into a fiercely uncompromising opposition. It is all a long way from the vision presented by Obama when he entered the national spotlight. [ref]