Welcome to VoteFacts. One of the things that prompted the beginning of this website was the fact that it seemed as though becoming an educated voter had become a full time job. Between the media and our politicians, it has become almost impossible to get past the emotional lures and into the facts.
This video is an example of how few facts and how little data the media really provides. It was originally used in a VoteFacts page titled "Media Challenge". Unfortunately, this page was cast aside when the website underwent an overhaul for the sake of simplicity. However, it is back as a post to provide a place to discuss the media education problem that was the genesis of the site.
First, watch this media report on an important subject last December, payroll tax cuts.
Having watched the clip - The question is whether it lets you form an opinion based on the facts of the matter or a reaction based on the emotion of the moment. Try to recall the actual information contained of the clip. What are the data points? What do Democrats want on this subject, and what exactly do Republicans want, and why?
In order to get a better idea the details you might be missing, it helps to go a few steps further. Read the information from the written ABC News report below that was not included in their televised report.
"But (Republican) John Boehner was visibly unhappy with the deal." "Kicking a can down the road for a couple of months does cause problems," he said at a news conference today. House Republicans had originally wanted a one-year extension but faced mounting pressure from conservatives and their Senate counterparts to come to an agreement on the short-term deal. "Sometimes it's politically difficult to do the right thing," Boehner said. The deal entails a new bill with language protecting small businesses from a measure in the Senate bill that creates temporary new caps on the wages that are subject to payroll tax relief, a Republican aide said. Reid accepted the House Republicans' proposal late this afternoon." ABC News
Let's go step beyond that. Read a report on the subject from an entirely different news media resource. Here is the Wall Street Journal
"The GOP leaders have somehow managed the remarkable feat of being blamed for opposing a one-year extension of a tax holiday that they are surely going to pass.
Republicans have also achieved the small miracle of letting Mr. Obama position himself as an election-year tax cutter, although he's spent most of his Presidency promoting tax increases and he would hit the economy with one of the largest tax increases ever in 2013. This should be impossible.
House Republicans yesterday voted down the Senate's two-month extension of the two-percentage-point payroll tax holiday to 4.2% from 6.2%. They say the short extension makes no economic sense, but then neither does a one-year extension. No employer is going to hire a worker based on such a small and temporary decrease in employment costs, as this year's tax holiday has demonstrated.Their first mistake was adopting the President's language that he is proposing a tax cut rather than calling it a temporary tax holiday. People will understand the difference—and discount the benefit." WSJ And another resource, The New Republic
When the music stopped on the congressional debate, the GOP-controlled House had passed a year-long extension of the tax cut while the [Democratic controlled] Senate had only passed a two-month extension, and the White House had endorsed the latter. The House then rejected the Senate deal for what appeared to be uncharacteristically logical reasons: The deal entailed a half-cooked (actually one-sixth cooked) policy when any economist would tell you that the fully-cooked version (the year-long extension) is far preferable. TNR
Finally, we close the research portion of this post with information from one of our favorite resources, the Congressional Budget Office. Here are some of their points:
• Whether a tax cut is temporary or permanent also influences its effectiveness. In deciding whether to spend, consumers consider not only their current income but also their expected income over a long period. Making a cut in payroll taxes temporary tends to reduce the stimulus it provides to consumption because the cut’s effect on lifetime income is small. The economic effects of a tax cut…depend on the public’s perception of its likely duration. A personal tax cut that is intended to be longer-lived may nonetheless be perceived as temporary, dampening some of its stimulative effect. CBO, Page ix
• A temporary reduction in payroll taxes especially in the share of taxes paid by employers would also have a significant positive short-term effect on the economy. This approach would boost output and employment both by increasing demand for goods and services and by providing an incentive for additional hiring. CBO, Bottom of Page
So here it's up to you. Have our politicians, the media, and our current culture made being an educated voter become a full time job or are is can we trust what we're told? Vote now!