We need know the facts to solve America's problems
June 08, 2011 | 08:10 AMAll politicians embellish and exaggerate to make their ideas and opinions sound and look better than those who oppose them. Many politicians go a step further and flat out lie.
But, the problem is facts should be facts and there should be no question about those. However, it seems as though in the political arena we now find ourselves, the blur has become greater between facts, ideas and commentary.
And none of this does any good to solve the problems we must address in America.
Facts should be undisputed — America's national debt is more than $14.4 trillion, just as an easy example.
But, what happens if the nation does not raise the debt ceiling later this summer remains in question. Some say the country would default on its debts, others say that wouldn't happen. This is a topic that should be factual. Either we will have to default or we won't. Which is it?
What about the futures of the entitlement programs? Either Medicare and Social Security are going bankrupt or they're not. One politician says Medicare will be bankrupt in 10 years, others say that's not true. Which is it?
There have been disputes as to whether the stimulus spending improved employment in America. Silly me, but I would think there should be documented, factual numbers to either prove or disprove this question one way or another.
I could go on and on about answers to questions and issues I think should be undisputed, but aren't.
You would think with all the information out there in all types of forms, newspapers, Internet, television, radio, it would be easy to determine facts.
But actually, it seems harder than ever to really know and understand the facts.
There's a website called FactCheck.org and it is watching our country's top elected officials and those who may be seeking higher office. It is an interesting website and one that serves a good purpose.
No one is spared and it appears as though everyone is making factual misstatements on just about every topic you can think of.
The site pelts U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan for spreading "some false and misleading information" in which he promotes his own Path to Prosperity ideas.
According to the website "Ryan says his plan would not increase the debt. In fact, under his plan the public debt would increase from $10 trillion in 2011 to $16 trillion in 2021, by his own figures. That's a slower increase than under President Barack Obama's budget, but the debt would still rise substantially." The site goes on to attempt to clarify several other statements made by Ryan.
It also fact-checked Obama's speech in April which critiqued Ryan's plan. The website cites a number of exaggerations and factual misstatements.
According to the website, "He repeated a deceptive talking point that the new health care law will reduce the deficit by $1 trillion. That's the Democrat's own estimate over a 20-year period. The Congressional Budget Office pegged the deficit savings at $210 billion over 10 years and warned that estimates beyond a decade are 'more and more uncertain.'"
The website also said "He falsely claimed that making the Bush tax cuts permanent would give away $1 trillion worth of tax cuts for every millionaire and billionaire. That figure, which is actually $807 billion over 10 years, refers to tax cuts for individuals earning more than $200,000 and couples earning more than $250,000, not just millionaires and billionaires."
Maybe we should consider all this a truth problem as well.
But, basically, if we can't speak honestly and agree and understand the facts, there can be no solutions.
You can't solve a problem you don't know or believe is there. You can't solve a problem in which you don't know what the truth or reality is.
I fear we, as a people, don't know the facts or truths about our problems.
Even worse, I fear, there is no way to find out the facts until the bad happens.
When it's too late — that's probably when we will realize the truth and know the facts.
Seiser is the editor of the Regional News.