Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Voters must take time to fact check about nation's debt crisis

By Cal Potter

Now that we are in the midst of a political campaign season, we are faced with a blizzard of accusations, many lacking any factual base. Such is the case with the causal factors for the nation’s debt.

When President Clinton left office, this nation had a balanced budget. And had the succeeding Bush administration not cut taxes on the wealthy, entered us into two unfunded wars and the nation not been cast into the deepest recession since the Great Depression, the fact is this nation today would have no debt at all.

Not only did the recession begin during the later Bush era, but the expensive bailout measures also began during that previous administration. Economists tell us the Democrat and Republican supported bailouts prevented this nation from falling into a full-fledged depression, as well as saved and returned to health, the American car industry.

So, the political rhetoric accusing President Obama, the inheritor of political and economic mismanagement, including that of our Wall Street stock and bank private sector decision-makers, is either deliberate fraud on the part of the accusers, or an example of gross ignorance of happenings over the past 12 years.

As we cannot avoid the billions of right-wing corporate and affluent individual media dollars to be spent in the weeks ahead to character assassinate an intelligent and honorable president, voters should at least take time to fact check accusations. There are a number of very reputable political fact-check sources on the Web. An educated electorate, who know the facts, is an essential ingredient in a truly functional democracy. Without that condition, special interest individuals and groups will successfully manipulate the system to serve their own selfish interests and financial gain, at the expense of the majority of average Americans.

Calvin Potter is a member of Common Cause in Wisconsin's State Governing Board and a former Democratic State Representative (1975-1991) and State Senator (1991-1998) from Sheboygan Falls.

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