Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.
Daniel Patrick Moynihan
I was compelled to write this blog today after becoming exasperated by a seemingly innocuous, off-handed comment on a friend’s Facebook page. Admittedly, I have been known to throw a few political zingers on my own status every once in a while. What is that I hear, perhaps some raucous laughter from my Facebook friends? Okay, LOTS of political comments have graced my page on various and sundry occasions, depending on my mood du jour. I completely understand how it may annoy my more conservative minded friends and family, as I am a bit progressive and rabid in my views, but I do enjoy a healthy debate of the issues from those who can banter it back and forth. I am passionate about my beliefs, but I think I am pretty fair-minded and can see both sides when facts are presented. FACTS. Aye, there’s the rub. What annoys, irritates, perturbs, irks, and realllllly ticks me off more than anything is when I see comments that are untruthful. I am bone-tired from the age of Fox News and how they have mis-informed an entire nation…without said nation even knowing it…for a very long time now. Rush Limbaugh’s racist and hate-filled smear-and-fear-mongering across the airwaves was bad enough, but the Rupert Murdoch right-wing, sack of lying shit, spin machine (a.k.a., the Republican News Channel) took bamboozling and hoodwinking to an entirely new level. The No Spin Zone? You have just got to be gosh-darn kidding me.
But I digress. The comment that drove me batty basically blamed President Obama for the high amount of taxes taken out of his paycheck each week. The fact that he had the President to THANK for actually BEING ABLE TO KEEP MORE OF HIS MONEY IN EACH PAYCHECK was what sent me flying over the edge. I usually ignore most political comments on other friend’s pages if I disagree because 1. I hate to start trouble on a friend’s page and 2. I can’t be bothered trying to change someone’s political views because it won’t happen. However, I will jump in when I see bold-faced lies being posted. I just can’t help it. It’s a tragic flaw and it’s gotten me into some pretty heated exchanges that often last for days on end. But it’s really fun when you know you have truth on your side, and by truth I mean facts.
The fact was that President Obama signed into law at the end of last year a payroll tax cut of 2%. The payroll tax holiday was seemingly lost on many Americans. That’s probably because most Americans don’t pay attention to what is actually happening in our country unless it has something to do with the sex lives of celebrities, the sex-lives of sports celebrities, or the sex-lives of reality t.v. celebrities. Yeah. That about covers it. We have the attention span of fruit flies. The President may have been better personally served if he had just cut checks for everybody and sent them out a week after Christmas…or right before the elections like those famous Homestead Rebate checks we get in New Jersey. Clever, right?
You see, normally employees pay 6.2 % of their pay into FICA (for the first 106,800–another regressive tax that favors the rich and hurts the middle-class–but that’s another topic for another time), but this tax cut under President Obama’s direction called for a reduction of the tax so that the average American would get to keep more of their money each week. The average saving was around 1000 dollars, using a median average salary of 49,777 dollars a year in earnings. Self-employed individuals also saw their taxes reduced 2% from 12.4% to 10.4%.
What’s more, Obama wants to actually slash payroll taxes even more ( 3.1%) if he can convince Republican/Tea Party meanies that letting the middle-class rabble keep more of their money is actually a pretty cool idea, even though they aren’t the country club set who seem to be their only true concern. Of course, the President is trying very hard to help the rest of the country which has been suffering under the last three decades of trickle-down/deregulation/ tax reducing for the filthy rich/ rule of the right. Since 1983, 40.2 percent of the wealth in America has been foisted upon the top 1% and 41.6 percent has gone to the next richest 4% of the people. Those are some facts too; sickening facts about the wealth discrepancy in this country.
Knowing this fact about Obama’s record in actually lowering this dude’s payroll taxes so he could keep more of his hard-earned money, I let him know it. I’m sorry, I just couldn’t let it go by the boards. It was way too important a point. He never responded.
Chances are this guy who posted on my friend’s status doesn’t care too much about the facts. Chances are he hates Obama for other reasons, which I won’t speculate about. However, I do have to wonder if he watches Fox News once in a while or belongs to the Tea Party or both, because they are the ones who more than anyone else in this country who believe that the nefarious, socialist, Obama has raised their federal taxes. They would be wrong. Shocker.
As a matter of fact, this clip from Bill Maher’s HBO show Realtime, illustrates brilliantly my frustrations with the complete lack of fact-based knowledge in the political debate post the Fox News era.
Now, if this guy I was responding to on Facebook ranted and raved about the President raising the the tax on tanning salons and cigarettes, he’d be 100% correct. President Obama did do that, and for cigarette smokers and tanning bed enthusiasts, this could be reason for some enmity. Hey… wait! Hold on a second! Now it all makes much more sense! I now finally think I understand why John Boehner dislikes President Obama so much. Right?