It's amazing what you can gain from lying. In the worst cases, lying can get you in jail, or lose you a few friends. But done the right way, lying can mislead an entire country -- and maybe even get you elected president.
Sure enough, Mitt Romney and the Republican party have gotten away with lying on countless occasions. Here are just a few examples:
Lie #1: Obama has increased spending.
"Since President Obama assumed office three years ago, federal spending has accelerated at a pace without precedent in recent history"
False. In fact, President Obama has presided under some of the slowest growth in federal spending in decades. Since Obama took office, federal spending has increased at an annualized rate of 1.4 percent, the lowest since the Korean War. For comparison, spending increased around eight percent per year under President Bush. Under Ronald Reagan, Romney's proclaimed role model, it increased around nine percent per year.
Lie #2: Obama has raised taxes.
"He has already raised taxes on millions of Americans, but he won't stop there. He wants to raise taxes on millions more by taxing small businesses and job creators."
- Gail Gitcho, communications director for Romney's campaign
False. When the Washington Post asked the Romney campaign for evidence, they cited a list of 19 tax increases, all of which involve Obama's health care plan, the Affordable Care Act, which is yet to take effect. In fact, Obama ought to be better known for keeping taxes low: The renewal of the Bush tax cuts, two straight years of a payroll tax holiday and the stimulus bill tax cuts all took place under Obama. It is true, however, that Obama is hoping to allow the Bush-era tax cuts to expire at the end of the year for wealthy Americans. But the key word is "hope."
Lie #3: Obamacare will kill jobs
"Obamacare will kill 800,000 jobs. What could the president be thinking by passing a bill like this, knowing full well it will kill 800,000 jobs?"
- Rep. Michele Bachmann
False. According to a study by an economist at Harvard, the Affordable Care Act will actually save employers roughly $3,000 a year per employee in health care costs. Repealing the law, the study estimates, would cause four million job loses by 2019. It's repealing the law, not implementing it, that would kill jobs.
Lie #4: Obamacare increases the deficit.
"The number one to cut is Obamacare. That saves $95 billion a year."
- Mitt Romney
False. When Republicans introduced H.R. 2, the Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act, the Congressional Budget Office sent House Speaker John Boehner a letter detailing what would happen if the law was passed. As it turns out, the CBO estimates that repealing the Affordable Care Act would "increase federal budget deficits over the 2012-2019 period by a total of roughly $145 billion." In short, the Affordable Care Act will save us money in the long run.
Lie #5: Obama promised unemployment below eight percent.
"Three years ago, a newly elected President Obama told America that if Congress approved his plan to borrow nearly a trillion dollars, he would hold unemployment below eight percent."
- Mitt Romney
False. Simply put: No such promise was ever made, either by President Obama or any member of his administration. The only comparable statement was made in 2009, in a report by then-chairwoman of the Council of Economic Advisors Christina Romer. The report made various projections relating to the stimulus plan, one of which stated that unemployment would peak under eight percent in 2009. The operative word, of course, being "projection" -- not a promise by any means. Regardless, President Obama didn't even say it.
This is a short list of many lies being shouted at the American people. It's a distortion of democracy at an astronomical level. Only the voters can teach these liars a lesson, and the future of the country depends on it.
Follow Jess Coleman on Twitter: www.twitter.com/jesskcoleman