Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Enticement and Manipulation of Facts

On a little trip around the web, I have found so many people speaking of the Glorious Speech by the president last night. Everyone talking about a positive outlook, hope for America, amazed by the charisma of the new Prez, and so on. But that's not quite what I got out of it, as I had to turn it off after Pelosi's continual gymnastics. It was very distracting. I noted many general comments (such as assuring the people that America will come through this [recession]) - general because there was nothing to say that THESE plans are going to do it. If you say something general like that, it could mean 'sure, one day America is bound to come out of this, but I don't know if it will be 5 years or 20 or 50 years'. But people I have talked to took it to mean HE will bring them through this asap. That is not what the president said. I also heard some interesting twisting of words, such as the 'every 30 seconds, someone goes bankrupt because of health care costs' remark that stirred the audience to their feet. I tried to find info on that direct statement of 'facts' this morning and what I discovered was a anything from a clever manipulation of words to the realization that the figure would mean over 1 million bankruptcies because of health care costs each year, when the TOTAL number of filings was 1 million (or less). Perhaps many of those people cited medical costs as ONE of the reasons for filing, but his speech directly said ""And for that same reason, we must also address the crushing cost of health care. This is a cost that now causes a bankruptcy in America every 30 seconds. ""

Does it 'cause' or 'contribute'? Those are two very different words. That is why I suggest that this is a clever manipulation of words designed to entice people into supporting a nationalized/universal health care program. If you make people who are not struggling, or not struggling 'too badly' feel guilty that others are going bankrupt 'because of' medical costs, they will be more willing to have their tax dollars diverted. But this is where the deception comes in. Even sites that are supportive of the 'every 30 seconds' rhetoric leave little clues about the misrepresentation of facts. 'Facts' such as ""Health care costs contribute to an estimated 25 percent of housing problems."" for example (taken from the provided link). Does that factor in people who bought a house that was outside of their means? Is it really a health care issue if the family bought a home that they could not actually afford, and therefore if they purchased within their means, they may actually have been able to afford the medical treatments? Or ""Health costs are a factor in half of personal bankruptcies. Since 2000, an estimated 5 million families have filed for bankruptcy in the aftermath of serious medical problems."" - I have also seen stats that say anything from 5% to 17% cited medical costs as a factor, but let's go with 'half'. That also does not take into account what their lifestyle was before the medical costs became an issue. What if they had a boat, new car, new house, new furniture, making payments on all of the above and then whammo, they were hit with a huge medical bill? What if they were already stretched to the hilt with paying for luxuries? Does that change your mind about their ensuing medical costs? It also does not take into account that often times, SEVERAL reasons for the bankruptcy are listed - gambling debt, job loss, lack of insurance (which is NOT always because a family can't afford it, there are also people who simply don't get it because they don't think they will need it, and then eat their words later). That is why the president's words were misleading and don't tell me he didn't know that!!!

I have had people tell me this morning that many do not have insurance because they can't afford it. Granted, some of the costs are ridiculous in my opinion! Atrocious amounts to pay each month (like a married friend with no children who pays over $300/month), but people also need to take into account WHY the premiums might be rising. Is it because of greedy insurance companies alone, or is it also because there ARE a large number of people who get their treatments for free or never pay their bill to the hospital/medical professional, and then the rising costs are spread throughout the system to those who ARE paying? It always makes me think of the signs in stores that say Shoplifting Hurts Everyone - Prices Will Rise to Compensate for Loss. When I was a teen, I didn't understand that, but as I have gotten old and crusty, I see that a business cannot run on losses all the time and therefore the prices rise in response to the loss. So you have to really think about the wording of reports you read and speeches you hear. Look up the information for YOURSELF. If you still agree after doing your own investigating, that is of course your Right. But if you blindly follow another's words, that is dangerous business.

Think about the complaints about GW Bush over the past several years. People called him arrogant, said he was a liar, said he twisted words to trick people into believing his plans would work, spent the country into oblivion, the Iraq War, etc - and he left office with a 20% or so 'approval rate'. But those same people are now excusing Obama for his own 'lies' (no earmarks), twisted words (every 30 seconds), excessive spending (Stimulus), sending troops to Afghanistan instead and have his approval rating ranging between 69 and 59% (noting it has dropped 10% since taking office). It is very frustrating.

I think it's also interesting to look at the Market Reaction. If this was supposed to be an inspiring and hopeful speech, why aren't the markets showing it yet? I think youshould also take some time at the WSJ site and punch in random dates on the DOW chart page because if you look at the stock market while Clinton was in power, it is considerably lower than when GW Bush was in, then it gradually climbs under Bush, and the starts to drop in the last year or so and has now been dropping lower and lower since Obama was inaugerated. Is that Bush's fault? The market LOOKS FORWARD, from my understanding, looking at what is happening right now and what it's effect is going to be in the future. Does it look Back at Bush who is now gone along with the Republican control? I thought it was supposed to look Forward and see the light, see the hope, see the fantastic change that America needs. People invest their money in hopes of making more, getting a good return. If investors see a bright future, why are stocks hitting as low as they were in 1997 and worse? Why was the dow at over 13,000 in May 2008 and now it is barely 7000? It looks FORWARD and it does NOT like what it sees.


  1. I agree with you on all aspects except for one. As far as the markets go I agree with you that the markets look ahead, but Bush's actions have also been transported into the future. It does not matter who you have running the country right now, it is going to take a huge PR job to right this sinking ship. The sad part of this is Canada is on that ship too!

  2. Hello :) Yes that is very true, but that is also why I remind people that Bush did not magically create this out of thin air. He put his signature on any bills that contributed to this mess, BUT he cannot sign them until the Senate and Congress has passed them. Hundreds of signatures are required before it hits Bush's desk for his own scribble. Obama, Pelosi, Reid, etc all signed their names to various bills (especially since they held the majority in both houses since 2006), but are having a grand time blaming Bush. Did they forget the times they held a pen in their hand and signed the same things Bush did? Selective Memory Disorder?

    They all had a hand in this, and all made mistakes, and are now all in control from the President down. Maybe the Market can see that too - who knows.



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