Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Exit Interview

Where do I go when I've gone to far...?
What can be done when facts mean nothing?

The two college students were approaching voters as they walked toward the parking lot after placing their ballots.  Their assignment made them specifically interested in polling Republican voters.  It seemed like the answers to the poll were even more important now that all the signs pointed to a Republican resurgence.  A middle aged man was walking toward his car when the younger of the two met him.

"Excuse me, sir.  I noticed that you are wearing a tea party pin on your jacket.  Is it safe to assume that you voted a Republican ticket just now?"

"Yup.  Even though those Republicans are way too liberal for my taste, I didn't have much of a choice, so I voted a straight Republican ticket."

"Do you mind answering a few questions on my public opinion poll?"

"You're a Democrat aren't you."

"Actually I am a student.  In our class we are conducting exit interviews in hopes of finding out what the Democrats seem to have missed in the election.  I'm pretty much a Democrat myself, and I'm hoping that with the results of this poll, our party's platform can better reflect the feelings of voters next time.  Do you mind participating?"

"Okay, I guess.  Just so long as you don't try to trick me."

"I think you will find the poll questions pretty straightforward and it only takes a few minutes. This poll is specifically about the economy.  That seems to be where we missed the boat this time.  Shall we get started?"

"Let her rip."

"The first question is about taxes.   Do you think there is a bill going through Congress that will raise taxes?"

"Yes I do.  The politicians keep trying to confuse everyone, but the Democrats in the House are definitely planning to raise my taxes.  They've already started."

"Did you know that the Democrats in the House have actually lowered your taxes?"

"That isn't true.  The Democrats have raised taxes."

"Maybe you're referring to the tax cuts that will end this year.  Is that what you mean by 'raising taxes'?"

"Yeah.  That amounts to raising taxes.  Taking away the tax cuts -- anything that makes people pay more taxes -- means higher taxes."

"So, somebody voted to end the tax cuts, and in your view, that means that somebody is raising taxes.  Do you know who voted to end the tax cuts?"

"Yeah.  The Democrats."

"Actually, the law which ends the tax cuts was voted in by the Republicans when they passed the bill in the first place.  That tax cut bill has increased the national debt by over a trillion dollars so far.  The Republicans passed the tax bill without any way to make up the lost revenue, so the government had to borrow the money to make ends meet."

"The Democrats want to pass a new permanent tax cut bill for middle class tax payers, but eliminate the old tax cut for the top 2%.  They think that middle class families will probably spend their tax refunds, but the top 2% don't seem to spend or invest the money they get back from the tax cuts."

"If the same tax cuts for the top 2% get extended when the old bill expires, it will raise the national debt an additional 700 billion dollars before it expires the next time in 2020.  If you are in favor of keeping the tax cuts and there still isn't any way to make up the difference, it will mean borrowing another 700 billion and adding that to the national debt.  Is that what you want to happen?"

"See.  That's exactly how the Democrats have got us so far in debt.  By the way, that debt is going to land on my grandchildren.  We think that all tax cuts are good, no matter who gets them.  Let's go on to the next question."

"You mentioned your grandchildren.  That brings up the second question.  Are you in favor of the reforms to health insurance the Democrats passed?  Do your grandchildren have good health coverage?"

"No, I'm not in favor of ObamaCare.  It's going to cost a trillion dollars which will go into the national debt.  Again, that will all land on my grand kids."

"The Democrats think that the health insurance reforms will save a trillion dollars over the next ten years.  That would mean lowering the national debt."

"How in the hell are we going to pay for ObamaCare and still save money?  That's nuts.  Democrats are trying to trick us into thinking that we are getting something for free."

"When we consider the whole economy we can think in terms of changes in the  GDP.  When the economy is doing well, the GDP increases and vice versa.  Right now -- this year -- one dollar of every six in the GDP is going to health care.  All sorts of people are paying out that money in a lot of different ways, but that is the total percentage, about 16%.  That amounts to around a trillion dollars every year."

"That's what happens when the government gets involved, costs sky rocket.  That's why I don't like ObamaCare."

"Did you know that in countries where the whole health care business is run by the government the total cost is lower and the people are healthier?  In fact, their cost is about one third of what we pay for each person, as a percentage of their GDP those countries pay about a third of what we pay and the health outcomes are quite a bit higher all across the board."

"The Democrats looked at the numbers and figured out that we'll go broke if we keep paying such a high price.  They tried to fix the system.  Most of the really good cost saving ideas in the health reform bill were blocked by Republicans in the Senate."

"Maybe, but you're not talking about the worst parts of ObamaCare.  What about the death panels, rationed care and gigantic cuts to Medicare?  That's why 70% of Americans don't like it and want it repealed.  Anyway, insurance premiums have gone up faster since it was passed than before.  Every politician who voted for it is going to lose the next election.  American voters hate it."

"Did you know that 70% of Americans were strong supporters of the bill before the Republicans in the Senate sabotaged its best money saving parts and its increases in services?  While the bill was being written, insurance companies were spending more than a million dollars a week lobbying Congressmen to defeat it." 

"Since then, insurance corporations have spent millions conducting a misinformation campaign.  They are raising their premium rates as fast as they can before the regulations go into effect.  Democrats think that cutting big insurance companies loose on individual families without any rules isn't really fair."

"ObamaCare is a government invasion into the privacy of American families.  We have to get government out of our private lives.  Go on to the next question."

"The next question has to do with the deficit.  What do you think about deficit spending budgets year after year?"

"I think it's criminal.  It's one place where the Democrats have no place to hide.  They are the ones in favor of big government and a nasty habit of 'tax and spend.'  That's how we spent our way into the mess we're in now.  That's one of the main reasons I voted for Republicans.  They know how to get spending under control and get us out of debt."

"Did you know that huge budget deficits started with Ronald Reagan and continued to increase with every Republican administration since then?  In fact, Reagan was in charge when the national debt first hit one trillion dollars.  The Bush Sr. administration continued deficit budgets big time, but no administration can even hold a candle to the deficits the Bush Jr. administration and a Republican Congress racked up.  They were adding between a third and a half trillion dollars to the debt each year.  On the other hand, in two terms the Democratic Clinton administration cut spending and almost eliminated the national debt by the end of 2000."

"That's not true.  Anyway, even if it did happen, it was the result of the Republican administration in office before he got there.  It just took a little time to happen.  Plus, the deficit went up immediately after Obama took office.  How do you explain that?"

"President Obama but the cost of the wars into the budget.  The previous administration always financed those expenses with borrowed money,  They kept the war expense off the books by repeatedly calling it an 'emergency supplemental' budget.  Obama put those expenditures back on the books making the deficit go higher."

"Yeah, but that doesn't explain why the deficit has exploded since he came into office.  He's been spending money right and left, increasing the budget deficit every day.  That's why we had to elect Republicans this time to stop him."

"Did you know that the very first budget of the Obama administration actually lowered the deficit for the first time in years?  It went down $200 billion dollars even counting the stimulus expense.  Plus, of course, we got all the roads and bridges and other things that the stimulus paid for out of the deal."

"That's impossible.  How can you say that Obama lowered the deficit when he turned $800 billion over the banks in the bail out?  That was so crooked that the Republicans are going to have to spend time investigating it."

"George Bush Jr. gave the TARP money to the banks and brokers.  Obama has gone to great lengths to get it back, in lots of cases, with a profit.  His administration has used that money to pay down the debt from the Bush Jr. government."

"That's just not true.  Everybody knows that the Democrats always run up debt.  Go on to the next question."

"Our last question has to do with jobs.  What do you think about the turn around from the huge job losses we ran into during the Bush Jr. administration?"

"First of all, it's about time you Democrats quit blaming George W. Bush for everything.  The economy was still on its feet when he was President.  It's gone to hell while Obama has been President and the Democrats have been running the government."

"Well, remember the GDP business we discussed earlier?  Did you know that during the Bush Jr. administration our national GDP was actually contracting at around 6% per year?  The previous administration just sat there while the country was losing 600,000 jobs a month.  That went on for almost six years."

"Also, did you know that more private sector jobs have been created during the first two years of the Obama administration than were created during the eight years of the Bush Jr. Presidency?  Also, while the previous administration was doing nothing about jobs or the economy, the top 2% were doing great.  During that previous administration the richest 400 Americans increased their personal wealth by over $630 billion dollars?  That's why Obama is against extending the tax cuts to the top 2%."

"So, there you have it.  That means that Obama and the Democrats are in favor of raising taxes.  Are there any more questions?"

"No.  Thank you very much for helping me with this poll.  I really appreciate it."

"No problem.  We Republicans are famous for being generous in victory.  Maybe now you can help your Democrat friends start making sense out of their policies.  There's nothing like manning up, facing facts and making changes."

The student's companion approached as the man walked toward his car where his wife was waiting. 

"Did you get the interview?"

"Yeah, I did.  Except I'm not sure what to do with the results.  Too bad this assignment is for political science and not some sort of abnormal psychology."

Across the parking lot, the Republican's wife asked about the young man after her husband had started the car. 

"Who was that you were talking to, honey?"

"Some Democrat student with an exit poll.  If those damned kids would watch the news, they'd have some idea of what the hell was happening."

"What's for dinner?"

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