The Top Ten Lies of 2017

December 20, 2017

From Foxconn to tax reform, 2017 was a year bursting at the seams with overheated rhetoric from the left. Sorting through all the lies, exaggerations, and distortions foisted on the public over the past year was truly a heavy lift, and narrowing it down to a list of the 10 biggest lies of the year was an even bigger challenge. But it was a labor of love in the name of honest discourse. And now, starting at number 10, we bring you the top 10 lies of 2017…

10. Obama Takes Credit For Growing Economy

After spending years blaming the economy’s anemic growth on President George W. Bush and the Great Recession, former President Obama tried taking credit recently for an economy that’s gaining steam under the policies of President Trump.

“Thanks Obama,” Obama said in a December speech about the economy.

But in admitting that the economy is cruising along, Obama conceded that the relatively simple actions Trump has taken – like trashing or delaying thousands of regulations, many of which the Obama administration put in place – have worked. Economic growth is now checking in at 3.3 percent in the third quarter of 2017, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Under Obama, annual GDP growth never hit 3 percent, according to Fortune.

If Obama’s economic policies – suffocating regulations and trillions of dollars in new taxes – were good for the economy, he had eight years to demonstrate that. In fact, now that he’s out of office and his policies are replaced with a more pro-business approach, the economy is starting to realize its potential.

9. Foxconn Fake News Frenzy

Seemingly out of the blue earlier this year, the story emerged that Wisconsin could land a massive deal with electronics giant Foxconn – the largest economic development proposal of its kind in U.S. history, and undoubtedly a huge win for Gov. Scott Walker.

The Democrats decided that this major victory for Wisconsin’s economy wasn’t the right moment to embrace bipartisanship. Instead, they launched a misinformation campaign littered with lies, exaggerations, and distortions about the deal in which many in their ranks seemed to actively cheer for Wisconsin to fail.

Several elected Democrats shamelessly pushed the debunked claim that the deal would cost taxpayers $1 million per job. They laid the xenophobia on thick, implying the massive manufacturing campus would be populated by scary foreigners, claiming out-of-state workers would flood into Wisconsin, and insisting that the deal amounted to a giveaway to a foreign corporation – a “Taiwanese billionaire.” The 13,000 jobs created at the planned manufacturing campus will be low-wage, borderline sweat shop nightmares, Democrats barked.

And throughout the process, Foxconn’s opponents on the left insisted that even though the jobs would be terrible and filled with foreigners, the whole deal would never happen anyway because other deals Foxconn tried making didn’t work out.

The Democrats were wrong from the start. The deal’s now inked, Foxconn is already hiring, and a groundbreaking ceremony is certainly forthcoming. The company’s plan to invest $10 billion in a manufacturing campus 11 times the size of Lambeau Field is trucking along, and the final contract includes robust taxpayer protections tying $3 billion in tax incentives to the company’s long-standing goal of creating 13,000 jobs paying an average of $54,000 plus benefits.

Polling shows Wisconsinites remain skeptical of Foxconn, indicating the Democrats’ concerted effort to mislead the public about the transformational project worked as planned. While it’s important to scrutinize the massive deal on its merits, wonder why its provisions can’t be extended to all Wisconsin businesses, and ask questions about the enormous size of the incentives package, that’s not what Democrats were focused on.

Sticking to the facts would’ve detracted from their fake news campaign against Foxconn.

8. “Most Schools and School Districts are Performing Well”

The State Department of Public Instruction (DPI) recently chose to forego letter grades for its district report cards. Instead, they assigned each district a score on a hundred point scale, which makes it pretty obvious what letter grades they should have gotten. After all, if you ever got a 59 on a test in school, you flunked it. However, even though seven school districts were rated at 59 or lower, DPI says there are no failing districts in the state.

Our advice to students: don’t try that one on your parents.

While 77 percent of schools and 95 percent of districts got three stars or better, meaning that they “meet expectations,” a closer look reveals an inconvenient truth – proficiency rates in math and English among Wisconsin students are still shockingly low. Statewide, just 42 percent of students are proficient in English, and 41 percent are proficient in math. And while zero districts were declared failing by DPI, 117 schools are failing. That’s up from 99 failing schools last year with five failing districts. Scratching your head? Us too.

7. Obamacare’s Failure Is Trump’s Fault

Before Obamacare’s open enrollment period began on Nov. 1, liberals and their allies in the media were prepared with fresh talking points about a series of relatively small changes Trump made to the failing law.

Among their gripes were that he shortened the open enrollment window, reduced the marketing budget for costly Obamacare plans, and cut back on the number of bureaucrats whose job is to guide people through Obamacare’s morass. These are the reasons Obamacare continues to fail, they screamed.

Blaming Trump for the ongoing failure of Obamacare, however, is like blaming a car owner who inherited a lemon from his uncle. Obamacare is fundamentally flawed and has always been doomed to failure, and no changes Trump has made alter the basic facts about the law’s failed design. Its high prices discourage the healthy from buying health insurance, while its “guaranteed issue” requirement ensures dangerously imbalanced risk pools, rising costs, and the inevitable collapse of the individual insurance market.

Conservatives and any prognosticator with any sense could see Obamacare’s price spiral coming since the day the law was enacted. To blame Trump for what was inevitable and so easily foreseeable is a dishonest political tactic.

6. Obamacare Repeal Doom-and-Gloom

The Congressional Budget Office claimed if Obamacare is repealed, 23 million people will lose their insurance by 2026. It turns out the prediction includes people who don’t have insurance right now, but would by 2026 if Obamacare is still around.

Of course, even then, the “23 million” figure comes from the CBO’s predictions of how many people will sign up for Obamacare. So far, its predictions for signups have been wrong every year.

The CBO’s dubious claim was met with shrill screams from the left that “people will die!” It’s blood money, exclaimed Sen. Elizabeth Warren. As it turns out, overheated rhetoric wasn’t limited to the GOP’s failed attempt at repealing Obamacare.

5. Tax Reform: People Will Also Die!

Liberals didn’t let facts stand in the way of their resistance to federal tax reform, either. When the GOP’s tax reform bills started moving through congress, the left threw everything they could think of on social media and into the airwaves.

We can’t say if any of it actually stuck, but they certainly have egg on their faces after doozies like “This is Armageddon” and “Millions of Americans died tonight” (actual quotes from liberals that some people respect). And there’s plenty more where those came from.

4. Made-Up Billion Dollar Transportation Funding Deficit

The battle over transportation funding in Wisconsin spanned all of 2017, and media coverage of it was plagued by a giant fallacy that no other media outlet ever bothered to expose: that there is a “billion-dollar shortfall” in the transportation budget.

MacIver exposed the “Madison Math” sleight of hand used to conjure up that number. But canards like “Billion-Dollar Shortfall” make easy copy/paste filler material for shallow stories about a complex topic, so it stuck – much to the detriment of honest dialogue about whether taxpayers should really be forced to shell out more money for roads and bridges.

3. Democrats’ “BadgerCare For All” Scheme Will Lead to Utopia

Legislative Democrats and the head of left-wing Citizen Action of Wisconsin are pushing a new scheme to get more people hooked on government benefits. Despite the abundance of lessons to be learned from the ongoing failure of government-run healthcare, they are proposing opening up BadgerCare – Wisconsin’s health insurance program for the poor – to anyone willing to pay the monthly premium.

What they fail to mention – and what the media fails to report – can be found plain as day in a Legislative Fiscal Bureau report on the feasibility of the socialist utopian proposal: expanding BadgerCare – and its abysmal reimbursement rates – would actually decrease Wisconsinites’ access to healthcare as doctors and hospitals flee the program.

This “BadgerCare For All” scheme sounds great to the untrained ear, but claims that it will ultimately benefit Wisconsinites are simply untrue.

2. Voter ID Disenfranchises People

It’s been years since we took basic statistics, but we still remember the cardinal rule of surveys. It doesn’t matter how big your universe is – what matters is your response rate. That means your survey will be far more accurate if you got 10 responses from 10 people than if you got 100 responses from 1,000 people.

So what are we to make of a University of Wisconsin survey that received 293 responses from 2,400 people? My statistics professor probably would have thrown it away and given me a failing grade on the assignment. Dane County, on the other hand, extrapolated the data to claim 17,000 people didn’t vote in the 2016 election because of Wisconsin’s voter ID law.

And now, MacIver’s 2017 Lie Of The Year…

John Doe “Opposition Research” Was Done By Republicans…

After the Department of Justice dropped a bombshell report on its investigation into the leak of court-sealed John Doe documents to the Guardian newspaper, Wisconsinites found out just how sinister the probe truly was.

Then, the highly partisan staff of the former GAB went into scandal-handling mode – they threw everything out there they could think of to muddy the waters of the conversation, including the ludicrous claim that a file named “Opposition Research” was actually created by the same Republicans targeted and secretly spied on by John Doe investigators.

The “Opposition Research” file was uncovered by DOJ investigators and contained hundreds of thousands of documents, including the communications of innocent conservative activists and Republicans caught up in the John Doe dragnet. Metadata clearly indicates that the digital file was created on a GAB computer on April 10, 2012. Besides, why would Republicans create an opposition research file and then fill it with the communications of their fellow Republicans?

That claim is “bizarre,” according to Attorney General Brad Schimel. It’s not only bizarre, but a blatant effort by John Doe prosecutors to circle the wagons after being caught red-handed engaging in taxpayer-funded opposition research, backed by the full force of government.