21 Truths That Prove Republicans Have Been Wrong About Everything
It's no secret that politicians tend to use exaggerated political rhetoric to get people to vote for them. In recent decades, Republicans have repeatedly made very ominous predictions about the horrors that will result from Democratic policies while painting a rosy picture of what will result from Republican policies.
Now, we have the luxury of looking back over the years to examine those predictions and policies.
1. In the 1960s, Republicans claimed that the passage of Medicare would be the end of capitalism.
California Governor Ronald Reagan even proclaimed Medicare would lead to the death of freedom in America. Of course, they were laughably wrong. Since the passage of Medicare, capitalism has thrived in America and millions of elderly Americans have had longer, healthier lives and greater personal freedom. Medicare remains the most popular form of health insurance in the United States.
2. In 1993, when Bill Clinton raised taxes on the wealthiest 1.5%, Republicans predicted a recession, increased unemployment, and a growing budget deficit.
They weren't just wrong; the exact opposite of everything they predicted happened. The country experienced the seven best years of economic growth in history:
- Twenty-two million new jobs were added.
- Unemployment dropped below 4%.
- The poverty rate dropped for seven straight years.
- The budget deficit was eliminated.
- There was a growing budget surplus that economists projected would pay off our national debt in 20 years
3. In 2001, when George W. Bush cut taxes for the wealthy, Republicans predicted record job growth, increased budget surplus, and nationwide prosperity.
Once again, the exact opposite occurred. After the Bush tax cuts were enacted:
- The budget surplus immediately disappeared.
- The budget deficit eventually grew to $1.4 trillion by the time Bush left office.
- Less than 3 million net jobs were added during Bush’s eight years.
- The poverty rate began climbing again.
- We experienced two recessions along with the greatest collapse of our financial system since the Great Depression.
4. In 1993, when the Brady Law and the Assault Weapons Ban were passed, Republicans predicted increasing rates of crime and murder.
Thankfully just the opposite happened. While the rate of violent crime had increased steadily from the 1970s to the 1990s, it suddenly began to drop after 1993 and continued to decline for more than ten years. What could have happened in 1993 to precipitate such a sudden and prolonged drop in crime? That’s the year Congress passed the Assault Weapons Ban and the Brady Law, which mandated background checks and a waiting period to buy a gun.
Despite Republican predictions to the contrary, the Brady Law and the Assault Weapons Ban were followed by the most dramatic reduction in violent crime since the FBI started keeping statistics. The graphs below, based on the actual numbers from the FBI Uniform Crime Reports website, show how the rates of murder and violent crime in the US dropped suddenly after the 1993 Brady Law and Assault Weapons Ban were passed.
Here is President Bush discussing the missing Weapons of Mass Destruction.
5. Republicans predicted that we would find Iraq’s Weapons of Mass Destruction even though UN weapons inspectors said that those weapons didn't exist.
The Bush administration continued to insist that WMDs would be found even when the CIA said some of the evidence was questionable. As we all know, the WMDs predicted by the Bush administration did not exist, and Saddam had not resumed his nuclear weapons program as they claimed. Both President Bush and Vice President Cheney ultimately had to admit that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
6. Prior to going to war in Iraq, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld optimistically predicted the Iraq war might last “six days, six weeks. I doubt six months."
What's more, Vice-President Dick Cheney said we would be greeted as liberators by the Iraqi people after we overthrow Saddam.
They were both horribly wrong. Instead of six weeks or six months, the Iraq war lasted eight long and bloody years costing thousands of American lives. It led to an Iraqi civil war between the Sunnis and the Shiites that took hundreds of thousands of Iraqi lives. Many Iraqi militia groups were formed to fight against the U.S. forces that occupied Iraq. What’s more, Al Qaeda, which did not exist in Iraq before the war, used the turmoil in Iraq to establish a new foothold in that country.
The Iraq war was arguably the most tragic foreign policy blunder in US history.
7. Republicans said waterboarding and other forms of “enhanced interrogation” are not torture and are necessary in fighting Islamic extremism.
In reality, waterboarding and other forms of enhanced interrogation that inflict pain, suffering, or fear of death are outlawed by US law, the US Constitution, and international treaties. Japanese soldiers after World War II were prosecuted by the United States for war crimes because of their use of waterboarding on American POWs.
Professional interrogators have known for decades that torture is the most ineffective and unreliable method of getting accurate information. People being tortured say anything to get the torture to end but will not likely tell the truth.
An FBI interrogator named Ali Soufan was able to get al Qaeda terrorist Abu Zubaydah to reveal crucial information without the use of torture. When CIA interrogators started using waterboarding and other enhanced interrogation methods, Zubaydah stopped cooperating and gave his interrogators false information.
Far from being necessary in the fight against terrorism, torture is completely unreliable and counter-productive in obtaining useful information.
8. In 2008, Republicans said that if we elect a Democratic president, we would be hit by Al Qaeda again, perhaps worse than the attack on 9/11.
Former Vice-President Dick Cheney stated that electing a Democrat as president would all but guarantee that there would be another major attack on America by Al Qaeda. Cheney and other Republicans were, thankfully, completely wrong. During Obama's presidency, we had zero deaths on U.S. soil from Al Qaeda attacks and we succeeded in killing Bin Laden along with dozens of other high ranking Al Qaeda leaders.
9. In 2009, Republicans predicted that the economic stimulus package would only make the recession worse and cause more unemployment.
The results show they couldn't have been more wrong. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 ended the recession after only a few months. Although 750,000 people were losing their jobs each month when Obama took office, after the Recovery Act was passed the rate of job loss immediately decreased each month and within a year the economy showed positive job growth.
Considering the severity of the 2008 economic collapse and the total opposition by Republicans to do anything at all to stimulate the economy, it is remarkable that the US economy recovered as quickly as it did.
10. Most Republicans said that President Obama should be impeached because of the 2012 attack on the US consulate in Benghazi.
Their own investigations, however, proved them wrong. Every Congressional inquiry, including those by the Republican-led House Intelligence Committee, concluded that the Obama administration did nothing wrong regarding Benghazi, that there was no “stand down” order given, and that neither the President nor anyone in his administration lied about it. Each and every Republican investigation has reached this same conclusion, but Republicans continue to exploit this tragedy for political gain.
11. Republicans said we must deregulate businesses so they can be more profitable, and we will all enjoy the wealth created by deregulation.
This theory failed back in the 1980s when the Reagan administration deregulated the Savings and Loan industry. All the S&Ls collapsed, and it cost taxpayers billions of dollars to bail them out.
They were proven wrong again in 2008 when years of deregulation of the financial industry resulted in the worst financial collapse and recession since the Great Depression. Taxpayers had to spend nearly a trillion dollars to bail out these large corporations. Instead of spreading the wealth around, deregulation cost millions of jobs and created economic turmoil that took the country years to recover from.
12. Republicans predicted that Obamacare would hurt the economy and kill jobs.
As you may have guessed, they were wrong. 2014 was the first full year that Obamacare was in effect. During that year the United States saw the fastest rate of job creation in 14 years and the best rate of economic growth in over ten years. More jobs were created in 2014 than in any year of the Bush presidency. Not only did Obamacare not harm the economy, it coincided with the best economic expansion in a dozen years.
13. Republicans said that if President Obama was reelected, the price of gasoline would rise to $5.45 a gallon by January 2015.
In fact, Senator Mike Lee of Utah said if Obama was reelected, the price of gas would reach $6.60 a gallon. Newt Gingrich, who was running for president in 2012, said Obama’s energy policies, EPA regulations, and failure to approve the XL pipeline would result in $10.00 a gallon gasoline.
Of course, these predictions were laughably wrong. Instead of $5.45 per gallon or $10.00 per gallon, the price of gas in January 2015, was $1.89, less than half of the all-time high of $4.15 a gallon under President Bush.
14. Republicans said President Obama would be terrible for the economy.
Although he inherited the worst economy since the Great Depression, President Obama presided over the longest continuous period of uninterrupted job growth in American history. More jobs were created under President Obama than under both Bush Presidents combined. The stock market repeatedly set new records during Obama's presidency.
Obama inherited a much worse recession than the one Ronald Reagan dealt with, yet Obama ended that recession in less than half the time it took Reagan. During his eight years in office, our economy had a net increase of 11 million new jobs despite the loss of more than 4 million jobs during Obama's first year when he was trying to pull us out of the Bush Recession. Despite Republican attempts to stop all progress, President Obama oversaw the greatest economic turnaround in over 75 years without any help from Republicans.
15. Republicans predicted that President Obama’s tax increase for the top 1% in 2013 would kill jobs, increase the deficit, and cause another recession.
You guessed it; just the opposite happened. In the four years following January 1, 2013, when that tax increase went into effect, through January 2017, unemployment dropped from 7.9% to 4.8%, an average of more than 200,000 new jobs were created per month, Wall Street set new record highs, and the budget deficit was cut in half.
Over 5.7 million new jobs were created in the first two years after that tax increase. That's more jobs created in two years than were created during the combined 12 years of both Bush presidencies.
16. Republicans said President Obama would raise taxes sky high.
It never happened. Income taxes for over 95% of Americans remained the same or lower than they were before Obama was elected. The only people whose income taxes increased were those who make more than $400,000 per year, and their taxes rose only 3%. For most Americans, taxes are still lower now than they were under Reagan.
17. Republicans have long promised that “trickle-down economics” is the best way to stimulate the economy.
Trickle-down economics is the practice of giving more money to the very wealthy so they can reinvest it, causing a "trickle-down" effect that creates jobs and stimulates growth. According to this theory, any tax increase on the wealthy will hurt the economy and cause another recession.
Again, this theory has been thoroughly disproven. The huge tax cuts for the wealthiest 1% of Americans enacted by George W. Bush did not result in job creation or a robust economy. In fact, our economy took the worst nosedive since the Great Depression.
Conversely, the tax increases on the wealthiest 1% passed by Presidents Clinton and Obama were followed by strong job growth, shrinking budget deficits, and lower unemployment rates. During the eight years after President Clinton raised taxes on the top 1%, the poverty rate went down. After Bush enacted trickle-down economic policies, the poverty rate began rising again.
18. In 2012, Republicans predicted that failure to approve the Keystone Pipeline would send the price of gasoline sky high and kill large numbers of jobs.
Despite the fact that the Keystone Pipeline was not approved, the price of gasoline continued to drop below $1.80 per gallon, millions of new jobs were created and unemployment dropped from 8% to 4.9% by early 2016. The most optimistic predictions say that the Keystone Pipeline would only create a few dozen long-term jobs and would do nothing to lower the price of gasoline.
19. Republicans insist that their policies create more jobs than Democrats and claim Democratic policies are “job killers."
History, however, has proven them wrong. According to numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, under the last three Republican presidents, there were a total of 21 million new jobs created during their combined 20 years in office (Reagan - 16 million, George H. W. Bush - 2 million, George W. Bush – 3 million).
However, under the last three Democratic presidents, there were a total of 40 million new jobs created during their combined 19 years in office (Carter – 10 million, Clinton – 22 million, Obama – 8 million).
So the last three Democratic presidents have seen the creation of nearly twice as many jobs in 19 years as the last three Republican presidents did in 20.
20. Republicans claim that raising the minimum wage would kill jobs and hurt the economy.
There is far more evidence to the contrary. Cities and states that have higher minimum wages tend to have better rates of job creation and economic growth.
Detailed analyses show that job losses due to increases in the minimum wage are almost negligible compared to the economic benefits of higher wages. Previous increases in the minimum wage have never resulted in the dire consequences that Republicans have predicted.
21. Republicans routinely accuse Democrats of wanting to cut defense spending to the bone and leave us defenseless against our enemies.
History has repeatedly proven them wrong. Under Democratic presidents and Congresses, the United States still spends more on defense than the next ten countries combined. Republicans frequently insist on spending hundreds of billions of dollars on weapons systems that the Pentagon doesn't even want in order to benefit the multi-billion dollar defense contractors. Democrats who criticize this unnecessary spending are accused of trying to cut defense spending to the bone.
Here are a few more things Republicans have been wrong about.
- Republicans said that Obamacare would have “death panels” to decide who would live and who would die. Wrong. No such death panels were ever proposed and nothing of the kind ever happened.
- They said the 2009 laws to improve automobile fuel efficiency standards would kill the US auto industry. Wrong. The new standards were followed by a resurgence of the US auto industry enabling them to hire back tens of thousands of workers.
- They said environmental protection laws requiring companies to clean up their pollution would create an undue burden and kill businesses. Nope, it never happened.
- They said Ebola would spread across the country because President Obama allowed American Ebola patients to be treated in the US. The outbreak never happened. Only three people contracted Ebola in the US and all three survived.
- They said President Obama would open our borders to illegal immigrants. Wow, were they wrong about that. Under Obama, we set new records for most illegal immigrants stopped at the border and sent home.
- They said Obama would drive up the Federal budget deficit. That didn't happen. Obama cut the $1.4 trillion deficit he inherited by two-thirds.
While someone could no doubt find instances where Democrats engage in over-the-top rhetoric, nothing compares to the consistently false and erroneous claims made by the GOP in recent years. When a political party has been so dismally wrong about nearly everything over the past 30 years, that party should lose all credibility.
My hope is that in the future when Americans hear Republicans make predictions about Democratic policies that are doomed to failure, we will remember the fact that they have been utterly wrong about virtually everything they've predicted in recent years.