Invention by Republican: Obama and the Fiction of Entitlement

Robert Reich - photo by Harvard Ethics

Invention by Republican is a regular series on The Left Call, highlighting factually inaccurate and hyperbolic narratives by Republicans, conservatives and right-wing ideologues.

Robert Reich writes about The Republican Myth of Obama’s ‘Entitlement Society’ in his latest column featured on The Huffington Post. Instead of the explanation concocted by Republicans, Reich explains the real reason for increased reliance on federal benefits:

They argue our economic problems stem from this sharp rise in “dependency.” Get rid of these benefits and people will work harder.

But they have cause and effect backwards. The reason for the rise in food stamps, unemployment insurance, and other safety-net programs is Americans got clobbered in 2008 with the worst economic catastrophe since the Great Depression. They and their families have needed whatever helping hands they could get.

President Obama’s administration has been far from extreme but don’t tell that to the Republican presidential candidates. They decided it’s better to run against an extreme president instead of the moderate populist that now holds the highest office. The GOP candidates have engaged in a war of words to see who can best frame Obama as the most extreme and most dangerous thing to happen to America. The Republican presidential candidates have invented a fictional character to run against who is also named Barack Obama.

Mitt Romney says, “Over the past three years Barack Obama has been replacing our merit-based society with an entitlement society.”

Newt Gingrich says Obama is “the best food-stamp president in American history.”

Both statements are hyperbole, intended to get a rise from the Republican base, but neither statement reflects reality.

dks

photo by Harvard Ethics via Flickr

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Invention by Republican

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