Post-Truth Krauthammer Pushes "Lie Of The Year" To Suggest Obama Has An Un-American Agenda

Blog ››› ››› ADAM SHAH

Washington Post-Truth

Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer pushed a claim debunked by the Post's own fact-checker to bash President Obama for supposedly having an un-American agenda.

Krauthammer asserted in his November 1 column that an "Obama second term means that the movement toward European-style social democracy continues, in part by legislation, in part by executive decree. The American experiment -- the more individualistic, energetic, innovative, risk-taking model of democratic governance -- continues to recede, yielding to the supervised life of the entitlement state." He also claimed: "Every four years we are told that the coming election is the most important of one's life. This time it might actually be true. At stake is the relation between citizen and state, the very nature of the American social contract."

To back up his argument, Krauthammer wrote that during his first term, Obama "enacted liberalism's holy grail: the nationalization of health care." But as the Post's fact-checker Glenn Kessler has explained, "the core of the health system in the United States will remain the existing private insurance market. So it in no way resembles the government-run health systems used in most industralized countries in the world." Other fact-checkers agree with Kessler, and Politifact even labeled the related claim that Obama enacted "a government takeover of health care" its 2010 Lie of the Year.

As Politifact pointed out,

[T]he law Congress passed, parts of which have already gone into effect, relies largely on the free market:

• Employers will continue to provide health insurance to the majority of Americans through private insurance companies.

• Contrary to the claim, more people will get private health coverage. The law sets up "exchanges" where private insurers will compete to provide coverage to people who don't have it.

• The government will not seize control of hospitals or nationalize doctors.

• The law does not include the public option, a government-run insurance plan that would have competed with private insurers.

• The law gives tax credits to people who have difficulty affording insurance, so they can buy their coverage from private providers on the exchange. But here too, the approach relies on a free market with regulations, not socialized medicine.

But Krauthammer was not satisfied with just one lie. He came up with a number of others to bash Obama:

Lie #1: Obama Environmental Protection Agency Regulations Are "Killing Coal." Krauthammer wrote: "[W]hat Obama failed to pass through Congress, he enacted unilaterally by executive action. He could not pass cap-and-trade, but his EPA is killing coal. (No new coal-fired power plant would ever be built.)" But regulations are not responsible for the decline in coal production. Rather, competition from cheap natural gas has caused the decline.

Lie #2: Obama's EPA Is Set To Regulate Fracking Into Non-Competitiveness. Krauthammer predicted that in a second Obama term, "natural gas will follow coal, as Obama's EPA regulates fracking into noncompetitiveness." But the facts undermine Krauthammer's suggestion that Obama has an anti-natural gas agenda. The conservative Wall Street Journal editorial board has praised the "restraint" of the Obama administration's fracking regulations. And some of the EPA's own lawyers have stated that the agency has failed to stop a "clear violation" of anti-pollution laws by natural gas producers.

Lie #3: Obama Has Gutted Welfare Reform's Work Requirement. Krauthammer wrote: "In 2006, liberals failed legislatively to gut welfare's work requirement. Obama's new Health and Human Services rule does that by fiat." Krauthammer is referring to an announcement from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that it is changing the process by which states can apply for waivers from certain parts of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. In fact, as the Post's fact-checker has pointed out, the federal government will only grant waivers if states can show that their programs increase employment of TANF recipients.

Krauthammer has recently used his Post column to push a series of falsehoods that the Post itself has debunked. Yet The Washington Post continues to publish his erroneous statements.

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