The 3 Stupidest Lies From The Republican Presidential Debate

Did you muster through the August 6 debate of the Republican candidates for president? No? Don’t worry; few could. (We did complete a convenient and “condensed” version of each candidate’s address for you, though!) It was hard to sit through all the fibs and fabrications that came from the mouths of all 10 of them, after all.

But there were three particular statements that weren’t just lies – they were dumb lies. Stupid ones. Lies that aren’t just easily disprovable, but that show how dumb those candidates are, too (or how stupid they think us voters are, as if we’d fall for them).

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Here are the three standouts in stupidity:

Mike Huckabee

Medicare […] was robbed (of) $700 billion to pay for Obamacare.

The Huckster is referring to an effect on Medicare funding that results from the Affordable Care Act. This is actually an old story, too, that many tried to use. But the claim that the ACA is costing Medicare more money (much less the exorbitant amount Huckabee said in the debate) is bunk. And that’s already been debunked many times.

In one of the dozens of failed GOP attempts to repeal Obamacare, House Speaker Boehner hit up the Congressional Budget Office for a complete financial assessment of Obamacare. The results CBO provided? Repealing Obamacare, and forcing Medicare to resort to a previous method of funding, would cost an additional $711 billion.

So Obamacare didn’t take $700 billion away from Medicare; it actually helped Medicare save that much. (And if ACA were repealed, CBO found, it would add $109 billion to the federal budget deficit in 10 years.)

By using this argument, not only does Huckabee reveal that he is either 1) a liar, or 2) illiterate and can’t read well, but it also shows that 3) the Huckster is out of the loop. Stale. Rusty. Doesn’t read the news. This same false argument about Medicare/Obamacare got shot down many times years ago, and even made Fact Check’s “Whoppers of 2012” list.

Marco Rubio

(O)ver 40 percent of small and mid-size banks that loan money to small businesses have been wiped out […] since Dodd-Frank has passed.

When Dodd-Frank (aka the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act) was passed on July 21, 2010, there were 6,570 commercial banks in the U.S., according to the Federal Reserve. Today, there are only 5,501. That’s a decrease of 16 percent – not the “over 40 percent” that Rubio claimed in the debate, so he was apparently trying to drum up numbers to make himself look informed and smart.

It’s not just that gross miscalculation that makes him look pretty dumb, though. Rubio also overlooked that Dodd-Frank had nothing to do with the decline in numbers. In fact, the number of banks in the U.S. has been continuously declining over the past 30 years. There were 14,400 banks in 1984, but that number has continuously declined – and at a consistent rate – throughout that 30-year period.

And it’s not as if these banks are folding in failure. Small banks have been continuously bought-out by larger banks. They’re still there; only the signs in front of those small banks have changed.

Jeb Bush

(Florida’s) graduation rate improved by 50 percent (when I was governor).

During Jeb Bush’s terms as Florida governor (1999-2007), the high school graduation rate in his state grew from 60.2 percent to 71. While that’s certainly an increase, it’s only an 18-percent growth – not the 50 percent Bush claimed in last night’s debate.

Those figures come from his own state’s Dept. of Education, as well, which uses its own definition of “graduation” – and even acknowledges that it calculates that rate differently than the Federal Uniform Graduation Rate. Under FUGR, Florida’s rate grew from 52 percent to 58.8 percent in that same period – and that’s only 13 percent in growth.

Of course, just like most states, Florida’s graduation rate has continued to grow, even after Bush completed his terms as governor. But even if he was trying to claim continuous credit, Bush is still wrong.

That last graduation rate declared by Florida’s DOE was 81.2 percent. When you divide that by the 60.2 rate present when he first became governor, the result is 34.9 percent – not the 50-percent rate Bush claimed. (And Florida’s graduation rate is still seven percent below national average.) So maybe Jeb needs to go back to school himself?

Featured image Public Domain via Open Clip Art (modified)

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