Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Fact-checking Bill Sali

By John Foster - Wednesday, October 15, 2008 at 07:47 AM

Bill Sali has become infamous for some of his outrageous comments: Abortions cause breast cancer. There are 40 barrels of oil in one tree. There are only 130 members of Congress who would be comfortable sitting in church pews. His pattern continued yesterday at a candidate forum hosted by the Meridian Chamber of Commerce.

Sali’s Claim: Alternative energy will take 25 to 30 years to get to full scale.
The Facts: Alternative energy is already being used right here in Idaho. U.S. Geothermal produces clean renewable energy for Idaho Power, and companies such as Coleman Oil in Lewiston are mixing biodiesel for sale around the northwest.

Sali’s Claim: “Much more serious than reaching across the aisle” was a system that drove “out deliberation, and drove out reaching across the aisle.”
The Facts:  There is deliberation and bipartisanship in Congress – Sali just refuses to participate. There are two examples in the past week. First, Sali skipped two oversight hearings into the collapse of Lehman Brothers and the bailout of AIG. Second, Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson was recently praised for his deliberations with a variety of groups and Congressmen with whom he does not always agree.

Sali’s Claim: A preliminary estimate found that federal requirements account for up to 40% of spending on transit projects.
The Facts: According to Sali’s own website, the potential costs he refers to comes from delays, not from federal requirements.

Sali’s Claim: A system ranking Sali 423 out of 435 for Congressional effectiveness was based on how many earmarks were obtained.
The Facts: According to Knowlegis, the top three criteria for determining the rankings are position, indirect influence and legislative activity. Earmarks obtained was only added this year when Congress voted to make the process more transparent – something Sali opposed.

Sali’s Claim: The cause of the financial crisis requiring recent “bailout” legislation was the “Community Reinvestment Act.”
The Facts: As Newsday points out, the claim is laughable on its face: That the collapse of Wall Street and the U.S. banking system can be blamed on loans to low-income people. In fact, most sub-prime loans were made by firms not even subject to the Act.

Sali’s Claim: Entitlements account for half of the federal budget.
The Facts: That is not accurate, according to the non-partisan group Facing Up to the Nation’s finances.

Sali’s Claim: Cap-and-trade programs are “dumb” and don’t “reduce emissions anywhere.”
The Facts: The websites of both Sen. John McCain and Sen. Barack Obama state that cap-and-trade programs have been successful in the past, and would be used specifically to reduce emissions. The Yale Forum on Climate Change cites bipartisan agreement on the effectiveness of the program.

Sali’s Claim: 80% of the paperwork burden on businesses comes from tax forms.
The Facts: In fact, the vast majority of business taxes are filed by tax professionals, according to the White House.

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