Tag Archives: Thomas Sowell

Lie of the Year: ‘Death Panels’

And the "Lie of the Year" winner is ... Sarah Palin!!

Of all the falsehoods and distortions in the political discourse this year, one stood out from the rest.

Death panels.”

The claim set political debate afire when it was made in August, raising issues from the role of government in health care to the bounds of acceptable political discussion. In a nod to the way technology has transformed politics, the statement wasn’t made in an interview or a television ad. Sarah Palin posted it on her Facebook page.

Her assertion — that the government would set up boards to determine whether seniors and the disabled were worthy of care — spread through newscasts, talk shows, blogs and town hall meetings. Opponents of health care legislation said it revealed the real goals of the Democratic proposals. Advocates for health reform said it showed the depths to which their opponents would sink. Still others scratched their heads and said, “Death panels? Really?”

The editors of PolitiFact.com, the fact-checking Web site of the St. Petersburg Times, have chosen it as our inaugural “Lie of the Year.”

PolitiFact readers overwhelmingly supported the decision. Nearly 5,000 voted in a national poll to name the biggest lie, and 61 percent chose “death panels” from a field of eight finalists. (See the complete results.)

This is the story of how two words generated intense heat in the national debate over health care.

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Palin Paints Picture of ‘Obama Death Panel’ Giving Thumbs Down to Trig

health care debate

The national health care debate continues in Washington and across the country, with many distortions of the facts.

When we last heard from former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin she was — not without some justification — beseeching some members of the media to “quit making things up.”

But in a post on her Facebook Page today, the 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee seemed to take some liberties of her own.

In a column titled “Statement on the Current Health Care Debate,” Palin wrote that as “Americans delve into the disturbing details of the nationalized health care plan that the current administration is rushing through Congress, our collective jaw is dropping, and we’re saying not just no, but hell no!”

She questions Democratic promises that the health care reform plans will reduce the cost of health care, invoking economist Thomas Sowell, saying the only way to cut costs is to refuse treatment.

“And who will suffer the most when they ration care?” Palin asks. “The sick, the elderly, and the disabled, of course. The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s ‘death panel’ so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their ‘level of productivity in society,’ whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil.”

One can question whether there will by necessity be any rationing decisions that will need to come as a part of health care reform (and, in fact, we havebut pictures of government bureaucrats forcing euthanasia upon seniors — and, now, children with Down syndrome — because they’re not productive members of society are not part of any reasonable debate on the facts of the matter. (And frankly, I agreed with Palin previously, when she was asking members of the media to keep her children out of any public debate.)

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