The information superhighway known as the Internet brings news and entertainment at a steady stream day and night. But that same highway is also cluttered with phony data that bends the truth and leads the reader to believe things that are inaccurate.
In recent months, e-mail accounts across America—including our own—received a mass-circulated message that a great conspiracy was about to begin on Jan. 1, 2013, when “the U.S. Government will be requiring everyone to have direct deposit for Social Security checks.”
According to the nameless author of this message, a onepercent tax will be attached to all bank transactions at any financial institution—including deposits of Social Security, pension proceeds or paychecks—by way of a bill put forth by a Pennsylvania representative as “another new Obama tax slipped in while we were asleep.”
There’s just one problem with this information–it’s a lie.
As noted on the House of Representatives’ official legislative database, H.R. 4646 was introduced in 2010 by Rep. Chaka Fattah, during the 111th Congress and was referred to a House committee—where it died at the end of the congressional session.
The bill never made it to the House floor for a vote, nor was it approved by the Senate—and it never reached the president’s desk for signature.
The secret, one-percent “new Obama tax” (as the message described it) is as real as a ghost story told around a campfire. Yet millions of people, foolish enough to believe anything, buy into this fiction and pass the message on through the Internet as certain truth.
The message claimed to readers that the “facts” about H.R. 4646 were confirmed as true on a site called snopes.com. This is a website which describes itself as “the definitive internet reference source for urban legends, folklore, myths, rumors, and misinformation.
In checking H.R. 4646 on snopes.com, however, the website listed the rumor as being “false” and that the bill was “purely the effort of a single congressman, with no outside support.”
Fattah—who is in his ninth term in office and serves as the senior member of the Appropriations Committee, which oversees $1 trillion in discretionary spending—did reintroduce the bill as H.R. 1125 in March 2011. Once again, it was referred to committee, with no action taken to date. The bill doesn’t stand a chance of ever getting out of committee, but that hasn’t stopped Fattah’s futile, one-man mission.
At a time when the American people’s faith in government is at an all-time low, inaccurate information like this only fuels the belief that Washington, D.C. is out to get the most they can from the humble taxpayer.
The moral of this editorial? Don’t believe everything you read on the Internet—especially this presidential election year, when many untruths will be printed and spoken.
Whether it’s about politics or promises of oil riches from a stranger in a far-away land, if an e-mail message sounds too good to be true, it probably isn’t.
Post new comment