Sunday, August 26, 2012

Romney Shows His Dark Side

Whatever else one could say about Mitt Romney … that he was a flip-flopper, an opportunist, that there was no “there” there … one couldn’t say that he was a nasty man. One felt that he would do or say anything he had to to become president, but that he would stop short of being nasty.

Well, that barrier has fallen.  On the stump the other day, Romney said that no one had ever asked him for his birth certificate … that everyone knew without question where he was born, where he was from.  How despicable!

Clearly, this was a reference to the Obama birth certificate canard.  Although obliquely, Romney with this statement signaled to the “Birther” movement that he was one with them.  And he signaled that no blow would be too low for him to throw in this election campaign.

So not only is Romney an opportunist … witness his most recent proposal that states be given the right to control drilling and mining on federal lands … but far worse than that (for among politicians this character trait is not unusual), he has shown that he has no shame.  And that should be beyond the pale, certainly for someone aspiring to be president of this great nation.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Republicans’ Seven Biggest Lies

The propaganda theory of “the big lie” is that if you tell a lie big enough often enough, people will begin to believe it, and the Republicans are masters of this tactic. The Republican Party has been selling the American public a bill of goods and unfortunately the public is falling for the scam. They want the average American to think that they are going to protect their interests and that the Democrats will ruin them.  This is a classic “big lie” if ever there was one.

Their “argument” is based on the following subsidiary lies, which fall predominantly into two categories … the economy and health care/Obamacare:

Lies About the Economy

Lie #1: The financial crisis and joblessness is the fault of big government, of government regulation.
            Fact:  The financial crisis was caused by rich investment bankers and mortgage brokers trying to find a way to make a fast buck at the expense of ordinary Americans or small-fry investors. It happened because people in the financial industry are greedy and cannot be allowed to regulate themselves.

Lie #2: The financial crisis continues because of the failure of the Obama stimulus package and the increasing government deficit.
            Fact:  The Obama stimulus package, while not creating many new jobs, resulted in preventing the elimination of millions of jobs, especially state and local jobs.  This kept the country out of a second Great Depression.
            Fact:  Once the stimulus funds were spent, Republican-led efforts to slash the budget in order to cut the deficit have made the jobless crisis far worse by reducing support for state and local governments, causing increased unemployment in that area that the stimulus had prevented and stalling the recovery.
            Fact:  The deficit, while large and undesirable, is more of prac†ical concern to investors in government bonds, and interestingly rather than fleeing from US bonds, investors continue to flock to them as a safe haven in this volatile global financial market.

Lie #3: The key to getting the American public back to work is cutting taxes for the rich and corporations, as well as cutting the deficit.
            Fact:  Cutting taxes for the rich only helps the rich get richer.  There is no trickle down effect, as was proven during the Reagan years.   Reducing corporate taxes only results in corporations and their investors making more money; it does not encourage investment and job creation unless the tax cuts are specifically tied to that effort. Corporations are into doing more with less labor; they have no interest in job creation or giving raises.  It’s not that they don’t have the money … they are sitting on $1.74 trillion … yes trillion … dollars of cash.
            Fact: Income inequality between the very rich and the rest of us is worse now than at any time in US history.  And income stagnation for the average American is a real crisis. 
            Fact:  Cutting the deficit by cutting funding for all sorts of programs and support for state and local governments will only make the job situation even worse by increasing layoffs at all levels, as it has already done.

Lie #4:  The answer is not the government; government is the problem.
            Fact:  The crisis was caused by market forces working in a for-all-practical-purposes unregulated atmosphere.  Its only guide was greed.  Even Alan Greenspan has admitted that his theory that the market would be self-regulating was an error.  The answer to protecting the American public from this type of thing happening again is regulation of the financial sector that has teeth in it.  The Republicans are dead set against such regulation. The Democrats support it.
            Fact: We got out of the Great Depression through massive government spending including the WWII effort.  In a financial crisis, the private sector has no interest in investing.  Their only concern is protecting or growing their profits.  Thus they find ways to do less with more, which is great for their shareholders, but bad for the American worker.  We need more government stimulus, hang the impact on the deficit, in order to get the unemployed back to work.

The Lies About Health Care/Obamacare

Lie #5: Obamacare will get between you and your doctor and reduce the quality of your medical care.
            Fact: There is nothing whatsoever in Obamacare that would do this.  It is built on the existing private insurance system. It is not a “government takeover” in any sense, which Medicare actually was, although interestingly everyone loves that.

Lie #6:  Obamacare will force individuals to get health insurance. The implication of this is that individuals who cannot afford health insurance will be forced to buy it or suffer a penalty.
            Fact: One of the main drives behind the enactment of Obamacare was to provide health insurance to the millions of Americans who don’t have it as part of their jobs and who can’t afford to buy it.  It does this by subsidizing health insurance for those who can’t afford it. The individual mandate will provide health insurance and proper medical care to millions of Americans who currently can’t afford access.
            Fact: Republicans have for the last 20 years urged the individual mandate as part of any health care reform.  It was central to the bill that Governor Romney supported in Massachusetts. Now they are against it solely because it’s a Democrat-passed program.

Lie #6: Obamacare will ration health care.
            Fact: There is nothing in Obamcare that would ration health care. There are measures in the law that encourage the medical profession to apply their group knowledge more consistently so that everyone gets the best care and money is not wasted on unnecessary or counterproductive procedures.
            Fact:  Contrary to the statements of Republican talk show hosts and some Congressmen, there is no “death panel” in Obamacare. What the law does encourage is for doctors to talk about end of life issues with their patients so that the patients’ desires regarding various levels of medical effort will be known and respected.

Bottom line … Republican politicians and radio talk show hosts have presented a Big Lie to the American public. And by saying it over and over again, and by the Democrats not effectively countering the lie, a large segment of the American public has come to believe the lie. But in fact, Republicans are only concerned with protecting the interests of the rich and corporations; they have no concern for the average American. It is instead Democrats who are fighting to protect the well-being of the average American.

There is no question that government is not the entire solution … the private sector and individuals have a major role to play … but government is certainly a necessary part of the solution.