Skip to comments.Can't Make a Choice Based on Lies
Posted on 10/04/2012 11:18:45 AM PDT by Kaslin
Both presidential candidates describe this election as the most important choice in a generation and insist that the outcome will fatefully shape the direction of government and society.
But voters cant make a meaningful decision when the discussion during the last month of the campaign (and, undoubtedly, much of the televised debate on Wednesday night) will be based on shameless, embarrassing lies.
Those lies flow most egregiously (but not exclusively) from the President of the United States.
Every day Barack Obama frames the electoral decision as a stark choice between his warm-hearted, communitarian approach of were all in this together and the cold-hearted Republican philosophy of youre on your own.
But Romneys call for reduced federal spending hardly requires the brutal cuts in support for Alzheimers patients and disabled children so frequently cited by partisan Democrats. The Romney-Ryan platform calls for gradually implemented spending caps that would trim the overall federal budget from 24 percent of GDP down to 20 percent of GDP still sanctioning spending levels above the 65 year postwar average, and well above the levels that applied during the fondly-remembered Clinton administration. In 2000, his last full year in office, the sainted Slick Willy brought federal spending down to less than 18 percent but no Democrats claimed that this amounted to a callous, devastating youre on your own reign of terror.
Has the sharply increased spending since that time (under President Bush and even more dramatically under President Obama) actually provided so many indispensable, additional services for the American people?
Moreover, its not even vaguely true that Romney plans to raise taxes on the middle class to give new tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires as the president regularly claims. The Republican nominee has repeatedly pledged he will never increase tax burdens on the middle class, and he signals that it is precisely the same wealthy taxpayers the president targets who will bear the brunt of the loophole closures he means to implement.
Nor is it arguably accurate, as Nancy Pelosi suggests, that the GOP wont ask the wealthiest Americans to pay one red cent to help the nation deal with its looming budgetary crisis. Actually, the wealthy already provide a wildly disproportionate share of the income tax revenues to the federal government - the top 1 percent provide 37 percent of the total, and the top 10 percent contribute a staggering 71 percent. As to the bottom 50 percent of taxpayers those households earning below $32,400 in 2009 -- their combined share of the income tax tab actually went down, not up, as a result of the controversial Bush tax cuts: from 3.9 percent of the total in 2000 to 2.3 percent in 2009.
Most importantly, even if President Obama succeeded in his top budgetary priority and raised the tax rates for the two top brackets to their Clinton-era levels, it would generate at most $80 billion a year for the Treasury, according to the administrations own estimates. This amounts to less than 8 percent of the total federal deficit, and less than half of one percent of the national debt, providing almost nothing in terms of meaningful fiscal relief or a significant redistribution of tax burdens.
And this of course raises the specter of Republican lies that make their own contribution to the degradation of public discourse.
Its dumb and delusional to claim that Barack Obama has attempted to impose a socialist tyranny on an unwitting electorate or that he has relentlessly pursued a radical redistributionist agenda of crushing taxes on the industrious and greater government largesse for the indolent. Yes, its true that the feds raised cigarette taxes early in the Obama administration but nicotine addiction and its corresponding costs afflict the poor far more heavily than the rich.
Its also undeniable that Obamacare will raise taxes for many businesses and successful individuals but those increases hardly amount to a devastating blow like the new 75 percent top income tax rate in France, or represent the general imposition of European-style welfare-statism. Its also a mistake to claim that Obama has taken from the rich to give to the poor since the welfare of societys least fortunate has suffered dramatically under the this presidents leadership, with increased rates of poverty and homelessness, despite the big increases in government spending.
Its both more accurate and more damning to point out that the Democrats have pushed the nation far deeper into debt to grow government, rather than claiming that theyve taken from the rich to give to the poorthe poor have gotten next-to-nothing from Obanomics. Meanwhile, overall federal revenue as a percentage of GDP remains at 15.8 well below the level of any of the eight full years (2001-8) of the Bush administration.
Aside from specific candidate claims that bear scant connection to reality, appropriately wary viewers should watch for devious narratives and ludicrous promises for the future that obscure the real and pressing issues.
If President Obama suggests that a stay-the-course approach of increased spending (or investments in Obama-speak) and expanded borrowing will guarantee increased momentum for our feeble, fragile recovery, he is telling lies.
And if Governor Romney claims that we need only repeal Obamacare, cut tax rates and deploy his fabled managerial skills to avert fiscal catastrophe, he is also lying.
Economists increasingly see the risk of renewed recession in 2013, regardless of which candidate wins the White House especially if the lame-duck Congress fails in reaching some significant agreement to avert the fiscal cliff that looms on January 1, with simultaneous spending cuts and tax hikes across the board.
Both candidates should address this immediate and dire threat. The nation needs a serious discussion of the right course for the future either a permanent expansion in government activism with a realistic means for paying for it, or a gradual, long-term reduction in governments role in seizing and spending the wealth generated by the private sector.
The key words that both campaigns have shunned to date are reform and cooperation.
Most Americans long for both, but predicting Armageddon if the other-side wins some tenuous victory only increases the prospect that well continue to suffer from polarized and paralyzed government. It also undermines the possibility that well deal successfully with looming fiscal collapse in the two-and-a-half months of awkward interregnum between the election and inauguration.
The winner in the debate on Wednesday night will be the candidate who sounds most reasoned and reformist, not the one who does a better job at demonizing the opposition. One of these two guys will wake up on November 7th as the president elect, and it wont help the country if youve convinced half of the electorate that if your opponent wins it spells doom for the American dream. As always, voters will reliably select pragmatism over partisanship, and the leader who offers reassurance more than revolution.
Naturally, that reassurance depends to some extent on deflecting and exposing the lies of the opposition or, better yet, acknowledging some of the lies that prevail on both sides, and sketching a credible path for a way ahead.
There is no such equivalency between the redistributionist and tyrannical ideas upon which this President pursues his policies and the principles and ideas of America's Declaration of Independence. America's "ideas of liberty" identify life, rights, liberty and law as being derived from the Creator--not as "grants" from imperfect persons in government.
Further, there is no such "moral equivalency" between his flagrant attempts to bypass the Constitution's limits on exercise of Executive power and the strict limits set down by the Constitution on that power, limits which have never been amended in accordance with Article V's specifity.
A history lesson on the ideas underlying America's 200-year experiment in liberty is well over due, inasmuch as the so-called "progressive" regressive movement has largely accomplished the censorship of those ideas from the nation's textbooks and public discourse.
Perhaps these debates will trigger a rediscovery of those ideas via the new technologies which have made them available online in the Founders' own words.
Must be the contribution of Divine Providence to a nation whose liberty was being hijacked by arrogant men and women who believed themselves to be wiser than the Creator himself!
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