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Unencumbered by the Facts

By David Hansen

Fri, Sep 7th, 2012
Posted in All Commentary

Near as I can tell, that’s the campaign theme of the Republican effort this year. It seems a bit weak when compared to classics from the past, like “It’s Morning in America,” “Yes We Can” and “Hope and Change.”

This is a group that has publicly avowed that they will not “be dictated by fact-checkers.” I give them points for honesty, I’m just not comfortable with that as a leadership policy. Here are but a few examples:

Economics: Supply-side economics is a valid piece of the whole field, but the idea that reducing marginal tax rates automatically increases tax revenues is faulty. There is a point in the tax rate at which that is true; the first year of the Reagan-era tax cuts on personal income seemed to have increased tax receipts.  It’s believed that was not the case with the corresponding reduction in corporate taxes.

But the Bush-era tax cuts were clearly disasterous to revenues.  We are well below the marginal rate at which we could cut taxes and grow our way out of the deficit. 

But the Republicans continue to insist to the contrary. Here’s an idea! Let’s reduce the tax rate to zero!

Medicine. Consider the comments of Todd Akin, Missouri Senate hopeful, about “legitimate rape.” He still meant “forcible rape,” which incomprehensibly assumes not all rape is actual rape and insultingly imagines that women might claim “rape” to justify sexual relations. It’s in the Republican Platform!

It’s the other part of Akin’s comments that illustrate the point: his claim that a woman’s body shuts down to prevent pregnancy in a rape. This is medically untrue. But this belief persists, because they want to believe it. They have to believe it, or the Republican Platform that dictates what a woman can do with her own body, even in a rape situation, would seem extraordinarily cruel.

Science. Forget it (as many Republicans have). I can’t even begin; the Olmsted County Journal has a limited budget for newsprint.

So let’s look at the latest Republican claims; see if you can spot the “irregularities.” It’s easier than, say, running a marathon in under three hours. Mitt Romney is saying “Obama quietly ended work requirements for welfare.” In fact, he strengthened them in a time when jobs are hard to come by. He approved waivers for five states that redirected the efforts to job-building programs, keeping the welfare-to-work program alive. Mitt Romney supported this as well just months ago, though finding that Romney disagrees with Romney is not news.

They mourn the lowering of the nation’s credit rating, never mentioning that rating was lowered because the House Republicans signaled that the country might not pay its debt during the debt-ceiling debacle.

They fault Obama for not adopting the Simpson-Bowles deficit reduction plan, even though it was killed by a group of Republicans - led by Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan.

They say the economic stimulus plan was ineffective after working diligently to reduce its impact.

It is important to remember this: in budget negotiations last year, the proposals offered by President Obama would reduce the deficit twice as fast as the Republican/Ryan plan would have. The Democrats are the party of fiscal responsibility.

Republicans will offer no specifics as to how they will achieve increase defense spending, preservation of Social Security while again cutting taxes/reducing tax receipts. None. There again, no facts.

The most effective speech of the Republican Convention, according to one poll, was that of Clint Eastwood speaking to a chair. But the best summation of the 2012 Republican effort was the speech of Paul Ryan, a speech labeled as holding the “world record for the greatest number of blatant lies.” But that’s just the “liberal media,” and we all know, wait. That was the assessment of Fox News.

I know that both parties “stretch” the truth. But one party is making it a matter of policy, the “platform” on which the campaign is based, and one is appealing to reason. Voltaire will be voting Democrat.

We have a clear choice in the upcoming election  We can either pick up our torches and pitchforks and attack those ever-bothersome “facts,” or we can grab our thinking caps.

I’m size 7 and 5/8.


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1:52:33, Sep 11th 2012

Welcome Aboard! You covered many important points. I hope readers are paying attention!

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