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ETpro's avatar

On November 6th, will money trump truth?

Asked by ETpro (34145 points ) September 6th, 2012

At last week’s GOP Convention, Paul Ryan introduced himself as the son of a small-town lawyer who died an early death, leaving his mom to struggle. He only forgot to mention that his small-town lawyer dad was heir to a family fortune inherited from Ryan’s great grandfather, who founded a paving business. His up-by-the-bootstraps story failed to mention that those were $18,000 Gucci boots. It was rather like Mitt and Ann’s story of their trials and tribulations in Mitt’s college days. No mention of the fact Mitt had a multi-millionaire dad who made sure the struggles never got too taxing. But there was enough truthiness in both those false rags-to-riches stories to make them no more than the usual political spin-mastering.

What was truly disturbing was that the key political points in both Ryan’s and Romeny’s speeches were outright lies, as are much of the advertising the Romeny/Ryan campaign and their SuperPAC surrogates are running. Romney and Ryan claim to be the champions of the middle class. They say they intend to save Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. But the policies in the Romeny/Ryan budget add up to more taxes shifted to the shrinking middle class and the growing ranks of the poor, so that they can give even more huge tax breaks to millionaires. Their plan to eliminate all capital gains taxes would essentially allow those in Romeny’s bracket and beyond to live virtually tax free. On incomes in the millions per year, they would pay little or nothing in taxes other than occasional sales taxes on the luxuries they buy. They claim to have a plan to get Americans back to work. But their policy to make all off-shore corporate profits tax free is a plan to vastly accelerate the off-shoring of all remaining decent paying US jobs outside the financial sector. Their tax plan coupled with their plan to greatly increase defense spending would mushroom the national debt even more and leave Medicare broke by 2016, a full eight years before their vouchers kick in to let seniors go shopping among for-profit insurers. And those insurers would, thanks to their repealing Obamacare, be allowed to again exclude all preexisting conditions and simply refuse to ensure those with serious health conditions—i.e., a good portion of all senior citizens.

With billionaires and corporations who will massively profit from the Romney/Ryan policies now free to secretly contribute unlimited funds to their campaigns, Romney and Ryan will have well over a billion dollars spent on their behalf. Spending may top $2 billion to get them elected, and the return on investment for the billionaires and mega-corporations who provide those funds will make it a sound investment. The swift-boat lies will fly fast and thick in the last weeks before November 6th. Will truth matter, or has the Supreme Corporatist’s Citizens United decision put the USA in an era where only money and the best in Big Lie propaganda can prevail?

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21 Answers

wundayatta's avatar

Even if Obama wins, can we say that truth won?

In the past, vastly out-funded candidates have won. Each story is different. Perhaps people saw through the lies of the monied candidate. Perhaps the person without money was just better.

It’s kind of funny that Romney is the “moderate” candidate. I have to wonder if the corporations with money would have preferred a different candidate—one who wasn’t so conservative on social issues. They are throwing a lot of money at Romney, but I don’t know if he really represents them that well.

Maybe in the next election, should Obama win, the monied interests will start thinking about more moderate politicians. Indeed, if Romney wins, they may prefer more moderate Republicans in the future. Romney will be horrible for the country, and even people with money should be able to see that he will kill their profits in the end, even if he reduces their taxes at the beginnning.

But it’s not over until the bathtub drains, so let’s count those votes before conceding to the monied interests. I like Obama’s chances. I’m optimistic. But you can bet I’m following the polls closely.

Nullo's avatar

Since when has politics been worried about truth?

elbanditoroso's avatar

Why would this year be different from any year since the 1820s? Of course.

filmfann's avatar

I honestly believe that money will not be that important in the Presidential election.
It will come down to the debates, and Romney looked like an idiot when he was debating his Republican rivals. When Obama gets a hold of him, Romney will go down in flames.
Money won’t help him.
No doubt, though, that money will play an important role in the Congressional races.

GracieT's avatar

@filmfann, can I have some of your optimism? I’m at a rally to watch the speech, but I am still somewhat pessimistic.

Linda_Owl's avatar

Unfortunately, I am afraid that it might. Obama is far from perfect, but compared to Romney & Ryan – Obama is as good as it gets in our uncertain economy. If Romney & Ryan win, the average American will be S.O.L.

Cruiser's avatar

This was not a big deal in 2008 when Obama outspent McCain by over $300 million to buy the last election. And as long as Super Pacs and lobbyists can do what they do at will, we will never get the truth.

filmfann's avatar

If you think Obama beat McCain/Palin because of money, you are delusional.

Cruiser's avatar

@filmfann If you think Obama didn’t buy the election with his overwhelming PAC money in 2008 then you are delusional. There was no beat or win, he bought the presidency plain and simple. Citizens United created this monstrosity we are now bearing witness too and IMO HAS to be reformed..

ETpro's avatar

@wundayatta Yes, I think we can.

@wundayatta, @Nullo & @elbanditoroso Not that there hasn’t been truthiness attacks from Obama’s camp as well. But there has been none of the deliberate, bold-faced lies in political ads and even Romney/Ryan speeches that get repeated ad nauseum even after the fact checkers totally skewer the lie and label it pants-on-fire. I don’t think we’ve had politics like this since the end of the Civil War. I was amazed at the political candor when the Romney campaign said “We’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact checkers.”

@filmfann I certainly hope you are right. My fear is that the 6% or so who remain undecided are so because they ignore politics completely, and they will be easy pray for swift boat liars with a Karl Rove deviousness and a billion dollars at their disposal.

@GracieT Let’s wait to see what bounce the convention gives. If it begins to look like Obama will win, the money flow will suddenly reverse.

@Linda_Owl How true, and my small business with it.

@Cruiser I think @filmfann is absolutely right about 2008. McCain was a disastrous candidate in the face of the economic meltdown, suspending his campaign then instantly reigniting it. He clearly had no clue how to handle the mess Bush made. But I am in total agreement with you about Citizens United. It’s a crying shame when you need a constitutional amendment to get the Supreme Corporatists to admit the Constitution says what the Founders, fresh from fighting a war largely ignited by the Corporatist British East India Company, wrote in the document.

Cruiser's avatar

@ETpro I can’t imagine anyone who supported that legislation had any idea it would amount to the behemoth it has become. Lobbyist money influencing the process days gone by was bad enough but now these Pacs say and do what they want essentially independent of the candidate themselves. To me it exposes the true dynamic of how much money influences what the candidates says versus what the candidate may actually want to say.

When Obama talked about alternative energy all I imagined was the hoards of cash behind those words from GE, Vestas, Siemens to name a few.

ETpro's avatar

@Cruiser It’s always easier to see the mote in your brother’s eye than to notice the log in your own. The world wide alternative energy industry is currently worth less than $300 billion dollars. In contrast, fossil fuels are a $40 trillion dollar industry. But nooooo, the Koch Brothers and Exxon Mobil, BP, Shell, Saudi Oil, The UAE, Hugo Chavez, etc, etc. would never use any of their trillions to craft energy policy.

The secret meeting Dick Cheney held in the White House at the start of the Bush Administration to craft the nation’s energy policy (Drill baby drill) was only secret to protect the name of the Boy Scouts who attended.

China has committed strongly to renewable energy and wants to own the world market in it. If the GOP has their way, China can have the future without a fight, because the GOP is deeply committed to 19th century ideas. Thanks be that the current administration is putting up a fight, and has slapped tariff sanctions on Chinese dumping of solar panels and wind turbines. It’s just sad they didn’t do it fast enough to save Solandra. It was Chinese dumping that spelled that company’s doom even though they had a vastly superior product.

GracieT's avatar

Just to answer the OP, Good God I hope not! I’m a woman, and I’m on Medicare.

Cruiser's avatar

@ETpro Well apparently then Obama is talking out the side of his mouth with his fingers crossed behind his back as since he let the Production Tax Credit expire last year the wind energy market has bottomed out. Funny how we don’t hear about this now but I can bet you if Obama is re-elected he will push for more tax cuts here which will benefit who?? The uber rich Dems and Repubs who are in bed with the Wind Energy crowd. More tax breaks for the good guys! This how Obama plans to support the middle class but you wont hear the salient details of his round 2 recovery plans until AFTER Nov 6! lol!

wundayatta's avatar

Tax policy is supposed to be used to encourage behavior we like. That’s why people hate the flat tax. It does not allow the kind of flexibility policy makers want. In general, most people think the politicians should get that flexibility. They like it that tax policy encourages home ownership and children and education.

Then again, they don’t like it when tax policy encourages really wealthy people to get even richer. So it’s a double-edge sword. On the whole, I’d have to say that Republican friends benefit more from tax loopholes than Democratic friends.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

With the election finance system we have, yes. By the time the guy gets to the White House or the State House, he is working for those who paid his way and not us. If the admin does anything benficial for the people who actually vote him into office, most importantly protecting our rights and freedoms, it’s secondary to the needs of one big money payee or another. I don’t expect a lot from our politicians whether Democrat or Republican (for there are, in reality, only two viable parties in this struggling democracy) until Americans neutralize the overwhelming influence corporations have on state and federal governments by first re-vamping election campaign laws, then changing the bribery system we call lobbying. I’m not holding my breath.

Cruiser's avatar

@wundayatta I understand why you would make this point, but the truth of the matter there are probably just as many Democratic rich persons as Republican ones. There are not loopholes just for Republicans or special ones just for Democrats….all Americans could benefit from these loopholes if they could afford the Tax Attorney to exploit them.

ETpro's avatar

@Cruiser Presidents are not actually dictators. They can only sign into law what the COngress will pass. Roadblock Republicans saw to the end of the Production Tax Credit.

Cruiser's avatar

@ETpro Then why didn’t BO veto this? Personally I do think it was time to take away the Government teat and let them fiscally stand on their own 2 feet. We are already a broke county…can’t keep throwing away tax dollars. We have that pesky deficit ya know!

They summed it pretty well…

”“If a new technology truly has worthwhile benefits for American consumers such as lower cost, high efficiency or environmental benefits, then that technology will demonstrate its value by competing in the open market for consumers’ dollars – not living off of special provisions in the tax code,” it adds. ”

ETpro's avatar

@Cruiser It is impossible to veto legislation that is never passed. It’s not new legislation to kill the tax credit, rather refusal by Roadblock Republicans to RENEW it.

I am painfully aware of the deficit. Would that Reagan & Bush I (who together quadrupled the nation’s debt) and Bush II who doubled what Reagan & Bush I had run up, had thought of that. In those good times, had we fully funded government instead of constantly adding more tax cuts and loopholes for millionaires and billionaires, we wouldn’t have a huge deficit facing us now, and that would be a great help in getting Americans back to work. But because of the fact that most other bond sellers are in much more shaky circumstances than we are, we can find people willing to almost pay us to hold their money. So shutting down Federal investment in infrastructure and support of the states fir teachers, cops, firefighters and such is not actually a plan to put America back to work. Just the opposite, it is a GOP plan in Congress to put more Americans out of work, and blame president Obama so they can get their greedy hands back on the wheels of power and open the floodgates of welfare for the rich and corporate giants who bribe them to do that.

josie's avatar

See @Nullo
I guess it is sort of a cute, if not sophomoric notion that truth and politics are connected.

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