Obscene Election Spending & Misunderstood Tax Cuts


This episode is a continuation of the theme in my July 23rd podcast titled Obama Accomplishments, Political Hypocrisy, and Social Denial.

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Last week, Meg Whitman, the Republican candidate for CA Governor, added another $13M into her campaign coffers so now her total personal investment is at $104M. For non-presidential campaigns this number is approaching the record, of $108M, set by Michael Bloomberg for his 3rd successful bid for the New York city Mayor.

With the recent Supreme Court ruling re Citizens United vs FEC, the election spending floodgates are now open and fully sanctioned by our legal system and society. Karl Rove and some other Republican groups are expected to pour in $300M into the 2010 midterm elections (see Update below the table).

Imagine what $400M can do for education ... or health care ... or  small business assistance?

One would have to question the Supreme Court ruling that allows and supports such a deliberate hijacking of our democracy? And why has the Main Stream Media (MSM) not made this into a key issue? Why is there no real dialog or debate re the serious and disastrous implications of this ruling?  Yes there was a dialog and debate shortly after the ruling but was it given the same due as Sarah Palin's book? Given the serious nature, of this issue, such a debate should have been on the airwaves constantly ... until the public clearly knew the stakes ... and Why is there not a huge outcry by the media pundits demanding its repeal ?

Of course, Democrats will have to do their part to raise money for the elections so the frenzy of such election spending will not only continue but also increase. Such 100s of Millions of $$s spent on elections is not only obscene but is also an outrageous wastage of much needed money that could be put to good use elsewhere. I've included a link to a recent post talking about the huge sums being spent by wealthy candidates. Its quite eye opening.

Fortunately, there are groups like Common Cause, MoveOn.org, and many others that are pushing Congress to stop this blatant buying of elections. NOTE: The audio mistakenly states Common Ground instead of Common Cause.

Here's my personal take on election spending:

How about an equal amount of money for all candidates for a fixed period? And let the media waves be equally available to all candidates. And then let them debate the real issues vs. use ads to spin the truth and effectively "mold or buy" public opinion.

Lets move on to another puzzling and somewhat depressing topic: tax cuts. And I say depressing simply because it is thoroughly misunderstood. Republicans are very good with simple messages but not with real substance. Democrats propose good measures but fail to craft a simple message and generate momentum behind it. Of course, the MSM doesn't help as it is largely interested in profits vs. spreading truth.

Here's a recap of what the Bush & Republican tax cuts of $1.35T achieved from '01 to '09 (from ThinkProgress Feb 7, 2009 report):

  • unemployment rose from 4% to 7.6%, ...
  • % of population living in poverty rose from 12.7% to 17%, ...
  • foreclosure rates rose from 0.48% to 1.19 %, and ...
  • number of Americans relying on food stamps increased from 17M to over 30M.
And we already know about the serious ill effects of the increase in the wealth gap. For those new to PolitOpine, you can listen to our July 2nd episode about Craig Barnes' informative dialog with Richard Wilkinson re this topic.

According to the recent report from the Joint Committee on Taxation that compares the Democrats vs Republican tax cuts, ... the Republican plan will give more money to people who already have more than enough money and ... their plan will cost $36.6B more than the Democrats plan. And the Republican's claim they are more fiscally sound? I'll mention only some sample numbers here, you can see the full report though a link in the show notes. In comparing the two plans you find that:

  • Democrats' plan will give same or more money in tax cuts to all incomes up to $200K
  • Republicans' plan will give $409 more in tax cuts to incomes between $200-500K
  • Republicans' plan will give $10.7K more in tax cuts to incomes between $500K - $1M
  • Republicans' plan will give $97.5K more in tax cuts to incomes over $1M

How can anyone call the Republicans' plan fair to the American middle class? How can anyone making less than $200K support the Republican plan?

How can anyone support this continued increase in the wealth gap? When is the greed of increasing wealth through tax cuts going to be exposed and called out?

For those claiming that the tax cuts for the wealthy improves the economy and benefits the American people... I have the following questions: ... How is the unemployment increase from 4% to 7.6% improving the economy? How are the American people benefiting from the "population in poverty" going from 12.7% to 17%?

What amazes me is that the MSM does not call out this egregious Republican hypocrisy?
Why are the clear distinctions between the two plans not bombarding the MSM waves? The American public needs to see and hear the truth re these tax cuts.

President Obama and the Democrats' tax cut plan makes sense PERIOD

While Republicans' continue to embrace obstructionism and push their obsolete, narrowly focused policies, President Obama continues to make progress on many fronts ... small to large ... here are some recent examples since my last commentary:

1) Scaling back the Iraq war by reduction of troops ... over the last 18 months 90K troops have left Iraq ... and just to bring the war numbers home, ... just in the last 4 weeks over $49B has been spent on the Iraq/Afghanistan wars and this number will be obsolete by the time this podcast is heard. Of course, the total war spending is at $1068B and counting (from costofwar.com).
2) Increased funds for border security ... of course, comprehensive immigration reform still needs be done but this is a definite step despite some controversy behind it
3) Manufacturing Enhancement Act to assist the American manufacturing sector which has gained 183K jobs so far this year while it lost over 3.8M jobs from '00 to '08
4) Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act which cuts down the waste, fraud, and abuse in discretionary non-defense government spending. Notably, this bill was passed unanimously in both the House and Senate. ... a rare exception

As I've done in my past episodes, I urge listeners to visit Whitehouse.Gov so you can inform yourself with facts not fiction or slogans.

In deference to the facts, I must close this commentary just like my last one ...

Isn't it about time to stop supporting the Republicans in congress who have done nothing but obstruct solving of real problems?

Isn't it about time to stop supporting anyone espousing policies of the Bush/Cheney and Karl Roves of the world who brought us to this current mess?

And it IS time to fully support President Obama, as a country and not just as a party... This is a President who is truly in favor of the common person, the collective American family, and is genuinely interested in solving the real and current issues facing America?

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