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Romney Scores “Pants on Fire” By Politifact

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GOP Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney

An independent project of the Tampa Bay Times, Poltifact scored Team Romney’s latest campaign ads and statements in 19 different statements as “pants on fire.” The list and graphics are too extensive to post so go here to see them for yourself.

By contrast Obama scored only one “pants on fire.”

So, let me ask you this question: If you reward Romney by electing him president, how could you trust a President Romney to tell you the truth when he’s learned, from you, that lying works?

Maybe the morals and ethics – personal integrity and honor – of the nation have changed since my parents, grandparents and Church taught me the difference between right and wrong and to behave with integrity, honesty and honor. Romney is of my generation and my age so I know he was taught these same values. Yet, he has chosen, in this campaign, to disregard all he was taught while growing up about central personal values.

I’m not so naive to believe that politicians always tell the exact truth. They shade and spin the truth to their advantage. But to vote for someone who blatantly lies on a regular basis seems inconceivable to me. How could you ever possibly believe he would be truthful with you once he’s elected?

I am appalled that national polls show Romney tied with Obama. Are Americans really so easily misled and naive? Or is the hatred for Obama so strong, even though his policies saved the nation from another devastating Great Depression, that even a serial liar is an acceptable alternative?

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Written by Valerie Curl

October 31, 2012 at 4:57 PM

No Principles

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2012 Presidential Candidates Romney and Obama

When I first read this story in The New Republic, I was shocked and disgusted. Now, I’m disgusted and appalled.

As you may have heard, Romney on Thursday scared the bejeezus out of Ohio autoworkers when, during a rally, he cited a story claiming that Chrysler was moving Jeep production to China. Thousands of people work at a sprawling Jeep complex in Toledo and a nearby machining plant. Many thousands more work for suppliers or have jobs otherwise dependent on the Jeep factories. It’s fair to say that they owe their jobs to President Obama, who in 2009 rescued Chrysler and General Motors from likely liquidation. If Chrysler moved the plants overseas, most of those people would be out of work.

The story turns out to be wrong. As Chrysler made clear the very next day, in a tartly worded blog post on the company website, officials have discussed opening plants in China in order to meet rising demand for vehicles there. They have no plans to downsize or shutter plants in the U.S. On the contrary, Fiat, the Italian company that acquired Chrysler during the rescue, just spent $1.7 billion to expand Jeep production in the U.S. That includes $500 million to renovate and expand the Toledo facilities, with 1,000 new factory jobs likely to follow. On Monday, about the same number of people will report for their first day of work in Detroit, when Chrysler adds a third shift to a Jeep plant it operates there.

The campaign does not appear to have announced the ad. The Obama campaign captured video of it, during a broadcast in the Toledo area. Here’s how it ends:

    Obama took GM and Chrysler into bankruptcy, and sold Chrysler to Italians who are going to build jeeps in China. Mitt Romney will fight for every American job.

Although the statements about Chrysler are true individually, together they imply that the Obama Administration’s action led to the outsourcing of American jobs. That is obviously false, both in the specific sense of what Chrysler is doing and in the more general sense of what the entire auto industry is doing. Just look at the numbers (or the graph below). According to the Bureau of Labor of Statistics, the number of autoworkers fell almost in half between 2002 and 2009, from around 1.1 million to around 600,000, as the industry was in something like a death spiral. Then, as Chrysler and GM were on the brink of true collapse, the Obama Administration stepped in with federal loans and a managed bankruptcy. Almost immediately, the automobile manufacturing sector started growing again. Since July, 2009, the workforce has risen by about 150,000 jobs and that’s purely in manufacturing. If you include parts manufacturing and other related jobs, it’s 250,000.

Auto Employment

And that’s the net increase. By providing Chrysler and GM with the financing they needed to avoid liquidation, the Obama Administration prevented those companies from putting more people out of work. Overall, according to estimates by the Center for Automotive Research, the rescue probably saved at least a million jobs.

Of course, this kind of deception is emblematic of the campaign Romney and his supporters have waged in the last few days. They insist that Romney never thought government should let Chrysler and GM collapse. But Romney’s vague and inconsistent rhetoric included statements that he would have opted for a “private sector bailout”—something that was not possible in 2009, because private investors were in no position to make the necessary loans.* As Detroit Free Press columnist Tom Walsh wrote on Friday,

    Throughout the primary campaign, [Romney] joined other Republican candidates in a chorus of bailout-bashing and union-bashing when the auto bailouts came up, painting the Obama administration’s crisis-management effort as a reckless campaign to run up the national debt and do favors for labor unions.

Romney and the Republicans were wrong then and they are still wrong. But Romney has gone beyond normal political bounds.

Politics is often a dirty, nasty business, and politicians do lie and mislead. However, Team Romney chose to go well beyond the bounds of normal decency with this blatant attempt to scare workers with closure of their plant – and loss of their jobs – when no such plans exist in order to win votes.

With this ad and similarly misleading talking points, Romney has exposed his complete lack of principles and ethics. He has stepped well over the boundary of decency and proven that he will say and do anything to achieve his desired goal of becoming president.

The final question remaining is if Romney is elected president how many other unprincipled lies and deceits will he conjure to achieve his own ends. Where is his conscience and what are his ethics?

I’ve been watching politics, in particular presidential politics, since the Nixon-Kennedy debates, and I have never seen a more deceitful, unprincipled campaign as Romney’s. Even Nixon’s paranoia and criminal campaign did not disgust this much.

Team Romney’s unprincipled attempt to scare workers with the loss of their jobs for purely self-interested reasons should be enough to disqualify Romney. There is no excuse – none whatsoever – for deceptively scaring workers with the loss of their jobs. It’s sleezy, disgusting, and reprehensible.

Additional Note: I hope my readers will send this blog or the links to their friends, especially to those in swing states. Romney is not qualified.
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Important political stories:

Why Freddie Mac Resisted Refis

How to Act Human, Take Two: The Search for the Real Romney By James Lipton

Preventing National Decline

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Presidential Candidates Romney and Obama

I’ll be honest, I want Obama to win. Not because he’s a great president. We would need another TR or FDR for that. But campaign costs and the way campaigns are funded, along with Citizens United, make a real reformer president unlikely at present. Look what happened to Obama. He told Wall St during the ’08 campaign that he would raise their taxes and reform the financial system; when he actually tried they revolted to the tune of half a billion dollars in negative ads and lobbying.

Nevertheless, Romney will be a disaster as president.

This afternoon, I spent time reading some of my favorite financial and economics blogs: Simon Johnson and James Kwak’s Baseline Scenario and Jesse’s Café Americain. Through their blogs, I clicked over to a blog by Judge Richard Posner, appointed by Reagan, who now sounds more liberal than modern conservative Republican; then onto an interview with Glen Hubbard, Romney’s leading economics adviser (ugh, what a arrogant sleeze!); and then found a new blog, Capitalism Without Failure.

In each blog, I became more firmly convinced that if Romney is elected, Wall St and the uber wealthy will win; that we average people, like you and me, not only don’t count in their considerations, we’re irrelevant; and that any chance to reform the financial system into becoming a system that provides capital to businesses rather than a high stakes, high risk gambling casino will fail. Most of all, if the nation continues to celebrate the “greed is good” and “me first and only” ideology that has been fostered over the last 30 years, the nation will see another devastating depression within a few years. It will be far worse than the Great Recession and would likely spark violent revolutions worldwide.

Yesterday, I read a Business Week Charlie Rose interview with Jeremy Grantham who owns a highly successful equity fund business. He, too, is sincerely worried about coming events that the GOP ignores or has convinced its base is irrelevant or misleading (pdf). He told Charlie the U.S. is in for a major fall if it doesn’t wake up to what is going on worldwide and here at home.

Over and over again, I read the hazards that await the country if this nation doesn’t change paths. Obama, I believe, is attempting to change those paths if not well, considering the legacy of monied forces arrayed against him and his innate desire to cut a deal rather than being the progressive reformer TR was.

Romney, on the other hand, is a continuation of GW Bush on steroids, and the GOP Congress is worse. In Bloomberg View, Jonathan Alter writes that if Romney is elected, not only will we not know which Romney shows up at any particular moment, he’ll be constantly looking over his shoulder to the GOP Congress to see how he should act and what he should say. He’ll be led along by Norquist, DeMint, and Blackrock’s Schwartzman to name a few. Ryan will probably control the budget, just as Cheney controlled energy and national security.

Our nation is already suffering OECD ratings losses in a variety of competitive areas, from education to equity and mobility to loss of new business start ups to income security to health care to governmental ability to resolve problems and issues. Given the Romney-Ryan budget plans, neo-con national security advisers, and the whole far right wing conservative movement of the GOP, I cannot conceive of a Romney administration increasing the nation’s OECD competitive ratings…or even Harvard’s Business School Review’s competitive rankings.

It’s hard for me to believe that so many people have been conned by Romney. He’s a chameleon whose only beliefs are his destiny to become president (fulfilling Daddy’s dream?) and that the wealthy are superior beings. The US cannot be run as if it’s an LBO in the making. Or at least it should not be. As John Winthrop told his small community of colonists back in the early 1600s, the community needed to needed to take care of each other as Jesus required. And only in ensuring the economic viability and equitable opportunity of every colonist would that community become the “shining city on the hill” – the light of Jesus.

Yet, now, nearly one half of the nation would choose to elect a man, and a party, who choose to negate everything Winthrop told his Puritan parishioners and which that colony worked so diligently to achieve in terms of equity and opportunity, from free schools to physical and monetary care for the poor and disabled to income taxation based on ability to pay without causing family harm for the general needs of the commonweal.

There are plenty of things about which dislike the Obama Administration. But a Romney administration would be even worse – not by any stretch of the imagination better. Romney would lead the nation down the path of Depression and aggressive selfishness.

Money, Power & The American Dream

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Hat tip to one of my Facebook friends, Bruce Bartlett who advised Presidents Reagan and GHW Bush on tax policy, including Reagan’s tax reform of ’86, for letting me know about this video documentary.

The first 20 minutes or so describe the lives and luxury of the uber wealthy. But don’t be deceived into thinking this video is a rant against the wealthy. It’s not.

This video is an expose on how politics and wealth intersect…and how that intersection affects middle and working income and poor families.

This hour-long video needs to be seen by every voter of conscience, from whatever party, before casting their votes. It shows quite clearly how our system is broken, why it’s broken and how beloved nation has begun to fail to live up to its potential. Neither party is spared judgement.

I urge everyone to put aside everything else and take the time to watch the entire video documentary and to think about our nation, her well-being, and all her people before the election.

The US is not, nor has it ever been, pre-Revolutionary France or Russia wherein a few very wealthy held all the power and opportunity while everyone else struggled to survive, thrive and paid all the national bills.

John Winthrop and his Massachusetts colonists created the first free schools because the colonists knew education was vital to economic health, demanded that everyone help those who suffered hardships because doing so was the message of Jesus, and required each family pay a income proportional tax so the colony could pay for its needs and wants. Winthrop believed that only through building a strong, cohesive, educated community could the colony become the shining city on the hill that Reagan and many other politicians have cited rhetorically.

As you can see in this documentary, Winthrop’s dream of a shining city – Jesus’ shining city – is not just under attack but is threatened with having its lights extinguished. Yes, the political system is broken because of money in politics and the wealth that can be made through the use of and manipulation of political power. But much worse is erosion of the traditional social values of social cohesion, caring for the poor, and education of which Winthrop spoke and this nation held for over 300 years.

Fact Checking the Final Debate

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Romney-Obama In Presidential Debate

After a lot of confusing debating on foreign policy…with a bit of domestic policy, the debate is over. So, what are the financial and known facts? Washington Post’s ever diligent Wonkblog staffers have provided those facts and data. If you want more information or to confirm the accuracy was what was said then go here.

So far, it appears Obama won the debate. How that changes the ground game, who knows. Nevertheless, Romney softened his arguments, even going so far as to backtrack on all he said during the primaries. During the primaries, he took a very aggressive stance, even going so far as to state he would be willing to unilaterally strike Iran, a la Geo. Bush, almost immediately upon becoming president. During the primaries, Romney said leaving Afghanistan on schedule was a mistake. Now he agrees with that date. And that is only one instance during these three debates that Romney has changed his position while claiming he did not. What? Did what I hear watching the primary debates part of my imagination?

Nevertheless, my biggest concerns about Romney’s foreign policy stances have more to do with his advisers: most of them were all part of GW Bush’s initial foreign policy team. All are neo-con war hawks. That should scare every American because the neo-cons are not afraid of starting wars. They firmly hold to an idea of American Imperialism that always, always has been alien to this nation which is why Romney says he’ll increase defense spending well above what the Defense Department wants to another $2 trillion over 10 years.

Look, I’m a military brat. My dad was a master sargeant in the Air Force for over 23 years, mostly in the Strategic Air Command. My husband is a Vietnam Vet. I care about our GIs and how we behave around the world. How we are viewed by the rest of the world. That is why I endorse both Geo. Washington and Eisenhower’s view of military might. I also agree with TR’s “talk softly and carry a big stick.” We’re doing that now by being more strategic in our weaponry and getting our allies and the rest of the world to go along with us. Eisenhower said war should always be the last option after all other options had been exhausted.

We don’t need neo-con war hawks deciding foreign policy. Nor should we allow them any say in foreign policy. We cannot afford the lives and financial costs they would choose to rack up. Our children should be far too important to us than to use them as pawns in a game of Imperialism.

Written by Valerie Curl

October 22, 2012 at 8:34 PM

Extra! Extra!

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Mitt RomneyStill think Romney is better on taxes and economy? Maybe you should think again.

Romney has been touting a 2006 tax plan that he says proves his plan will work, according to a report in Roll Call.

According to the study (pdf), tax reform that eliminates deductions and loopholes and reduces income tax rates will slightly increase economic growth over a decade. But the study assumes that nearly all middle class tax breaks — including those for children, mortgages, and employer contributions for health care — are repealed in their entirety:

Under the proposal, all personal exemptions, itemized deductions, personal credits except for the earned income credit, and all above-the-line adjustments to income except for retirement savings deductions and the deduction for self employment taxes would be repealed. The largest categories of deductions repealed are present-law deductions for home mortgage interest expenses, State and local taxes, and charitable contributions. In addition, the exclusions for certain employee fringe benefits, such as employer contributions for health and life insurance, would be repealed. The standard deduction would remain.

The study also found that such a plan would result in the “redistribution” of income tax liability from high-income earners to the middle class. In other words, the tax liability of high income earners would go down while middle income earners tax liability would go up, thus causing a greater transfer of wealth to high income earners. In addition, the promised job growth is only between 1 and 2 percent over ten years (one to two million jobs), while Romney promises that his tax plan will create seven million jobs over four years.

Personally, I still haven’t figured out how he (or the GOP) plans to deal with the following issues when they want to reduce tax rates and maintain revenue neutrality at 20% of GDP:

1) Over the next 10 years the Boomer generation will retire, requiring the federal government to expend up to 24% of GDP and causing either more borrowing or an increase in revenues;

2) We have a huge deficit and debt that needs to be paid down requiring even more revenues than currently exists or the average historic 20% of GDP;

3) Although Romney has not said as much, it’s not an impossible assumption that he agrees with the House GOP that most government functions and programs should be eliminated and dramatically reduced, including product, financial, food and consumer safety; criminal enforcement and policing; transportation and transport safety; health and health research; education; weather prediction, and basic research. The only way for Romney to accomplish revenue neutrality at 20% is to reduce government spending by approximately $5 trillion over ten years. Doing so means eliminating or dramatically cutting back most everyday services we all rely upon that most people don’t even realize are a result of government spending.

Certainly, no one wants to pay more in taxes, but we do have serious fiscal issues with which to deal…and lowering revenues with more tax breaks won’t solve those fiscal issues.

Nevertheless, remember is quote from the legendary political philosopher Adam Smith, in 1776: “The subjects of every state ought to contribute towards the support of the government, as nearly a possible, in proportion to their respective abilities; that is, in proportion to the revenue which they respectively enjoy under the protection of the state.” – The Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith, 1776.

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If you, as Dems and Independents, care about our country and our people as a whole, then you need to vote in this election. Don’t let this election be bought and don’t let it be given away to special interests because of your apathy. VOTE your ethics and moral beliefs.

Written by Valerie Curl

October 20, 2012 at 9:24 AM

The Second Presidential Debate…

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Romney-Obama 2012 Presidential Campaign

Washington Post’s Wonkblog fact checked each of the assertions of this debate. I’ve yet to go through each of the policy differences as stated during this debate; however, I have followed the campaigns for the last two years so I feel confident as to which candidate has the higher road towards economic recovery and the rebuilding and renewal of our economy. But then I also agree with FDR in this now famous speech

This week Reinhart and Rogoff, the two outstanding economists who wrote the premier book on financial crisis, wrote in Bloomberg View that the US is not different when it comes to financially caused recessions. They wrote that while TARP and ARRA (aka the Stimulus package) stemmed the tide of job losses, prevented a deep depression such as the Great Depression, and lifted the US economy in late 2009 and 2010, the deep debt held in the private sector prevented faster growth as the private sector deleveraged. Plus, political infighting prevented further economic gains.

Recovery from Systemic Banking Crises

So, while Romney and Ryan argue that Obama has not done enough to spur growth and that their policies of tax cuts would spur faster growth, Reinhart and Rogoff argue that they are both wrong. Economic data shows that Romney-Ryan policies would lead to increased deficits and increased taxes on middle income earners while reducing the tax burden on the most wealthy.

Yet, the most wealthy in this country are the ones who rely most heavily on governmental services, from roads and transport systems to courts and trade policies. Nevertheless, these are the same people and companies that Romney-Ryan choose to protect from tax burdens. I’m not asking if their ideas are fair, I’m asking if their ideas are appropriate and moral.

Chrystia Freeland recently has written several essays – and a new book – on the rise of American oligarchy. She should know. She spent several years in Russia, covering the rise of rise of Russian oligarchies after the fall of the USSR. Frankly, I’ll admit to being a fan of Freeland.

But beyond my appreciation of Freeland is a belief that America needs new and different policies to deal with the challenges of a globalized 21st Century. The policies of Reagan no longer apply as Reagan’s Domestic policy adviser, Bruce Bartlett, has written on numerous occasions. Even David Stockman, Reagan’s OMB Director, says GOP policies are wrong…and this from the man who promoted supply-side economics. He even wrote a lengthy editorial taking down Romney’s so-called business experience.

Quite simply I do not believe that Romney and Ryan have the correct prescription for America, unless of course you belong to America’s oligarchy or are among the economically illiterate. Our nation faces numerous serious challenges going forward. Returning to 1890s policies will not resolve our global competitiveness challenges, rebuild the middle class or renew our nation.

While I do not believe that Democrats have all the answers, let along all the correct answers, I do believe that the modern conservative movement and neo-cons that now dominate the GOP would lead our beloved country down a path of less competitiveness as well as decreased social mobility and economic equity.

As a nation, we should and must do better than the last three decades in which Republican policies…and Wall St financialization…dominated our political sphere.

Plainly put, Romney and Ryan – along with Ryan’s budget proposals – are the wrong policies for America’s future. Economics and policy professionals all agree that Romney and Ryan are wrong!

Written by Valerie Curl

October 17, 2012 at 2:51 PM

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