Wednesday, Jun 19, 2024

Truth-Challenged Democrat Accusations

More than any other national campaign in recent history, the Obama re-election effort and its allies have shown a reckless disregard for the truth and accuracy of their increasingly personal attacks on the Romney-Ryan GOP ticket. The most outrageous of these attacks is a TV commercial sponsored by the “independent” pro-Obama Priorities USA Action PAC. In its ad, former steelworker Joe Soptic, who was an employee of the GST Steel plant which was once owned by Bain Capital, claims that his wife died of cancer in 2006 because of Romney. In the commercial, Sopic blames Romney for him losing his job and with it, his health insurance, when the Kansas City plant went bankrupt in 2001. “A short time after that,” he says, his wife was diagnosed with cancer. “I don't know how long she was sick and I think maybe she didn't say anything because she knew we couldn't afford the insurance.

“There was nothing they could do for her. And she passed away in 22 days. I do not think Mitt Romney realizes what he’s done to anyone, and furthermore I do not think Mitt Romney is concerned,” Soptic said.


The Romney campaign responded that holding their candidate responsible for Mrs. Soptic’s death 7 years after Romney left Bain and 5 years after her husband lost his health insurance when the plant closed was not reasonable. The Obama campaign responded to inquiries about the ad by claiming that it had no knowledge of Soptic’s accusations. It conveniently overlooked the fact that Soptic was featured in Obama’s first attack ad against Romney’s record at Bain broadcast in May. Also at that time, the Obama campaign set up a conference call with Soptic for reporters.


Aside from the Obama campaign’s dishonesty in feigning ignorance about Soptic’s charges, there are serious holes in the steelworker’s story. In a CNN interview, Soptic admitted that his wife was actually covered by her own insurance from a job she held at a local thrift store until 2002, a year after her husband lost his job when the GST plant closed.


By that time, her husband had taken another job which did not provide her with health insurance, and three years after that, she was diagnosed with cancer and died.




Soptic, was a union leader when he worked at GST. In the Obama commercial that ran in May, he blamed Bain for draining GST of its assets after buying it in 1993, when in fact, just the opposite was true.


GST’s former owner, Armco, was losing money, and was planning to shut the plant down at that time if they couldn’t find a buyer for it. Furthermore, immediately after Bain bought the plant for $80 million, it invested another $100 million to modernize it and make it competitive in the steel market once again.


Over the next four years, GST became a market leader in the production of two particular types of steel. It only ran into trouble in 1997 when Soptic’s union went on strike, closed the plant down, and ultimately drove up its labor costs. Four years later, GST was one of several American steel companies which went out of business because they could not compete with imported steel which was being dumped onto the US market at below cost prices. Thus, it is hard to hold Bain responsible for GST’s demise, and even harder to blame Romney for it, who had left Bain two years earlier. And, as we have explained above, it is preposterous to make any direct connection between Romney and the death of Soptic’s wife five years later.


The facts surrounding GST’s bankruptcy, undermining Soptic’s version in the original Obama campaign ad, were revealed back in May. Yet the Obama campaign refused last week to correct the record after the even more misleading ad about Soptic’s wife appeared. In fact, it allowed its deputy campaign manager, Stephanie Cutter, to be caught in an outright lie when she told reporters that she did not “know the facts” of the Soptic case, when, in fact, she was the one who hosted the conference call her campaign set up between Soptic and reporters back in May.




It would appear that the Democrat campaign motto has become never to let a useful lie go waste. The most recent example was House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi repeating the unsubstantiated accusation by Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid that Romney did not pay any income taxes for a decade. In an interview with the Huffington Post, she declared that “Harry Reid made a statement that is true. Somebody told him. It is a fact.” The real fact is that Reid has never provided any proof to back up the allegation about Romney and he still refuses to disclose the name of the Bain investor Reid claims called him to make the accusation.


There is a clear pattern of provocative, unsubstantiated charges coming from the Obama campaign and its supporters against Romney and, to put it kindly, they do not seem to mind taking great liberties with the truth. To cite another example, last month former White House counsel Bob Bauer’s insinuation that Romney might be a “felon” because Bain Capital filings with the SEC still listed him as its CEO for some time after he left the company in 1999 to run the Salt Lake City Olympic Games.


Most recently the Tax Policy Center, a liberal think tank opposed to cutting income tax rates, published a highly critical analysis of Romney’s economic plan based upon assumptions about his proposals which Romney has explicitly rejected.




In fact, those writing the Tax Policy Center analysis admit that “we do not score Governor Romney’s plan directly as certain components of his plan are not specified in sufficient detail.” They apparently believe that this disclaimer allows them to make up their own version of these details conveniently tailored to support their politically biased conclusions.


The Obama campaign then seized upon this deeply flawed analysis as proof of its false claim that Romney is planning to raise taxes on the middle class to finance tax cuts for the wealthy.


In fact, Romney’s proposal calls for a 20% across the board cut on the income tax rates for everyone, including both the middle class and the wealthy, paid for by the elimination or reduction of certain existing tax breaks and deductions in the tax code so that the overall changes would be revenue neutral.


Thus, under the Romney proposal, the 10% bracket rate would fall to 8%, the 35% rate would fall to 28% and all the tax brackets in between would be reduced accordingly. The corporate tax rate would also be cut to 25% from 35%.


Romney does not specify which tax deductions and credits in the current IRS code he would reduce, but, addressing the fairness issue, he does say that they would be the one’s which are usually claimed by those in the higher tax brackets.




Romney does not deny the need for greater government revenue to help balance the federal budget, but his plan relies on increasing the rate of US economic growth from 2% to 4% to generate more tax income, rather than increasing the tax burden on individual taxpayers and businesses.


There is also substantial evidence that cutting marginal income tax rates winds up substantially increasing total tax income. That is what happened following the tax cuts implemented in 1964, 1981, 1986 and 2003. In addition, the evidence indicates that when the top tax rates are cut, the total share of taxes paid by the wealthy in those brackets actually increases if, as Romney proposes, some of the tax shelters used by the wealthy are eliminated.


At the same time, Romney plans to gradually reduce federal government spending from the current 25% of GDP to 20%, which was the average rate from the end of World War II until 2008.


But the liberal analysts at the Tax Policy Center (TPC) claim that it is “mathematically impossible” to reduce tax rates and close loopholes in a way that is revenue neutral by simply assuming that Romney would never agree to eliminate certain loopholes designed to benefit wealthy investors.


The TPC analysis simply posits that Romney would impose a $2,000 tax increase on the middle class to make up for the shortfall the TPC predicts in tax revenues, even though Romney has never said that he would do anything of the kind.


The TPC’s conclusion is more of a work of imagination than analysis, and has no real basis in what Romney has actually proposed. Nevertheless, the liberal media has accepted it uncritically as a statement of fact rather than political conjecture masquerading as fact-based analysis. Now the Obama campaign is using those media reports as evidence that the biased conclusions of the TPC analysis are true.




The desperate strategy behind this misleading approach is clear. Once the Obama campaign realized that the president’s record during his first term in office is indefensible, and he has no positive vision to offer the country to justify a second term, the only possible rationale for his re-election is to make Romney look even worse. Furthermore, if Romney’s record and positions do not justify such a conclusion, then it is the Obama campaign’s mission to distort and fabricate Romney’s record and make even the most outrageous of the charges against him seem believable.


Furthermore, the Obama campaign does not seem to believe that there is any down side to making claims that, under close scrutiny, turn out to be false. In fact, their attitude is that the more outrageous the claim the better, because then the media will talk about it, giving it free publicity. Furthermore, unless the most outrageous lies are shot down quickly, the media coverage will give them a life of their own and turn them into legendary truths that some people choose to believe despite the evidence to the contrary, such as the myth that alligators live in the New York City sewer system.




Obama’s argument for his proposal to raise taxes only on the wealthy because the current tax system is unfair to those in the lower and middle income brackets is also demonstrably false.


A recent study by the Tax Foundation based upon Congressional Budget Office data, states that “the top 20 percent of households [by income] pay 94 percent of federal income taxes. The bottom 40 percent have a negative income tax rate, and the middle [segment] pays close to zero.”


These cold facts refute Obama’s claim that the rich are undertaxed. In fact, more than one-third of Americans pay no income tax at all, above and beyond their Social Security and Medicare payroll deductions. Most of the people in that income category are actually receiving government payments in the form of refundable tax credits, rather than paying what Obama likes to call their “fair share” of the cost of government.


While one might argue that the economic assumptions underlying Romney’s tax and budget proposals are too optimistic, at least they are in line with historical experience, and lead the US economy toward the goals accelerated growth and reduced deficits. By contrast, Obama and the Democrats do not have a coherent tax and spending plan to stimulate growth and move toward a balanced budget. That is why the Democrat-controlled Senate has been unwilling to vote on any federal budget proposal for the past 3 years.


All that the Obama campaign and the Democrats can do is criticize what Romney and Ryan are proposing, and if the realities of what the Republicans have actually proposed do not fit those criticisms, the Democrats will not hesitate to alter their version of those proposals accordingly.



My Take on the News

  Hostility in the Court This week’s top story, without a doubt, was the Supreme Court hearing this Sunday that dealt with the draft of

Read More »


Subscribe to stay updated