In the latest episode of Aaron Sorkin’s ‘The Newsroom’ on HBO, presenter Will McAvoy continues his noble fight to dispel Right wing myths and civilize discourse in America. We learn in the episode that McAvoy is a registered Republican, but is so distressed by the grotesque distortions coming out of the GOP that he has no choice but to spend his programming time hammering away at the misinformation. In one segment, McAvoy skewers Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck and the NRA for perpetuating the myth that President Obama is trying to take Americas guns away, laying out the facts and proving that Obama is, in his words, the best friend the NRA ever had. McAvoy points out that the lies coming out of the GOP propaganda machine are cynically designed to boost political donations and support from the misinformed base. Every time Sarah Palin claims Barack Obama wants to take away Americas guns, Republican donations go up and Obama’s popularity decreases despite Obama passing some of the most pro gun legislation in history.
Taking his cues from the fictional (but entirely accurate) portrayal of his party, Mitt Romney is continuing to make stuff up in order to get elected. This week, Romney will push the lie that although he is proposing large tax cuts that would disproportionately benefit the ultra wealthy, he would offset those cuts by broadening the tax base and eliminating deductions and loopholes. Paul Krugman debunks this pretty quickly:
I think it’s obvious that the base-broadening stuff is just a smokescreen, that he has no intention of doing anything along those lines. Still, it’s worth asking whether such a thing is feasible. And the Tax Policy Center has an answer (pdf): No way.
Of course, they can’t just put it that way. But they show two things. First, it would require extreme, implausible cuts in tax preferences to make up for the revenue losses from the Romney plan (which they refer to as “current policy with reduced rates”). Second, even if you assume that such cuts somehow become possible, anything remotely plausible even given that assumption ends up raising taxes on the middle class while cutting taxes on the very rich.
In a better world, Romney’s tax claims would be laughed out of the debate.
Sadly, the Republican base doesn’t care too much about reality – they react to soundbytes and catch phrases, and as long as they have a bogeyman to hate (the evil Barack Obama) they’re happy with whatever nonsense their candidate decides to come up with. It’s hard to say who is to blame here – the GOP for pumping out the disinformation, or the base for believing it. Either way, there needs to be a substantial counter attack to this nonsense, starting at the very least with the facts.
And the facts are pretty clear: Mitt Romney’s numbers don’t add up, so he’s either stupid or lying.
My take? I don’t think Romney is stupid….
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.