|BIG BUCKS, BRAINWASHING AND BULL****
The American definition of brainwashing tends to involve torture, and although Americans may view
being saturation bombed by generally unwelcome election messages as torture, the British definition of
brainwash seems to apply better to campaign ads.
Brainwash: to make someone believe something by repeatedly telling them that it is true and preventing
any other information from reaching them. (http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/british/brainwash).
But, you say, I am constantly being bombarded with everyone's campaign ad, regrettably, no one is hiding
anything from me. (Wrong! As unlikely as it may seem, under all that noise, the best candidate is being
hidden! Search Buddy Roemer!) Actually, brainwashing seems to work, because the candidate who
shouts loudest and longest usually wins.
Conventional wisdom says that no politician can win an election without not just big bucks, but huge
bucks. Huge bucks are necessary to outshout the opponent's campaign ads, and the person with the
most 30 second spots usually wins. Money decides elections.
For an example, take the attack ads of the Florida Republican Primary.
"In the most negative primary season ever, Mitt Romney is outspending Newt Gingrich 5 to 1 on attack
ads ahead of today’s primary in Florida, stopping the ex-speaker’s momentum coming off a South Carolina
win." (John Avlon, "Romney Ramps Up Attack Ads Against Gingrich to Unprecedented Levels," The Daily
Beast, Jan 31, 2012, see http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/01/31/romney-ramps-up-attack-ads-
against-gingrich-to-unprecedented-levels.html). John Avlon is a senior columnist for Newsweek and The
"A staggering 92 percent of the political ads run in Florida over the last week of the campaign have been
negative... The Romney campaign and its associated super PAC, Restore Our Future, have spent $15.3
million in Florida over the past month alone, according to Maggie Haberman of Politico. To put this in
perspective, John McCain spent $11 million on ads during his entire 2008 primary campaign. Back on this
side of Citizens United, Newt Gingrich and his billionaire-backed super PAC have spent “only” an
estimated $3 million—giving Romney a 5–1 spending advantage in the Sunshine State." (Ibid).
The results of the Florida Primary show Romney a clear winner. Romney received 46.4% of the votes,
Gingrich received 31.9%. Saturation bombing with attack ads works.
So far supporters of Barack Obama have donated about $240 million to him and the Democratic Party, you
can't expect relief from the campaign ads. (Fredreka Schouten, "Obama, DNC amass $240 million
campaign war chest," USA TODAY, 1/13/2012).
You can expect candidates to put their best arguments forward, and Barack Obama has. Here are two
statements about Obama's job record from www.barackobama.com.
"The U.S. has seen 23 consecutive months of private-sector job growth."
"The private sector added nearly 3.7 million jobs over those 23 months."
All candidates have provided big bucks and brainwashing, but so far, I have only caught the Obama
campaign smelling like a dairy barn on a new green grass day. The Obama campaign has a beautiful chart
entitled: "Private Sector Job Creation," and subtitled "2007 To The Present." (Search Obama campaign
"Private Sector Job Creation".) The chart is deliberately misleading.
For starters, Obama's chart shows only part of the picture, only private sector job growth. Actual overall
job growth as measured by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, shows that the whole economy added less
than 3 million jobs during the 23 months. The overall picture shows that the economy as a whole added
only 2,960,000 jobs during this period.
[In the 23 months of job growth, the actual number of non-farm jobs added to the economy was less than
3 million. The current report shows total jobs of 132,166,000 for Dec. 2011 (Ibid, p. 5), minus 129,438,000
for Mar 2010 (see http://www.bls.gov/news.release/archives/empsit_02042011.htm) plus the jobs added in
January 2012 minus the jobs lost in January 2012, add up to only 2,960,000 million.]
Obama's chart shows heavy job loss from Feb, 2008 to Feb, 2010 and rightly so, according to PolitiFacts:
the "Great Recession" of Dec. 2007 to June 2009 cost America 7,490,000 jobs. (Louis Jacobson, PolitiFact:
'Great Recession' was worst for job losses," Tampa Bay Times, April 6, 2011). PolitiFacts was checking the
statement "We lost more jobs in this great recession than the last four recessions combined." The
statement was found to be true. (Ibid).
When the 2,960,000 overall jobs regained are compared to the 7,490,000 jobs that PolitiFacts says were
lost, it is obvious that only a fraction (just under 40%) of the lost jobs have been regained. In fact, the
Bureau of Labor Statistics figures suggest an even worse job loss picture.
In Dec 2007, the non-farm employment in America was 138.1 million. (See http://www.bls.gov/news.
release/archives/empsit_02012008.htm.) In Mar 2010, when the recession employment loss bottomed out,
it was 129.4 million. (See http://www.bls.gov/news.release/archives/empsit_02042011.htm.) That's a
difference of 8.7 jobs. Even with the 3 million jobs added since recession employment loss bottomed out
in 2010, America is still 5.7 million jobs short. Based on these figures only about 35% of the lost jobs have
The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis has prepared an interactive chart that puts the last 5
recessions in perspective. According to their chart, the country reached a new high in employment 26
months after the start of the 1973 recession. It took 28 months to pass the old employment mark in the
1981 recession and 30 months to begin increasing employment after the start of the 1990 recession. It
took 46 months to restore the pre-recession employment level in the 2001 recession. (See http://www.
minneapolisfed.org/publications_papers/studies/recession_perspective/index.cfm). But the 2007
recession is the worst, 49 months after its start, employment is at 35% to 40% of the pre-recession level.
The Obama campaign is spinning these numbers to try to make them look good. (The emperor scarcely
has a washcloth to hide behind.)
The Obama campaign is not just spinning the numbers, it's falsifying the numbers too. I checked Obama's
chart against the Bureau Of Labor Statistics News Release, "The Employment Situation - January 2012.
During the last month on the chart, Jan 2012, the chart ignores the jobs lost and posts only the 257,000
jobs created. The report details 14,000 jobs lost in retail of clothing and clothing accessories and a loss
of 13,000 jobs in information, which were not subtracted from total. ("The Employment Situation - January
2012, Bureau Of Labor Statistics, p. 2, 3).
Because Obama's chart goes into great detail of the jobs lost month by month from Feb, 2008 to Feb,
2010, these 27,000 jobs should have been subtracted from the total. Not subtracting jobs lost falsifies the
figures. I don't have any confidence in Obama's chart, because I can't even come close to reconciling his
figures with the numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Another problem with Obama's chart, he is taking credit for jobs added by the private sector. But the
President does not control the private sector, the market does. The most a President can do to boost the
private sector is get out of the way, stop churning out regulations. Barack Obama has a green obsession
that makes it impossible for him to do that.
(I love green. When I built a house, I had solar panels for electricity, and a south facing solar wall for heat.
But I still ran the back-up generator and my car on gas. Love of green has to be blended with economic
In the midst of the worst financial crisis in American history, Barack Obama has tried to force America to
become a green country. His plans have been thwarted by the economy. The bottom line on green
development is simply this, in a strong economy the market will slowly bring about a green revolution. In
a weak economy, a green revolution is impossibly expensive.
Additionally, Barack Obama's green bias has led him to oppose jobs for Americans. A case in point is
Keystone XL pipeline. While there is great controversy about the number of jobs to be created by the
project, it can't be denied that it will revitalize communities on its path. And Canada is the best place in
the world for us to buy oil. Canada is close, and it is a democracy with respect for the civil rights of its
There are other hard truths about the Obama presidency hidden behind Obama's glossy "Private Sector
Job Creation" chart. When Obama was inaugurated on January 20, 2009, the national debt was
$10,626,877,048,913.08. (http://www.treasurydirect.gov/NP/NPGateway). As of February 15, 1212, Obama's
administration has added over $4,734,000,000,000 to Bush's National Debt.
To be fair, a lot of the National Debt increase of the last decade resulted from Clinton's acceptance of
China as a most favored trade partner and the Bush tax cuts. But as Harry Truman's desk sign said, "The
Buck Stops Here." As sitting President, Obama had a duty to get the government spending and the
National Debt under control.
Instead, Obama continued two wars and the Bush tax cuts, instituted national health care bloated by
payoffs to special interests, bailed out dissolute bankers, and blamed George Bush for the economic
problems of the country. While Obama has been throwing money at the American economic woes and
increasing the size of the American government, the idea that more and more spending will save
economies has been debunked.
In fact, data from all over the world suggests that reducing the size of governments and particularly
reducing the cost of entitlements has been found to promote economic growth. Daniel J. Mitchell, a top
expert on tax policy at the Cato Institute has written an article summarizing the findings of various
researchers who have done the studies.
"Most of the research shows that economic growth is maximized when government spending is about 20
percent of GDP." (Daniel J. Mitchell, "World Bank Report Shows Large Public Sectors Reduce Economy,"
Townhall Finance, Feb. 11, 2012).
Currently, spending by the government is over 40% of the GDP. Here is a summary of the problems
resulting from that big spending. All of these problems are now found in America. (I added an American
explanation of some of the language in brackets.
"There are good reasons to suspect that big government is bad for growth. Taxation is perhaps the most
obvious (Bergh and Henrekson 2010). Governments have to tax the private sector in order to spend, but
taxes distort the allocation of resources in the economy. Producers and consumers change their
behavior to reduce their tax payments... Enterprises may scale down production, reduce investments, or
turn down opportunities to innovate. …Over time, big governments can also create sclerotic [def. - rigid
and unresponsive] bureaucracies that crowd out private sector employment and lead to a dependency
on public transfers and public wages [entitlements]. The larger the group of people reliant on public
wages or benefits, the stronger the political demand for public programs and the higher the excess
burden of taxes. Slowing the economy, such a trend could increase the share of the population relying
on government transfers, leading to a vicious cycle (Alesina and Wacziarg 1998). Large public
administrations can also give rise to organized [special] interest groups keener on exploiting their
powers for their own benefit rather than facilitating a prosperous private sector (Olson 1982)." (Ibid,
quoting World Bank research).
Mitchell concludes: "It’s almost as if Obama (and his counterparts in places such as France and Greece)
are trying to do the greatest possible damage to the economy. In reality, of course, these politicians are
simply trying to buy votes. But they need to understand that this shallow behavior imposes very high
costs in terms of foregone growth." (Ibid).
For the three years of his presidency, Barack Obama has taken America in exactly the wrong direction. He
is still trying to throw money at the American economy with another stimulus package. He is still
increasing entitlements. (Search Obama stimulus plan.) Additionally, he has a record of bowing to special
interests and alienating our closest allies. He either hates America or he can't comprehend economics. I
am both horrified and terrified that he might be able to continue leading America astray for another four
I see Obama's reelection as distinctly possible. Obama is photogenic and an accomplished orator. He is
expected to have a billion big bucks to pay for ads brainwashing uninformed Americans into believing
that he is doing a good job. Most of the 1.8 million dead registered voters can be expected to vote for
him and he will probably get 100% of the illegals. His supporters claim that he has already reassembled
the coalition that initially elected him. That scares me. I hope the thought of four more years of being lead
in the wrong direction also scares you, right into a voter's booth in November.
Amo Paul Bishop Roden