With the popularity of a couple of renegade presidential candidates, there is a consensus that an angry base is looking for a different path forward. I have asserted for several years now, that over half of the Republican Party voters have been voting against their economic interests and have no idea they are doing so. There is now an angry base of party members who feel they have been lied to.
Yet, what this angry base does not realize is they have been lied to by the leaders of their movement, as well. And, they still are being misled by candidates and pundits who want to speak to their insecurities. Here are a few of these lies:
- The economy is not doing well. Actually, it is and has been doing pretty well for some time, with over 70 consecutive months of job growth and only 5% unemployment. Of course, there is room for improvement, but it is percolating along at a nice clip and 2016 is expected to be even better.
- Climate change is a hoax or is not really influenced by humans. The data is pretty overwhelming that it is real and man-influenced and a well paid public relations campaign has been used by the fossil fuel industry to fuel the hoax and now non-man-influenced agenda. 97% of scientists and 195 countries are a lot to argue with.
- The renewable energy industry is still in its infancy, is more costly and will cost jobs. Actually the renewable energy industry is doing quite well and jobs are growing at a double-digit rate, as production costs are close to on par with fossil fuel energy. And, when other costs are factored in, renewable energy is actually less.
- A minimum wage increase will cost jobs. True, but it masks the whole impact, as studies have shown the economic benefit exceeds small job losses and about 30 states and some cities have raised the minimum wage above the Federal minimum, including GOP led states. They must believe it is a good thing for workers and their economy.
- Welfare benefits are driving the deficit. Actually the biggest budget items are defense spending and Social Security and Medicare to which we all contribute. If we want to measurably cut the budget, these are the places we need to look. I would do deeper cuts on defense, as we are building things our military does not need. Also, we need to be mindful of tax plans that materially increase the deficit as put forth by some leading GOP candidates.
- All immigration is bad. Immigration actually helps the economy through more purchasing power and attracting talent. Businesses are crying out on attracting and retaining talented foreigners. Plus, if we don’t constructively address illegal immigration as proposed by our President, then our economy would be impacted, especially in industries that exploit illegal immigrants to lower cost. Plus, families would be harmed.
- We are in grave danger as a country. We must be vigilant against terrorism, but we should not run scared and we should not give up our ideals and freedoms. If we do so, then the terrorists have already won. We must be compassionate and do our share of bringing in refugees. Right now, we appear small by some of our narrow-mindedness.
- The President is some variation of a non-citizen by birth, Muslim, Nazi or Anti-Christ. If you believe this malarkey, then this post has no chance of convincing you otherwise. Yet, you may want to ask candidates why they perpetuate this propaganda. And, it is more than OK if he were a Muslim.
Our country is doing much better than has been portrayed by some candidates. Yes, we have problems around increasing poverty, declining middle class and growing racial tensions that we need to address, but we need to collectively solve these issues. We do not solve them by blaming others for the problems. They are our problems to solve as we allowed them to be created over time. We also don’t solve real problems by ignoring them or saying they do not exist. Our planet and country can ill-afford to have a President turn his or her blind eye to the world on our looming climate change and global water crisis. The next ten years are critical.
We need more honest and reasonable debate on our issues. We also need reasonably minded folks to discuss these issues. Name calling and demonizing does not constitute reasonable debate. Let’s start by demanding civility from each other, but especially our candidates. It is more than OK to disagree, but let’s use real information and not campaign rhetoric, which can be over-embellished.