Rahm Emanuel thinks economic perceptions in 5 states, not specified but perhaps including Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin, will determine the election results. Guess those in other states may as well state home, and those with other issues need to limit themselves to the economy. He also noted that public employee collective bargaining needs to back off of Pensions (read Fire/Police retire at age 50 at 100% of final pay with cost of living increases forever – other public employee pensions are quite normal but get no good PR) – but also said Wisconsin was not about collective bargaining but was about voters rejecting using a recall election for a public policy dispute.
But if economic perception is the only game, one would think the media would see the importance of telling a campaign spokesperson while on air that they are lying when they say the lie, rather than waiting for “fact check” print columns, that are never read, to point out the lie.
A basic fact of stimulus investing results for the DOE’s loans to solar, wind and bio-energy projects is a the default rate less than 3.6 percent (per review led by former Treasury official Herb Allison), less than a third of what the White House and Congress anticipated before the stimulus law was passed. A Romney ad talks of more than $16 billion going to donors to Obama and other Democrats, despite the correct number being $10 billion and billions going to those who donate to the GOP, saying donors to friends and family of Obama improperly got the money based on a investigator’s presentation to Congress where the investigator (Gregory Friedman on 3/17) did not say he had found such activity, saying only that his duties included looking for such activity.
When Romney focuses on solar-panel maker Solyndra ($535 million in taxpayer loan guarantees and now bankrupt) we do not hear media push back with a comment about Massachusetts governor Romney on Jan. 22, 2003, standing in front of Konarka, a developer of thin film solar panels, and handing out $9 million from a State “green energy fund” to that renewable energy firm that in May 2012 filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and liquidation of its assets, or his comment 2 years later that “clean energy” was “an economic engine very much like biotech” that could spur “explosive growth” in Massachusetts. When Romney implies he is against production tax credits for wind and solar. saying government should get out of the business of picking winners and losers, no media person asks him if he is calling for the end of oil and gas and coal subsidies. When Romney blasts First Solar (which got federal loan guarantees of more than $3 billion for three major solar projects which were and are successful and have been sold off to other companies) for its layoffs, no media person points out that more than 90% those layoffs were overseas and all were unrelated to the loan guaranteed projects. When Romney refers to “145,000 more government workers,”. the media does not push back and note that this refers to Federal Workers only and ignores the massive layoffs of state workers, mainly teachers and police and firemen. When Romney says he grew jobs in Massachusetts, the media does not push back and note that he did not have positive job growth until his 36th month, albeit Obama has yet to reach positive job growth (but that of course is because of the massive, 700,000 a month, job losses when he took office), and the media does not note that the Massachusetts job growth under Romney was almost all in government jobs.
Of course Obama is now selling himself as more Tea Party conservative than Romney, saying that the spending increases under the Obama years are the lowest since the days of Dwight Eisenhower based on a Rex Nutting column/chart for MarketWatch that uses some CBO numbers but does not use any CBO analysis, with the column’s assertions picked up by Eugene Robinson of The Washington Post, and Ezra Klein of The Washington Post, with neither noting end points matter, future spending cuts are being fought, and the allocation of the budget year spending that began 10/1/2008 in large part to Bush, while perhaps fair, is what makes the math work (but then fact checker PolitiFact originally thought the assertion was mostly true – but now rates the assertion as “Half True”, while noting Romney’s “Obama started a spending ‘inferno’ ” claim was lacking in truth).
So there is a battle to forge economic perceptions in 5 states, with lies on all sides, and no “timely – on air” push back by our media that would allow those economic perceptions to be at least based on truth.
All the above, with neither candidate stating the specifics of what they would do over the next four years (will they cut Social Security, cut Medicare, put in Federal price controls on medical services, continue the Clinton tax rates, give details on how a “reformed tax code” that makes deferred corporate tax on overseas earnings into tax free earnings and lowers the top rate from the Clinton 39.6% results in more corporate tax and more tax from the rich), leaves a few folks wondering why bother to vote.