Burch: Smoke and mirrors

Friday, October 12, 2012 at 4:03pm
By Michael R. Burch

When David Copperfield made the Statue of Liberty “disappear,” that was an impressive stunt, but of course it was an illusion. Did Mitt Romney perhaps win the American presidency with a similar illusion during the first presidential debate, when he managed to make $7 trillion vanish before our eyes?

While others have accused President Obama of blowing the debate, I think he was caught off balance by Romney’s sleight of hand. Chris Kowal, a Purdue University professor who has studied Obama’s and Romney’s facial expressions since 2007, said that the emotions Obama expressed were positive, on the whole, but that his face registered frustration. And that’s completely understandable, considering Romney’s vanishing act.

It’s hard to debate wild myths rationally, so I can certainly sympathize with Obama’s frustration. At this juncture in the race, the main election issues are jobs and the economy. The candidates have very different ideas about how to create jobs and stimulate the economy. Obama was prepared to debate the most obvious difference, only to see Romney make it vanish — Presto! Change-o! — with smoke and mirrors.

Obama and the Democrats favor a balanced approach: ending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, some much-needed belt-tightening that isn’t so extreme it shreds the safety nets of the elderly, sick and poor (which means cuts in defense spending), and investments in things that will allow future growth, such as education and green energy.

Romney and the Romulans have favored supply side economics — also called “trickle down” and “voodoo” economics — ever since the presidential campaigns began in earnest. According to Romney Hood and his partner in crime Lyin’ Ryan, reversing tax cuts for the super-rich is not only verboten, but it is imperative to cut their taxes even more. Ryan’s “rescue plan for the super-rich” would virtually free them from all federal income taxes, by exempting the main sources of their income: capital gains, interest and dividends.

As everyone from Bill Clinton, to Nobel-winning economist Paul Krugman, to ultra-conservative Republicans have pointed out, it is impossible to cut $5 trillion in tax revenues, increase defense spending by $2 trillion, and not end up $7 trillion deeper in debt, unless some combination of new revenues and spending cuts can balance the equation. But to my knowledge not a single expert on either side, or in the middle, has agreed that $7 trillion can be found without raising taxes for middle income Americans and/or letting the elderly, sick and poor experience a world of hurt.

Romney’s magic act discounts basic math and he refuses to discuss where $7 trillion can realistically be cut, other than to suggest giving Big Bird the boot, which would reduce the federal budget by a whopping one one-hundredth of one percent.

But hold on, because it gets worse. I am about to reveal the depth of the sordid deception involved. Romney has promised repeatedly that he will not raise taxes for middle income Americans. But when George Stephanopoulos asked him recently if by “middle income” he meant people who make $100,000 per year (which is still double the median American family income), Romney replied, “No, middle income is $200,000 to $250,000 and less.”

If we peer deep enough into the illusion, it becomes clear that Romney has promised to cut taxes only for American families making $200,000 or more per year. He has made no promises to anyone at lower income levels. He can raise their taxes because they are not really “middle income.” And who can guess what he intends for the elderly, sick and poor? He is on record as saying that it is “immoral” to have trillion-dollar deficits and to borrow money from China. As the CEO of Bain Capital, he was perfectly content to fire American workers, liquidate entire companies, rake in profits for himself and his rich cronies, and let everyone he deemed expendable either swim with the sharks, or sink to the bottom.

Perhaps Romney intends to perform the same sort of LBO “magic” on the struggling American public that he once performed on struggling American companies. An LBO is a nifty way of transferring money from a sinking ship to its richest passengers, just before they skedaddle for the lifeboats. President Obama is trying to save the ship of state and all the passengers, so he has my vote.

Michael R. Burch is a Nashville-based editor and publisher of Holocaust poetry and other “things literary” at www.thehypertexts.com.

Filed under: City Voices
Tagged: Michael Burch

116 Comments on this post:

By: Rasputin72 on 10/14/12 at 11:12

You will not see me in November NEMO. My 13 year old grandson who lives in Atlanta was tolf told by daughter, "Your grandfather has turned his attention from aggravating a group of weird people on the internet to actually having the audacity of inviting several of them to lunch at the club".

My grandson sent me an E-mail. "Papa,do you remember your telling me during some difficulties I was going through. "If you play with s##t you will get s##t on your hands"

I will take my own advice.

By: bfra on 10/14/12 at 11:41

Raspy, that doesn't surprise me! I could never see Nemo & Blanket having dinner under a bridge somewhere. You really should keep notes, so you can keep your outlandish lies straight.

By: yogiman on 10/14/12 at 12:00

It would be great if you knew what a lie was, bfra, but you're so used to telling them you don't know if you're telling the truth or not.

By: yogiman on 10/14/12 at 12:04

Well, here you go again, dumba$$. You've been accusing Rasputin72 of living in a ghetto or under a bridge and now you're calling him a liar for saying he did.

How about bringing your feeble mind up at least one step below par.

By: yogiman on 10/14/12 at 12:22

Two dumb questions for you Obama fans: 1. What did he mean in 2007 when he made the remark; "The day I'm inaugurated the Muslim world will look at America differently"? How could he have been so sure he was going to be elected in 2007? Confidence I can understand. Absolute knowledge, I can't.

2. It has been found Obama has worn the band on his wedding finger since 1981 when he was 20 years old. He used the ring as his wedding band. Has any of you noticed what the wording is on that band? It has been interpreted by Muslim experts to say; "There is no God except Allah".

Obama has acknowledged being raised in Muslim families. He has also acknowledged being raised in a communist family with a communist tutor and he referred himself as being a Muslim in an interview on TV.

So, is he, or isn't he, what he has said he is?

By: Rasputin72 on 10/14/12 at 12:33

Yogi.......Keep in mind that one cannot have dialog with Nemo or Bfra. They are charter members of the "Simple Siix"

By: Ask01 on 10/14/12 at 12:58

Someone posed two dumb questions, their adjective, not mine.

Not being psychic, although frequently typified as psychotic, I cannot present accurate answers. I will however propose a few ideas.

I can suppose the idea was the Muslim world would not regard as a purely WASP dominated nation, and perhaps tolerance of people of color was real, and not so much eyewash.

How many times have candidates spoken in terms of, "When I am elected," not "if?" I suspect the comment stems from an outward show of confidence rather than some absolute certainty.

A ring which says, according to unnamed Muslim, (not Arabic) experts, "There is no God but Allah," proving what? During the first Gulf War I carried a St Christophers medal, a Star of David, and Muslim prayer beads. What does that say to anyone, not that I actually care?

I was raised a Southern Baptist in a family with a wide assortment of right wing Republicans, liberal Democrats, some certified, for the deep south, hippies, and a few I suspected of keeping hooded white robes in the closet. Family get togthers were lively if nothing else.

I have no direct knowledge of the interview where President Obama identified himself as a Muslim, or anything else for that matter, so can't speak directly to that. I will opine (of course) the little snippet could have been picked and presented out of context to support someone else's agenda, not that any candidate or their supporter would resort to such sneaky tactics.

Sort of off topic, with Affordable Healthcare assured with the president's reelection, the process for some to receive their medications to control their "episodes" should be more streamlined.

By: Ask01 on 10/14/12 at 1:00

I know, by the way, that was actually more than two questions.

However, if the original poster cannot keep count, why should I bother?

By: Captain Nemo on 10/14/12 at 1:09

When face with reality Rasputin is like yogi, a liar and a coward. It has to do with the genetic make up of trolls…know backbone. They hide behind their keyboards and talk big.

That is alright Rasputin old boy; we may come face to face in the Village soon.

By: bfra on 10/14/12 at 1:15

Nemo - Raspy can't even remember what the grandchildren (if he even has any) call him. It's something different everytime. When he is corresponding with yogi, at least they are on the same level, very low.

By: Rasputin72 on 10/14/12 at 1:31

NEMO..........Liars and cowards dominate your vocabulary and your life.

You should either improve your vocabulary and/or discontinue your association with liars and cowards.

By: yogiman on 10/14/12 at 1:32


You and others on this site believe if you didn't hear it, or didn't see it, it didn't happen. My comments have been things I saw and heard. Take it or leave it.

As I've noted before, I'm no expert on this computer, but I'm sure you who are can find what I've posted to verify it or call me a liar better.

I'm still lost that a veteran can so readily accept someone as your CIC who won't prove he is in that office. Unless the oath you took when you went in service was different than the one I took in 1948, you are still subject to being called back in to protect our nation. Would you follow Col. Lakin in asking for proof of eligibility or would you just take his word for it and go back in service.

How about giving me a break, Ask01. If you can believe Obama, why can't you believe me? Hell, he's been caught in so many lies it's pathetic.

And may I add, if Obama usurps the office again, one of first goals will be gun control. And as a veteran I'm sure you've been to nations whose citizens were under gun control and government control.

It isn't just Obama, Ask01. His difference is, he's in that office illegally. If you would look back when GHW Bush was in office, he made that comment about a One World Government. That has been in line with everyone in office since then and it probably started when the UN was created back under Harry Truman. I don't remember hearing it until Bush said it.

Will Romney keep us as the USA? I don't know, but you've actually never known what anyone would do until they went in office.

Did you know Obama was going to put us so much deeper in debt? Would you have voted for him if you did?

By: Captain Nemo on 10/14/12 at 1:36


Jr. had problems as you may remember me telling you, about keeping his lies straight. It seems that he has not learned a thing over the years as a con-man. I bet he is living with some lonely old widow woman and sucking her dry. He never could make a honest living when he was young and I suppose he still does.

By: Captain Nemo on 10/14/12 at 1:37


By: Rasputin72 on 10/14/12 at 1:47

NEMO...,....Speaking of lies, you of ALL people know that "RAT" was Jr Collyer and sometime in his mid-thirties changed his name to Nemovitz.

As far as running into you in the Village my guess is that you do not have the resoirces for s round trip ticket to New York.

By: bfra on 10/14/12 at 1:50

Nemo - At least is cause for a good laugh!

By: Captain Nemo on 10/14/12 at 1:59

Yes it is bfra.


That is Hillsboro Village.

By: bfra on 10/14/12 at 2:03

Nemo - What is "resoirces" Raspy is commenting about? As far as I know, you can't get an airline ticket or anything else with "resoires". More laughter!

By: Captain Nemo on 10/14/12 at 2:03

That is funny, Rasputin old boy. You said that you did not know would Jr. Collier was and now you do. It is a small world old boy, but not small enough for you to hide.

By: Captain Nemo on 10/14/12 at 2:07

You got me, bfra. LOL

He is just another troll. Has no life other than lying and stealing from others.

By: yogiman on 10/14/12 at 2:18


Are you so ignorant it's fun to criticize someone's misspelling of a word but it's OK for you to make as many as you do? And you ain't making just a few, fella.

Take your 3:03 post: What did you mean when you posted, "You said that you did not know would Jr. Collier was and now you do."

You give good laughs every time you write a sentence. That is, unless you're copying someone.

By: Captain Nemo on 10/14/12 at 2:19


By: yogiman on 10/14/12 at 2:24

Let me add you to that ticket, bfra (bad f@rts repeated again). You don't make as many spelling errors as your buddy dumba$$, but you make them, also, like all of us.

By: Captain Nemo on 10/14/12 at 2:24


By: bfra on 10/14/12 at 2:26

(flush with drano)

By: Captain Nemo on 10/14/12 at 2:38

LOL bfra

By: Rasputin72 on 10/14/12 at 2:38

Nemo........The first time I ever heard the name Jr Collyer was from you.

You kbow that Captsin Neno is jr Collyet. aka Nenovitz amd RAT

My helper boy on the paper route did the exploration and exposed you as the person that you did not want to be

The "simple six" will forgive you and so will I. Some people do not warrant holding a grudge.

You no longer exist. In fact you probably never should have existed.

Farewell and good riddance for both of us. You can be whomever you want to be.

By: Captain Nemo on 10/14/12 at 2:43

You sure can spell when you get upset Rasputin old boy. You don’t make much sense either, because I never had a paper route, Jr.

By: Captain Nemo on 10/14/12 at 2:44

shb can't

By: Captain Nemo on 10/14/12 at 2:47

Just because you are leaving this site, (I assume that is what you mean) does not stop the fact that we won’t meet someday Jr.

By: bfra on 10/14/12 at 2:57

Raspy gets testy when he is about to be exposed! Run Raspy Run.

By: Captain Nemo on 10/14/12 at 3:00

I think he was afraid that I was about to ruin his latest scam. It doesn’t matter he will do that himself.

By: bfra on 10/14/12 at 3:05

He couldn"t even make his stories sound real enough for amusement, due to his own contradictions.

By: Captain Nemo on 10/14/12 at 3:12


I am some what perplex to his last post, was his rambling do to rage or nerves of his identity being exposed?

I figure he will be back at some point, because he loves the head games.

By: bfra on 10/14/12 at 3:44

Nemo - Since you can't believe anything he says, it would be hard to even guess whether he will be back or not. However, it wouldn't be any loss. Trolls are easy to come by.

By: Rasputin72 on 10/14/12 at 3:49

TOUCHE" Cell phone typing was and is not something I should attempt.

I certainly agree that I should never have forgotten Proverbs 29:9

"If a wise man has an argument with a fool,the fool only rages and laughs,and there is no quiet.

There are at least six fools on this site. I will not forget that in the future.

Remember this my "fools" Good Health is our best friend, Intelligence is our compass and the Dollar and its counterpart shall reign over the earth until the end of time.

I truly hope that you "fools" are blessed with "Good Health"

By: yogiman on 10/14/12 at 3:57

They may be in good health physically, Rasputin72, but mentally? I'm not too sure. I'd have to question that.

By: Captain Nemo on 10/14/12 at 4:08

Let his temper cool off and he comes back with a song and dance routine. Like I said Jr., loves his head games. Jr. you are six fools in one.

He even makes the same excuses as yogi. Notice it is always something someone else fault or that some new finagle thing he is not use to, that cause him to make mistakes. Like I said, it is a genetic miss-wire in the trolls brains.

He did say; "Farewell and good riddance for both of us. You can be whomever you want to be."

But I never believed that a troll would keep its word on anything.

I will see you in the Village at some point Jr.

By: Captain Nemo on 10/14/12 at 4:09


By: Captain Nemo on 10/14/12 at 4:11

I'm calling it a day. Good night people. You too Rasputin.

By: budlight on 10/15/12 at 7:37

pswindle on 10/13/12 at 5:27
Mitt, only gives money to the Morman Church. That is another reason why he will not show his income taxes. That cult only helps their church and its people if the people will do exactly what they tell them to do. Mitt told a woman who had a baby our of wedlock to give her baby away or she will be out the the church. What a total b$$$$$. She kept the baby.

What exactly is YOUR definition of a cult? Last I heard, Charles Manson had a cult.

And all churches have their foundational rules. When I lived with my "boy friend" we went to a baptist church. When we wanted to join, they said that we could not join because we were living in sin. The truth is: We knew that and we did not hold it against the minister, the church body or God for telling us No. Babies out of wedlock, living together without benefit of marriage, and many other social issues are just what "human" beings do. If a church has a rule against it, then the person can join another church.

Don't judge Mitt Romney unless you are perfect. You know: Let him (or her) without sin cast the first stone!

By: pswindle on 10/15/12 at 8:41

All you have to do is read and research Mit and the material is our there. He did not have any friends in his private schools or anywhere. He was and is a jerk. He is also an angry man if you try and find out about his dirty dealings.

By: Mike Burch on 10/15/12 at 8:52


You made a good point. Many of Bishop Romney's former classmates have come forward to tell about his acts of bullying and intimidation. One of them compared him to the Lord of the Flies. But I haven't heard any of his former classmates vigorously defending him. That seems strange, unless he really was a bully.

By: Mike Burch on 10/15/12 at 8:59


I went to a Baptist church that had a policy that people "living" in sin could not be members. However, the church did teach that salvation is between an individual and God. So not being able to go to a particular church and worship service was not a sentence to hell and eternal damnation.

This is not true for the Mormon church, which teaches that temple sacraments are required for salvation. Thus, when Bishop Romney and men like him threaten Mormons with excommunication, they are threatening them with hell.

So, in effect, Bishop Romney told members of his flock, "If you don't do as I and the church command, you will go to hell when you die." That gives the church tremendous power and explains why so many Mormons who leave the church complain about it being a cult.

As much as I dislike my church's policies, when I left there were not threats and no one suggested that I would go to hell for leaving. So there is a considerable difference.

By: Mike Burch on 10/15/12 at 9:04


Bishop Romney says that some Americans (the rich ones) are exceptional and that 47% (roughly 150 million people) are lazy freeloaders.

He fails to understand how the current tax system is wildly tilted to favor the rich, many of whom do little or no work and live off "investment" income: capital gains, interest and dividends. The Ryan budget plan would exempt the richest Americans from virtually ALL federal income taxes, turning them into the ultimate moochers.

If you can't see why this would destroy the middle class, you seem to have blinders on. If the rich pay even less in taxes, the middle class will have to pay more, or the elderly, sick and poor will be dying in the streets. It's simple math, and the fact that Bishop Romney and Lyin' Ryan ignore the real math proves that they are either heartless, or brainless, or both.

By: yogiman on 10/15/12 at 9:25

Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, pswindle. Who should give a damn what kind of man Romney is when all evidence shows he could put this nation back on its feet financially?

Tell me, did you know what kind of man Obama was when you so readily accepted him for that office in 2008? Didn't you want to know if he was capable to run the office? Didn't you want to know if he was legally eligible for that office? Didn't think so. You accuse me of being a racist (which I'm not), but the only reason you can give for voting for him is because he was black because you didn't know, and still don't know, who in the hell he was, or is. That, sir/ma'am, is acting as a racist.

Obama has shown he can only put us deeper into debt because he has no business sense.

You feel capable of "telling" so much about Romney in a negative fashion, but you can't even say one word, negative, or positive, about Obama. Why? Because you don't know any because you don't know the man. He's pretty damn secretive, isn't he?

I'll repeat what I've posted before, pswindle. With Obama being in that office illegally, he is really the least of our worries. Many members of Congress had to know he wasn't legally eligible for that office but they allowed him to usurp it. That is our biggest worry. That tells me the communist party has a deep foot in our congress.

We have only 23 days before the sh!t hits the fan. If the people want to keep an illegal man in office to bankrupt us and take the nation over, they've got him. And Obama will pull any fashion he can think of the usurp the office again.

Take it or leave it, pswindle, Barry Soetoro's aka Barack Obama's aim is to take control over the USA. Don't be surprised if he finds a reason and declares a state of emergency to put martial law in effect. My question on that issue is: Will Congress allow him to do it?

Unless you're "in the program" with him, I'm afraid you don't know the plot he's been pulling off for the past 4 years.

Do you have any idea how many "in house" army men he has now? I'm afraid you're going to find out pretty damn soon... and I hope I'm wrong.

And I'll make one more argument: Prove Barack Obama is an American citizen.

By: bfra on 10/15/12 at 9:27

(double flush)

By: yogiman on 10/15/12 at 9:33


Let me make a point; you commented about Romney's classmates making comments about his bullying in their childhood years. Do you never know of any childhood bullies? Did they go throughout their adult lives as bullies? They were rare.

Bullies usually stop bullying when a "healthy" young boy beats the living hell out of them. The quickly understand they aren't the best fighter on that playground.

So what is your consideration that Romney is still a bully? Who is he beating up? I hope the hell its that usurping "bully" in our Oval Office.

By: bfra on 10/15/12 at 9:41

(double flush) Takes a double flush to get rid of all the s**t!

By: yogiman on 10/15/12 at 9:48


Churches are operated in a fashion like a business, only they aren't in their "business" for a profit. And like businesses, they have their rules and regulations. You go by them, or you're fired.

Picking you church is like picking you grocery store or pharmacy. I've known people go to a church because of the preacher. Going to church is like anything else in your life. You pick the one you prefer