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: yogiman on 10/15/12 at 9:51

Was that f@rt so loud you had to double flush your commode, bfra (bad f@rt repeating aloud)?

By: bfra on 10/15/12 at 9:54

Only the dumb think Churches are not in it for the profit!

By: bfra on 10/15/12 at 9:55

(double flush again)

By: Mike Burch on 10/15/12 at 10:26


I agree. As Mark Twain said, he discovered that he was being "saved" only for economic purposes, and he was embarrassed to have been so easily snookered. He then spent a lot of his free time writing criticism of the Bible, pointing out that its "god" acted like the Devil most of the time, and that it was unfair to give Adam and Eve the knowledge of good and evil only after it was too late to do them any good, etc.

But the wonderful thing about having faith is that facts and reason are unnecessary and only get in the way. We can see this in the GOP, which denies facts and science. Thus a one-celled fetus is fully human, with mind, character and soul, not the first step in a potential human being. Thus, even though sea levels are rising, it's not because of global warming because then it would be necessary to spend money to protect the environment. Thus, our wars in the Middle East are entirely the fault of Islam, rather than US and Israeli injustices over the last half century.

The more people depend on faith, rather than facts and reason, the more we risk destroying ourselves and the planet, through sheer stupidity.

By: Loner on 10/15/12 at 10:43


The NCP is infested with racist trolls.....the place is starting to SUCK, big time. The cool posters have largely been driven off by the troll droppings....recognizing the troll's presence, of course just encourages them to remain...I'm just about ready to call it quits with the NCP...anyone else feeling that way?

By: bfra on 10/15/12 at 10:47

Loner - I keep thinking after the election it will get better, but who knows. The trolls have no idea with truth & accountability are.

By: bfra on 10/15/12 at 10:51

Mike - It is beyond my comprehension how anyone could side with the GOP or Teapublicans, especially the ones as Romney refers to as the lower 47% moochers.

By: yogiman on 10/15/12 at 11:14


You apparently didn't hear what Romney said about the 47%s. And I'm still trying to figure out why you all are so willing to accept someone for that office that when you don't know who in the hell they are. Is that intelligence or ignorance?

You have made one negative comment after another about Romney but none of you have made one comment, good or bad, about Barack Obama. Why, don't you know who he is? Can't you find any information about him? Or just don't care who he is?

And, yeah, after the game is over I'll give you your toy back.

By: bfra on 10/15/12 at 11:15

(triple flush)

By: yogiman on 10/15/12 at 11:29

Sorry, Loner, You are the racist, not I. You can only back Obama because of his race (which makes you a racist) because you have no idea who he is.

And tell me; what is a troll? Is that someone who posts on this site that you and your "buddies" don't agree with and think they should "leave the room"?

Or are y'all trolls to us who want a legitimate President in office? There's two sides to every argument, Loner. You won't win them all.

You and your fellow posters have made all kinds of comments to and about me from the day I learned about the NCP. I've offered proof galore about my side of the argument but none of you have offered a blink in the dark on your side of the argument. Why not? Don't you have any?

I'd be happy to take any phase of the argument you can give, but I will not accept your "becayse I think so".

If you're so sure of your argument, why are you stumbling so much?

By: yogiman on 10/15/12 at 11:34

Boo boo, becayse s/h/b because.

By: bfra on 10/15/12 at 12:19


By: Loner on 10/15/12 at 5:42


By: Mike Burch on 10/15/12 at 6:33


We know a lot more about Barack Obama than his birth certificate can tell us, because he's been president for four years. We know, in particular, that unlike Bishop Romney, President Obama cares about the 47% of Americans who are struggling the most economically. To Bishop Romney, 150 million Americans only think they are entitled to food, housing and healthcare, which suggest that he thinks they are not entitled to live.

As Joe Biden suggested, we should take Bishop Romney at his word. I would rather vote for an intelligent Kenyan or an empathetic ET, than a rich white prick who thinks his s*** doesn't stink, and who is willing to sell 150 million Americans down the rivers so that the 1% can get even richer.

A birth certificate tells us nothing about a man, only his origins. Right now we have two very different men running for president, and one seems to be a heartless android. Who cares where they were born, when one man isn't even qualified to be dogcatcher after when he did to his own dog?

By: Mike Burch on 10/15/12 at 6:46


I agree. Who are the tea party's stars?

Sarah "Wailin'" Palin
Michelle "Pray away the gay" Bachmann
Rick "Insane" Santorum

No wonder the Republican party now resembles the Taliban.

By: budlight on 10/15/12 at 7:19

Paradoxical Quote of The Day From Ben Stein:
"Fathom the hypocrisy of a government that requires every citizen
to prove they are insured... but not everyone must prove they are a citizen."
Now add this, "Many of those who refuse, or are unable, to prove they are citizens will receive free insurance paid for by those who are forced to buy insurance because they are citizens."
Think about it when you vote in November !

Mr. Burch, if Mitt Romney converted to become a Catholic like Biden, would you like him then? Romney gives over 15% of his income to charity. Biden is reporting 5%. Duh.

If Mitt gave Monica Lewenski a job and then she gave him a blow job, would you like him better?

Look, I don't want illegals getting benefits from my tax dollars. Plain and Simple. If they will break a fundamental law, ie, the Immigration law, then they will break any and every other law there is.

AND the Taliban just shot a 14 year old child who wanted an education. That is not anything close to being a Republican (and don't spew that venom about the kid in Florida who was shot; not the same thing.) And Burch, me thinks you doth protest too much. Don't tell me you've never done anything cruel or unkind. If you do, I'll be sure to get you appointed to the right hand of God.