Have you ever noticed that people believe what they want to believe? Of course you have.
Let’s focus on two key reasons in politics: media and ideology.
Opinion polls of voters in Massachusetts find that people think that Senator Scott Brown votes in the Senate roughly 50/50 Dem/Repub. In reality, when an analysis is done, as it has been by The Washington Post, it was found that Brown votes about 85% of the time with Republicans. There is nothing wrong with this and it is good news if you are a Republican. But the point is that there is such a good media machine behind Brown’s voting record that most people are unaware of his actual voting record.
Let’s consider another bit we hear in the media all the time that is being pushed on the American people. Turn on any national news outlet interviewing a Republican on the current debt debate and you’ll likely hear about ‘job killing tax hikes’. There is some truth to this notion but it is not 100 percent true.
Consider that Bill Clinton raised taxes and we saw unemployment fall extremely low when he was in office. Also, Ronald Reagan raised taxes numerous times and unemployment continued to fall while he was in office. Deval Patrick recently raised the sales tax here in Massachusetts, during a recession, and Massachusetts’ unemployment rate is still well below the national average.
I am not advocating for raising taxes; from my experience working in local and state government I know of a few ways where we could and should make cuts to reduce state costs. And I am not suggesting that raising taxes lowers unemployment. I am suggesting that the reason we have seen tax hikes not increase unemployment is because of wise tax policies under Republican and Democrat administrations. When prudently done as with the examples above, taxes have been raised without raising unemployment. But politicians don’t think that the public wants to hear about, or can understand, the nuances of tax policy so when in the media spotlight, they chant ideological sound bites and talking points. U.S.
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