All News & Blogs
American voters need 'Democracy for Dummies'
SOMETIMES I think
Half the people I talk to don't have a clue about the issues in the upcoming presidential election or what each candidate believes.
Yet most of them will walk into a voting booth and pull a lever, mark a ballot or push a computer screen on Election Day.
Then again, even if we took a refresher course, we still might not know what to believe because each candidate bombards the airways with erroneous information about the other. Somehow we have to sort it all out.
This summer, older Americans were frightened by rumors that Mitt Romney would do away with Medicare if elected.
Then there was the story that every American who sold a home would have to pay a 3.7 percent tax because of President Obama's health care plan.
Neither, of course, was true. Once the rumors get started, however, they soon become gospel and emotion replaces common sense.
The truth is that most of the things presidential candidates promise they can't do. Just because one says he will raise taxes or the other says he will lower them doesn't mean that either really can.
Remember your high school civics? Only Congress has the power to tax. Presidents may suggest, but only the House of Representatives and the Senate can make it happen.
This campaign has also focused on Romney's wealth and the fact that he reportedly paid federal taxes at only a 14 percent rate last year.
I loved the TV commercial that inferred that all the working viewers were paying more in taxes than Romney.
What the commercial meant, of course, was that the average American might be paying taxes at a higher rate than Romney, which is likely true. It implied, however, that Average Joe was sending more tax dollars to Washington than Romney.
Let's take a refresher course in math. Say the average American is making $100,000 (that's high, I know) a year and paying taxes at a 25 percent rate. That means the government claimed $25,000 for that tax year.