As I explained in the first part of this brief series, we have some other issues to ponder before next Tuesday.

You can add the commentary in this four-part series to your musings about [among other considerations]:

* who should appoint our next several Supreme Court justices [the same Supreme Court whose majority in its wisdom decided that corporations and the ultra-wealthy are free to corrupt democracy simply by writing bigger checks than any of us, as they are actively attempting to this day];
* whose policies will govern women’s reproductive rights [see this];
* whose concerns for the well-being of the middle class are genuine—consistently so, and not just since America got a first-hand look at one candidate’s genuine thoughts and feelings about the 47%;
* whose policies are directed to serving employees and employers rather than just the latter, wealthiest group, and
* whose policies for investing in our future and making the best use of our national government and resources are best-positioned to address the concerns about our future and the challenges we’ll face.

These are the things that matter. The fear-mongering and misrepresentations and blatant displays of disrespect for their constituency which one party has so ably demonstrated have served a purpose—not an especially honorable one. But that game must come to an end.

The future matters, too.

A few observations for starters, with more to come:

It’s no great insight to point out we’re stuck in an age of truthiness, where factchecking has been relegated to a section in the paper….When I say ‘policy analysis is missing’ I’m not talking about coursework from the Kennedy School of Government.  I’m talking about the math that says you can’t cut taxes 20% across the board and balance the budget.  Trickle-down doesn’t work.  Climate change is a real threat.  Occupying other countries without clear benchmarks and goals is not in our interest.  If we deeply cut federal spending, we can’t invest in public goods including education, economically productive infrastructure, a safety net, pollution abatement, and so on–investments that matter to many of all political stripes.
But again, what bothers me about the Romney campaign and the current moment is not just the policy agenda.  It’s their ability to completely deny that agenda and gain ground in the polls.  It’s Romney’s ability to very successfully argue that he doesn’t really have a big tax cut (the first debate), that the tax cut he doesn’t really have can be paid for by magic math, that his foreign policy is the same as the President’s (the last debate), that his plan will add 12 million jobs—the number that forecasters tell us we’re likely to see regardless of who wins.
How did we devolve to a country where someone like this can just assert things with virtually no backup from reality and not only be taken seriously but be allegedly gaining ground on a President with a solid, if not inspiring, record?  A President who can, with building evidence, make the case that were heading out of the economic woods, who’s got a budget that’s been scored by the CBO to stabilize the debt within the next decade, who plans to implement historic health care legislation that will unquestionably help tens of millions of people? [1]

 

Scientific knowledge and new technologies are the building blocks for long-term economic growth — ‘the key to a 21st-century economy,’ as President Obama said in the final debate.
So it is astonishing that Mr. Romney talks about economic growth while planning deep cuts in investment in science, technology and education. They are among the discretionary items for which spending could be cut 22 percent or more under the Republican budget plan, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
According to the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the plan, which Mr. Romney has endorsed, could cut overall nondefense science, engineering, biomedical and technology research by a quarter over the next decade, and energy research by two-thirds.
Mr. Romney seems to have lost sight of the critical role of research investments not only in developing new medicines and cleaner energy sources but also in creating higher-skilled jobs.
The private sector can’t do it alone. We rely on companies to translate scientific discoveries into products. But federal investment in research and development, especially basic research, is critical to their success. Just look at Google, which was started by two graduate students working on a project supported by the National Science Foundation and today employs 54,000 people.
Richard K. Templeton, chief executive of Texas Instruments, put it this way in 2009: ‘Research conducted at universities and national labs underpins the new innovations that drive economic growth.’ [2]

Ideology + policy/no-policy + action/inaction = outcomes/results/consequences. Who benefits more? Who loses more? Not just today and next week, but the future—all of it.

Look at the facts, not the spin from those with vested interests in keeping the citizens who are dependent on them for advice and information at best misinformed with half-truths, irrelevancies, or—if all else fails—pure nonsense. How will the ideologies and policies play themselves out here in Reality Land, which one party visits only on rare occasions?

What kind of a nation are we? What kind of a nation will we be?

* My Photo: The Day After Sandy – Good Harbor Beach, Gloucester, MA

Sources:

[1] http://jaredbernsteinblog.com/how-did-things-get-so-screwed-up/; How Did Things Get So Screwed Up? by Jared Bernstein – 10.28.12
[2] http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/29/opinion/want-to-boost-the-economy-invest-in-science.html?_r=0; Science Is the Key to Growth by Neal F. Lane – 10.28.12