As many know, the 2010 "Citizens United" Supreme Court ruling allows unlimited (and sometimes anonymous) campaign donations from big corporations and powerful, well-heeled PACs like Karl Rove's "American Crossroads," the Koch Brothers-funded "Americans for Prosperity," The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, The Club for Growth, The Republican Governors' Association, and many more. It is also no great secret that these organizations are shoveling around $266 million into Ohio this year to buy attack ads to defeat President Barack Obama, and to support the campaigns of mostly tea-party-backed candidates like Republican Congressman Bill Johnson.
However, judging from a recent "saturation" TV ad put out by the Johnson camp, the representative might not be getting the best "bang" for his (or rather his donors') big bucks. The commercial is mediocre and simplistic, and whoever created it seems to have forgotten the good advice of Republican, Abe Lincoln, who said, "You can't fool all the people all of the time!" Hoping that the good folks of Ohio's sixth district have forgotten what actually caused the 2008 economic meltdown, the ad's designers (like all Republican hucksters) are once again employing the twin components of "fear" and "fabrication"!
The ad shows a crude, pasted-in photo of a Front Street Marietta business block, and advises citizens to be "very afraid." It says that "big government" is "restricting small-business job-creators." The ad neglects to define "small businesses" (are Columbia Gas, J.P. Morgan/Chase, and Anadarko Petroleum "small-businesses"?), to say exactly what kind of "jobs" the alleged "job creators" are "creating" (most of the businesses depicted in the ad employ a handful of minimum-wage workers), or to be clear about the exact nature of the so-called "threat to free-enterprise"!
The chief boogeyman in this nefarious "plot" is something called "Obamacare," which the Congressman wants instantly repealed. If we eliminate the notorious "individual mandate," now under consideration by the Supreme Court, exactly which provisions of The Affordable Healthcare Act does the Congressman want "repealed"? Is it the part that forbids insurance cartels from denying coverage because of "pre-existing conditions"? Is it the part that allows parents to keep their unemployed children who live at home on their policies? Is it the part that forbids insurance companies from discriminating against women? Or does he want to dump the provision that mandates that 80 percent of insurance premiums must be used for actual health-care, instead being spent on marketing or CEO bonuses?
The ad implies that "high taxes" and "restrictions" are "stifling free enterprise." The fact is that current tax rates are the lowest in 50 years, and that estate taxes have been largely eliminated in Ohio. The ad likewise neglects to mention that the Obama administration has offered numerous incentives to small businesses that actually hire new people. Many so-called "restrictions" are imposed at the state or local level. Like other states now under Republican rule, Ohio has embarked upon policies that have more to do with restricting employee rights, women's rights, and voting rights than with providing new or better jobs. Statewide unemployment numbers have indeed decreased in the past two years - due in part to Obama stimulus projects (i.e. federal infrastructure projects like those recently implemented in Washington County and the auto-manufacturing "bailout") that Republicans originally opposed, but are now clamoring to claim as their own.
Another Johnson "boogeyman" seems to be EPA "regulations." His "slippery slope" argument avoids saying that most of these regulations have yet to be implemented in Ohio, or that Obama policies created fewer new regulations from 2009 to 2011 than the Bush administration did between 2006 and 2008. The only action taken by the EPA in relation to the process of "fracking" has been to institute a two-year "study" of its possible effects on public health (thus far, no results have been determined).
Republicans like Johnson and Romney avoid the one true fact of American economics - the role of supply and demand. Profit-oriented speculators, equity-hoarders, and "vulture-capitalists" are not "job-creators." That title belongs to the consumers who buy their stuff! The folks who created the Johnson ad believe that Ohio citizens are "stupid" enough to buy the same old bogus "trickle-down" notions that have not worked for the past 30 years. Time will tell if such an arrogant assumption is correct!
Fred O'Neill lives in Marietta.