In today's On the News segment: The Romney campaign is caught lying to potential poll watchers in an effort to confuse voters on Election Day; global wealth inequality has now peaked to a 20-year high; California will vote on the death penalty on Election Day; and more.
Thom Hartmann here – on the news...
You need to know this. When the Billionaire Class doesn't like facts – they simply scrub them away from the view of the public. With the main debate in Washington these days centered on how much the rich should pay in taxes, the Congressional Research Service issued a report last September on the effect of upper income tax rates on economic growth. The CRS report found that low taxes on the rich did not spur economic growth – but instead fueled wealth inequality. Republicans – led by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell – protested the report since it undermines their main political talking point that rich people are "job creators" who need to be coddled with low tax rates. CRS bowed to the pressure and withdrew the report this week. However the reports author told TPM on Thursday that he had nothing to do with the decision and the he continues to stand by the finding in his report. Democratic Congressman Sander Levin released a statement in response to the scrubbing of the report saying, "It would be completely inappropriate for CRS to censor one of its analysts simply because participants in the political process found his or her conclusion in conflict with their partisan position." Whether they're facts about taxes, climate change, healthcare – you name it – if they don't jive with the Billionaire Class – then Republicans just ignore them.
First it was Wisconsin, now Iowa. Another investigation by ThinkProgress has exposed the Romney campaign lying to potential poll watchers in an effort to confuse voters on Election Day. According to a training video made by the Romney campaign, poll watchers are instructed to look out for voters who fail to show IDs and to immediately notify legal teams on site of people voting without a photo ID. But there is no photo ID requirement in the State. The office of Iowa's Secretary of State confirmed to ThinkProgress that it's absolutely incorrect to say that Iowa voters need a photo ID to vote. The Romney campaign was caught doing this in swing state Wisconsin too, which means they're likely giving poll watchers misinformation in several other swing states, too. Mitt Romney ran a campaign based on lies – and he's now trying to run an Election Day operation based on lies, too. He knows it's the only way he can win the White House.
In the best of the rest of the news ...
President Obama will head into the election with unemployment below 8%. The last jobs report before Election Day is out showing the economy added 171,000 jobs in October – exceeding expectations. Jobs numbers were also revised up for the months of September and August. The unemployment rate ticked up slightly from 7.8% to 7.9% as more than a half million new people joined the labor force last month. So in his first term in office, despite a commitment by Republicans to block every one of his initiatives and crash the economy, the President did manage to avert a Great Depression and put the economy on track for growth with 32 straight months of private sector job creation.
After Hurricane Sandy, the corporate media can no longer deny that climate change is happening and super storms will be more frequent in the future. As ClimateProgress points out, unlike before the storm, after Sandy several corporate news outlets devoted their coverage to talking about climate change. Bloomberg Businessweek devoted its cover story to Sandy with the title, "It's Global Warming, Stupid." And MSNBC, CNN, ABC, and other major media outlets including Fox so-called News devoted on-air segments to discuss Hurricane Sandy in the frame of global climate change. The science should have all woken us up to this reality decades ago. Now, the freak storms will.
Why is the Mitt Romney campaign running blatantly false ads against President Obama's rescuing of the American auto industry? Because he knows it was a huge accomplishment. American carmakers were on the verge of completely disappearing just four years ago, and Mitt Romney pushed for a plan that would have ensured their death. But President Obama stepped in with a rescue plan and today Chrysler and GM just had their best month of October in five years. Chrysler sales rose 10% and GM sales rose nearly 5%. Banksters on Wall Street were bailed out by George W. Bush. But it was President Obama who bailed out workers in Detroit.
Wealth inequality is surging around the world. A new report by the international organization Save the Children found that global wealth inequality has now peaked to a 20-year high. The report finds that,"children born into the richest households have access to 35 times the resources [including healthcare, food and schooling] of the poorest." Not only is there massive wealth inequality between individual nations, but also inequality within individual nations as well. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer. A lot of this likely has to do with the effects of so-called Free Trade and globalization, which is toppling government protection for working people to promote the interests of transnational corporations and their executives.
And finally ... voters in California won't just be picking a new President of the United States on Election Day – they'll also be choosing the fate of the nation's largest death row. Proposition 34 is on the ballot to abolish California's death penalty, which 724 inmates are currently facing – the highest count in the country. A recent study found that California's death penalty costs taxpayers and extra $184 million a year – and has cost the state more than $4 billion to administer since 1978. A recent poll from the Los Angeles Times shows that supporters of abolishing the death penalty only trail by three percentage points – well within the statistical margin of error. Keep an eye on this issue on Election Day – it could have a significant impact on the 32 other states in the nation that use the death penalty.
And that's the way it is today – Friday, November 2nd, 2012. I'm Thom Hartmann – on the news.