Americans return Obama to the job

The most expensive election campaign in U.S. history came to an end yesterday. According to FEC and independent estimates over $4 billion was spent in the race between President Obama and former Gov. Mitt Romney. Although the race appeared to be tight, and in the final days appeared to be a dead heat, in the end the electoral map barely changed and Obama was swept into power with 303 electoral college votes and a much slimmer margin of victory by popular vote. (This morning Florida’s 29 electoral college votes are still undecided as counting continues in that state. The race is very close there with Obama ahead by a mere .07 of a percent.)

The balance of power in Washington remained largely the same despite the large sums of money thrown into this race by individuals, parties, and Super PACs alike. Democrats picked up 1 additional seat in the Senate and 2 additional seats in the House. The President returns for a second term to confront the political gridlock that stymied efforts in his first term to pass a comprehensive jobs bill and financial regulation. The country is poised to dip back into recession as growth slows, revenues drop, job creation remains slack, and the soaring deficit run amok. To avoid another financial cliff more compromise by the Republican Party will be needed, but whether it can get beyond its vicious anti-Obama sentiments in order to do the hard work of governing remains to be seen. It is, in fact, doubtful given its track record during the President’s first term.

In other electoral results the news for progressive politics was largely great. The night was a major political victory for the Constitution and gay and lesbian politics. In Wisconsin, Rep. Tammy Baldwin defeated former governor Tommy Thompson by a decent margin, making her the first lesbian elected to the U.S. Senate. Voters in Maryland and Maine voted to legalize same-sex marriage, while voters in Minnesota rejected a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. Referendum 74 to legalize same-sex marriage in the state of Washington was ahead in the polls, and with King County still tallying its ballots the measure will most likely pass. These important votes in four states represents a water-shed moment for the equality movement because they are the first time states have voted to uphold rather than deny the constitutional rights of gay and lesbian citizens. Minds really do change.

The election was also an important victory to bring the senseless and costly war on marijuana to an end. Voters in Washington and Colorado voted to legalize recreational use of the drug. Although a similar measure failed in Oregon, this represents a direct challenge to the federal government by states to change its drug policy. Recent backlash against medical marijuana users by the DEA in California and other states is a case in point why the federal law needs to change to accommodate states’ rights.

Here in California, several important initiatives passed. Voters passed Prop 30 to raise taxes on the wealthiest Californians and temporarily increase sales taxes in order to avoid otherwise devastating cuts to education. Although Prop 34 to eliminate the death penalty did not pass, it was by a narrow margin (53 to 47 percent), signaling the public’s shifting mood on capital punishment. In a victory for criminal justice Prop 36 to reform the state’s draconian “3 strikes” law passed by a wide margin, and this victory should bring some relief to an overcrowded prison system filled with non-violent offenders. Finally, the State Assembly is approaching Democratic supermajorities in both houses, which may help alleviate the state’s governance and budget problems.

In the end, American voters rejected Republican lies that deregulation and less taxes on the wealthy is the solution to a slow economic recovery. Across the nation, voters who were concerned about unemployment voted for Democrats by a significant margin. Perhaps people did not easily forget that 4 years ago the recession swept across America because of, not in spite of, those same policies. The question remains whether President Obama and Congress can get the job done and bring the economy back with healthy, sustainable growth. In the meantime, this victory of progress over the forces of reaction will almost certainly go down in the history books as a vindication of the hard work Obama has done bringing the country back from economic ruin and a crucial turning point in American politics.

 

Storm wreckage to disrupt election

Election Day is just two days away. The cost of Hurricane Sandy to the region is estimated to be around $60 billion. While the clean up crawls forward, tensions in the Northeast are running at an all time high. Many officials are now stating publicly that this untimely storm has had and will have adverse and unexpected consequences for the outcome of the presidential race.

In New Jersey, Connecticut, and parts of New York, voters will find it more difficult than usual to cast a ballot. Widespread damage from the storm and a lack of basic services is creating an organizational nightmare for election officials who must find adequate polling stations and resources to accommodate voters. In New Jersey, which absorbed the storm surge along its coast, state officials are finding other, novel means for voters to cast their ballots. Gov. Chris Christie announced yesterday that displaced citizens, and those living in areas hardest hit by the storm, may be able to vote this year by email ballot, an extreme measure for what many see as extreme circumstances.

Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno of New Jersey said voters may find polling stations at military trucks dispersed across the state with “a well-situated national guardsman and a big sign saying, ‘Vote Here.’”

The disruption of mail services across the Northeastern states will also slow the election process. In addition to absentee and mail-in ballots that are either delayed or gone missing, election officials are bracing for a larger influx of paper ballots that must be counted. All of these post-storm consequences are likely to delay the counting of votes and the certification of elections.

Even thought the states most affected by the storm sit firmly in President Obama’s column, some pundits are predicting that lower than average voter turnout in this region, increasing the likelihood of splitting the electoral college and popular vote. That scenario has been a popular one touted in policy and media circles the last few weeks as the race between Obama and Romney closed to a dead heat.

The President has pulled head slightly in some of the important swing states, but close polls show that America is still a nation more divided than ever by partisan lines—even during a time of national crisis.

Blame it on Obama? Don’t forget Republicans to blame for this mess

Tonight is the third and final presidential debate before the election next month. The primary focus of this debate in Boca Raton, FL will be foreign policy, but most commentators agree that the economy remains the number one concern on voters’ minds.

Former Gov. Mitt Romney will try to do two things in tonight’s debate:  capitalize on irrational anti-Obama discontent over the economy, and then displace it on the President’s record on foreign policy. Most experts agree that the Obama Administration has been deft and pragmatic on the international stage in a time of tumultuous change in the Middle East and a contracting global economy. Nevertheless, his detractors-cum-international-relations-experts grasp at straws. For example, they blame the President for the actions of Libyan terrorists in the death of Ambassador Chris Stevens. They also claim he is at fault for the widespread discontent in the Muslim world over the same things they are angry about, including diminished economic opportunities and a growing sense that the “system” is out of control. That is a lot of responsibility for someone with so little control over the ways of the world.

Such misplaced blame is a little like blaming God for bad luck. Why do bad things happen to good people? Their reaction is much like the first wave of Job’s reaction to his own suffering:  blame God.  Yet, the answer is more simple if not difficult to acknowledge openly. Instead of being honest about their responsibility for facilitating the present economic mess, or even being realistic about its scope and the time it will take to clean it up, Republicans such as Romney and Rep. Paul Ryan prefer instead to be guided by their anger, even their xenophobic and irrational fears that Barack Hussein Obama is not an authentic American. They place everything that is wrong both home and abroad squarely on his shoulders, rather than seeing the situation for what it is—the harvest reaped by their own policies of economic deregulation, expensive pre-emptive wars, and stupid tax cuts that the country could not afford in the first place. Job, too, was blind before he could see.

The cultivation of these irrational impulses by Fox News, the Republican establishment, and wealthy billionaires who are spending record amounts of their personal money to influence elections through Super PACs and commercial lies is revealing. Times are tough, so blame it on Obama.

If you have lost your job because Wall Street traders, investment bankers, and business executives over the last decade made bad decisions on unacceptably risky calculations with no accountability for their actions, blame it on Obama.

If you cannot find a job because American corporations no longer make real products requiring good paying jobs, while sitting on record mountains of cash that inflate their bottom lines to prop up the short-term, short-sighted expectations of greedy investors, blame it on Obama.

If you think the rising cost of health care is crippling small businesses, but prefer to do nothing about it rather than risk taking any steps along the road to reform, blame Obama.

Never mind that to blame Obama for pursuing health care reform, you have to ignore that former Gov. Romney is the original architect of “Obamacare” in Massachusetts. The truth of the Affordable Care Act is that it uses market principles to ensure that competition among private insurers brings down the cost of insuring all individuals who otherwise could not afford it and whose health care costs would be absorbed by those of us who can afford it—through higher premiums and spiraling emergency room costs. In short, you have to believe falsely in the rhetoric that the ACA is a government takeover of health care, and ignore the fact that it simply incentivizes private insurance and requires all individuals to be responsible for their own health care.

Gov. Romney has done nothing but run a competitive campaign in an easy political climate. It’s an easy thing to blame one man on the world’s problems. That pretty much sums up the Republican policy for turning American around:  get rid of the sitting Democratic president at all cost. But let’s not forget how we got into this mess in the first place. Let’s not forget that America is in a time of crisis because policy choices were made in the past, and they were poor choices. Reversing the consequences of those choices is not something that can be done overnight, let alone in four years. Blaming the President won’t change the past, even if we try to forget that it is the past that is prologue.

If “some” Americans think we cannot afford four more years of Obama, they should consider that the reason America cannot afford much of anything right now is due primarily to those poor policy choices. Demanding that we return power to the party that not only made those choices but want to make them all over again, is not a solution to America’s problems—it is a suicide pact we “other” Americans are wisely unwilling to go along with.

Romney picks Ryan for running mate

At a campaign rally in Virginia this morning Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney announced he is choosing Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) to be his Vice Presidential choice. This choice proves once and for all that Romney’s economic policy will favor the rich and powerful, while fooling millions of hard-working Americans into believing he stands for their best interests.

Ryan is a controversial figure who is not worthy of presidential reach.

Ryan is a controversial seven-time Congressman from Janesville, WI who is also the Chairman of the House Budget Committee. He has been a long-time Washington insider promoting the interests of the wealthy and powerful by advocating to make the Bush-era tax cuts permanents, even though this policy has helped bring the country to the brink of economic disaster. By extending these tax cuts, which primarily benefit America’s wealthiest tax payers, and pave the way for middle-calls taxpayers to shoulder more of the burden for generating revenue, America’s cities, counties, and states run the risk of bankruptcy as revenue streams dry up. Americans who vote for this ticket can look forward to less basic services, a crumbling infrastructure, and more out-of-pocket expenses. Ryan is no candidate worthy of presidential reach.

The meme above sums up Ryan’s economic philosophical nicely. During the eight years of Bush the Younger’s reign in Washington America saw income inequality increase as the rich got richer and the middle-class got more into debt, record numbers of corporate bankruptcies and fraud such as the mighty collapse of Enron, a war in Iraq we could not afford and did not need, and the erosion of respect for the rule of law and government. In the last three years the Republican’s have continually laid the blame for America’s malaise squarely at the feet of President Obama, but history and the facts show otherwise.

Jim Messina, director for President Obama’s reelection campaign, summed up Ryan’s foolish economic views nicely in a statement released immediately after Romney’s announcement:

“In naming Congressman Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney has chosen a leader of the House Republicans who shares his commitment to the flawed theory that new budget-busting tax cuts for the wealthy, while placing greater burdens on the middle class and seniors, will somehow deliver a stronger economy. The architect of the radical Republican House budget, Ryan, like Romney, proposed an additional $250,000 tax cut for millionaires, and deep cuts in education from Head Start to college aid. His plan also would end Medicare as we know it by turning it into a voucher system, shifting thousands of dollars in health care costs to seniors. As a member of Congress, Ryan rubber-stamped the reckless Bush economic policies that exploded our deficit and crashed our economy. Now the Romney-Ryan ticket would take us back by repeating the same, catastrophic mistakes.”

A vote for the Romney-Ryan ticket by any middle-class American, indeed anyone making less than $250,000 is a vote for cutting off one’s own nose to spite one’s face. America is at another crossroads, and the Republican route is one we have been down before and cannot afford to go down again.

Romney’s recent attacks mimic Republican lies on “welfare queens”

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney attacked President Obama on the campaign trail, claiming that an executive order issued this week through the Department of Health and Human Services significantly weakens work requirements for welfare recipients. Romney claims as a result that freeriders will increase the welfare rolls in states across the country, shirking their duty to work and increasing the burden on taxpayers like us.

Obama should run this recent Onion meme in response to Romney’s lies about welfare.

This spindrift spread quicker than one can say “Cadillac driving welfare queens”—which is Republican code for lazy African American women with lots of children who game the welfare system while being discouraged to work.

Romney’s attack is a cheap but familiar ploy in the Republican Party establishment. The phrase “welfare queen” was first introduced into the lexicon of American politics by President Reagan in his failed 1976 presidential campaign, and was later modified by former Republican presidential candidate Pat Buchanan, a speech writer for both Nixon and Reagan with well-documented racist views.

Let me be clear:  Romney’s assertion is a lie. The Obama campaign and many independent media and policy sources contend that the rule change does nothing of the sort. Rather, it gives states the kind of flexibility to make their own determination what counts as work and whether it changes the status of recipient benefits. Under the current austerity measures most states have adopted this will have the likely effect of decreasing rather than increasing the number of welfare recipients. This outcome is consistent with the purpose of welfare reform in the 1990’s that was—shockingly—spearheaded by bipartisanship between former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and former President Bill Clinton.

Romney’s lie also highlights two facts about his own position and track record that Americans should consider closely. First, Romney says he is for “states’ rights” and as governor asked for this same flexibility concerning welfare requirements, so any rule change by HHS to grant states more authority to determine their own requirements is consistent with his position. Second, the implicit claim that Obama is being easy on welfare recipients belies Romney’s own track record as governor of Massachusetts. The AP reports that “as governor, Romney offered welfare recipients free auto insurance, registration, inspections and memberships in AAA.”

Grandstand politicking and election year spindrift pushed aside, the rule change for welfare that gives states more authority to run their own show highlights a different issue that neither candidate has much traction on:  what do about unemployment, declining wages, and job insecurity.

Although Obama consistently hammers on the message of economic recovery and economic justice going hand in hand, there is a deficit of real policy prescriptions forthcoming about how to reverse the plight of working Americans who are hurting more than ever thanks to Republicanomics. He has been unable to get the Jobs Act passed by a recalcitrant and pitiless Congress. Romney’s record on jobs at Bain Capital is well-known:  lower wages, less job security, outsourcing, and anything else to make a fast buck.

The problem is that welfare is increasingly necessary in an economic climate where recovery is slowly grinding forward by the numbers, but without real jobs to make it effective and lasting. Moreover, economic inequality in this country is at its highest point since the Great Depression—the wealthiest Americans are reaping the most rewards while the rest of us are suffering. Furthermore, corporate profits and the mountains of cash they are sitting on are at near-record highs, but they refuse to invest in their country.

Forget about the facts, please. Let’s talk about those rich black “welfare queens” and how they are cheating us hardworking white males. That’s the real message Romney is purveying and it is putrid, ugly, and profoundly un-American.

July jobs report confirms weak pace of jobless economic “recovery”

The Labor Department released July’s employment figures today and once again there is little good news. According to the report the economy added 163,000 jobs last month even though the unemployment rate ratcheted up slightly to 8.3 percent. The number of additional jobs is mediocre by any other name, but the figure is double the jobs added in June and exceeded Wall Street’s doom-and-gloom forecast. This tarnished silver-lining was enough to provide the Obama administration with some spin traction by claiming that the “pace” of job growth is picking up.

Alan B. Krueger, the chairman of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, said that Obama’s jobs plan would help those economic sectors that are struggling the most during this jobless recession, namely, public sector employees and construction workers.

“If you look at today’s jobs report, where we saw declines were construction and government education jobs,” said Krueger. “The main components of the Jobs Act would target exactly those two areas, by investing more in infrastructure and helping local governments keep teachers and first responders on the payrolls. I think it’s the kind of medicine that’s well targeted to the continuing areas of weakness in the job market.”

The devil is in the details, of course, and today’s report also provided Republicans with ammunition for their nauseatingly familiar mantra:  less government, less regulation, and less taxes means more investment by the private sector. Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential nominee, rehearsed the same tired lyrics Republicans have been singing for decades, laying the blame for America’s economic woes at the feet of the man who inherited the mess three years ago.

“This is an extraordinary record of failure. The president’s policies have not worked because he thinks government makes America work. He’s wrong,” Romney bleated.

Never mind that Obama has spent his first term cleaning up the mess left in the wake of Republican economic policy during the two terms that they controlled both the White House and Congress. Never mind the surpluses left by Clinton that Bush squandered. Never mind that the largest expansion of government spending since the New Deal was brought on by two wars and an expansion of Medicare. Never mind that the Republicans irrational fear of taxes has a created a climate in which it is impossible to govern because revenues are hamstrung by unaffordable tax cuts they want to keep extending into infinity. No, never mind the facts.

Admittedly, Obama’s economic policy has been less than admirable. Under Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, many of the same Wall Street-favoring features of the Bush years have continued:  bail outs for irresponsible (indeed, criminal) investment banks, failure to regulate volatile markets like derivatives where trading smoke-and-mirrors continues with no accountability, failure to regulate investment bank shenanigans, and an ineffective response to Republican rhetorical nonsense on taxes.

Nevertheless, it is doubtful that an economy as large and complex (and corrupt!) as America’s can be turned around on a dime, let alone a single term, so Romney’s exhortations ring as hollow as the Republican economic fantasy that markets can do everything if we just leave powerful private actors to do as they please.

Romney proposes tax increase on middle class despite election rhetoric

A recent Tax Policy Center analysis shows that the the kind of revenue-neutral tax reform Romney is advocating is nothing but a wolf in sheep’s clothing. The rhetoric sounds good but the numbers reveal the long-standing Republican lie that it’s the party of lower taxes for the wealthy. Romney’s tax proposal is strongly regressive rather than progressive, and by cutting the rates for the wealthiest Americans broadens the tax burden for the middle class.

Check out their graph of the numbers that don’t lie:

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Here are some eye-opening excerpts from the Tax Policy Center, a non-partisan think tank:

“Our major conclusion is that a revenue-neutral individual income tax change that incorporates the features Governor Romney has proposed – including reducing marginal tax rates substantially, eliminating the individual alternative minimum tax (AMT) and maintaining all tax breaks for saving and investment – would provide large tax cuts to high-income households, and increase the tax burdens on middle- and/or lower-income taxpayers. This is true even when we bias our assumptions about which and whose tax expenditures are reduced to make the resulting tax system as progressive as possible. For instance, even when we assume that tax breaks – like the charitable deduction, mortgage interest deduction, and the exclusion for health insurance – are completely eliminated for higher-income households first, and only then reduced as necessary for other households to achieve overall revenue-neutrality– the net effect of the plan would be a tax cut for high-income households coupled with a tax increase for middle-income households.”

“In addition, we also assess whether these results hold if we assume that revenue reductions are partially offset by higher economic growth. Although reasonable models would show that these tax changes would have little effect on growth, we show that even with implausibly large growth effects, revenue neutrality would still require large reductions in tax expenditures and would likely result in a net tax increase for lower- and middle-income households and tax cuts for high- income households.”

As   said in Slate’s online reporting of Romeny’s tax lies:  “Raising taxes on the rich and middle class alike in order to afford spending on social insurance, education, and infrastructure is one thing. Raising taxes on the middle class in order to afford tax cuts for the rich is another.” I could not have said it better myself.

Fed warnings on economic recovery accentuate stark political choices

In the minutes from its June meeting several Fed policymakers warned that the economy could worsen due to a number of factors, including Congressional failure to avert tax hikes and deep spending cuts that start at the end of this fiscal year. In addition, the minutes revealed a deep concern that Europe’s debt crisis will continue to hamper U.S. growth.

Some of the weaknesses highlighted included the following:

  • The economy created 80,000 jobs in June, which is the third consecutive month of weak job reports. The unemployment rate stands fixed at 8.2 percent, which is also a conservative estimate of the true and much larger toll taken during this so-called jobless recovery.
  • Employers added an average of 75,000 jobs a month in the last quarter, and only 1/3 of the 225,000 jobs a month created in the first three months of the year, showing that hiring and job creation has slowed to a near standstill.

While several Fed Members claimed the economy might continue to grow moderately, that assessment was significantly weakened last week when the Fed lowered its growth forecast due to the weak labor market and slow consumer spending. The Fed also stated that it does not expect the unemployment rate to fall any further this year, so the fact that unemployment remains significantly high has put the economy squarely at the center of this presidential election, a fact that will unlikely change between now and November when voters cast their ballots for two radically different economic perspectives.

Despite criticism that President Obama’s economic policies are doing little to help, and may be harming economic growth, the Romney alternative of returning America to the economic policies that initiated a decade of corporate greed, followed by the Great Recession, seems less viable than sticking to the course Obama has laid out.

The President sharpened his differences with Romney this week on the campaign trail, claiming in no uncertain terms that voting for Romney would be putting the same people back into power that helped create the economic mess. That message will be hard to sell the closer we get to the election as voters’ inevitably vote with the vicissitudes of their pocketbooks rather than their reflective conscience.

Jobless economic recovery stalled by electoral politics, party complicity

The Labor Department released its monthly jobs report today, and the picture was quickly muddled by Democratic and Republican pandering in an election year that is almost exclusively focusing on economic recovery. According to the report private employers added only 120,000 jobs to the economy in March, a disappointing number according to most analysts compared with the previous two months each of which added almost twice that number. Despite this slowing of the pace of hiring the unemployment rate dropped slightly from 8.3 to 8.2 percent.

However, the unemployment rate comes from a separate survey of households rather than employers and indicates that a lower portion of the population were looking for work rather than indicating more workers being added to the economy. Therefore, it is almost useless to look to the unemployment rate as a significant determinant of economic recovery without adding the caveat that fewer people looking for work does not strong job growth make.

The economic picture is further clouded by election year politics in which both parties seem to do little else but blame the other party for “failed economic policies.” In a speech this morning at the White House conference on “Women and the Economy,” President Obama acknowledged the difficulties posed by anemic job growth, calling the report worrying but stressing that the unemployment rate continues to decline (albeit, slowly). The President did not mention other disappointing news identified in the report. For example, fewer than half the persons in recent months added to payrolls, or that the drop in unemployment reflected the fact that more people had dropped out of the labor force.

The Republican front-runner, Mitt Romney, wasted no time in blaming the President personally for economic forces put in motion long before Obama’s election and far beyond his executive powers to change. “Millions of Americans are paying a high price for President Obama’s economic policies, and more and more people are growing so discouraged that they are dropping out of the labor market altogether,” Mr. Romney said.

To be fair, millions of Americans have been dropping out of the labor market over the last twenty years as a permissive regulatory environment, corporate tax loopholes, and other factors such as technological innovation encouraged American companies to move jobs and profits overseas. Yet, Mr. Romney has virtually nothing to say to his peers who are truly responsible for the economic malaise of the country.

Congressional leaders proved no better in offering Americans either a correct diagnosis or reasonable policies for extricating Americans from this malaise. House Speaker John A. Boehner said, “Today’s report shows that families and small businesses are still struggling to get by because of President Obama’s failed economic policies.” Surely, Mr. Boehner means that families and small business are struggling from an economic collapse precipitated by his party’s commitment to crony-style capitalism under eight years of Bush the Younger’s reign.

Politically speaking, the problem with the economy is that no one is willing to tell it like it is. After more than two decades of Republican-style economics, supported more or less by the Democratic Party and its ties to corporate America as well, Americans are neither getting the truth of the matter nor making much progress. Income inequality, poverty, the uninsured are at their highest levels since the Great Depression. Then again, so are profits margins and executive compensation as American corporations sit on mountains of cash they have expropriated from workers, consumers, and investors alike.

The conjunction of these two facts—deepening inequality and corporate greed—are the two largest road blocks standing in the way of economic recovery. Until politicians do their job, and some of this reserve is redistributed in the form of more hiring, rising wages, and pension and health care reform, there is little hope either of addressing this country’s many economic problems or escaping its self-inflicted malaise.

Super PAC’s fund American elections

America’s reaction to the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United ranges from public outrage visible in the Occupy Wall Street movement to barely concealed glee among wealthy donors who seek to influence the outcome of elections with an avalanche of dollars.

Recent data compiled by the NYT from Federal Elections Commission (FEC) records reveal the following:  A supermajority of the millions is spent on wealthy or conservative candidates with financial ties to the financial and energy industries. Much of the money provided by individual donors is helping individual candidates win primaries that should be decided by intelligence, experience, believability, and integrity (virtues which few if any of the Republicans possess all together).

1. Restore Our Future—Mitt Romney’s PAC—$36.8 million total with 10 individuals contributing more than $1 million each. Most of this money has been spent on ads attacking Newt Gingrich.

Super PAC spent $38 million criticizing Gingrich to make this mediocre candidate appear more appealing.

2. American Crossroads — No known candidate ties. Spent $20 million on ads attacking President Obama before the general election has started.

3. Winning Our Future—Newt Gingrich’s PAC—$13.1 million with 2 individuals contributing $5 million each and 1 individual contributing $1 million by a PAC the candidate funded.

4. Make Us Great Again—Rick Perry’s PAC—$5.5 million spent on a candidate who is literally more stupid than that other governor turned president, George W. Bush.

5. Priorities USA Action—President Obama’s PAC—$4.5 million spent on a sitting President who has been in office three years trying to fix the problems caused by a decade of deregulation. Super PAC support of the President during the general election will likely increase significantly.

More to follow from a political system that permits private individuals to finance candidates without much public oversight. If money is free speech, then some people have more speech than others! So much the worse for the democratic principle “one person, one vote.”