Thursday, April 12, 2007

Rethink those truisms

A couple of doses of cognitive dissonance for certain quarters of the political sphere:

1. Trickle-down theory doesn't work in the real world. The most relevant fact: the reason we need to tax the wealthy is because that's where the money is: since 1980, the inflation-adjusted median wage has actually fallen, while incomes for those in the top 0.1 percent earn four times what they did then. It's not class warfare to tax that discrepancy. And as the article argues, it will not result in top earners working less or taking fewer risk. The rest of the article points out a long list of areas where trickle-down theory disagrees with both classic economics and real-world experience.

2. Voter fraud probe comes up empty. You may recall that worries about voter fraud were the rationale for what otherwise might look like political investigations of Democrats. Now it turns out that those worries were, charitably, overblown. After five years of investigating, the Justice Department has precious little to show for it.

Although Republican activists have repeatedly said fraud is so widespread that it has corrupted the political process and, possibly, cost the party election victories, about 120 people have been charged and 86 convicted as of last year.

Most of those charged have been Democrats, voting records show. Many of those charged by the Justice Department appear to have mistakenly filled out registration forms or misunderstood eligibility rules, a review of court records and interviews with prosecutors and defense lawyers show.

That's not all. To keep the charade going a little longer, a federal panel edited a report on voter fraud, changing the conclusion from "little evidence" of fraud to "the pervasiveness of fraud is debatable."

And then there are the clear miscarriages of justice:

Mr. Ali, 68, who had owned a jewelry store in Tallahassee, got into trouble after a clerk at the motor vehicles office had him complete a registration form that he quickly filled out in line, unaware that it was reserved just for United States citizens.

Even though he never voted, he was deported after living legally in this country for more than 10 years because of his misdemeanor federal criminal conviction.

Fabulous.

Voter fraud is a crime. True fraud should be prosecuted vigorously. But it makes no sense to destroy people's lives for making mistakes, especially small ones. And it's just plain irresponsible for the White House and other Republicans to keep flogging the "widespread fraud" line when it's just not true -- and firing prosecutors for not being zealous enough in bringing nonexistent cases.

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1 Comments:

Anonymous Mary said...

How great would it be if ACORN got as much positive publicity now that it has been vindicated of voter fraud as it did before the elections when Karl Rove was ginning up false charges?

This week's Newsweek story, “Rove: A Moving Target,”as well as other recent news reports, have quoted Attorney General Alberto Gonzales’ former chief of staff, D. Kyle Sampson’s testimony that “during the run-up to the midterm elections,” A.G. told him Rove “complained” that David Iglesias, the U.S. attorney in New Mexico, and two other federal prosecutors, were not doing enough to prosecute voter fraud—a top GOP priority.

Iglesias told Newsweek he had been pressured to prosecute ACORN workers who were registering voters in minority neighborhoods, but Iglesias had found no cases worth pursuing.

In 2006, ACORN volunteers and staff helped more than 540,000 low-income, young and minority citizens to apply to become registered voters. ACORN has helped more than 1.6 million people register to vote since 2003.

So-called “voter fraud” is a myth used to suppress the minority vote. A report, "The Politics of Voter Fraud,"released in March by Project Vote found that fraudulent voting is extremely rare.

An analysis of federal government records concluded that only 24 people were convicted or pleaded guilty of illegal voting between 2002 and 2005, an average of eight people a year.

ACORN President Maude Hurd said: “While ACORN members are disturbed to learn that helping African Americans and Latinos register to vote invites harassment from the White House, ACORN will continue to fight for the right to vote for every American citizen and spare no effort to encourage voter participation in our communities

4/12/2007 6:29 PM  

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