Friday, October 24, 2014

The Twelve Foundational Falsehoods of the Scott Campaign

 This is an update to a list I made earlier. Pass it around and make sure everyone knows what Scott's campaign is based on.

Lie: Charlie Crist was responsible for the loss of over 800,000 jobs in Florida.

Fact: Those jobs were lost because of a nationwide recession that resulted in jobs being lost in EVERY state -- and which no one could, or did, do anything about.

Scott’s campaigners have said that Crist “oversaw” the last economic crisis (e.g., Crist “oversaw massive spikes in unemployment”). But Crist clearly had no control over, and had nothing to do with, a nationwide economic crisis that mostly had to do with a bursting real estate bubble and bad loan crisis. 

Scott has also absurdly claimed that Florida should not have lost jobs during the last recession, citing things like the lack of state income tax. None of the factors he cites would have had any bearing on the causes of the recession, which affected states that had no income tax. Scott was clearly making that claim up.

Scott has now invented a jingle about Crist being "powerless for the jobless." But the fact is that if he had been  in charge in 2008-9, he would have been able to do nothing more helpful. He has never answered questions about what Crist could have done to stop the loss of 800,000 jobs.  

A new attack ad asks why Florida lost the second most jobs of any state in the nation. It seems rather obvious that the state with the third largest population would be likely to rank second in job loss, especially when its economy depends heavily on tourism (and other people having money).

During the third debate, he was asked this question and gave a misleading answer explaining how he thinks Crist could have REPLACED the lost jobs, not how Crist could have prevented their loss in the first place. But his answers are part of the second great falsehood of the Scott campaign.

Lie: Rick Scott is responsible for the return of over 600,000 jobs in Florida.

Fact: Economists predicted that Florida would recover 1 million jobs by 2017 no matter who was elected governor. Scott has just sat by and warmed a chair while it happened.
When he has tried to bring jobs by his own actions, his failure rate so far is 96%. Scott offered tax incentives to a number of companies to come here, but of the approximately 40,000 jobs that were supposed to come from this, only 4% have materialized. Some of the companies offered incentives have even gone out of business.

During the third debate, Crist pointed this out, and Scott replied that these jobs took time to develop. This may be true, but as long as it has taken, if Crist had done the same thing in 2009, we would still be waiting for the jobs even now, and the Scott campaign would no doubt be using it as an example of how Crist's policies were a failure. 

In addition, Scott has religiously attended ceremonies to announce when companies offered these incentives (like Colt Manufacturing) have agreed to take them, and used them as campaign props. Why doesn't he wait until the jobs are actually here before touting it as an achievement of his administration?

Lie: Rick Scott denying saying he would bring 1.7 million jobs to the state by 2017. 

Fact: Scott had campaigned on bringing 700,000 jobs to the state by 2017. He was confronted with the fact that economists predicted 1 million jobs for the state by 2017, no matter who was governor. In response, he said he meant 700,000 jobs ON TOP OF what was predicted. He is recorded twice saying this on camera. He later denied he said it.

Lie: Rick Scott turned a "deficit" under Crist into a surplus.

Fact: Florida's constitution requires a balanaced budget, so there can be no "surplus" or "deficit". Scott is misusing terms. What he refers to as a "surplus" is an actual revenue overage. His so-called "deficit" is actually a projected revenue shortfall. Using the terms this way, in his last year, Charlie Crist had a $433 million "surplus" and a $3.6 billion "deficit" at the same time!

Lie: Rick Scott cut taxes 40 times for families.

Fact: Scott reaches this number dishonestly: By counting the same yearly sales tax holidays multiple times, including those that were in existence before he took office; by counting tax credits (which still require a person to spend money on something else); and by elminiating future scheduled increases in certain fees (so the person still pays money!). Most of the "cuts" are also for businesses, not families, such as one that gave breaks on repairs to planes over a certain weight.

Lie: Rick Scott saved the state pension fund by taking 3% from state workers' pay.

Fact: Florida's pension fund was alrwady one of the healthiest in the world and didn't need "saving". The money also did not go into the retirement fund, but back into the state budget.

Lie: Charlie Crist instituted an automatic 15% tuition hike.

Fact: While Crist did sign a law allowing tuition increases (which was approved by the mostly Republican Legislature, mostly the same people now there under Scott), the increase was not automatic, and did not have to be 15%. 

To make matters worse, Scott himself signed a 15% tuition increase into law in his first year in office.

Lie: Charlie Crist has been part of 3 political parties in 3 years.

Fact: This claim now even appears in a recent attack ad and is used to imply that Crist has no core values. But Crist has been part of only two parties in three years -- Republican and Democrat. The third "party" is not a party, or an ideology: It refers to when Crist ran as an Independent for U.S. Senate. That simply meant he was running apart from any sponsorship of any political party. During that run he was still a registered Republican.
Once that is settled, Crist is no more a "flip flopper" than countless other politicians who have switched parties, including two major Republican heroes who switched from being Democrats in what could just as easily be said to be self-advantageous conditions: Ronald Reagan, and Pam Bondi.

Lie: Charlie Crist "ran away" from the mess he created by running for the U.S. Senate instead of a second term as governor.

Fact: Three questions reveal the falsehood behind this claim.

First, how is it "running away" from a state's problems to run for U.S. Senate representing that state? 

Second, given that the problems of that time were nationwide (even worldwide) in scope, wouldn't running for U. S. Senate be a case of running TOWARDS problems rather than away from them?

Third, if Crist "ran away" by running for U. S. Senate, then so did Marco Rubio, who, although he had term-limited out of his former office, could have easily run for some other state office. In fact, Rubio could even have run for governor of Florida.

Lie: Charlie Crist raised taxes over 2 billion dollars.

Fact: The lie here is not so much that Crist didn't approve tax increases, because he did. The lie is one of leaving out an important fact: These tax increases were first approved by the Republican-dominated Legislature that served with Crist. If Scott points a finger at Crist over this, he also points a finger at his GOP colleagues, including many who still serve in the Legislature to this day. He also points a finger at himself, since Scott did not move to repeal the most popular tax increase (on motor vehicles registrations) until after three years in office. So did we need the money (in which case, Crist was right to raise taxes), or not (in which case, Scott was wrong to keep it going so long)?

Lie: Crist increased the state debt by several billion dollars.

Fact: Here again the problem is one of important information left out. The debt in question was actually bond debt, which is used to fund long term projects. This amount owed by the state did go up under Crist, and did go down under Scott.

However, as with the tax increases, all of this must first have been approved by the Republican-dominated Legislature under Crist. That means Scott is again pointing a finger not just at Crist, but at his own colleagues. In addition, Scott fails to report that bond debt had been going steadily up for decades. It even went up under Bush.  Finally, he fails to report that we still have over 20 billion in bond debt.

Lie: Crist was bankrupting Florida.

Fact: Scott said this in the third debate, and it is a ridiculous claim. Florida is required to have a balanced budget, by law. And again, the Legislature holds the purse strings, which means if this were true, Scott is also blaming his GOP colleagues.

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