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Robert Reich: The 3 Biggest GOP Lies Of The Midterms (In Addition To The Big Lie) – OpEd

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It’s not just the Big Lie. Republicans are telling three other lies they hope will swing the midterms. 

They involve crime, inflation, and taxes. 

Here are the GOP’s claims, followed by the facts.

1. They claim crime is rising because Democrats have been “soft” on crime.

Rubbish. Rising crime rates are due to the proliferation of guns, which Republicans refuse to control.

While violent crime rose 28 percent from 2019 to 2020, gun homicides rose 35 percentStates that have weakened gun laws have seen gun crime surge. Clearly, a major driver of the national increase in violence is the easy availability of guns.

The violence can’t be explained by any of the Republican talking points about “soft on crime” Democrats.

Lack of police funding? No. On average, all cities — whether run by Democrats or Republicans — saw an increase in police funding in 2022.

Criminal justice reforms? No. Wherever bail reforms have been implemented, re-arrest rates remain stable. Data shows no connection between the policies of progressive prosecutors and changes in crime rates.

In fact, crime is rising faster in Republican, Trump-supporting states. In 2020, per capita murder rates were 40 percent higher in states won by Trump than in those won by Joe Biden.

Republican policies have made it easier for people to get and carry guns. Republicans are lying about the real cause of rising crime to protect some of their biggest supporters, big gun manufacturers and the NRA. 

2. Republicans claim that inflation is due to Biden’s spending, and wage increases.

Baloney. Biden’s spending can’t be causing our current inflation because inflation has broken out everywhere around the world, often at much higher rates than in the US. 

Besides, heavy spending by the US government began in 2020, before the Biden administration, in order to protect Americans and the economy from the ravages of COVID-19 — and it was necessary.

Wages can’t be pushing inflation because wages have been increasing at a slower pace than prices — leaving most workers worse off.  

The major cause of the current inflation is the global post-pandemic shortage of all sorts of things, coupled with Putin’s war in Ukraine and China’s lockdowns.

The biggest domestic culprit for America’s current inflation is big corporations that are using inflation as an excuse for raising prices above their own cost increases, resulting in the highest profit margins since 1950 — while consumers are paying through the nose.

The biggest domestic cause of inflation is corporate power. Republicans are lying about this to protect their big corporate patrons.

3. Republicans say Democrats voted to hire an army of IRS agents who will audit and harass the middle class.

Wrong. The IRS won’t be going after the middle class. It will be going after ultra-wealthy tax cheats.

The Inflation Reduction Act, passed in July, provides funding to begin to get IRS staffing back to what it was before 2010, after which Republicans cut staff by roughly 30 percent, despite increases since then in the number of Americans filing tax returns.

The extra staff are needed to prevent high-end tax evasion, which is more difficult to root out (the ultra-wealthy hire squads of accountants and tax attorneys to hide their taxable incomes). It’s estimated that the richest 1 percent are hiding more than 20 percent of their earnings from the IRS.

The Treasury Department and the IRS have made it clear that audit rates for households earning $400,000 or under will remain same.

Republicans are lying about what the IRS will do with the new funding to protect their ultra-wealthy patrons.

None of these three lies is as brazen and damaging as Trump’s Big Lie. But they’re all being used by Republican candidates in these last weeks before the midterms. 

Know the truth and share it. 

Robert Reich

Robert B. Reich is Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley and Senior Fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies, and writes at robertreich.substack.com. Reich served as Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration, for which Time Magazine named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the twentieth century. He has written fifteen books, including the best sellers "Aftershock", "The Work of Nations," and"Beyond Outrage," and, his most recent, "The Common Good," which is available in bookstores now. He is also a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine, chairman of Common Cause, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and co-creator of the award-winning documentary, "Inequality For All." He's co-creator of the Netflix original documentary "Saving Capitalism," which is streaming now.

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