Campaign season is almost over and we will soon all be set free from the constant bombardment of political ads. And as we all know, the closer to the election, the uglier and more controversial the political ads become.
However, the most controversial of all political ads is one that you may not even be aware of. It starts with the trusting face of Actor Andy Griffith sitting in a relaxed easy chair. He then begins to explain very slowly how his fellow senior citizens need to be aware of fighting fraud when it comes to their Medicare.
But before too much fear can be instilled in the senior citizen watching the commercial, Andy then explains to them how they are now protected from such fraud because of the newly enacted Health Care Law. The viewer then is to feel assured that everything will be “ok”, that is as long as the Health Care Law remains intact.
At this point, you are probably wondering to yourself, “Gee, I may not agree with this ad, but I have heard many other political ads more on the edge than this one.”
But this ad is actually very, very different. The reason? You are actually paying for it. These political ads addressing the most controversial issue of the campaign, the new Health Care Law, is being completely funded by your tax dollars courtesy of this administration’s United States Department of Health and Human Resources. That’s right. Millions of your tax dollars are being spent to fund these potentially powerful political ads across America.
And when did they begin to run? Just a few weeks prior to the election on November 2nd. Just in time to remind America’s senior citizens how they will somehow lose protection against Medicare fraud if those “evil” conservatives running for Congress are elected and somehow repeal the Health Care Law.
Is this legal? Technically, yes. Since these commercials are discussing an existing law (instead of a potential law) the federal government is allowed to run “public service” ads educating America of important, useful aspects about the law. And even though this ad is only educating the masses of how they no longer need to fear something they probably were not afraid of in the first place, it is still technically legal.
Well, at least this administration is not just giving money outright to people right before the election like the PRI party has done in Mexico, right? Not so fast. Recently, President Obama decided to take out his (our should I say our) check book and announce that he will be sending everyone on social security a fat pre-election check of $250.
This was to compensate senior citizens for the fact that inflation was so low that there would be not cost of living adjustments next year. But then again, if inflation did not increase enough to warrant an increase, then why did the president decide to be so generous with our tax dollars? Gee, could the date of November 2nd have anything to do with it?
While these new tax payer funded ads and sudden generous hand-outs are technically legal, hopefully Americans will take note of this apparent breach of public trust. Unlike other countries south of the border where such abuse of tax dollars for political purposes is understood to be commonplace, we in the United States have long imagined that our political system is different, where those in power are somehow prevented from using tax dollars to politically sway how people vote.
Maybe these ads will backfire. Maybe many senior citizens will take note of this breach of public trust when it comes to deciding who truly is committed to ending government waste. But even more importantly, hopefully they will also ask who is truly committed to preserving the integrity of our electoral process which is critical for the long-term survival of our democratic republic.