‘There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.’” – Mark Twain.

We know Missouri’s own Samuel Clemens was never shy about sharing his views on politics and politicians.  It’s a fact that has often made me wonder why he left out political campaigns from his definition of lies.  Perhaps if  he were around today he might indeed define four kinds of lies.

Seems everyone is running commercials today as the primary date approaches.  Even candidates with no primary opposition are running commercials to get their licks in early.  United for Missouri’s Future andUnited for Missouri DO NOT endorse candidates but we do take note of how candidates stand on various issues important to our 65,000+ members statewide.

One of the issues that our organizations have supported is tax reform.  Specifically we have supported eliminating the income tax and replacing it with a consumer driven consumption tax. The states that do this kick our economic tail.  You can get more information from some of our previous blogs by clicking here.

One of the places where Twain’s definition of “lies” could be applied is in the race for the 31st Senatorial District in western Missouri.  This race pits Ed Emery against Scott Largent.  I know both men and like them both.  That’s why I was disappointed to see the false mailer that was sent out against Ed Emery regarding his support of tax reform.

The mailer falsely accuses Emery of supporting a tax hike and that “it could be as high as 20%”.  As with any “good” political mailer, it contains enough “truth” to make you believe it is credible.  However, the majority of the ad is false and misleading.

The “20%’ tax rate is an obvious scare tactic.  The fact is no credible source supports that rate.  It has been thrown about by the big government spending opponents of tax reform.  It’s not factual and cannot be sustained without using significant stretches of the truth.

The mailer interestingly uses “national averages” for things that would be taxed.  Fact is the mailer is wrong about many of the things they say would be taxed.  But even if you don’t know that, why would you use “national averages” for these items?  Again the answer is pretty simple – the “national averages” are generally higher than the “real” Missouri averages. If you use the lower, more accurate numbers it won’t scare people as badly as writer of the false ad attempts to do.

The ad uses a ploy used by national democrats in the 2010 election cycle against any republican that supported the National Fair Tax and even against some that didn’t.  In most cases the false information didn’t work on the national level and hopefully Missourians won’t let this false attack be their determining factor in this race.

Races should be determined on the merits of the candidates positions and accurate portrayals of their records.  This ad does not do any of that and Mr. Largent should apologize to Mr. Emery for his campaign’s false attack.

Unfortunately, ’tis the season for such tactics. Voters beware!