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Joni Ernst and "Steyer's Liars:" those bogus NextGen smear ads

Bruce Braley has, at this point, run precisely one ad (at least that I've seen) that wasn't a bogus attack on Joni Ernst.

Braley's favorite harrangue seems to be based on three absurd notions: that minimum wage jobs are intended to be the means by which people and families support themselves, that raising the minimum wage will help the poorest among us rather than causing their employers to eliminate jobs they can no longer pay people to do, and that Joni Ernst is somehow out of touch because she knows better than to believe either absurdity.

But the real heavy carrying in Braley's almost exclusively negative campaign has been done by an out-of-state billionaire's pet PAC, Tom Steyer's environmental group NextGen. Steyer's group has simply recycled discredited ads from previous campaigns, and used them to attack Ernst.

More on Steyer's deceit here. And still more here.

Here's one of the sleazy Iowa ads, which PolitiFact characterizes simply as "false;"

Here is PolitiFact's critique of the same charge made in Virginia a few years back regarding the save pledge.

Ever notice how the NextGen ads never tell you what the pledge actually says? Well, here it is:

I, ______, pledge to the taxpayers of the ______ district of the state of ______ and to the American people that I will:

One, oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rates for individuals and/or businesses; and

Two, oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates.

That's it. That's the pledge NextGen is making such a big deal about. So is the charge justified?  Does the pledge encourage outsourcing, or somehow operate against Iowa renewable energy interests?

Eric Toder of the Urban -Brookings Tax Policy Center says that it's misleading to tie the pledge to issues like outsourcing because signers promise not to support any tax increase or tax credit elimination regardless of the context. Nor would they close a tax subsidy designed to bring jobs home. The problem Americans for Tax Reform (the organization responsible for the pledge) had with the 2010 bill which occasioned its origination was that it eliminated a tax credit without finding another avenue to reduce taxes by the same amount. If it had, nothing in the pledge would have prevented a signer for voting for the 2010 bill.

And in fact, the vote took place nearly three years before Ernst signed the pledge. Her signing has nothing to do with the legislation in question,so any conclusions about Ernst's position based on that bill are by definition invalid!

The ad is, quite simply, a bald-faced lie, as is the whopper that Ernst wants to eliminate tax breaks for Iowa alternative energy companies (she opposes such subsidies in principle, but in practice supports them for Iowa alternative energy interests as long as other companies in other industries from other states are receiving them). But doesn't the ad above  make Joni seem evil? Corrupt, even; I love that part with the brief case, clearlyimplying that Ernst is being bribed somehow by unnamed "special interests!"

Amazing how positively diabolical "Steyer's Liars" can make a simple promise not to raise taxes without a corresponding offset seem!

And the media are letting them get away with it.

ADDENDUM: Braley has now come out with two more positive ads, ironically about how great a job he's doing for veterans.


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