How do we respond to false advertising?
Suppose a drug company claims a 100 percent cure rate for "what ails you" but we discover the astonishing rate applies to only 1 percent of their customers. Suppose an investment guru claims a 15% return each and every year (think B. M.) and we find it to be untrue. How do we punish these false claims?
Now suppose it's a congressman pushing a tax bill in 2009. Part of the justification, and much of the rhetoric used to promote the bill are the contents and results of a prior
tax bill, specifically the "Revenue Act of 1932." What do we do if we find the claims are false?
In an interview on FoxBusiness.com (3/4/09) Representative Peter Defazio (referring to notes) states "...1932, when Congress doubled the then tax of .2 to .4 percent." This occurs 1 minute 15 seconds into the video. Link
In fact, in 1932 there were two versions of the Revenue Act, one from the House and the other from the Senate. The following image is part of a TIme magazine article from May 23, 1932.Click to view attachment
The above image contains only two paragraphs and a table from the text. In the online version of the article (Link
) the columns in the table don't align. In the boxed area showing "Stock Transfer" proposals, neither of the legislative bodies proposed a tax as high as the .4 percent (40 cents per $100) Rep. DeFazio mentioned.
Which version of the tax was implemented? There were thirteen hours of non-stop negotiating between House and Senate leaders. The Time issue (Link
) of June 13, 1932, states, "In the trading across the table, Utah's grey old Reed Smoot, Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee... won... a cut in the stock transfer tax...." So the Senate version prevailed on that particular aspect. As presented in the May table, the tax rate was 4 cents per $100
share. And that is .04 percent, not the .40 percent Congressman Defazio claimed in the interview
. That's a huge
So what do you do about false advertising? As you answer this for yourself, don't think of what has (or hasn't) been done in the past. In 2009 we seem to be demanding a new standard for accountability in many areas. I believe this should include our politicians.
Alton - 3/22/2009
PS - A reminder here that other Congressmen have signed on as cosponsors of HR 1068. Think of them as misinformed.
..Rep. Peter DeFazio [D-OR]
..Rep. Fortney Stark [D-CA]
..Rep. Rosa DeLauro [D-CT]
..Rep. Donna Edwards [D-MD]
..Rep. Lynn Woolsey [D-CA]
..Rep. Barbara Lee [D-CA]
..Rep. Peter Welch [D-VT]
..Rep. Michael Capuano [D-MA]
..Rep. Betty Sutton [D-OH]
..Rep. David Wu [D-OR]
Note: The cosponsor information is current only as of 2009-03-07 and can be found at govtrack.us