Character is essentially about saying and doing the right things. Far too often we see politicians failing in both areas.

Representative Charles Rangel, D-NY, in December 2010, was censured for 11 ethics violations.  Representative Anthony Weiner, D-NY, resigned in disgrace for sending pictures of his genitals via Twitter to several women. In six years, Congressman Mollohan, D-WV, increased his wealth by 58-fold up to $29 million, an annual salary of about $174,000. CREW (Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington) lists Mollohan as one of Congress’ 15 most corrupt members.

At the State level, Senator Scott Bundgaard, R-Peoria, was forced to resign in the face of an ethics investigation into a domestic violence allegations by his former girlfriend. Daniel Patterson, D-Tucson, was forced to resign recently after allegations of ethics violations that included domestic violence among other charges.

All these people failed the proverbial sniff test regarding ethical behavior.  

Now we have Democratic Candidate Ron Barber’s (CD8) campaign leveling a mixture of fact, opinion and outright misinformation against his opponent, Jesse Kelly. Barber’s minion, Jennifer Cox, wrote an article for a local paper slinging charges against Jesse Kelly.

Cox charged: “. . . Kelly would cut taxes for millionaires and billionaires, while eliminating Medicare and Social Security, raising taxes on the middle class and getting rid of the minimum wage.”

When did Kelly say he would raise taxes on the middle class? Where is the source?

This is Cox’s opinion or misinformation. Kelly’s own website states, under National Debt and Government Spending, that “The current administration has taken this country to the brink of financial ruin with their reckless deficits and spending programs. These policies amount to a generational theft from our children and grandchildren. We must return to a path of fiscal sanity. Washington must do what that American people are doing: cutting spending, paying down debt and living within their means.”

Cox continues: “. . . Kelly told people opt in or out of a parallel program? We must think outside the proverbial box.

Kelly’s website plainly states that Kelly “support[s] protecting Social Security. We need a long-term solution that ensures funds paid into the system will be there when people retire. We will fully honor benefits for current retirees . . . Younger workers should have the choice of allocating a portion of their contribution into a personal retirement account in their name . . . choose from a range of appropriate retirement options. We must not allow the bankruptcy of Social security through lack of action.”

The Bowles-Simpson Fiscal Commission also recommended that the retirement age be indexed to longevity and increase the age for retirement, use a lower inflation rate causing lower cost of living increases, reduce benefits for high earners relative to current benefits, and increase the Social Security contribution ceiling.  These recommendations are much harsher than anything Kelly supports yet Cox is strangely silent when it comes to the commission.

Cox continues: “Supports 23 percent Tax Increase on Middle Class Families,” which is based on the Fair Tax, which is a proposal to replace the federal income tax with a national sales tax.  

Cox is silent on our broken tax system. Democrats and Republicans agree it is broken. They have not agreed on a solution to the problem. Even Bowles-Simpson suggested three tax plans, with the first plan having a top rate of  . . . 23 percent.  The third plan calls for Congress to undertake comprehensive tax reform.

Cox calls for protecting the middle class yet the only political party attacking the middle class is the Democrats. Obamacare represents a huge tax increase on the middle class: avoiding the individual mandate causes an income surtax of 2.5%; and by 2013, capital gains and dividend taxes increase by 58 percent. There are over twenty new taxes, at one count, that hit the middle class in Obamacare alone.

While Ron Barber and Jennifer Cox may disagree with Jesse Kelly on policy issues, it does not call for fabricating charges or taking the proverbial comment out of context. This is the first step on the slippery slope that politicians described at the beginning of the article found themselves.

The obligations of ethical conduct rest more heavily on those chosen to govern and rest equally on those who desire to govern.

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