Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Interview: Side Effects: What Candidates Don't Tell You by Tomas Payne Book Tour & Giveaway

1. What inspired you to write about political candidates?
I completed a BS degree in Political Science because of my interest in the political process. My career in business required me to delve behind the scenes into the root causes of issues I faced. Upon seeing how vehemently candidates promoted one set of positions or another, I decided to dive in and do some fact-checking. What I found was that neither party nor any of the candidates got it right. That likely explains voter frustration with the process. That prompted me to write up my findings so that others could examine the same discrepancies I found between what candidates said and what has actually worked. It’s one thing to say they want to raise or lower taxes. It is quite another to connect their wish list with how that will actually benefit voters. That’s where the candidates miss the mark.

2. What is your perspective on this year's electoral season?
Probably more than any other election over the past 25 years, this election is about radically different solutions to issues and yet the candidates seem hard-pressed to stick to the issues instead of name-calling. Perhaps, as I’ve uncovered, they realize that the plans they put forward won’t have the positive effects that they say will come. “Vote for me and trust my word.” If this cantankerous politicking continues, it could undermine our democracy. It would better serve voters to lay out the issues, recommendations, and the side effects of those plans, but the process is geared toward the candidates pursuing power more than to voter needs.

3. If you were running for President, what is the first thing you would change?
Running for president is about issues, character, and credentials. The book Side Effects deals with the issues by examining what history has to tell us about policies that are promoted. I would lay out what policies I supported with a similar attempt to support those policies based on the facts, rather than on some mythological notion of liberal and conservative. In other words, forget rhetoric, what outcomes can we expect these policies to have and with what side-effects.

On the question of character, it seems that we have descended to one of the lowest levels in American politics in promoting candidates of questionable character to lead both major parties. To some extent, this is a product of communication technology in that we know more about candidates than ever before. Would Lyndon Johnson have been able to stand up to the scrutiny that Trump or Clinton faced this year? We can’t muzzle this technology and even if we could, we would question whether muzzling free communication is desirable. Unfortunately, this scrutiny is having the effect of keeping very good candidates from running for office, leaving that role to the ego-driven types we perhaps would rather didn’t run.

On credentials, there’s no question that Secretary Clinton has stronger credentials on paper. However, if we were to elect solely on credentials, any prior president would have better credentials than she has. Electing a candidate with great credentials who would take the country in a direction you don’t believe in is not a good choice.

Seems to me, the major parties and elected officials in Washington need to take a hard look at how we can promote fair elections, drawing on the best candidates for both parties, while maintaining the legitimacy of the process. We spend entirely too much on campaigning. We could look at spending limits, limiting Super-Pac’s and other groups that collect money in support of candidates, and other approaches to limit campaign spending and “buying” the presidency. However, that would not curb the influence of the major media outlets who can sway public opinion toward candidates they favor. It also doesn’t curb the influence of extremist showmanship in the new widespread prevalence of instant communication.

We might ask ourselves if the most popular candidate is the best candidate. That challenges our notion of democracy, but if democracy calls forth the demagogue and silver-tongued haranguer over the candidate with the best character, credentials, and issues, are we well served by the process. In short, I have more questions than answers at this point, but the path forward it best illuminated by at least having the right questions.

4. What is one piece of advice you would offer to both Trump and Clinton?
I would ask both to read my book. I’ve sent them both a copy and surprise … I doubt they’ve looked at it. To both I would ask that they have someone outside their ideological hardliners take a look at their proposals from a historical perspective. We’ve had entirely too much on-the-job training over the past 100 years. We now have history and experience of the impact of many proposals made by both sides. Why don’t we avail ourselves of what we can know instead of experimenting with American lives and livelihoods? As an example, the implications of getting into Iraq and getting out of Iraq the way we did should not have been a surprise to anyone. Yet evidently it was to our leaders at the time. We can’t afford another 4 years of on-the-job training as both candidates propose actions at odds with history.

5. Share an excerpt from your book...

Isn’t it about time for us to talk about issues based on facts and data instead of oft repeated mantras that take on a sacred quality? These mantras are repeated phrases that may or may not have any basis in fact or reality but tend to sway our thinking. To say “There’s no place like home” (from the Wizard of Oz) is harmless and based on valid experience. The statement that we only use 10% of our brains has been debunked, yet was the premise of a recent movie which was otherwise great fun. Political mantras, on the other hand, can be quite dangerous when they are based on false beliefs.
For those of us lucky enough to live in a democracy, we have elections every couple of years. Actually, the United States is a republic, since we elect representatives rather than have each voter show up in Washington to decide on every issue. If nothing else, there aren’t enough hotels or even barns in Washington to house everyone. In lieu of that, our representatives create laws on our behalf, which gives them considerable power over us and significant incentive to covet positions in Washington.
In anticipation of elections, candidates promise us gorgeous beaches and forget to tell us about the sharks. They know that most people just want to be left alone to live their lives without fear of interference from outsiders, neighbors or the government.
Candidates take advantage of our distraction by coming to us every two to four to six years with sound bites, mantras, and pleas to get our votes. They appeal to our emotions rather than to our intellect since that is the quickest way to our hearts. Then many return to doing whatever they planned to do, hoping we won’t peek behind the curtain to see what they’re really up to. We get climate deniers and economic deniers, both of whom deny the facts. They should be embarrassed at being exposed, yet typically they are not.
We try to get them to tell us what they would actually do if we gave them the power, and what the side-effects would be. But candidates don’t get elected by telling us the pain associated with their promises. Instead, they spin myths and withhold the effects of their plans as they promise us all gain and no pain.
In order for democracy to function well, it requires informed citizens who see through this bombardment of myths and misinformation. Unfortunately, some topics are hard to understand and may seem counter-intuitive. If you’re looking for easy answers, there often aren’t any, which is one of the most important things candidates don’t tell us. They hope we won’t dig.
So, let’s peal back a few layers of the onion to see what’s going on.
History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does illustrate human behavior over time. If we choose not to learn from history, if we bury our heads, then we tend to repeat the mistakes of the past.
Here’s a mantra: We live during tough times. Yet it was hard for the first immigrants who set foot on this land. It was dangerous for those on the wagon trains heading west. It was rough for the farmers when they left their homes and moved to the cities in search of work. We perceive our times as tougher because we’re living through them and we don’t know how this will turn out.
We tend to forget that America became great by individuals and groups overcoming adversity. Perhaps part of our angst comes from not having to face the clear hardships that our ancestors did, where there was no turning back. When they lost their jobs or the dustbowl took their farms, there was no safety net. They had to move on and do the best they could. Hardships gave their lives clarity and straightforward direction we often find lacking today. Few of us would want to return to what they faced but perhaps we can learn from their experiences.
It’s true that today’s events seem to happen faster than ever, yet is that any more disruptive than when our ancestors got on a boat, crossed the ocean, and faced an uncertain future in a new land? They did so because often they saw no better option. They were motivated to take personal risks. They plunged into uncertain futures.
Indeed, times have changed. We live in a global society with rapid communication that bombards us daily with terror and dismay. It tempts us with toys and wealth, if only …
Most Americans live much better than their counterparts 100 years ago, with indoor plumbing, air conditioning, refrigeration, vehicle transportation, cell phones, and countless appliances to make our lives easier. Yet, we are enticed to want more than we can afford, which leads us to despair. Our ancestors crossed oceans for less than we have today. Yet many of us today would not consider moving twenty miles for a better opportunity.
We lose faith in the future and become fearful, pining for a past shrouded in myth, a past that never was, when life was simpler and we didn’t have the problems we face today. We the people look for answers while those who represent us announce that they have the cure to what ails us. In fact, they tell us that what ails us is what they have a solution to.
“Vote for me and I’ll make your worries go away.” Just don’t ask too many inconvenient questions.
To collect our votes, many candidates appeal to our fears, hoping we’ll see the world in their stark vision of black and white. It often sounds as if they’re offering us a crystal clear choice in which we can sever our right hand or our left in order to serve their needs—to serve them instead of them serving us.
As an example, consider coal. Since coal is not a clean, green energy source, some people demand shutting down all coal production while others deny that there’s a problem. Yet, if we think outside the box, there could be other choices, such as developing technologies to provide cleaner ways to use the coal we have.
Most of us believe that the ends do not justify the means. Americans believe in fairness and a prosperous future for our children. With regard to such broad goals for this country, we may not differ by as much as it seems, yet we argue over ways to get there. However, when the means lead to the wrong ends, the means necessarily must be wrong.
What I’m talking about are consequences. When a pharmacy fills a prescription, they provide a long list of side-effects, some of which can make you ill or kill you. We rarely get such a list for the prescriptions provided by candidates asking for our support.
Before we journey down the path of exploring the myths and the side-effects that candidates don’t tell us, who am I to lead this? First, I’m not a billionaire, not even a one-percenter. I don’t believe I’ve ever met a billionaire. I’ve known quite a few one-percenters, some of whom you would never recognize in a crowd. I am a CPA and have an MBA in finance, a BS in Political Science, and over 30 years of business experience. I’m a longtime student of business, the ever-entertaining field of economics, and of the political shell game.
The focus of this journey will be to explore headline issues based on history, digging behind the issues, and highlighting their implications. The purpose will be to stimulate readers to dig deeper into candidate promises.
We will look at options and alternatives, as well as the side-effects of various proposals. While candidates try to keep their appeals simple, there is no free lunch and no easy answers to the problems we face. If there were, we wouldn’t need representatives.
Rather than beginning with ideology, this journey begins with history and what we can learn from experience. Some of this may fly in the face of common sense. If so, bear with me.
We all know if you throw a baseball up in the air that it will come down to Earth. That is common sense that we can experience every day. But, if you could throw a ball hard enough, let’s say with a rocket, it would keep going. We know this from the Voyager spacecraft that has sailed past the orbit of Pluto.
It is racing out of our Solar System. Even if it didn’t, it would be unlikely to return to Earth. The Sun would be a more likely destination or perhaps in orbit around the Sun as the asteroids do. This is uncommon sense since it doesn’t fit our everyday expectations. Yet it’s true and verifiable.
I’m sure there will be some people who object to one item or another on ideological grounds despite what the facts say. To those who reject the information contained here, I welcome any corrections of factual errors.
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​Book Genre: Nonfiction (political)
Publisher: Finlee Augare Books
Release Date: July 1, 2016

Buy Link(s):
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Side-Effects-What-Candidates-Dont-ebook/dp/B01G0KUW0G

Book Description:
The book candidates don’t want us to see.
“A must-read guide to campaign promises.” “Facts everyone should see before they vote.”
Candidates rally for our support and appeal to our anger and frustrations, often offering radical solutions, but what aren’t they telling us? Sure they pitch the good times they’ll bring. What about the side-effects and costs of their medicine.
Side-Effects: What Candidates Don’t Tell You takes you behind the scenes on issues of the day and campaign promises. It focuses on consequences, issues, and options. It also challenges myths such as who are the wealthy, and what is the history of depressed wages. The emphasis is on shedding light, exposing myths, examining consequences, and exploring options, not on personalities. Sorry, no dirt on the people, just on their promises.
Side-Effects will answer questions such as:
  •   Will raising income and estate taxes hurt the billionaires and redistribute wealth?
  •   Why healthcare is broken and what options we have.
  •   Why wages are depressed and what we can do about it.
  •   What are the implications of immigration plans?
Side-Effects cuts through the BS to look at campaign promises on wealth redistribution, taxes, Social Security, healthcare, depressed wages, and many other topics and aims to bring facts to these issues.

Author Bio:
Tomas Payne is a CPA and has an MBA in Finance, BS in Political Science and over 30 years of business experience. He is a longtime student of business, the ever-entertaining field of economics, and of the political shell game.

Author Links - 

Giveaway - 
US Only: 1 signed print book of Side Effects plus $15 Amazon gift card
US Only: 1 signed print book of Side Effects
Worldwide: 2 ebook copies (mobi/epub) of Side Effects

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