(by Tomas Payne)

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.

For more, check out Side Effects: What Candidates Don’t Tell You:



Tough Times

(by Tomas Payne)

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.

For more, check out Side Effects: What Candidates Don’t Tell You:


Enlightened Voters

Side Effects: What Candidates Don’t Tell You comes from an author who is a CPA and who has a MBA in finance and a BS in political science.

Under Tomas Payne’s close scrutiny, it’s revealed that campaign promises from both parties hold side effects and problems that make them unattainable. In effect, campaign promises are carefully tailored to reach particular audiences by pulling specific heartstrings and emotions – and this makes them dangerous.

From ideals of wealth distribution and taxation to broken social systems and ideas for reforms, Side Effects tackles a host of promises and fallacies across the board, adopting a bipartisan, critical eye to defusing myths, presumptions, and illusions.

No light read, Side Effects supports its contentions with data, including charts and close analysis of opposing views and how to balance them, requiring of its readers an attention to detail and debate that demands not just close inspection but, ideally, in-depth reflection.

These are the facts all voters should see before making decisions: while candidates each promise better times for America, what are the costs of their proposals? Side Effects not only probes the latest election: it provides the critical thinking tools voters will need for any future process, showing how to delve beneath rhetoric and emotional appeals to understand the true costs of proposals and their often-unstable foundations. An enlightened voter is empowered to a greater understanding and will find the decision-making process clearer, as a result.

Side Effects delivers this, and should be on the reading lists of all voters and young adults coming of age as democratic, voting citizens, as well.

— Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review

Pick of the Month

With the 2016 political elections coming up fast, citizens who want to learn how to read between the lines of political promises should well consider the advice of an author who is a CPA and who has a MBA in finance and a BS in political science.

Tomas Payne has written Side Effects: What Candidates Don’t Tell You for general-interest audiences who may not be well versed in political subterfuge and methods for uncovering the truth, and its advice applies to all parties as it provides the basic tools of how to identify and understand rhetoric and differentiate it from fact.
Data, charts, and close analysis of how to inspect arguments and contentions on all sides provide the powerful keys to assessment that any voter should master before deciding on a proposition, candidate, or law.

— D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review

Review of Side Effects

You couldn’t have a timelier premise for a book.

Just received a great review from Dennis Hetzel at Windy City Reviews. Here are some highlights. Check out the full review at Windy City Reviews.

“You couldn’t have a timelier premise for a book. Side Effects: What Candidates Don’t Tell You intends to “cut through the BS” and take a fact-based look at the complex issues candidates should address directly instead of offering simplistic sound bites.”

“In less than 250 pages, Payne addresses pretty much everything—tax policy, income inequality, national debt, immigration, healthcare reform, climate change, free trade vs. protectionism, tort reform, the war on terror, the roots of Muslim fundamentalism, and more.”

“That’s damn audacious. Between that and the obvious pen name of Tomas Payne—a riff, of course, on Thomas Paine, the “Common Sense” hero of the American Revolution—your first instinct will be to raise eyebrows in skepticism and seek hidden agendas. Consider the sheer scope of knowledge required. Payne’s ambitions reminded me of a 2003 best seller that achieved an even more audacious goal: Bill Bryson’s A Short History of Nearly Everything.”

“So, guess what? For the most part, Payne actually pulls it off. If you care about what’s happening in American politics, you won’t regret the time invested in this book.”

“His scope of expertise is stronger in some areas than others, and sometimes his bias shows, but facts actually matter to Payne—quite a sharp contrast to some of our candidates. Just when you think you have him pegged … he surprises you.”

“In the end, it doesn’t matter if you agree with all his prescriptions for our problems. You come away with better questions. That’s a start toward better answers. The strength of this book is the impressive skill Payne uses to illuminate these complex, messy issues with facts and honest insight. He brings order to political noise with the kind of radical clarity that might have made his namesake proud.”

“Consider Side Effects like a policy prophylactic. It will protect you from what many candidates will spew between now and November, and it wouldn’t hurt for some of them to read it.” – Dennis Hetzel. (Windy City Reviews)


Political Myths

By Tomas Payne

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’s 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. Check out in Side-Effects: What Candidates Don’t Tell You.


Issues Matter

By Tomas Payne

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.

As we get caught up in the politics of personalities, we tend to forget that issues matter. We’ve watched the mudslinging, heard the easy slogans, but what about the promises themselves? Will walls, trade wars, and higher taxes fix our problems? Will they give us jobs and higher pay? Find out in Side-Effects: What Candidates Don’t Tell You.