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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Big Switch: How Conservatives Have Blamed the Public Sector for the Present Crisis

If you really want to see an example of the unstoppable power of the American conservative movement, if you really want proof that our media is pretty fucking far from being “liberal,” as wingnuts so often say, you only need to examine the top story of the day. It seems that all of a sudden, in the past year or so, we have been stricken with an evangelical movement to cut government spending. It’s as if people think that our current economic malaise was brought on by school teachers in Wisconsin or Planned Parenthood. It’s as if our collective memories don’t reach back even far enough to recall that it was Wall Street—that bastion of capitalism and unregulated markets—that brought America and a lot of the world to their knees. In 2000 when Bill Clinton handed over a federal government to George Bush that actually was carrying a surplus no one was saying that we needed to defang the government—and by defang I mean eliminate programs for the needy.

No one made much mention of the need to cut government spending when Bush sent troops into Afghanistan and then Iraq and then left them there until the end of his miserable presidency. Even now, few conservatives mention defense when they talk about the Jesus-mandated obligation we have to reduce the government to a size more easily manageable so that they can drown it in the proverbial bathtub. If you were a conspiracy theorist might think that the Wall Street meltdown was dreamed up just so that conservatives could later attack government social spending.

At the same time that the Right screeches about the looming disaster of government spending they defend the tax cuts for the richest Americans. Their patron saint, Ronald Reagan, lowered taxes for the rich 30 years ago so we have enough data accumulated to know that these tax cuts have never, nor will they ever trickle down to create jobs for the lower classes. The Right calls the rich "the job creators." We also know that 80% of the growth in income over that past 25 years has gone to the top 1% of our citizenry. As Bill Maher said, that’s like ordering a pizza with 100 slices for 100 people and when it arrives one guy takes 80 slices. America’s middle class has seen a steady decline since Reagan and now we are supposed to believe that the fault lies with our public libraries? The really terrible thing is that middle class people are buying this story brought to you by the Republican Party, sponsored by GM, and written by the Heritage Foundation.

I think the most startling revelation in all of this is that Obama—the man we elected to fight for our side—has completely capitulated to the Republicans. I don’t see how things could have been a lot more different these past years if George Bush would have been given a third term. We are still in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Guantanamo. The rich still have their tax cuts at a time when U.S. cities are firing police officers and teachers. What message could be clearer that the Right has so little regard for citizens that they will deny education and civil protection for the people in order to insure that the wealthiest 1% can keep getting even richer?

The class warfare the Right is so quick to point out when it is directed in their direction is more of a war between the middle and lower classes against the poor. There’s barely a college degree to be found among the teabaggers as they take to the streets to end social programs for the poor and to further reduce taxes. The irony (or at least one of many ironies) is that you won’t hear a peep out of them when they are hit by a tax by Exxon in the form of higher gas prices.  And yes, it is a tax when you have no alternative but to drive because conservatives have opposed every mass transit measure in the past 30 years.

The ironic sum total of the situation is more than enough to choke on. The Right took one of the most monumental failures in the history of under-regulated capitalism and turned it into their greatest victory. It is positively brilliant.  Not only did we bail out the banking system with no strings attached and without a single change in our banking laws, but we have allowed the Right to begin the dismantling of many of the things we spent the past century literally fighting in the streets to gain. I doubt that conservatives will be happy until we have struck down child labor. If you think that I am joking you need to look at the new bankruptcy laws which have made indentured servitude fashionable once again.  It’s like conservstives vision for the future is a novel by Charles Dickens.

One part of me wants to say “chapeau, well done” while the other side wants to start building guillotines for our next revolution.

14 comments:

  1. Wow, guillotines. So sorry to that written, as the pen is mighty indeed.

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  2. So are you backing Obama still, as he bombs Libya and commits troops to the Ivory Coast? Are Pelosi and Reid really your cover boys? Are we suppose to pay 1st grade teaachers pensions of 100,000 a year until they pass away at 95 years old? Are we suppose to watch unions (like the teachers unions) continue to deduct money directly from paychecks and then spend the money on pacs and campaigns, without consulting the teachers? What taxes do you pay to the US?

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  3. Two single men live in identical townhomes. They use the same streets, the same amount of water, and have the garbage pickup. They both have no children using the schools. One is a writer and sells his books. He makes 1 million and pays 300,000 in taxes. The other makes 45,000 and pays no taxes. Is this a fair tax system?

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  4. Planned parent "hood" conducted 305,000 abortions in 2007. Should our tax dollars continue to support, and fund with 300 million a year, a for profit corporation doing abortions in mass scale? The free ribbed condoms they hand out are a nice touch. Your thoughts?

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  5. You have missed the largest problem facing our country. 22% of the population work for the government. Pensions to these workers can't continue to be paid by shrinking cities with increasing retired populations. Smaller governments like in Indiana need to be examined closely. How would you solve the 15 - 18 Trillion deficit?

    Our country means all of us living here.

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  6. You know, I wrote a couple of other comments in response but I deleted them. After reading your remarks I realized that everything you say makes total sense and I’ve been wrong about everything. You really turned me around on all these issues. I think I’ll even start going to church.

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  7. Ribbed condoms would send any country to hell in a handbasket.

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  8. A retired teacher who makes $100,000 a year? A guy who makes $45,000 and doesn't pay any taxes? Rich people who actually pay all their taxes? All you need to complete your set of Republican fictitious characters is a Cadillac-driving welfare queen and that hippie who spit on a Viet Nam Vet. Don’t forget to buy the soundtrack by Lee Greenwood.

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  9. Wow, "anonymous" ticked through the FOX News talking points like a pro!

    I'm sure Roger Ailes whacks off knowing that his useful idiot audience can so effectively recite the creed without any hesitation or pause to examine that so much of what they recite is complete sophistry and utter piffle.

    Well done!

    Let's deconstruct this piffle:

    So are you backing Obama still, as he bombs Libya and commits troops to the Ivory Coast?

    Yes. At least the Obama Administration, in waging war, hasn't made a complete fuck-all mess of things like the Bush team did in Iraq. I wouldn't even know where to begin in listing all the massive mistakes the Bushies made, and how many lives were wasted.

    Are Pelosi and Reid really your cover boys?

    Not sure what this means, but I'll play along: yes. They are leaps and bounds above, intellectually, such mental midgets as Michelle "The Earth is 6,000 years old 'cos the Bible tells me so" Bachman. How's that for brilliant and smart leadership? Or Senator James "global warming is an anti-jesus plot by commie liberals" Inhofe? Fuck me, with half-wits like this on the Republican side, Reid and Pelosi seem fabulously qualified. So what's your point, exactly?

    Are we suppose to pay 1st grade teaachers [sic] pensions of 100,000 a year until they pass away at 95 years old?

    Yes (if that were actually the case--of course, they get much less than this, you moron), which they deserve more than thieving Wall Street confidence artists who got generous tax cuts on the money they stole from their customers, shareholders, and bondholders. Not to mention the hundreds of billions spent bailing out the companies they deliberately ran into the ground. Do you understand the scale of this fraud, you fucking idiot? And yet you're whining about teachers' pensions, which are but a SMALL fraction of the cost of Wall Street bailout.

    Are we suppose to watch unions (like the teachers unions) continue to deduct money directly from paychecks and then spend the money on pacs and campaigns, without consulting the teachers?

    More Fox News piffle. A vast majority of union members adamantly support their union. Do you know why, idiot? Because unions protect their wages, benefits, and retirement better as a collective bargaining entity than, say, individual workers without that protection who cannot even imagine such a wonderful thing. I challenge you to go "individually bargain" with your boss for better pay and benefits and see, after all the laughter, how quickly you're escorted out of his or her office.

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  10. Part II:

    Two single men live in identical townhomes. They use the same streets, the same amount of water, and have the garbage pickup. They both have no children using the schools. One is a writer and sells his books. He makes 1 million and pays 300,000 in taxes. The other makes 45,000 and pays no taxes. Is this a fair tax system?

    According to a federal tax calculator, the single man making $45,000/year will pay $7,431 in federal taxes (you don't mention a state, so like any mathematician, I cannot make calculations on their state tax burdens when key data is missing). The single man making $300,000/year pays $84,117 in federal taxes. According to the very definition of progressive taxation, that sounds downright fair to me. What you think is "fair" may be another matter, but of course, you don't seem grasp many things logically as far as I can tell. Your views seem bred more out of spite and malice than in what constitutes the roles and obligations of the citizenry in a liberal social-democratic republic like the USA.

    Planned parent "hood" conducted 305,000 abortions in 2007. Should our tax dollars continue to support, and fund with 300 million a year, a for profit corporation doing abortions in mass scale? The free ribbed condoms they hand out are a nice touch. Your thoughts?

    Well, my thoughts are you're a fucking idiot. But on this subject, not a single dollar of that federal money, BY LAW, paid for any abortions. It paid for pregnancy screening, PAP smears, birth control pills, STD education, pregnancy counseling, and many other highly beneficial medical aid to women. Wait--do you hate women? Wait--what you really hate are POOR WOMEN. Do you want to deny them all this beneficial aid so the single man in the townhouse above can save a few pennies in taxes for more ribbed condoms? OK. You ARE an idiot and woman-hating swine. Thanks for clarifying that. Gotcha.

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  11. You have missed the largest problem facing our country. 22% of the population work for the government. Pensions to these workers can't continue to be paid by shrinking cities with increasing retired populations. Smaller governments like in Indiana need to be examined closely. How would you solve the 15 - 18 Trillion deficit?

    Well, first of all, you are wrong. The largest problem facing our country right now is unemployment and the HUGE income gap between the rich and the rest of the country. I guess if you really looked at the facts as presented outside the FOX News (which is a joke; FOX is all op-ed; not many facts are presented, just the opinions of highly paid shills and sophists) you'd see the real big picture.

    Have you been to Indiana lately? Do you know what saved Indiana's ass the last two years? The Federal stimulus. The nice, new airport, the federal interstate around Indianapolis, etc, all paid for with generous tax money. Lots of jobs were created to build that nice airport and highway. All in Uncle Sam's dime. Lucky Indiana.

    Go to Anderson, or Fort Wayne, Gary, or anywhere else where the auto and steel industries and their suppliers once had massive factories. Those places are positively decimated by unemployment and declining population. Ghost towns, really. Lots of crime. Poverty. Foreclosed homes. A damn shame.

    Indiana isn't a model for jack shit. Half the state is turning into a third world country, right before our eyes. Go next door to Michigan and Ohio and see further proof of massive decline. It's rather depressing. Oh, but they have jesus. He'll make things right!

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  12. I'd love to match more wits with you, "Anonymous," but I'd suggest you firstly take a course on rhetoric and logic. Obviously, when you watch FOX News, the specious "facts" they spew out go mostly unchallenged, which is hardly rational discourse, so you're learning too many bad habits in the art of sophistry, which is basically lying to make a point using reasonably-sounding, but mostly false facts. Phony facts that go unchallenged.

    Real discourse first requires you are in possession of such tools as reason, logic, and scientific method. Without knowing and understanding these tools, just merely "saying" things like you do above doesn't mean you're right, especially without any kind of proof or factual evidence to back such piffle.

    So in the end all you've done is parroted a lot of specious nonsense backed by absolutely no factual evidence. Just because Sean Hannity says it's so doesn't make it so. Hannity and a vast majority of the right-wing media get paid handsomely to promote sophistry and propaganda.

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  13. Of course he didn't once address the point of my essay which is that the crisis was caused not by government spending but by a massive failure of the capitalist system and further proof that we must keep a close vigil on the banking sector.

    I can't think of a single theory that has been proven to be more wrong than the conservative economic model mostly constructed by Milton Friedman. countries like Germany, Denmark, Sweden, France and others have turned almost 180 degrees from this school of laissez-faire economics and they have done a much better job of taking care of their citizens than the USA in the post-Reagan era. There are no slums in Valencia, almost no violent crime, and their health care is excellent. I have visited many hospitals here and I talk with everyone and by and large people agree that their system is fantastic. So keep believing what Rush tells you instead of getting a passport and seeing for yourself.

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  14. It's s sleight of hand: Wall Street just fucked America in the ass.

    BUT LOOK: Teachers make 100k a year while idiots at Wal Wart make jack shit! BOOOOO-HOOO.

    Get it?

    Class warfare where the combatants robbing and pillaging the most are not even examined.

    The problem with the Tea Party is a vast majority of it adherents are clueless fuckwits who just want to stick it to poor niggers and spics.

    Oh, and women. They hate women. Attacking Planned Parenthood is just vile. What are we, Nicaragua under the Somozas? The Somozas were so heartless they ran blood banks where they basically STOLE the blood of the country's peasants and made a tidy profit selling it on the world market.

    Maybe that's Boehner's master plan: make millions of Americans even poorer and then sell their vital organs to keep filthy rich old hags alive longer. Nice business model.

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