Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Ain't we got dumb?

One-two punch: more lies, damn lies and statistics

By: Mike Krauss
Bucks County Courier Times

Whoever first made the now famous observation - "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damn lies and statistics." - would surely marvel at the incessant use today's American leaders make of all three.

Among the biggest lies of modern times - maybe of all time - was that the Wall Street bailout was intended to rescue the American people. And as the lie became apparent, a second lie became necessary, endlessly repeated over a year of always "unexpected" bad news, that the U.S. economy is recovering.

Mr. Obama was party to both lies. But with his claim to see "green shoots" springing up all over the place, he began to sound like some drugged out hippie.

"Oh wow, man. Green shoots. Cool."

It was embarrassing. So the president and almost every Democratic member of Congress began talking about all the jobs "created or saved," showing up wherever any federal money was spent, and getting creative with statistics. The same way they have been creative with counting the unemployed, by simply not counting those out of work for over a year.

Lies, damn lies and statistics.

The only people who have recovered in the United States are the rich, while the poor get poorer and millions of the middle class are wiped out and made poor. An entire generation of young Americans and legions of adult males have been condemned to long-term unemployment.

In this context, the president's announcement of more funds to get more American children to graduate high school is certainly a good step - one third now do not graduate. But it is a Band-aid on a hemorrhage.

It may keep a few million kids off the streets for a few more years, but only to move them into the next statistic - the one third that graduate with no useful skills to become unemployed.

And there is the lie de jour being served by Mr. Obama now: his health care proposals are paid for. In fact, the excise tax that is vital to pay for the plan will not go into effect until 2018, if the Congress at that time approves it. Fat chance.

Contrary to the slogan, Congress has never embraced "tax and spend." The actual policy for more than 30 years has been "spend and borrow," and pass the bill to the future.

And now the administration and Congress are readying a one-two, damn lie punch.

Lie One. There is no real money for the people - jobs, health care, keeping families in their homes and children off food stamps. But Wall Street, American corporations and the super rich are rolling in money.

Wall Street posted record profits by getting trillions of dollars virtually interest free from the American people, and then loaning it back at 3 percent! The watchdog group Tax Analysts recently made public an IRS report that the average income of the 400 "top earning" American families increased in five years almost fivefold, from $18 million to $87 million a year.

Those profits and incomes could be taxed as they were in the 1950s and 1960s, when America was prosperous and before the lie of "trickle down" was first peddled.

And the U.S. military budget is now larger than that of all other nations combined. (Read that again.) It could be reduced.

Instead, the Obama administration and Congress have set up a bipartisan commission to "reform" Social Security and Medicare. By reform, they mean of course to further reduce funding for the needs of ordinary Americans.

This assault on the remaining support for the middle class is being justified by Lie Two, the biggest damn lie of all: this never ending emergency is the fault of the American people.

Mr. Obama has repeatedly scolded that Americans have been too good to themselves for too long. New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman actually compared the American people to locusts (While Wall Street devours the harvest), pronouncing them "profligate."

In every other modern industrial democracy, every citizen has paid for and receives good health care. Many Europeans get six weeks annual paid vacation, full pensions far earlier than Americans, day care for working parents and generous education benefits.

But many Americans must work two jobs - if they can find one - to make ends meet, or turn to credit card debt to stay above water, and homes are being foreclosed right and left, families live in cars, day care is a luxury, one in four children is reduced to food stamps, health care is unavailable or unaffordable, the cost of a college education puts it out of reach for more millions daily, and Medicare and Social Security are about to get slashed.

Boy, that's some high flying lifestyle. Makes me downright ashamed. Mr. President, I demand that you cut Social Security and Medicare, please!

Lies and damn lies in America, as the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

Ain't we got dumb?

March 03, 2010

1 comment:

  1. You confuse me, Mike. I agree that the current structure of the American system suffers from an oligarchic, corporate strangehold that undermines the common wealth and best interests of the majority of its citizens. So why would you suggest that Social Security and Medicare should be cut, or was that meant as a joke? At least these programs provide some support for the people who have been screwed by the lie of trickle down. The growing poverty of the middle class begs for this corrupt system to release its stingy,greedy grip and fairly share this rich country's wealth with those who created it to begin with, working Americans. This working majority deserve their fair share of the bounty. Say what you will about Obama - at least he is trying to shape a government agenda that makes some moves against the profiteering machine you rail about. As we say down South: "Bless his heart" -- he needs all the support people of good will can provide. This is not an easy task.