Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Lies are on the record, let’s move on
"If you tell a lie that's big enough, and you tell it often enough, people will believe you are telling the truth, even when what you are saying is total crap." – Comedian and Law & Order actor Richard Belzer
I predict that the debt limit will be raised in a deal somewhat along the lines of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s plan. Republican House Speaker John Boehner’s two-step plan will not be necessary, although it would have been infinitely more desirable as yet another months-long opportunity to grind President Obama into the dirt and hold Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid hostage just prior to the 2012 elections.
But it won’t be necessary because the big lies are already in the can or on the Cloud or on the Internet or DVDs – wherever they can be safely stored until the Koch Brothers, Karl Rove and their ilk can turn them into campaign ads, which they will then bombard us with endlessly from now until Nov. 6, 2012.
Not that the Democrats won’t do some of the same, it’s just that they aren’t very good at it, while the Tea Party\Republicans (one doesn’t know what to call them any more) are world class masters.
We got a little taste Monday.
Every House and Senate Republican leader looked straight into the TV cameras one after the other and, in exactly the same words, said, “President Obama is playing politics and not doing what is best for the American people.”
Okay, so that’s a wrap. Talking point established. Prepare to see whichever Republican is running for election or re-election in your neighborhood run that sound bite in campaign ads about four million times between now and next November.
Never mind that the Republicans are also “playing politics,” not doing what’s best for the American people and, in fact, doing their darnedest to do what’s best for their big corporate contributors.
Here’s a few more big lies we’re already seeing and we’ll see again and again over the next year:
“We must take away President Obama’s blank check.”
His blank check? I believe that Congress is the one that allocates money, as it did for the $700 billion bank bailout under President Bush in which each of the the big banks came into then Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson’s office and wrote the sum it wanted ‒ $10 billion, $20 billion, $50 billion – on a single sheet of paper that amounted to a very big “blank check” indeed.
But raising the debt ceiling does not allow President Obama to spend new money, it only allows the government to make credit card payments on money Congress and the president have already spent. The blank check has been filled in and cashed.
"The stimulus was a failure."
Okay, it wasn't perfect, but it did save or create three million jobs, which unfortunately are now being lost because you can't build curb cuts, repave roads or pay cops and teachers out of a limited federal fund forever. That money did buy a lot of groceries and pay a lot of mortgages while it lasted. On the other hand, the Republicans would have let the Detroit auto industry just go bust at the cost of hundreds of thousands of jobs. And they had no plan to create jobs.
“The banks won’t lend money and big business won’t create new jobs because of the ‘climate of uncertainty’ that the Obama Administration has created.”
The uncertainty is that the corporations' Republican lackeys will not be able to stop the wildly popular move to take their multimillion-dollar tax breaks away from them and let the Bush tax breaks expire even as many of them enjoy their highest profits ever.
Another uncertainty: They also may not be able to avoid government re-regulation and prosecution after a decade of such lax regulation that the financial industry almost drove the world economy into the ground while their CEOs got rich providing predatory subprime mortgages to millions of Americans, most of whom have lost their homes.
Yeah, market forces are perfect and that regulation thing is a terrible drag on the economy.
Not that U.S. corporations haven’t created jobs. They have, only not here. U.S.-based multinational corporations are enjoying record profits but not creating American jobs, according to a recent AP report. In the 2000s they created 2.4 million jobs overseas and cut 2.9 million jobs here.
When was the last time you talked to an IT person for Microsoft or HP or some other software company who wasn’t in Bangalore?
"Raising taxes on the job creators or letting the Bush tax cuts expire will just kill jobs."
The "trickle-down" theory of job creation hasn't worked since Ronald Reagan first proposed it so why do the Republicans cling to it so ferociously? (See corporate donors.) According to a Washington Post-ABC poll taken July 14-17, 72 percent of all Americans, including 54 percent of Republicans, favor raising taxes on incomes over $250,000 and 59 percent, including 55 percent of Republicans, favor raising taxes on gas and oil companies.
Okay, one more big lie:
“We have to turn Medicare into a voucher system in order to save it.”
The insurance companies sold the Bush Administration and Congress on Medicare Advantage, the big lie that they could provide more comprehensive Medicare services more cheaply than the government, as part of the Medicare Part D prescription drug deal. They didn’t. Medicare Advantage was more expensive and provided far fewer services. It is being phased out.
Now that the lies have become so predictable that we can spot them before they arrive, here’s hoping fewer people will buy into them. One can but hope.