There seems to me to be a basic truth that the American population has come to accept that says:
POLITICIANS CANNOT BE TRUSTED.
Despite having made that discovery, most Americans seem to break that one short idiom down by adding a defining rationalization:
POLITICIANS FROM THE “OTHER” PARTY CANNOT BE TRUSTED.
The Occupy Wall Street movement seems to have beat me to an epiphany and is probably why most Americans cannot figure out, or have not yet come to the same epiphany, just what OWS really wants. What their “demand” is. From where does their collective anger originate?
And contrary to popular opinion, I think that most of the politicians do understand.
If I had to boil down what I think OWS is angry about, it would be a paraphrase of a statement made by a charismatic, famous actor who originated the modern day slide of the American politician. Ronald Reagan did so by offering the public a likeable, soothing façade while delivering a meme that even he came to even regret as President. His party would co-opt meme as a battle cry to be twisted, turned and re-shaped into a debilitating form of smoke and mirrors with which the public could be divided and therefore conquered.
The original phrase:”Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem”, in my opinion, should be altered slightly to correctly state the actual meme thusly: “Politicians are not the solution to our problems; Politicians are the problems”.
As a CPA and a fairly issues-oriented person, I have had an epiphany of my own that takes me back to the original premise, and I am disgusted by the financial games being played in Washington by ALL of our elected officials, and their habitual lying to the American people.
The closest comparison that I can think of to describe what our politicians have become is WWE Smackdown, or rather, the entire World Wrestling Entertainment universe. Why do I make this statement? Because Republicans and Democrats seemingly are not actually interested in providing anything to the American public except entertainment for the sake of gaining personal wealth. Furthermore, I can say this with the smug confidence that stems from proof for what I say.
I call them, THE BIG LIES.
And they’re being played out by a not-so-new challenger, the WPE -or the World Political Entertainment universe.
Big Lie #1.
American “News” Organizations
Not since Chet Huntley, David Brinkley or Walter Cronkite, have we in the American viewing public had a “news” anchor, much less “News” organizations at the Network Level….not Broadcast Level and not Cable Network Level. They are all managed under the auspices of their respective Entertainment Divisions and are expected to be Profit, not Cost Centers.
The Television News Journalists and Television News Organizations have gone the way of the 8-track tape, the juke box, and baseball players not juiced up on steroids.
Try the following on any given week night. When the National half-hour news shows come on NBC, CBS, ABC, or even CNN, have a separate member of your family pick a network and jot down what they presented as, “Major” news stories of the night. Compare all of your notes.
What you will see are the exact same stories- they will probably have some differing fluff pieces thrown in for good measure, but the “news” will all be the same.
Now, they might repeatedly show peaceful OWS protesters being painted with toxic, law-enforcement grade pepper spray for one night, maybe even feign shock or disgust, but only for the shock value; not to report why those protesters are willing to endure such treatment for a cause as innocuous as fairness. They will not investigate to see who felt threatened enough to treat peaceful protesters in such a jackbooted way, who ordered that they be treated that way, and how come they haven’t all been fired?
You might also see the news “Anchors” making personal appearances in places like Joplin, Missouri after a tornado has decimated a town, or possibly you will see one posted high and dry above flooded and ravaged New Orleans after Katrina. But this is all an illusion to convince the American public that their “News” division is on top of what’s going on and that they are “on top of it”.
Bullchips! You could get more “news” from a high school dropout with a cellphone.
As for politics? Have you seen what poses as “debates” for the Republican Party these past few months?
- Opening montages that resemble what used to be Monday Night Football introductions.
- Wolf Blitzer, “moderating” questions to Republican candidates from the most conservative organizations in the country.
- Soft-ball questions that elicit campaign speech from 8 pathetic candidates.
Journalists that won’t even do minimal reporting by showing the hypocrisies, lies and flip-flops of said candidates for fear of “losing their access”, or facing blowback from advertisers indebted to one candidate or another.
Hell, no self-respecting, serious Republican could even be convinced to run for President in this current election cycle; probably because they did not want to appear on “WPE Smackdown” 23 times in a twelve-month period!
As a result, there have been more lead changes in the Republican race this year than the Broadway musical “Cats” experienced during its entire 18-year run.
Big Lie #2
Political leaders want what’s best for Americans.
Let’s take the Republicans first:
The Pledge of Allegiance…..not to America, but to Grover Norquist.
Republicans and their tax-pledge protector little Grover Norquist, are lying in saying that ending the Bush tax cuts is a tax hike in the middle of a recession. Moreover, when enacted in 2001, Republicans were lying about the cuts being “temporary.”
The truth is, these tax cuts were originally a temporary 12-year tax stimulus program expiring in the middle of a slow recovery. But since the 2008 presidential election, Republicans have been campaigning and negotiating hard to make the Bush tax cuts permanent for all tax brackets, in spite of the deficit climbing out of control.
I have to ask, was/is it part of Norquist’s tax-protection pledge to trick the American People, and the president, into temporary tax cuts and later insist they be made permanent?….then declare any Congressional Republican who does not support the plan to make the cuts permanent as having broken their tax pledge, and thus incurring the wrath of the Norquist/Koch Brothers money machine?
Is this a surreptitious bribing of Republicans into supporting the Norquist/Koch Brothers plan for American domination in which they would control the law-making apparatus that is constitutionally mandated to protect the rights and liberties of Americans? Perhaps that’s why the Republicans appear to be blocking President Obama’s efforts to extend temporary payroll tax cuts set to expire soon.
Republicans have said temporary tax cuts don’t work and are a waste of money. Blocking the president on all fronts is obviously their campaign playbook, regardless, no, in spite of what is good for Americans.
Lies, Lies and more Lies.
Republicans also lie about what is tantamount to the American Spring. While democracy is being valiantly fought for around the world, Newt Gingrich and other Republican Presidential Candidates will denigrate, condescend, humiliate, and seek to de-humanize theOWS protesters seeking the return of true American democracy and basic fairness, by uttering such “presidential” statements like “get a bath, then get a job”, when referring to legitimate, peaceful protesters. Gingrich did this knowing full well that there ARE NO JOBS even for qualified, experienced Americans who have been looking for work for two years.
Republicans lie about growth being the only answer for increasing tax revenue. The Republican mantra for all ills is to spur growth with cuts to tax rates, regulation red tape and spending. Using supply-side economics, Republicans have argued that tax revenues increase and benefits trickle down to the 99%. Democrats have never bought this argument and it’s hard to prove. But the Republicans have pounded this lie for so long that it has now spanned generations with new young adults having heard this propaganda their entire lives, and therfore being inclined to think of it as acceptable practice.
Yes, it works in some limited cases, especially when tax rates start out very high, but it does not work now, nor under the circumstances that exist with taxes being the lowest rate since the 1950s. It’s certainly not a strong enough argument to be Republican mantra. Republicans assert that with cutting taxes and red tape (including Obama health care) – business will flourish and unemployment may fall to under 7% soon. It’s a lie to promise that with any certainty. And Capitalism with no oversight is an open invitation to dishonesty, crony capitalism, fraud, and much much worse.
In reality, with the current state of global competition from China, India, and other emerging markets – with much lower wages, almost no regulation and very low taxes – even with reasonable cuts to taxes and reasonable regulations, we will still be uncompetitive in many industries and jobs won’t reappear meaningfully anytime soon.
How many times since the 1990s have Americans, especially infants, been harmed or killed by defective, toxic, or banned substances being imported into this country being used in products produced where such deregulation exists?
Serious Republicans know this, so pushing out Republican propaganda is just another obvious and cruel deception. But Americans apparently have developed the memory and attention spans of cocker spaniels.
Now for the Democrats:
Democrats lie about temporary stimulus spending, and real cuts to spending. On the spending side of the ledger, the debt talks were a charade. Neither party even talked about real cuts to spending, but rather reductions in the growth rates of spending. That’s not a spending cut but a smaller spending increase. Why the deception?
This reminds me of Democrats using the verbiage “cutting tax expenditures” to mask what they really mean: raising taxes by eliminating tax deductions and credits. When they target a tax break for closure, they call it a “tax loophole,” giving the impression it was always inappropriate. In the same way Republicans want to make temporary tax cuts permanent, Democrats want to make temporary stimulus spending permanent too. Isn’t it really permanent government stimulus, state central planning and crowding out of the private economy?
It’s no surprise that Republicans want to keep taxes low on business and richer people and Democrats want to help the middle-class and poor. Both parties are paying back their special voting and donation interests. But lying to the American people does us a great disservice.
Democrats lie about their spending priorities being crucial “investments.” Democrats are lying when they re-label stimulus and spending as a required “investment.” Spending trillions more on our current unionized education fiasco is for the most part throwing good (borrowed) money after bad. We then owe interest too and interest rates will eventually skyrocket when the bond vigilantes view the U.S. like Italy.
Education takes three to tango: students willing to kill themselves to learn and get ahead, parents prepared to ground their children for not getting straight As and willing to spend lots of time helping their children succeed, and teachers accountable to their customers (students and parents), rather than their unions and benefits.
Also, I’ve seen a lot of stimulus spending on infrastructure — but it was mostly filling the same potholes over and over with three trucks and 10 guys, with six of them on unending coffee breaks. Cronyism is fraud too.
General political lies:
Austerity must wait until the economy improves, and more Keynesian spending is wise. The U.S. deficit is at a tipping point and close to unleashing bond vigilantes demanding sky-high interest rates. That would put America on a default/bankruptcy path like Greece and Italy.
Much of the stimulus spending has been on band-aids rather than structural solutions – which only the free market can really provide anyway. Keynesian spending may have worked in prior times, but again, this time is different. Jump-starting the U.S. economy with a spark is not enough; we need to fix our competitiveness on a global scale. Democrats want to keep spending to keep lining the pockets of their cronies and constituents. It must stop now. Tax reform is another misnomer and it doomed the Congressional debt super committee.
Here’s an idea…..Before fighting over taxes and spending, let’s rein in government spending on CONGRESS first!!!!!
While Rome is burning, Congress, doesn’t even talk about giving up their fat-cat salaries and benefits. These benefits include outrageous “defined-benefit pension” plans, which often include a full salary paid for life. Extremely few private sector workers get this type of rich pension plan anymore.
Stop government leaders from bootstrapping their position to make millions. Many government leaders don’t need fat-cat pensions, as they become millionaires from bootstrapping their government service as well, often with conflicts of interest.
Many government leaders conduct inappropriate lobbying for big bucks after and in between public (really self) service. Speaker Newt Gingrich was recently called out for earning millions from Freddie Mac for lobbying, even though he tries to claim it was a history lesson and general simple advice.
That single inappropriate lobbying deal should disqualify Gingrich from being president, in my opinion. Especially after reading popular Republican thinking about how Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were the main guilty parties in causing the housing meltdown.
Others in public service become millionaires by inappropriately exempting themselves from insider trading and special “friends and family” insider deals, like the ones 60 Minutes accused Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Speaker John Boehner, and countless others of making. There are the revolving doors with cushy law firm and investment-banking partnerships, endless $25,000 speaking fees, billion-dollar charity positions, million-dollar book advances and much more. Even our esteemed President Obama marshaled his popularity in making several million from his campaign-for-president book deals.
Political Leaders should be treated like the CEOs they so covet; subject to the same insider trading limitations and penalties!!
Throw out existing management, and that means our current leaders in Congress including Leader Reid, Republican Leader McConnell, House Speaker Boehner, Minority Leader Pelosi, and Senators Frank, Durbin, Schumer and Kyle.
Next, pass term limits. Why do we have senile or aging Congressmen for life? Is it because we have to pay them full salaries through pensions for life anyway?
As I have said in earlier posts, Don’t extend the temporary Bush tax cuts for anyone. Let them expire at the end of 2012 — which is already two more years than scheduled. The tax savings were last projected to be around $3.8 trillion over 10 years. Around $800 billion of that saving comes from those making over $250,000 per year, so the real savings comes from everyone together. No more class warfare and division.
Enact my One-Penny Solution-NOW! This solution to our accumulated debt problem was also detailed in an earlier post–to be applied ONLY TO THE DEBT WE HAVE ACCUMULATED AS OF SEPTEMBER 30TH, 2011…SPECIFICALLY PROHIBITED BY LAW FROM EVER BEING APPLIED AGAINST ANY SPENDING INCURRED AFTER SEPTEMBER 30TH, 2011.
Personally, I don’t want to see my taxes go up, and I will be very upset if government doesn’t deliver actual spending cuts to match higher taxes. Republicans don’t trust government to deliver actual spending cuts, so they are not willing to cave-in on tax increases first.
But with all the above lying by government, how can we taxpayers and voters ever return to an environment of trust?
MAKE POLITICIANS QUIT LYING AND STOP VOTING FOR THE ONES THAT WON’T!!!