Monday, July 25, 2011

The War on Truth (and the Tea Party)

Without invoking Godwin's Law, I sometimes think I might understand the feelings of most of the German people during Hitler's rise to power. I am not suggesting that one political party or the other in this country is equivalent to the German National Socialists, or that there is anyone currently playing the role of Hitler in our stock production of "Recovery Summer 2". No, what I am thinking of is Goebbels' principle that a big enough lie told often enough eventually passes for the truth. The politicians in D.C. are certainly telling a big enough lie, and they are telling it anywhere and everywhere they can find a camera or a microphone.

"We have to increase the debt limit to avoid default."

No. You have to pay the interest on your debt to avoid a default. That's about $29 billion, or about 15 to 20 percent of the revenues coming into the Treasury each month.

The broadcast media is complicit in propagating this deception. The rating agencies are helping spread the lie as well with their threats to downgrade the American credit rating without a debt ceiling increase (you know, anywhere but the upside-down world of government wonderland, having too high a credit limit would worsen your rating). The politicians, over the weekend, were using the ratings downgrade to grease the skids on the bogosity sled by saying that interest rates would go up on credit cards, mortgages and consumer loans.

I certainly trust Moody's integrity on ratings since these are the same people who were issuing such excellent ratings for Lehmann, AIG, Citi, etc., in the face of the impending collapse of the financial sector in '08. The ratings agencies are simply playing along with their friends, like Geithner and Bernanke — although they did admit in the last day or two that a Greek default is "near 100%" certainty. What a surprise. The responsible, productive members of the EU — that is to say, the Germans — had already decided that they were going to allow Greece to default, albeit slowly. In others words, Moody's is rather like the weatherman who predicts a sunny day and only admits it actually rained when the TV studio floods.

What this all amounts to is a combination of political posturing and what I would like to call "cri-portunity" in honor of the odious Rahm Emmanuel assertion that a crisis should not be wasted. I suppose it is possible that Boehner, Ryan, Cantor, and the Tea Party Republicans in the House honestly want to cut spending — though by far less than it needs to be cut, as part of the debt limit debate. I say, again, the debt limit does not need to be raised, or it should be raised only enough to cover the current budget deficit of about a trillion and a half. Meanwhile real, honest work should be initiated to bring spending in line with revenue. I know this is a startlingly new, innovative, perhaps even progressive concept, yet the government only spending what it gets is worth considering as a long-term fix to the debt problem. Perhaps they could even consider spending less than they take in so as to run a surplus for hard times or eliminating the debt — shocking, I know.

The President and the Democrats are proposing what are basically "cuts in the increase", or, "we won't ask for quite as much of an increase in spending as we were going to so that makes it a cut". They also want a much larger increase in the debt limit because they have no intention of ever balancing the budget apart from the imposition of confiscatory tax rates. And that, my friends, is why we call them "socialists". To the Democrats, this whole debate is simply a "cri-portunity" to get more room for deficit spending, and — perhaps even more importantly, to disillusion voters with the integrity of the Tea Party movement.

The Tea Party is a threat to the establishment of both major parties as well as to the progressive, activist agenda of the mainstream news media. It is essential that any "populist" movement among the peons be discredited.

I do think there is some hope that people are using the internet as an alternative media to spread and absorb the truth about our current situation. You can almost see it in the shifting shadows of the talking points desperately mouthed by politician, pundit, and newsreader alike.

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