Let’s clarify a few terms that are being thrown around these days.
- Fiscal conservative – commonly used in the corporate media to describe those people who want to further enrich the top one percent. These people do not resemble the Republicans of my earlier days. At a fund raising dinner George Bush said, “You are my base: the haves and have-mores.” For all of Obama’s nice talk, evidence is that this is also Obama’s base. Under George Bush the US entered into very expensive wars, bailed out the financial industry with little benefit to the tax payers who bailed them out, instituted tax cuts only for the wealthy, and turned a federal surplus into a debt. President Obama has only furthered those same policies and that debt.
- Tax cuts – That sounds very appealing to those of us who work for a living and actually produce a service or goods. However those “tax cuts” are only for the wealthy and for large corporations. The ordinary person or small entrepreneur has not benefited from them. Indeed, we are burdened with hidden taxes. We entered into a social contract, an annuity, with the government in regard to Social Security, Medicare, and Public Pensions. The government has repeatedly borrowed from these sources, claiming them as a revenue source, without repaying. If your uncle repeatedly borrowed from your life savings without repaying, those savings would also dwindle, regardless of how much you had set aside or how sound your saving plan was. When we pay into Social Security and Medicare and can’t collect from it, we are being dealt hidden taxes. When we bail out corporations and banks with taxpayer money, both we and our children will be taxed for that.
- Tax cuts for the wealthy create jobs – If that is so, where are the jobs? This policy has been tried many times in the last 30+ years and never produced jobs.
- The best and the brightest – This is what they called the very people who created the financial crisis and cheated with ordinary people’s investments and with public funds. Yet we were asked to bail them out to the tune of $750 billion+ so that they would not leave their positions with banks and Wall Street firms. Perhaps the term is fitting only in that they are the best and brightest crooks.
- We have to tighten our belts – Only so that large corporations, CEOs, and banks can loosen theirs.
- Economic Stimulus – Several Nobel Laureate economists warned that Obama’s “stimulus” would fail because it was not large enough to create jobs that would bring much needed tax revenues and demand for goods and services. A small stimulus was worse than none, because it did not have a lasting effect and demonstrated that inadequate government stimulus to the economy does not work. What if you had a disease for which your doctor prescribed a certain medicine, but you only took a fraction of that medicine. Would that mean that you did not use the medicine appropriately or that the medicine does not work?
- Jobless Recovery – Now that is an oxymoron. There cannot be a jobless recovery. Ask someone whose income, Social Security or Pension is reduced to the point of not being able to meet basic human needs, or someone who lost their job due to down-sizing or outsourcing if there is a “recovery” in their jobless lives.
We need to be very vigilant and sensitive to the fact that corporate media is part of larger plan to misinform and redirect our democracy. Marketing strategies tell us that someone exposed to a slogan six times will believe it. The misuse of the above terms is much more frequent than that, and works with many people.
We also need to be careful not to fall prey to accusing our neighbor of not deserving just a little more than we have. That is a strategy meant to distract us from looking clearly at how this “crisis” was manufactured and who is benefiting hugely from it. The culprit is not the neighbor across the street who took a reduced salary in order to save a pension, or receives a meager Social Security benefit after years of paying into the system. Watch the movie Inside Job for a look at just one portion of the enormous robbery that has taken place.
And remember that we are our brother’s keeper. That is not only a moral injunction; it is also an economic one because:
“We all do better, when we all do better”.