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The Simplest Facts, So Easily Forgotten

July 24, 2011

The simplest,  most obvious facts are often the ones that are overlooked, suppressed, forgotten, or ignored in news reports.

All we need to do to really understand what’s happening is look at the larger historical context, and see the false premises on which the current pseudo “crisis” is based.

World War II left America with its largest national debt: a whopping 46% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 1946. Wars are very expensive, after all.

Despite continued massive federal government spending, near-full employment reduced that national debt to about 20% while Truman (a Democrat) remained in office. It fluctuated in the 18-22% range for decades after that.

Ronald Reagan (1981-89) tripled the national debt and it reached a post-war record high of 23.5%% of GDP.

Saint Ronald raised taxes in 6 of his 8 years in office and supported an increase in the debt ceiling 18 times. No conservative, no Republican batted an eye or ever uttered a peep of concern, much less dissent. Not one.

Clinton paid down the debt, balanced the budget, and left his Republican successor a massive surplus.  But George W. Bush’s repeated tax cuts for the rich and the starting of two unfunded wars (two–a record in US history) resulted in the national debt rising up again, to 22.8% of GDP.

Again, no Republican or conservative in national office expressed the slightest concern. Not one warned, protested, dissented, or expressed concern.

Bush’s policies crashed the economy and ruined the lives of millions of Americans. Obama inherited a mess:  massive unemployment  meant a massive decline in income tax revenues and a massive increase in safety net spending such as unemployment benefits, food stamps, and Medicaid.  The result, two and half years later: the national debt has now reached 24.3% of GDP! Wow! that’s more than half of what it was in 1946 and we know what an economic  disaster the 30 years after 1946 were, right? How that debt was a cruel burden that crippled the live s of the Greatest Generation’s children and grandchildren, destroyed jobs and….oh, wait! That’s right: the opposite happened!

24.3% of GDP now! Let’s see.. That’s 1.5% more than under Republican Hero George W. Bush and almost 0.8% more than under Republican Hero Ronald Reagan! No wonder we’re in crisis! No wonder we’re on the brink of an intolerable disaster! How long, Lord, how long?

(Did I mention that the number of public employees in America has declined by 500,000, ( half a million), under Obama? Or that total government spending –federal, state, and local combined–has not increased under Obama? That the increase in federal spending has been more than offset by the decrease in state and local spending?)

This is the “horrible nightmare” we face today, the reality of the supposed  “out of control skyrocketing government spending” that is “ruining America” and must be stopped now, at all costs! Nothing else matters if we don’t slash taxes and slash government spending dramatically, now!

On a percentage basis, federal spending has grown 6.6% since Bush’s pre-Crash term of office (24.3 divided by 22.8) and a “whopping” total of 3.4% (24.3 divided by 23.5) since Saint Ronald Reagan’s Republican spending levels of the 1980s. That’s all. Puts things in perspective, doesn’t it?

This is what the GOP, the media, and increasingly, the Democratic Party leadership calls  an “insane, out of control government spending binge” that demands we surrender literally everything to resolve.  This is the Sacred Altar upon which all other values and priorities must be butchered in order to “resolve” with pseudo-‘solutions” –solutions that all non-partisan analysts know and have publicly said will not reduce the deficit at all but rather make it worse.

The whole “crisis” is a trumped-up fraud, a pseudo-crisis. The whole supportive/explanatory narrative is a lie.  It has never really been about debts and deficits. The right-wing never has cared about those things when Republicans controlled the White House. Never. It has always been about exemption for  rich individuals and corporations from any taxation, any social responsibility, any accountability, while destroying whatever remains of a social safety net, any program that benefits the poor,t he working class, and/or the middle class. It’s all about transferring wealth from the poor and the middle classes to the rich.

This seems to me so transparent that I fin dit hard to believe  that anyone who doesn’t see it is simply refusing to see it, perhaps because the truth is too frightening, too shocking. The level of lying and complicity in lying is stunning.   It’s naked. It’s blatant. It’s shockingly cynical. Yes.  It is really happening.

Look, I’m not the most well-informed or the  smartest guy on the planet and I don’t claim to be. But how many national political figures, how many prominent journalists, are  reminding the American people of the facts I’ve laid out here? Why aren’t they  helping their listeners really understand the context in which this fraudulent “crisis” is being promoted?

The debt ceiling has been routinely  raised how many times—70? 75?–without any need for a related “deal” much less a promise to repeal a key piece of law in exchanges for agreeing to raise the limit. That is bizarre and unprecedented in US history. If your News Anchor isn’t pointing that out, why isn’t he or she?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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