Ignorance is not Bliss

How do you explain at this point that one in three Republicans believe that President Obama is a foreign-born Muslim?  Even Sara Palin has encouraged the birthers to give up the cause because it is starting to be embarrassing, but they remain steadfast in their commitment to their particular delusion. 

We have more climate change deniers, creation “science” supporters, and Christian founding father historical revisionists in congress than ever.  It doesn’t matter that none of these lunacies have any support from mainstream scientists or historians.  They have become a conservative cult religion that can no longer be debated in any meaningful way. 

We also have the largest gap between the rich and poor in the history of this country and larger than any other industrialized country in the world.  This gap started widening in the 70′s when middle class wages stagnated and the wealthy won tax breaks from virtually every Republican administration.

The Republican Party’s latest ploy is to use the specter of our children being burdened with an unmanageable debt to create the impression that the nation is teetering on the brink of financial collapse.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  None of the traditional signals which indicate that our borrowing is causing a problem are present.  Inflation is low.  Foreigners are happy to buy our debt at historically low interest rates.  There is also plenty of credit available for business.  

While it is true that we have to deal with the deficit, it isn’t near term spending that financial markets are concerned with.  It is our ability to deal with the long-term structural debt from healthcare and entitlement programs that worry our creditors. 

Our more immediate concern should be increased employment.  That is the single most effective and efficient way to reduce the short term deficit.

Instead, the cuts that are proposed will not only increase unemployment and reduce public safety, but also directly harm the very kids whose financial future we were supposed to be protecting.

Now the same folks are trying to take away the single most powerful right that the working man has.  That’s the right to band together and bargain with their employers as a group.

This deficit is NOT the fault of the working man.  It is the fault of unfunded wars, windfall tax cuts for the rich and unregulated financial markets.  It is the result of decades of attack on the middle class by the wealthy and powerful.  And it is being paid for by dismantling the social safety net which helps keep people from slipping back into poverty.

The rich are getting richer because they have used their wealth to purchase favors from the government while telling you that they shared your values and you believed them.   They told you that your kids needed to save the world from Saddam while they made billions from no-bid defense contracts and you believed them. They told you that government was the problem while government was cutting them a special deal and you believed them.  They told you that their wealth and power would trickle down to you, convinced you to give them tax breaks, and invested the money overseas while closing US plants and you believed them.  They told you that you can’t trust scientists and professors who documented dangerous corporate practices and you believed them.  They told you that mainstream newspapers are biased when they ran stories of corporate corruption and you believed them.  They told you that liberal elites who tried to limit corporate power were the cause of all your problems and you believed them.  They told you that they are the only people that you can trust and you believed them. 

As they outsource your jobs, took your homes, drained your savings, starved your children, and turned you against your neighbor, you continued to believe.  As they slowly sucked the last blood from your body and consumed the last bit of oxygen from your lungs, you cursed the darkness and wondered how this happened to you.

It happened to you to because you chose to ignore the facts that screamed that the rich and influential are not your friends and are stealing from you because you aren’t paying attention.

13 Responses to “Ignorance is not Bliss”

  1. Keith says:

    Jeff,
    Many comments here as you can imagine but lets start with this.

    You said.

    “Now the same folks are trying to take away the single most powerful right that the working man has. That’s the right to band together and bargain with their employers as a group.”

    Other then your statement being false, or at best half false, explain the following;

    Federal employees do not have this right, which they once had. Who took this right away from them?

  2. Jeff Beamsley says:

    Keith,

    I was thinking about state workers rather than federal workers, but it remains a fair question. So I did a little research and found a good article in Politifact.com.

    http://politifact.com/truth-o-meter/promises/obameter/promise/499/restore-collective-bargaining-rights-to-federal-em/

    Under the Civil Service Reform law of 1978, all federal employees have the right to collective bargaining, but the President can unilaterally restrict that right for those working in jobs that can affect national security.

    Bush did just that for defense department and ATF workers.

    Obama restored bargaining rights for defense department workers last year. He hasn’t restored rights for the ATF yet.

    His nomination for the head of homeland security is being held up because Republicans are worried he is going to allow the TSA to unionize.

    That seems pretty much in line with what republicans are doing at the state level.

    Here’s another Politifact article which goes into detail on the Republican “line” that Wisconsin proposals are less restrictive than Federal Laws. I’ve seen this line repeated on Fox news and it is likely what you were referring to.

    http://politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2011/mar/02/scott-walker/wisconsin-gov-scott-walker-says-most-federal-emplo/

    The reality, if you read the article, is that most federal worker’s pay is set by Congress and so isn’t subject to collective bargaining. They do have the ability to bargain over working conditions however. Walker intends to eliminate virtually all collective bargaining rights.

  3. Keith says:

    the answer i was looking for was President Carter….Not an evil republican.

    Next one. You said.

    How do you explain at this point that one in three Republicans believe that President Obama is a foreign-born Muslim? ………….but they remain steadfast in their commitment to their particular delusion.

    I am not a birther….could cae less as he said he was , if it were obvious he wasn’t then it would have been settled. I consider birthers delusion to be equal to those on the left who to this day felt Bush was not the legitimate president of the Unithed States. (in context and in light of your post quite some time ago, you should now have a better understanding of what drivers birthers)

    Lets do two today. You said on 1-6-2007;

    “But this is the same administration that has run up record deficits through profligate spending and seems perfectly content to pass those along to our children.”

    Then above you said;

    “The Republican Party’s latest ploy is to use the specter of our children being burdened with an unmanageable debt to create the impression that the nation is teetering on the brink of financial collapse. Nothing could be further from the truth.”

    Bush’s debt vs Obama’s debt, who’s is bigger? You say Bush is content to pass along debt to our children as though it were a bad thing. Now you say republicans are scaring us that we are in trouble with unmanageable debt but nothing could be further from the truth.

    Jeff, if Bush was unconsionable but Obama is ok for passing along debt, three times per year as much then I don’t follow you. Which is it my good friend?

  4. Jeff Beamsley says:

    Keith,

    Sorry I didn’t have time to go back far enough to bump into Carter. Before getting to him I would have also had to deal with Reagan. He is the union-buster who all the current republican hopefuls are trying to emulate.

    The birthers have nothing on which to base their claim other than the fact the Hawaii has a law that treats birth certificates as private property. Thiers is pure conspiracy theory.

    There was plenty of legit controversy surrounding the Bush/Gore election. It will be the stuff of history books, poly sci, and law school case studies for decades.

    As far as the debt is concerned, the issue isn’t whether or not it is going to be passed on to our children. Both the Bush debt and what Obama has added to it will have to be dealt with by our children. But there are two important differences.

    The first difference is that the Obama debt is short term. What Obama spent in for stimulus, TARP, and other recovery measures will shrink as a percentage of the debt over the next ten years because it was one time spending. The debt from the Bush tax cuts (assuming they aren’t repealed) and the wars Bush started, will constitute the majority of what we owe because we are still spending it every year.

    The other major factor is the impact of the recession itself in reducing tax revenues and increasing safety net spending.

    Here’s a link to my follow the money post where I found a neat graph to show this.

    http://www.blogsmonroe.com/christianpolitics/2010/08/show-me-the-money/

    What it also documents in great detail is if you discount the Bush spending (wars and tax cuts) and the impact of the recession (reduced tax revenue and stimulus spending), Obama has produced balanced budgets. So show me where Obama through profigate spending has added three times as much (as Bush) to the national debt.

    The second is that I never said either debt was pushing us to the brink of insolvency. I just felt that the Bush spending was irresponsible. The only folks who are now saying that the debt has us rapidly approaching financial collapse are the Republicans.

  5. Keith says:

    Correction, the Obama tax cuts. Bush had them sunset after 2010. The tax cuts are now Obamas. Own up to it big fella.

    The tax cuts are now Obama you should correct the data and the graph. He had the majority….he had veto power…he had every thing. He choose the tax cuts. THEY ARE NOW HIS. Nice try though.

    The Dems signed on to the wars, Bush didn’t do them alone. Obama is free to end them also. He owns the budget today. I would agrue that Clintons prosparity was created by Reagen, you would disagree. Its the same agruement. To give credit to Clinton for the environment created before he took office and then claim Obama is not responsible for Bush choices is simply cherry picking.

    When will you learn we are all in this togather. Both side are messed up. Bush did spend like a drunken sailor and the debt IS A HUGE problem and our unfunded liablities absolutily need addressed. Read the debt commision report, I’m in favor of most if not all. Shared scarifice isn’t tax the rich. its cut and raise SS, do something with Medicare and Medicaid, double the cap on ss payments to 212k. reaise cap gains to 20% and put the income tax rates back to the clinton rates all the while lowering corparate taxes to create jobs….

    there, its really simple.

    I’ll address more above later.

  6. Jeff Beamsley says:

    Nice try on the taxes, but Bush wanted to make them permanent. The only reason they expired was because it was the only way he could get enough democratic support to pass them. Obama wanted to let them expire, but the republicans held middle class tax relief hostage in order to preserve tax breaks for the wealthy at least until the next election cycle.

    Also sorry no I don’t subscribe the theory that the moment a president takes office all of the mistakes of previous administrations become his mistakes. Bush started the wars. Obama is ending one and will hopefully start to end the other next year.

    Finally, I do agree with you on the debt commission. The problem is that neither party has the will to take the whole thing on and if you don’t take the whole thing on, you don’t get the job done.

  7. Keith says:

    i like your last paragraph, it isn’t very difficult….you are a progressive, i’m not. we CAN reach agreement on many things. Now join me in saying DC is the problem and finally get on board with me with “throw them all out.” if you and i can solve the problems then reid and bonher can to…

    taxes; bush tax cuts sunset in 2010….i dont care how they got there. obama voted to keep them i don’t care to what pressure he caved too. they are his……revise the date please.

  8. Keith says:

    Also then, you’ll agree if a president cant be held responsible for mistakes of the previous president then they, like Clinton by way of Reagen, cant lay claim to the good decisions made. That was my, poorly worded, point.

  9. Jeff Beamsley says:

    If you are talking about the economy, I agree that administrations tend to take more credit for good times than they deserve and take more of the blame for bad times than they deserve.

    We’ve already been around the block a couple times on federal politicians. The issue isn’t who is or isn’t in office. The basic issue is how they got into office and what they have to do to stay there.

    Until you change the way that elections are financed, it doesn’t matter who you have in office, they are going to be answering to those who either financed their last election or will be financing their next one.

    By the time the tax issue came up, Obama didn’t have the votes in the senate to repeal the tax cuts for the rich. Perhaps you can blame that on how bloody the healthcare fight was, or you can blame it on the untimely demise of Ted Kennedy. In any case, he had alread gone on record saying that the didn’t want to extend tax cuts for the wealthy and was forced to do so in order to get an extension for middle class tax cuts too.

    You can also bet that he plans to make this a national referrendum in 2012.

  10. Keith says:

    You said
    “By the time the tax issue came up, Obama didn’t have the votes in the senate to repeal the tax cuts for the rich.”

    Jeff you are slipping….He didn’t need any votes to eliminate the Bush tax cuts…they were sunseting. Obama had to vote FOR the tax cuts to be extended. Please change the data and assign responsibilty to Mr. Obama.

    From you orignal post I’d like for you to define who the “rich” are….Please be specific….I’d like to know who is leading the conspericy..
    You sold a software company…are you the rich? You only paid 15% in cap gains….does that make you a co-conspritor? Or did you take the high road and pay at the rate of your income?

  11. Jeff Beamsley says:

    Obama did not have the option of just letting the rich tax cut expire. The only way that he could preserve tax cuts for the middle class was to accept tax cuts for the rich too.

    We have a working definition of “rich”, whether you like it or not. It is the $250K number.

    Bound by confidentiality regarding the deal, but I do pay a lot of taxes.

  12. keith says:

    Jeff,
    Just say it….Obama choose to extend the lower tax rates….
    JUST SAY IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! He didn’t have to. I also like how that too is the republicans fault. Just think about that once, Obama signed into law lower tax rates and its the republicans fault….. I’m wondering how we can continue our discussions, if nothing Obama does is his fault!! Jeff you’re way better then that.

    We don’t have a working defination of rich….merely a number the dems pulled out of a hat. As you know, and I as well from good furtune, our income has nothing to do with being “rich” I know many people who make $250k and they are far from rich…..

    So, your rant above in the original post the “rich” are people over $250 that are taking advantage of everyone? I’m not are you….I have no friends who are, do you? Your remarks above a scathing….the rich are destroying our country by deceiving everyone. You’ve dfined your target as those making over $250k yet I don’t know anyone who is getting atvantagesfrom the govt and i know MANY folks who make over that amount….i do not accept your comments as I simply have no evidence of who you are talking about….names please.

  13. Jeff Beamsley says:

    If you don’t want to believe my recollection of the historical events, here a link from an article which basically says the same thing.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2010/12/17/us-usa-taxes-idUSTRE6A44K020101217

    I agree with you that folks making $250K a year don’t have the funds to hire lobbiest to work their issues.

    These guys do.

    http://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/Peter-Fenn/2011/02/02/tea-party-funding-koch-brothers-emerge-from-anonymity

    http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/08/30/100830fa_fact_mayer

Leave a Reply