Populist Daily

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The Current Common Wisdom Is Wrong

July 22nd, 2010 · No Comments · Capitalism, Corporations and Industry, Economics, Health Care, Jobs, Lobbying, Media, Wall Street

We often refer to the “common wisdom” in society, the general knowledge passed on by word of mouth locally, regionally and eventually expressed in print or on television…and after which people say…oh, yeah, that makes sense.

The fact is that the common wisdom often works because the underlying rules are pretty clear in most situations. For instance, most people don’t kill other people unless there is some strong motivation like passion or intense hatred or self preservation.

If something “…is too good to be true,” that often means that it is too good to be true and is, in fact, false. So we rely on the common wisdom in many situations. But what happens when the people who really know how to manipulate the People, the ones who are the masters of propaganda, get their hands on the media?

What happens, for example, when 95% of all commentary on the national radio networks and the local radio programming of talk radio is this new, dangerous, vicious, corporate-owned brand of Neoconservatism? What happens is that a small group of people begin to create their own “common wisdom” and try to persuade you that it is what everyone believes.

How about this? The Neocons want you to think that the two wars that they created are necessary and the amounts spent are worth it. They also want you to think that the Inheritance Tax is unfair to the very rich and to businessmen and big family farms. They want those things to be the common wisdom.

For example, the Neocons are still working hot and heavy for the health industry many moons after the health reform legislation was passed. They know that it cannot be repealed. The President will never sign a repeal and he controls both chambers of Congress, and will–to the degree necessary to sustain a veto–even if the Neocons could get a repeal bill out of Congress, which they can’t.

The Neocons continue to say that they will try to repeal health care. They also say that the American People do not like health care reform and do not want it, despite the fact that the polls say exactly the opposite. So they just lie about the polls, and if no one challenges them, they continue on as if they did not lie.

The reason they do this is the same reason for the general distortion of reality that they cause. They must lie and then present that lie as the fact of the situation because they want people who are not paying attention, and who get only the messages that come from that 93% of their radio and TV commentators to think that their lies are the “common wisdom.”

Their common wisdom is that the majority of the People are against health care, but they are not. When you clear away the lies, and when you find that about 30% are not against it but merely don’t think it goes far enough, you quickly get to 65-70% favorable. But the Neocons, for political reasons having to do with money from the health care industry want to create their own reality.

The next area of common wisdom they’d like to create? They are spreading the idea that the $1.4 trillion deficit that we have is not caused by the fact that we had a $600 billion loss because of the Great Bush Recession of 2008 and two wars that President Bush and Vice President Cheney created. Their version has President Obama increasing government, turning us into a Socialist state.

Next, they want to make it appear that the American people are so concerned about the national debt that we must only do things that can be paid for by canceling other things. Wrong. American People rate jobs most important (70%) and budget deficits far less important…28%. So much for common wisdom.

The Neocons have tried for many months now to persuade us that the Tea Party members are merely independent voters, people concerned about issues to do with big government. Wrong again.
The Tea Party Caucus turns out to be merely warmed-0ver Right Wing Republicans.

The newly formed Tea Party caucus in Congress contains some outright racists, like Joe Wilson of South Carolina, some arch-conservative corporatists, like Joe Barton of Texas, some lunatics like Steven King, Louie Gohmert and Michelle Bachmann herself, corporatists and anti-middle class agitators like Mike Pence, and Randy Neugebauer, and failed MDs like Michael Burgess and Phil Gingery.

So the most important new common wisdom idea is that we will go under as a nation soon if we do not start to cut social programs. We have been too ambitious as a nation.

That is foolish talk and is the worst of the so called common wisdom the Right is trying to push on you.

First of all we are now living in the worst economic collapse since 1929. That’s the bad news. The good news is that, even with the collapse and the debt, both caused by the Bush/Cheney Right Wing, we have been in far worse situations in this country before.

In 1940, Germany had taken all of Europe, England was being bombed, the Japanese controlled most of East Asia and we had huge unemployment and no army, navy or air force to speak of. In four years we had come out the other side of the war but we had a national debt…a country that had just come out of a Depression…of 120% of the GDP.

We not only survived. We prospered. But it wasn’t some people who prospered, it was a very large group of Americans who prospered. The ratio of very wealthy people would go down in the next thirty years…not that anyone noticed…because the majority of the people became more affluent.

Then we finally got Civil Rights done and more people became prosperous. Not enough by a long, long shot but some more.

We are in a major economic recession, not caused by the same things that we fought in 1920 or in 1980 which were serious inflation. We are fighting against the possibility of a serious, very serious spiral of deflation. And if that happens, we could, indeed, be back to 1932.

Despite what the soothsayers, with Phd after their names have to say, the fact is that we must make some drastic changes in society. The private sector–the Great Bush-Cheney Experiment–has failed the vast majority of the American People. Forget the Recession. It is more than that.

Bush’s idol was Reagan. Both Bush and Reagan, and it almost goes without saying, Cheney were determined to do away with unions. Unions are very good for society but very menacing to the very rich. Bush and Reagan spun the message so that the rich white corporatists were the benefactors rather than the malefactors of great wealth.

Unions, they said, inhibit growth. Well, the fact is that the only things Unions inhibit are 60-hour work weeks, child labor, arbitrary firings, unsafe work places, and shoddy workmanship.
Ask yourself whether you would not want a union plumber or carpenter if the price were the same? Of course you would.

The private sector is more efficient and is the only way to create a sound economy. In the long term, with good regulations, that could be correct. But the private sector, since the Reagan Administration, has failed.

Manufacturing in this country almost does not exist. We import $45 billion more each month than we export. We have a huge need for fuel efficient autos, trucks and buses, energy efficient homes and offices…yet we have no such industries of any size and scope here in the U.S.

What are we good at? What kinds of things did George W. Bush and Dick Cheney leave us as potential to build on? More government. Wars are not run by private industry . We have two wars. Security and intelligence. Nineteen hijackers, most from Saudi Arabia caused us to add multiple billions of dollars and thousands of security people who often have no idea what other security people are doing.

We drill for oil. We mine for coal. We grow corn and most of all meat—cows, pigs and chickens. We grow wheat. But for the most part we pay less for food because we subsidize corporate farms. We only have 550,000 farms classified as family farms, out of 2 million.

As recently as the late 1930s we had 5 million family farms.
Now a handful of giant corporations own most of the farms or contract out to farmers. A handful of large hog farming corporations, a dozen at most, accounted for most of the more than 3,000,000 hogs slaughtered and processed in this country last year.

What we need to do is overhaul our trade policies so that there are incentives for corporations to hire here. We need a small duty on any products coming into this country from abroad by U.S. corporations. We need to start new corporations, offering much higher subsidies for larger domestic startups, particularly for green energy jobs and for corporations that will use exclusively large U.S. workforces.

We need to pass the Employee Free Trade Act.We need to get unions back into the workplace to raise living wages and prevent medium and large sized corporations from paying below living wages. We need the Unions out there working for the labor department, helping to keep big corporations honest.

We can jump start this economy. But it won’t be the private sector. The Neocons in the Senate are not working for the vast number of Americans. Remember who they work for. Joe Barton wants to apologize to BP for making them pay for literally…literally…destroying the lives of many Gulf Coast fishermen, restaurant and small hotel owners.

Ask your friends if they want to be on the side of Jon Kyl who would hold up unemployment benefits for desperate families until he gets his way and can tell Paris Hilton that she won’t have to pay any inheritance taxes.

Ask your friends if they are on the side of John Boehner and Mitch McConnell who went to Wall Street–in advance of the legislation to regulate the derivatives and other speculation that caused the Recession…and told Wall Street that all Republicans would vote in a bloc against any financial regulation. And they did.

You may not want to vote for Ralph Nader, but he forced airbags and seat belts and numerous other safety devices at the literal risk of his life…and didn’t sell out and didn’t make money on it.

Howard Dean left a comfortable job and family life in Vermont to run the Democratic Party and later become a leader in fighting for health care reform…and won. Do you want to be associated with a good citizen like Howard Dean or Ralph Nader or a scumbag former lobbyist like Joe Barton.

Nobel Laureates Joe Stiglitz and Paul krugman would sign on to a government jobs stimulus program as would senior economics professor at the University of Texas, Jamie Galbraith, and senior economics professor at Berkeley, Brad DeLong, and renowned eonomist Dean Baker and many many others. .

It is time for action. The Federal Reserve cannot help. The Labor and Commerce Departments have not made anything happen. The Treasury Department and HHS have been able to do nothing. We need to get a separate program, a piggyback of huge proportions on top of the current stimulus, ARRA.

We need to pour $200 billion into direct employment by the government. It will work. We need to get this country moving again.

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