Aside from the fiscal propaganda conservatives are touting to advance their ideological budgets, the worst damage is being done by their moral hypocrisy. In a previous post, I presented facts to offset budgetary lies being repeated as fact by conservatives. This blog addresses three specific items of propaganda that continue to be unchallenged by the mainstream media. Worse yet, the continued repetition of these lies fulfills the mission of these messages – to be accepted as truth. Untrue moral beliefs are at the foundation of Conservatives’ political takeover. The only response is to spread the truth over and over, beginning now.
Propaganda item #1 – “The Scott Walker ‘Brown Bag Movement’ was a grass roots movement of regular Wisconsinites demanding change” – The images on televison ads during the campaign portrayed a regular Wisconsin guy, driving around the state in his regular Wisconsin car, eating lunch out of a brown bag. We were all led to believe this was (and continues to be) a sort of new populism of people sick of big government, and out of control spending. Scott Walker was going to be their savior, making the “tough decisions” to lead the state out of fiscal crisis. Nothing could be further from the truth. First, the money coming into the Walker campaign came from three primary contributors – Finance, Real Estate, and Insurance interests. The Koch Industries direct contribution was over $43,000 (millions in ad campaigns through PACs). http://www.followthemoney.org/database/StateGlance/candidate.phtml?c=116585 Walker’s money came from large, wealthy corporate interests, and his fiscal policies for the state align directly with that corporate financial interests. The difference between what Scott Walker SAID he stood for, and his action upon taking office is clear. His continued mantra, that Wisconsin is “Open for Business” is a very objective point of view. The few jobs Walker is responsible for bringing to Wisconsin are largely due to efforts which began prior to his taking office. In spite of what the Governor says, Wisconsin is losing jobs since he took office. Here is the State Unemployment report from February, showing every municipality in the state reporting higher unemployment from the previous month. February local unemployment rates There is no indication of a reversal in this trend – especially as middle class tax burden increases under Walker, and less revenue is spent at the local level by the majority of the population.
Walker’s fiscal plan, it turns out, has nothing to do with what’s best for Wisconsin. As Professor William Cronon disclosed, the conservative group American Legislative Exchange Council, (largely funded by Koch Industries, AT&T and other giant corporate interests) has been responsible for feeding “cut and paste” legislation to states throughout the US. Breaking unions, cutting social services, consolidating power to the Executive Branch, and cutting funds to public education. This has been part of the ALEC “tool kit” for years, seen here (a significant document, outlining fiscal ideology echoed by Walker) Budget_toolkit . ALEC’s website even has a link to “model legislation” – available only to members (such as Robin Vos) http://www.alec.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Model_Legislation1 . As more of Walker’s fiscal policies become known, it is apparent that the only people benefitting from them will be those with interests aligned with groups like ALEC – large corporations and wealthy individuals who will continue to increase the gap between the weathy and poor. There is nothing “grass roots” about these policies – they are corporatic, anti-worker power plays to further their power and control over our political system.
Propaganda item #2 – “I can become a millionaire if the Government will just get out of the way” – This lie has one purpose – to give people false hope that they can win the American “lottery” if there is no encumbering government standing in the way. As I have said before, the numbers don’t lie. Here are the facts about upward mobility in the United States. Since the 1940’s, the chances of rising from the lower-middle class to the upper class has been steadily dropping. In fact, you have as equal a chance of descending into the lower class as rising to the upper class, as seen in this graph:
If you think this is the result of increasingly higher taxes, I would point you to my previous blog demonstrating the decreasing tax burden on the top tier earners – the rich are paying less taxes as a percentage of income since pre-depression. A nation’s wealth distribution says a lot about opportunity for it’s people. Where do we stack up against the rest of the world? It may be surprising:
As much as we pay in taxes, little of that revenue is returned to the people who need it the most – less than any other “Wetern” nation. There are less resources for those with potential to move up the economic ladder. Maybe the problem is that we have too much government. After all, fully 26% of our GDP is federal spending- how can we have upward mobility with such big government? That is the argument, after all. France’s government share of GDP is much larger than the US:
“Despite significant reform and privatization over the past 15 years, the government continues to control a large share of economic activity: Government spending, at 55.6% of GDP in 2009, is among the highest in the G-7. The government continues to own shares in corporations in a range of sectors, including banking, energy production and distribution, automobiles, transportation, and telecommunications.” (US Department of State website)
In spite of this fact, France has a much smaller gap between the wealthy and poor than the US – in fact, it has been stabilizing in the past 20 years. The top decile income share in France is 32% and stable; the US is nearly 45% and growing:There is a larger middle class in higher taxed nations, with more upward mobility and distribution of wealth. There is no factual basis for conservative statements to the contrary. It is ideological and a lie – the only result of deregulation of the financial system has been seen in the previous recession, and the Great Depression. The government has a responsibility to ensure social and fiscal fairness to give everyone the opportunity to participate. Not just those who can already afford it. To state that government is too big for people to succeed is completely untrue; unbridled corporate power is a greater danger to our Democracy. This is the truth conservatives don’t want us to know.
Propaganda item #3 – “It is morally acceptable for me to want to keep more of my money while others are in need” – This is the most incredulous argument of all. In demonstrating the people who will benefit from the conservative ideology, and those who will be harmed – it is clear that the politices of greed has gone too far. We have all interacted with people who claim to be religious, or spiritual, yet will vote and fight for the Walker plan. I challenge them to defend that position in the context of their professed faith. I challenge them to live the words they profess to believe. Their position is indefensible in light of their beliefs. There is no religion, as in Christianity, that supports the wealthiest individuals getting richer at the expense of their fellow human beings. I recall Jesus saying something to the effect of “It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God” (paraphrased). True, he also said there will always be poor – but that doesn’t mean we should engage in policies that will increase their numbers. We should be compassionate and show them mercy and charity. Perhaps he and all the other profits foresaw the times we live in; or we haven’t learned our lesson and the seduction of greed continues.
The corporate takeover of our Democracy is in progress, with the tools of propaganda being used to instill fear, greed, and interclass warfare amongst the population. These facts and dispelling truths above and in previous blogs need to be shared and understood to shatter them. The facts and truth are our best weapons against these lies – stay engaged and stay educated. Most of all, stay involved in our Democracy. One day longer.