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Don't look now but we are in the middle of another Iraq moment. Though it happened over 8 years ago now, I remember it as if it were yesterday. Corporate media, working hand in hand with the Bush White House members, waged a campaign of propaganda against the American people, convincing a wide majority that Saddam Hussein had something to do with 9-11. The overarching message from a power-serving media during that period was anything but unclear: Iraq's Hussein was a direct and immediate threat to the United States and the only course of action to take was U.S. military invasion and occupation.
Not one bit of it was true. None of it. 4500 U.S. troops died and 30,000+ were wounded...all because of a complete fabrication, a falsehood. 100,000 Iraqis (at least) lost their lives as a direct result of the U.S. invasion of a non-threatening Iraq. All caused by the repetition of a lie by the unholy alliance of corporate media acting as stenographers for a deceptive administration.
Now we're in the final scenes of yet another Iraq moment. Our current moment is about war by other means. But make no mistake, powerful administration officials, working hand in hand with corrupt corporate media, have been, again, purposely lying to the American people. This time the WMD's are bond vigilantes and confidence fairies. This time the "direct threat" is the "out of control" deficit and debt. This time, programs for the most vulnerable in our society must be invaded and blown up. This time the New Deal must be removed from power because, we are being told falsely, the New Deal is a direct threat to our nation.
We have been told for going on 4 years now that the bond vigilantes were almost to the gates of our financial house.....soon to wreak havoc by bailing on U.S. Treasury bonds. The reason for the WMD bond vigilantes, we're told, is because our nation's debt and deficits are outrageous. So outrageous that investors would lose their appetite for our debt-floating Treasury bonds and we would all be buried under a thick cloud of anthrax inflation, or similar.
It's been 4 years. They still haven't arrived. The bond vigilantes, that is. The yield on the 10 year Treasury bond yesterday closed at 2.89%. Mortgage rates, which are based on the yield of the 10-year Treasury, are, after 4 years, still hovering around 4.5%. Not only have the bond vigilantes not arrived....but just the opposite has happened. There is an extremely big appetite among investors for our debt instruments. Investors are buying bonds, not selling.
But to listen to the politicians and the media who serve their every desire.....those vigilantes, just like Saddam's WMD, are just around the next bend.
If it hasn't been the bond vigilantes....it's been the confidence fairies. Last December we were told, falsely, by Serious Professionals, that very rich and important movers and shakers were "uncertain" about the future under the socialist Obama. Too many "uncertainties" out there about tax rates and Obama's evil plan to extend health coverage to all Americans. Those "uncertainties" were preventing those movers and shakers from expanding their capitalistic kingdoms or hiring any new American workers. They just didn't have the "confidence" necessary to...well...move and shake our recessionary economy in spite of the fact that they were sitting, collectively, on a trillion and a half in cash.
But the Very Serious people kept telling us that if that "confidence" was restored....translation: continuing tax breaks for the richest and regulation stripping for the conglomerates....then and only then, could our overlords feel comfortable enough to once again begin shaking their entrepreneurial booties.
It's all a big fat lie. All of it. And just like with Iraq, Americans cannot resist the daily Orwellian onslaught of deception.
The truth is this:
First: The federal government needs to be borrowing more right now to put into direct job creation. Borrowing more....not cutting. The marketplace is suffering for lack of demand. The rich are not willing, or able, to increase demand and the American people are suffering under 9.2% unemployment. In addition, government borrowing rates will never be this low.
Instead of borrowing more, we're about to have an austerity package of deep cuts to government spending put in place by the Serious.
Second: Social Security, which does not and has not added to the nation's debt or deficit problem, is up on the chopping block by all the Very Serious Professionals. There is no evidence, whatsoever, of economy-destroying debt-weapons within Social Security....but no matter....the Serious just know those weapons are hiding inside Social Security, somewhere. The SS program is good until 2037 and even then, without any changes, could pay between 80% and 90% of it's obligations. No mushroom cloud, no smoking gun....nothing.
And so, predictably, Social Security is on the table for chopping. Serious Bipartisan Blowhards want to trim $18,000 from a Social Security beneficiary's average lifetime by changing the pricing index used to calculate cost-of-living adjustments. Remember....just like with the bond vigilantes and confidence fairies, there's no evidence that Social Security is part of the debt and deficit problem....but no matter....it's getting invaded anyway. And at a time when we shouldn't be trimming Social Security checks...we should be increasing them.
Lastly....in spite of the fact that the Bush administration had the worst new job creation numbers in modern history AND the lowest income and capital gains tax rates....Serious Professionals from both sides insist, falsely, that cutting taxes even more will be the answer to our jobless recovery. Throughout our history, most of our high-growth-and-high-employment periods were marked by our highest income tax rates on the wealthiest.
But instead....we are being constantly bombarded with the deceptive lies that lower taxes will get us out of our unemployment mess.
Just as we did with Iraq.....we are about to do the wrong thing with our economy. We were lied to back in the run-up to invading Iraq....and we're being lied to now. Just like with Iraq, powerful people stand to benefit. But it's our country which will suffer in the long run.
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