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THREE GREAT LIES

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The following is a letter (followed by my response) from a now enlightened conservative Christian friend that I have known and discussed politics with since 2001 when we met at a local coffee house with others for about an hour every weekday morning until mid-2006. Although I would like to take credit for his transformation, the lack of impact of my thousands of words on most other listeners and readers over the years forces me to take a more humble view of the matter and give the credit to Mike for his unusual willingness to open his mind to the rantings of a secular liberal with no respect for the president or his agenda, especially his war.

Mike: I'm just so disappointed in America anymore. Mostly because it's gone and won't ever be back. The status quo is now embedded in both political parties and the mindset of going around the world and using our military might is considered normal by most Americans.

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It's going to get really bad I'm afraid. Maybe depression bad. We may already be in one. The soup lines? Not needed now. They're known as food stamps in this depression. Saves on labor costs and the poor can get their own ingredients at the local supermarket to make their own soup. Well, until the money runs out or the prices go so high nobody will be able to afford the price of the ingredients to make soup.


Hopefully it won't get that bad. But, I heard a guy the other day (name escapes me, but quite knowledgeable) who said that our financial problems would be resolved in a couple of years if we let them run their course. It will be painful but over. If the government gets involved he figures the problems will run for another 10 years or so and the wipe out will be much worse.

Yaybob: It looks we're just about in the same place now concerning the state of the union. We agree that it's dead and not coming back. Few have gotten that far.

As you know, I've felt that way for years now. Nobody has ever agreed with me until now, so thanks. I'm sure that you'll recall that I had pronounced America dead five or six years ago in our conversations, and how offensive that seemed. I take no pleasure in being correct, although I do take pride in having seen early what others could not. That knowledge has allowed me to disengage from America psychologically, a process that takes years, and to begin to shift my resources and attention elsewhere, namely [the country in which I have bought a home and to which I will soon be emigrating].

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Most citizen still think that America can pull itself out of this, perhaps if Obama is elected or a third party candidate ever wins. Of course, I hope they are right, but that is false hope. You had that kind of hope for Ron Paul's candidacy just last year. But that was unfounded too. As I explained then, there never was any realistic hope that that man would be allowed to right the ship of state. If he could survive the third party stigma, if he could survive the media ridicule, if he could survive the corrupt election process, then the Democrats and Republicans in Congress would surely stop him dead in his tracks. And if he began to inspire people and somehow energize enough of them and enough of Congress to threaten the monster, he would be neutralized either by impeachment, or if necessary, assassination. How could any other scenario play out without the Neocons permission, and why would they give that? I think that you knew that too, but allowed yourself the indulgence of hope. Hope is a great feeling, and can inspire and recharge us when we are fatigued from continuous despair. But where it is unjustified, it's also a drug that impairs our judgment and gives us an inaccurate map of reality, which can be costly.

The comment "If the government gets involved, he figures the problems will run for another 10 years or so and the wipe out will be much worse" shows me that your resource still doesn't get it concerning the great lies. That claim of government incompetence and counterproductivity has been a frequent battle cry of the neocons that was intended to disparage government in order to obtain the consent of the people tear it apart. The plan was always to convert the government from an entity that served the American people into an entity that served the wealthy corporations and exploiting us citizens.

It was necessary to deceive us to get our permission to dismantle over these last thirty years many decades of effective governmental protections that effectively limited corporate abuse, corruption and dangerous business practices, many arising as part of the New Deal from the lessons learned in the roaring twenties. Until lately, government was never your enemy or mine as we were continually told. Nor was it clumsy or senile.

But the corporations viewed it as their enemy with its rules that protected us from them at their expense, rules protecting clean air and water, a decent minimum wage and labor protections, various banking regulations, food and drug quality regulations and the like. The lie about government being an oversized, clumsy, inefficient and problematic elephant hurting every American was repeatedly told beginning during the Reagan years, and ultimately accepted as common wisdom. Hence, your source's comment, which, unfortunately now finally may have be true by Neocon design.

Incessantly, we were told that government was onerous, a problem, and that it needed pruning. Virtually nobody disagreed. I include myself until I eventually discerned the lie. I bought the lie despite multiple experiences to the contrary - in school, getting college loans, in the Army, the GI Bill benefits, becoming professionally licensed and more. Government was rarely a burden and often helpful.

It should be noted that none of the aspects of the government that managed and regulated ordinary citizen's lives was ever pruned back by the liars, such as the draconian drug laws, Byzantine income tax rules necessitating expensive help, travel restrictions, etc. - just those restraining the corporations. (I always wanted to see Cuba, and will finally get to do that once I have emigrated). You and I are subject to as many or more restriction than ever. Banks, by contrast, have been freed to make subprime loans, for example, a practice guaranteed to result widespread misery and a big bailout at our expense, just like the savings and loans fiasco of the eighties. President Roosevelt apparently foresaw both of those problems when he gave us protection from them. But we let the liars remove those protections after they convinced us that they were cumbersome, inefficient and anticompetitive.

That was one of the three great lies, namely that [1] government laws and regulations were excessive, onerous and needed to be reduced. The other great lies were that [2] taxes were excessive, onerous and needed to be reduced and [3]that government spending was also excessive, onerous and needed to be reduced.

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Regarding this second lie, what America never noticed was that only the taxes for the wealthy (capital gains, corporate taxes, estate taxes) were targeted for reduction. Your taxes and mine were not relieved at all. Regarding the third lie, the one about excessive government spending, the only spending that was targeted for reduction was spending on ordinary citizens such as for welfare, Medicaid, unemployment insurance, Social Security, Medicare, small business loans, college grants and loans, veterans benefits and the like. The spending that produced big contracts for the large corporations, such as military spending and contracts to build prisons, roads, bridges and the like has been accelerated. In fact, when the Cold War ended, it was necessary to invent a new boogie man (terrorists to replace the Communists) and a new endless struggle (the War on Terror) to justify that military spending. The phony and fraudulent war on terrorism was, of course, one of the twin pillars underlying the Iraqi invasion, the other being the liberation of Iraqi oil for Exxon-Mobil et al. at the taxpayer’s expense. Expenditures intended to control the population are also still paid freely and lavishly. These include the police, funding the War on Drugs, immigration services, FBI, CIA, ATF, etc. There’s always money for military and police actions, but all human services are budget busters and need to be reduced.

So, in a nutshell, what the Reaganite conservatives / Neocons meant when they said that government regulates our lives too much was that it was preventing business from running amok to leave the citizens with the pollution and the bill for its clean-up, with bad health from toxic exposure, with national insolvency, with a lowered standard of living and with pillaged public resources. What they meant when they said that the government was wasteful in its spending was that money spent on people, the social safety net, is pointless, but that billions and trillions should still be spent on projects that enrich corporations. And finally, what they meant when they said that we're all paying too much in taxes is that the corporations and wealthy don't want to pay taxes, but that we dregs should continue paying at the same rate so that the corporate entitlements like no-bid military contracts (which you'll note didn't include taking care of the soldiers on or off the battlefield) could be funded at obscene rates. The flow of money is from the middle class taxpayer to the wealthy contractor (but not back to social welfare programs) making the IRS a wealth redistribution agent for the wealthy.

There never was too much government regulation, excessive taxation or government spending. Not that these areas don't always deserve our vigilance, or that some fat cannot be trimmed and efficiency improved at times. But the concept of them needing radical revision because they were choking the lifeblood out of American's lives and draining our prosperity was a lie. And, as you can the see, the so-called solution - the Neocon reorganization - actually does those things now as they were always intended to do. And a government that is no longer configured to solve problems is now systematically parasitizing the middle class.

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The author is a fifty-something year old physician soon to be expatriated.

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