Because It’s Spam, It May Be Even More Mercenary—and Hypocritical

The last time that I did a post on a digital advertisement distributed by the National Review, I was chided by one of my readers, presumably someone on the Right, for trying to base a political argument on an analysis of ephemera—on an analysis of a piece of e-mail that was, after all, “just spam.”

But when a publication with a strong political slant distributes anything, it should be certain that it is something that it wishes to endorse, especially if it frames the advertisement as a personal message to its readers.

Consider this e-mail now being disseminated by the National Review:

“Dear Reader,

“Retirees have received an insulting 1.32% annual increase to their Social Security checks under the Obama administration.

“And the rumors around D.C. suggest certain politicians want to drastically decrease your payments, and soon!

“So when we stumbled upon this weird trick that can add $1,000 to monthly Social Security checks, we knew we had to share it with you.

“Click Here for Details!”

I am not providing the link because I don’t wish to endorse what is likely just another way to separate scared, desperate, or uninformed people from what little nest-eggs that they have managed to accumulate.

For the sales pitch is absolutely fraudulent—blatantly and perniciously misleading–on almost every point.

The “insulting” annual increase in Social Security payments to retirees is not something specifically mandated by the Obama administration. It is, instead, something mandated by the law that fixes increases to the consumer price index or, in effect, to the inflation rate.

And, if the Obama administration tried to propose more substantial increases in Social Security payments, such a proposal would be immediately voted down in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, who would denounce it as just more ill-advised spending on people looking for a handout at the expense of wealthy Americans, whose affluence and influence, after all, a moral confirmation of their merit.

Voters on the Far Right will immediately understand the phrase “the rumors around D.C. suggest” as an insinuation that President Obama not so secretly wants to gut Social Security and Medicare in order to provide free healthcare to Americans too shiftless to provide for themselves.

But, of course, the hard truth that most Far-Right voters have been brainwashed into ignoring is that the “certain politicians” who most openly “want to drastically decrease your payments, and soon!” are actually all Far-Right ideologues, those most critical of President Obama and most cynically willing to eliminate the social safety nets upon which some of their most reliable voting blocks—the very elderly and working-class Whites—are most dependent or will be most dependent.

One would be very hard-pressed to imagine a comparably cynical ploy that might be employed by Progressives.

I might offer the possibility that Democrats could invite American corporations to support a proposal that would lower their nominal tax rate but raise their actual tax rates. But the Democrats have moved so far to the Center that they are actually proposing to lower the nominal corporate tax rate in an effort to entice more corporations actually to pay taxes at the much lower “actual” rate.

Too often, for most Progressives, the choice is between extremely Far Right proposals and Far-Right proposals “stripped” of a few very extreme provisions. In the “real world”—and I am not sure where that might be found at present—that’s not “compromise” —any more than the Far-Right voters’ hatred of Obama means that he necessarily reciprocates their hatred and must be lying when he says that he wishes to protect Social Security and Medicare from the Far-Right politicians who actually are intent on dismantling them.

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