When Truthful Answers Are So Very Hard to Find

I received this somewhat lengthy item in my e-mail this evening; perhaps financial desperation is making people more amenable to reading the longer pieces that we have been repeatedly warned that no one bothers to read anymore:

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First, I am shocked that according to Moneynews.com, one-third of Baby Boomers will survive retirement. I am not sure what post-retirement life involves, but I am very interested in exploring the options, on the off-chance that my “clean living” doesn’t cut short my life “prematurely.”

Second, this sort of e-mail has actually become very commonplace among Far-Right media sources. Apparently, amid all the reports of the manifold ways in which President Obama is subverting the Constitution, conniving to eliminate the rights of real Americans, clandestinely imposing Sharia Law, and setting the stage for his political opponents to be eliminated by plagues, by terrorists, and by rampaging mobs of lawless illegal immigrants and government-dependent minorities—apparently the news reports on all of these things have obscured the fact that if many Americans’ financial security in retirement is at risk, it is because the Far Right wants to “reform” Social Security and Medicare out of existence, at least as they currently exist. Likewise, apparently, the reports on all of Obama’s treachery and malfeasance have obscured the fact that Progressives are trying not just to preserve Social Security and Medicare benefits but even to expand those benefits.

Apparently President Obama’s ongoing, determined ruination of the nation has obscured the fact that what has made working-class Americans so financially dependent on Social Security and Medicare benefits in their retirements has been the elimination of company-provided pensions as a benefit widely available to all workers, a benefit that has been eliminated especially among lower-wage workers, many of whom are no longer even defined as employees but, instead, as “independent contractors.” Apparently President Obama is responsible for the relentless attacks on unions—legislatively, judicially, and culturally—that have facilitated the elimination of pensions and many other employer-provided benefits that used to be taken for granted.

Apparently all of the questions about President Obama’s insidious motives in destroying the nation that he took an oath to protect have obscured the basic question of why working-class families are barely making ends meet when the wealthiest 1% to 5% of Americans have never had it so good—when their wealth has been increasing exponentially.

Apparently it is more satisfying to wonder why President Obama has managed to avoid those lingering questions about his birth certificate than to ask why prosperity is as exclusive as a country club—than to ask why all of the tax cuts for corporations and the most affluent have not put any more money in ordinary workers’ pockets.

We used to complain about the aptness of the metaphor that prosperity trickles down from the wealthiest to those scraping by, even in the best of times, from paycheck to paycheck. But now there isn’t any wealth even trickling down—not even the equivalent of the dimes that John D. Rockefeller used to hand out to everyone whom he met in order to demonstrate his bottomless generosity.

The mantra used to be that reductions in federal taxes would allow states to tax at levels that their voters deemed to be appropriate. Then the mantra was that reductions in state taxes would allow local governments to tax at levels their voters deemed to be appropriate. Almost none of the tax reductions at the federal and state levels have gone into the pockets of ordinary wage-earners. But the reductions in the federal revenues going to the states and in the state revenues going to the local governments and school districts has meant that if people want to maintain decent public services and decent schools, they now need to pay much higher local taxes.

Of course, there is always the option of privatizing public services. But apparently it is more satisfying to worry about President Obama’s secret plans to seize all privately owned weapons in the United States than it is to recognize the very basic reality that privatization does not mean that someone besides the taxpayer is footing the bill, or even a smaller bill—than it is to recognize that tax dollars are paying for reduced, previously public services because those revenues are now also being allocated to higher executive compensation and to stock dividends. What used to go into the pockets of public employees and proportionately into the local tax coffers is now going into the accounts of the corporations who operate prison systems, charter school systems, and economic development agencies.

But, apparently, it is easier to focus on the obvious but nonetheless profound truths in the many similarities and differences between Jesus and President Obama—or as a recent item disseminated by World Net Daily put it: “Jesus and Obama, Real and False Messiahs.”

 

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