Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Selling Social Darwinism

Robert Reich has a blog that is well worth following. He is a knowledgeable person with the facts and the social empathy to present an honest account of the situation that the 99% find themselves in.

Here is his latest post:
The Republican Myth of Obama's "Entitlement Society"

One of the few things Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich agree on is that President Obama is turning America into “European-style welfare culture.”

In his standard stump speech Romney charges Obama with creating a nation of dependents. “Over the past three years Barack Obama has been replacing our merit-based society with an entitlement society.”

Gingrich calls Obama “the best food-stamp president in American history.”

What’s their evidence? Both rely on federal budget data showing direct payments to individuals shot up by almost $600 billion, a 32 percent increase, since the start of 2009.

They also point to Census data showing that 49 percent of Americans now live in homes where at least one person is collecting a federal benefit – Social Security, food stamps, unemployment insurance, worker’s compensation, or subsidized housing. That’s up from 44 percent in 2008.

Finally, they trumpet Social Security Administration figures showing that the number of people on Social Security disability jumped 10 percent in Obama’s first two years in office.

They argue our economic problems stem from this sharp rise in “dependency.” Get rid of these benefits and people will work harder.

They have cause and effect backwards. The reason for the rise in food stamps, unemployment insurance, and other safety-net programs is Americans got clobbered in 2008 with the worst economic catastrophe since the Great Depression. They and their families have needed whatever helping hands they could get.

If anything, America’s safety nets have been too small and shot through with holes. That’s why the number and percentage of Americans in poverty has increased dramatically over the past three years, including over a third of families with young children.

One scandal, for example, is that only 40 percent of the unemployed qualify for unemployment benefits because they weren’t working full time or long enough on a single job before they were canned. The unemployment system doesn’t take account of the fact that a large portion of the workforce typically works part time on several jobs, and moves from job to job.

Republicans also object to Obama’s health care law, which covers 30 million more Americans than were covered before. But it still leaves over 20 million without health insurance. They’ll get emergency care when they’re in dire straights — hospitals won’t refuse them — but we all end up paying indirectly.

Regressive Republicans pretend they’re about opportunity. In reality they’re back at what they’ve been doing for years — promoting Social Darwinism.
Go read his blog.

The manipulation of statistics to sell their Social Darwinism is utterly cynical. The political right knows that it is lying. It isn't naive. But it trusts in the big lie technique. They know that if they repeat their right wing lies long enough and through enough media, most people will assume it is true because the message is so prevalent.

I remember being incredulous when I matured and discovered that my father believed that if something was printed it had to be true. In his mind, nobody would go to the expense of printing something unless it was true. I could never change his mind. He proved to me just how effective a propaganda campaign could be. He lived a life believing falsehoods simply because "they were printed" and I could never change his mind because my arguments were "just words" and he refused to look at the printed material I presented to him. Propaganda can be very, very effective.

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