Real-World
Economics

 

George H. Blackford, Ph.D.

 Economist at Large

 Email: george(at)rwEconomics.com

 

It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble.

It’s what you know for sure that just ain't so.
Attributed to Mark Twain (among others)

 

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How Propaganda Works

 

The piece of propaganda I discussed in It Makes Sense if You Don’t Think About It begins as follows: 

Hmmmm

 




SOME OF YOU WILL APPRECIATE THIS 
AND SOME OF YOU WILL NOT. 

I DO NOT APOLOGIZE FOR SENDING THIS 
BECAUSE ALL OF IT IS TRUE. 
 

If any other of our presidents 
had doubled the National Debt, which 
had taken more than two centuries 
to accumulate, in one year, 
would You have Approved? 

 

 

As I have said, asking a question in this way is quite common in propaganda. It uses innuendo to generate ideas in your mind rather than clearly stating what it wants you to think, and there is a very good reason why this technique is used. By asking the question in the form “If any other of our presidents . . . would You have Approved?” it focuses your attention on whether or not you approve.  By focusing your attention in this way the propagandist is directing your attention away from the insinuated accusation that Obama doubled the debt, and in order to answer the question you are actually asked you have to assume this accusation is true.

 

As you ponder the question you are actually asked, all of the negative associations and feelings you have toward the debt being doubled are being connected to Obama in your mind whether the accusation that he did this true or not. The only way you can keep this from happening is by consciously rejecting the accusation that Obama doubled the debt. Otherwise, the negative feelings and associations you harbor toward doubling the debt are connected to Obama in your mind whether you want them to be or not even though this accusation is patently false.  As a result, the negative conclusions, emotions, associations, and connections that build in your mind as you ponder this question are derived from a false accusation.  In other words, the entire complex that has been created in your mind by the propagandist is a figment of your imagination, and as your exposure to propaganda grows the complexes created in your mind by the propagandist grow as well. The effect is to drive you deeper into the imaginary world created by the propagandist, and this takes place without the propagandist actually telling you what to think. You are able to figure it out all by yourself, or so it seems.

 

To understand how this works, consider the next question in this email:

 

 

If any other of our presidents 
had then proposed to Double 
the debt again within 10 years, 
would you have approved? 

 

 

This question takes the same format as the first and for the same reason:  to focus your attention on whether or not you approve and away from the implicit accusation that Obama proposed to double the debt again.  The propagandist is doing this to try to keep you from thinking about the accusation.  After all, why would anyone believe that Obama proposed to double the debt in 10 years if they actually thought about it?  Why would he or anyone else make such stupid proposal? 

 

Even if Obama made a proposal that implied the debt would double, the substance of the proposal would not be to double the debt.  The debt increase would be a consequence of the proposal, not the proposal itself.  Saying that Obama is proposing to double the debt in this situation without explaining the substance of Obama’s proposal is akin to saying that Paul Ryan is proposing to increase the debt by $10 trillion in his latest proposal to control the deficit.  While this may be one of the consequences of Ryan’s proposal, asserting that Ryan is proposing to increase the debt by $10 trillion without explaining his deficit reduction plan is disingenuous to say the least since the substance of Ryan’s proposal is to control the deficit, not to increase the debt.  The similar assertion about what Obama might have proposed is equally disingenuous and also does not address the substance of whatever it is that Obama is supposed to have proposed. 

 

None of this matters, of course, to the propagandist.  All that matters to the propagandist is that you don’t think about it because the process of generating false conclusions and creating negative associations and connections in your mind can only take place if you don’t think about whether the implicit assertions in the questions make sense.

 

See what happens when you actually think about the implicit assertions in the next question in this email rather than about what the question actually asks you to think about.

 

 

If any other of our presidents 
had criticized a State Law that 
he admitted he never even read, 
would you think that he is 
just an ignorant hot Head? 

 

 

Notice that at this point the propagandist is going beyond innuendo and asking you if you approve but is now calling Obama names in an attempt to associate words like “ignorant” and “hot Head” to Obama in the imaginary world he is creating for you.  The process of directing your focus away from the substance of what he is actually asking you to believe is the same, however.  If you think about that substance instead of the propagandist’s assertion that Obama is an ignorant hot head it makes no sense at all.

 

Does it really make sense to condemn a president for criticizing a state law that he has not read?   Have you read every law on which you have formed an opinion?   Why would you expect any politician to read every law they are going to comment on?  This is especially so for the President of the United States.  Do you really want the president to waste his time reading state laws rather than relying on staff to provide summaries of the laws he is interested in order to free his time for more important things? 

 

It is the president’s ability to understand the substance of the law in question that is important not whether or not he has read it.  The substance of most documents can be conveyed to the president by competent staff much more efficiently than by his attempting to read all of the relevant material.  If those in charge had to do all of the homework they require of their staffs in order to arrive at a decision or make a comment nothing would get done.  This is obvious if you think about it.

 

And notice that when you do think about this aspect of the question posed by the propagandist rather than what the propagandist actually asked you to think about, the process of coming to false conclusions and building negative associations and connections in your mind is seriously disrupted, and it is much more difficult for the propagandist to control the way you think.  The same is true of the rest of the questions in this email.

 

 

If any other of our presidents 
joined the country of Mexico and
sued a State in the United States
to force that State to continue to
allow Illegal Immigration, would
you question his patriotism and
wonder who's side he was on? 

 

 

I am quite certain that no president has ever joined in a lawsuit with another country to sue a state to “allow Illegal Immigration.”   Nor has any president ever sued a state on his own to allow Illegal Immigration.  If you think about this it becomes obvious that it is just silly to think that any president has sued a state to allow illegal immigration. 

 

But thinking about the substance of the issues surrounding federal and state jurisdictions and civil rights when it comes to immigration law gets in the way of the propagandist’s goal.  Rather than asking you to think about these substantive issues, the propagandist replaces substance with innuendo and accuses Obama of being unpatriotic so that the process of generating false conclusions and negative associations in your mind can continue uninhibited by rational thought. 

 

And remember, this process goes on in your mind when you’re thinking about the question instead of the substance of the issues involved even when the implicit accusations in the question are false.  All of the negative feelings and associations that are being connected with Obama in your mind are being connected in this way because you have accepted the proposition, consciously or otherwise, that Obama “joined the country of Mexico and sued a State in the United States to force that State to continue to allow Illegal Immigration”—a proposition that is patently absurd and makes no sense at all. 

 

At the same time, there is nothing in the question that is generating these negative associations in your mind that sheds any light at all on the substantive issues involved.  The question is carefully designed in such a way as to keep you from thinking about substantive issues such as federal jurisdiction and the rights of American citizens.

 

Consider how thinking about the comments on the following question disrupts this process.

 

 

If any other of our presidents 
had pronounced the Marine
Corps as if it were the Marine
Corpse, would you think him
an Idiot? 

 

 

Are we really supposed to conclude that someone is “an Idiot” because they mispronounced a word like corps?  Does this really make sense?  Have you ever mispronounced a word?  Are you an idiot? 

 

Notice how it becomes much more difficult to generate negative feelings and associations in your mind to connect to Obama when you think about the question in this way than when you focus on whether or not you think Obama is an idiot.  It may not make you feel better about Obama when you think about the question in this way, but it at least becomes obvious that this is not a serious reason to be concerned, and the propaganda is no longer effective in controlling the way you think. 

 

The rest of the questions in this email are similar, though there are a few twists, and I will examine the substance of each in turn.  If you find yourself getting bored you can skip to the end of the green sections starting with “I too believe in Burke’s sentiment” without missing very much.  

 

 

If any other of our presidents 
had put 87,000 workers out
of work by arbitrarily placing a
moratorium on offshore oil
drilling on companies that
have one of the best safety
records of any industry because
one foreign company had an
accident, would you have agreed? 

 

 

I doubt that the substance of this question will impress many who do not work for an oil drilling company if they actually think about what the question is talking about instead of what the propagandist asks them to think about.  At the very least, the facts regarding the industry’s safety record were called into question following the Gulf oil spill disaster.  I really don’t know how anyone could believe the moratorium on offshore drilling was made “arbitrarily,” if they thought about it.  This is absurd on its face.  

 

It is worth noting, that this question goes beyond attempting to create negative feelings and associations toward Obama.  By attacking Obama’s actions toward the oil companies, it also creates negative emotions and associations toward any government interference with oil companies. 

 

In the imaginary world the propagandist is attempting to create in your mind, government regulation or interference with corporations for environmental or any other purpose is wrong.  Asking the above question in the way it is asked has the effect of connecting the negative feelings you have toward Obama to the governmental action he took against the oil companies.  If you pay attention to the question and ignore the substance of the issues raised by the question as the propagandist wishes, you must implicitly accept the conclusion that governmental actions Obama took were wrong.  This implicit conclusion then becomes part of the complex of negative associations, and connections that grow in your mind as you contemplate this question. 

 

 

If any other of our presidents 
had used a forged document
as the basis of the moratorium
that would render 87000 American
workers unemployed, would
you support him? 

 

 

This just boggles my mind.  How could anyone possibly believe the innuendo here that Obama actually forged a document or knowingly used such a document so he could “render 87000 American workers unemployed?”  This is just too stupid for words, if you think about it.  If you don’t think about it your negative feelings and associations toward Obama grow.

 

 

If any other of our presidents 
had been the first President to
need a teleprompter installed
to be able to get through 
a press conference, would you
have laughed and said this is more
proof of how inept he is on his
own and is really controlled by
smarter men behind the scenes?

 

 

Obama was the first president to use a teleprompter at a press conference?  Even if it is true that he was the first why would it imply that he is “inept” and “controlled by smarter men behind the scenes” rather than that he is resourceful?  Just how damning is this when you think about the substance rather than the question you are asked to think about?

 

 

If any other of our presidents 
had spent hundreds of thousands
of Dollars to take his First Lady
to a play in NYC, would you have approved? 

 

 

Why would anyone think this made sense if they thought about it?  Because of the level of violence in our society and the personal and national security issues involved, it costs the United States taxpayer a small fortune to enable the president to walk across the street safely.  Does this mean the president should stay walled up in the White House and never walk across the street or that he should not take a vacation or take his wife or family out for a night on the town?  Just how damning is it that he took his wife to see a play in NYC?

 

 

If any other of our presidents 
had reduced your retirement plan
holdings of GM stock by 90%
and given the unions a majority
stake in GM, would you have approved?

 

 

All of the GM stock in retirement plans got wiped out completely when GM went through bankruptcy, not just 90% of the stock, and stock in the reorganized GM was given to the union’s hourly retirees healthcare fund as part of the settlement worked out in the GM bankruptcy proceeding.  This settlement was arranged by and approved by the bankruptcy court.  It was not an administrative decision made by the president. 

 

The implicit accusation in this question that the president was somehow responsible for GM’s stock loosing value is obviously false to anyone who actually thinks about it.  Was it Obama’s fault that GM went bankrupt?  GM’s demise was the result of decades of poor management and came in the wake of a financial crisis that began in 2007 and reached its climax in September of 2008.  Obama didn’t take office until January of 2009.  No one in their right mind could take these accusations seriously if they actually thought about them. 

 

 

If any other of our presidents 
had made a joke at the expense 
of the Special Olympics, 
would you have approved? 

 

 

Just who are these people who approved of this?  I can’t think of a single person who defended Obama when he thoughtlessly made this comment and then almost instantly apologized for having made it. 

 

Even though the innuendo here to the effect that people who support Obama approved of this incident is false, asking this question can be very effective in connecting the negative feelings and associations that it arouses in your mind to those who support Obama in spite of the fact that the basis for this connection is false—people who support Obama did not approve of this incident—if you don’t think about it. 

 

 

If any other of our presidents 
had given Gordon Brown a set
 of inexpensive and incorrectly
formatted DVDs, when Gordon
Brown had given him a thoughtful
and historically significant gift, 
would you have approved? 

 

 

Why should I or anyone care that Obama gave “Gordon Brown a set of incorrectly formatted DVDs?”  If he had given him a free night at a bordello, maybe, but DVDs?  This is just silly if you think about it.

 

 

If any other of our presidents 
had given the Queen of England
 an IPod containing videos of his speeches, would you have thought
 it to be a proud moment for America ?
 

 

 

Again, if you think about it, who cares?

 

 

 If any other of our presidents 
had visited Austria and made
reference to the nonexistent
"Austrian language," 
would you have brushed it off 
as a minor slip? 

 

 

If you ignore the intimidating, self-righteous, condescending way in which this question is asked and answer the question objectively and honestly, the most sensible answer to this question is, of course, “Yes I would have brushed it off as a minor slip.”   After all, just about everyone knows the Austrian language is German just as just about everyone knows that the American language is English and the Mexican language is Spanish. 

 

There is another aspect to this question that may be worth noting.  This story sounds like a reworking of a story about Bush that went around when he was president to the effect that Bush thought Latin Americans spoke Latin.  The similarity of the two stories makes it possible for the propagandist to use this question to connect the negative feelings and associations of those who heard the Bush story to Obama. 

 

 

If any other of our presidents 
had filled his Cabinet and
circle of Advisers with people
who cannot seem 
to keep current on their Income
Taxes, would you have approved? 
 

 

The email actually has a point here.  There is no excuse for bringing Geithner into the cabinet, and for more reasons than his tax evasion.  Geithner's incompetence along with that of Bernanke and Summers helped to bring on the financial crisis, and Geithner as well as Bernanke and Summers should have been avoided like the plague.  Just the same, the honest way to deal with this issue is with its substance, out in the open, not surreptitiously by feeding off innuendo and your imagination.  

 

The statement that Obama “filled his Cabinet and circle of Advisers . . .” is false.  Obama did not fill his cabinet and circle of advisers with tax dodger as this statement implies and it is dishonest to assert that he did. 

 

It may seem trivial for me to complain about this bit of exaggeration, but it is not.  When the propagandist makes this kind of exaggeration it becomes part of the complex of negative emotions and associations created in your mind as you ponder the question.  As trivial as this exaggeration may seem, the fact is that these kinds of exaggerations are false and they create complexes of negative associations in your mind that accumulate over time.  The complexes that are derived from these false accusations affect how you think, and the more they accumulate in your mind, the deeper you are driven into the imaginary world of the propagandist, and the further out of touch with reality you become. 

 

The actual false assertion made in this question may seem trivial, but process by which this false assertion is used to control the way you think is not.

 

 

If any other of our presidents 
had stated that there were 57
states in the United States ,
wouldn't you have had 
second thoughts about his capabilities? 

 

 

How can anyone take this seriously, if they think about it?  The most sensible and honest answer to this question is obviously “No, I would not have second thoughts about his capabilities.”   But those who live in the imaginary world of the propagandist don’t think about it, and it somehow makes sense to have second thoughts as a result of a slip of this kind if it is made by Obama.

 

 

If any other of our presidents 
would have flown all the way to
Denmark to make a five minute
speech about how the
 Olympics would benefit him
walking out his front door in his 
home town, would you not have
thought he was a self-important,
conceited, egotistical jerk?

 

 

This is the kind of thing presidents are expected to do.  The fact that the Olympics was to be held in Chicago is irrelevant.  Should the president not support America’s bid for the Olympics because it just happens to be held in his home town?  The conclusion implicit in this question is clearly a non sequitur and, yet again, just plain silly if you think about it. 

 

 

If any other of our presidents 
had been so Spanish illiterate as to
refer to "Cinco de Cuatro" in
front of the Mexican ambassador 
when it was "The 5th of May"
(Cinco de Mayo), and then continue
to flub it when he tried again, 
wouldn't you have winced in
 embarrassment?

  

 

Probably, but then I would want to know if this were actually true or just another thing the propagandist made up.  In either case, why would anyone be terribly upset by it if they thought about it?

 

 

If any other of our presidents 
had burned 9,000 gallons of
jet fuel to go plant a single tree
on Earth Day, would you have
concluded he's a Hypocrite?

 

 

Again, it costs the American taxpayer a fortune to maintain the presidency, and any trip the president takes is going to use a lot of fuel.  Does this mean it is hypocritical for the president to take a trip on Earth Day? 

 

In any event, I would seriously question the 9,000 gallon figure.   9,000 gallons is an awful lot of fuel.  Where did Obama plant that tree?

 

However, the real substance of the 9,000 gallon question has to do with environmentalism.  It contains the same kind of allegation that has been made up in propaganda directed against Al Gore on innumerable occasions.  The implicit conclusion the propagandist is trying to get you to accept is that anyone who expresses concerns about the environment is a hypocrite. 

 

As was noted above, in the imaginary world of the propagandist, government regulation or interference with corporations for environmental or any other reason is wrong.  Asking this question has the effect of connecting the negative feelings you have toward Obama to anyone who is concerned about the environment.  The goal of the propagandist is to make the conclusion that environmentalist are hypocrites part of the complex of negative associations that grow in your mind as you contemplate this question.  This technique is very effective, if you don’t think about it.

 

 

If any other of our presidents' 
Administrations had okayed Air
Force One flying low over
millions of people followed by a
jet fighter in downtown Manhattan
 causing widespread panic, would
you have wondered whether they
actually get what happened on 9-11?
 

 

This is absurd, if you think about it.  This is hardly the kind of action that is brought to the president for a presidential decision.  Maybe if it had happened more than once it would be worth bothering about, but as far as I know, it hasn’t.  And yet, for those who live in the imaginary world of the propagandist, focusing on this question instead of the substance of the issues it raises allows the negative conclusions, emotions, associations, and connections to grow like a wildfire as it brings to the fore all of the emotional baggage we carry over 9-11.

 


If any other of our presidents 
had failed to send relief aid to
flood victims throughout the
Midwest, with more people killed 
or made homeless than in New
Orleans, would you want it made
into a major ongoing Political issue 
with claims of racism and incompetence? 

 

 

Yet another association with the Bush administration that on its face makes no sense.  I haven’t heard of any scandal claiming the government has failed to get aid to flood victims until it popped up in this email, but by the time someone who lives in the imaginary world of the propagandist gets to this point in the email they will believe just about anything.  The negative conclusions, associations, and connections just grow and grow.

 


If any other of our presidents 
had created the positions of 32
Czars who report directly to him,
bypassing the House and Senate
on much of what is happening
in America, would you have approved?

  

 

This is also absurd, if you think about it.  As far as I know, Reagan started the tradition of calling heads of taskforces in his administration czars.  In any event, would a taskforce leader by any other name smell better?

 


If any other of our presidents 
had ordered the firing of the
CEO of a major corporation, even
though he had no constitutional
authority to do so, 
would you have approved? 

 

 

If you think about it, this is just NUTS!  And yet, for those who live in the imaginary world the propagandist has created for them, this somehow makes sense. 

 

The simple fact is that Obama did not order the firing of the CEO of GM.  What the Obama administration did was refuse to bail out GM unless the CEO was fired.  There is certainly nothing unconstitutional about that.  No CEO has a constitutional right to keep his job after he has run his company into the ground to the point that the only way it can be saved is through a government bailout.  The real crime here is not that the Obama administration refused to bail out GM before its CEO was fired, but that the Obama administration didn’t refuse to bail out the banks before their CEOs were fired.

 

The implicit conclusion the propagandist is trying to get you to accept in this question is that it was wrong for the government to force the president of GM to be fired.  As was noted above, in the imaginary world of the propagandist, government regulation or interference with corporations for environmental or any other reason is wrong.  Asking this question has the effect of connecting the negative feelings you have toward Obama to the government action he took against the CEO of GM.  The propagandist’s goal is to make the conclusion that it was wrong for the government to take action against the CEO of GM part of the complex of negative associations that grow in your mind as you answer the question he has asked rather than think about the substantive issues implicit in that question.

 

 

So, tell me again, 
what is it about Obama that 
makes him so brilliant and impressive? 

 

 

Obama is obviously brilliant and impressive to anyone who thinks about.  Only someone who lives in the imaginary world of the propagandist would be unable to come up with an impressive list of things attesting to this, beginning with the obvious fact that Barack Obama is the President of the United States of America.   

 

The implicit assumption underlying this question to the effect that Obama is not brilliant and impressive is absurd on its face to anyone who thinks about it.

 

 

Can't think of anything? 
Then you'd better start worrying. 
He's done all these things in 28 months —
 and you have less than 19 months 
to come up with an answer. 

 

 

(ibid)

 

 

Every statement and action in this
email is factual and correctly
attributable to Barrack Hussein
Obama. Every bumble is a matter
of record and completely verifiable. 

 

 

It should be obvious by now that just saying everything in this email is true and verifiable doesn’t make it so. 

 

 

I WONDER ...... 
HOW MANY OF YOU 
WILL FORWARD THIS?

"All it takes for evil to triumph 
is for good men to do nothing.
"

 

 

I too believe in Burke’s sentiment that evil will triumph if good people fail to act, and I also wonder how many of you will forward this piece with my comments intact to those who send you this kind of propaganda. 

 

Over the past forty years, the kind of propaganda exemplified in this email has played a major role in controlling the way a substantial portion of the American people think.  This propaganda does not just come in the form of emails that ask innuendo laden questions.  It comes in the form of political campaign literature and commercials, newspaper and magazine articles, think tank publications, rants by radio and TV talk show hosts, internet websites, books, and 24/7 on the Fox News Network. 

 

For the past forty years the American people have been deluged by what is virtually a propaganda machine that has turned out this kind of propaganda to the point that a substantial portion of our population has come to live in the imaginary world that has been created for them by this machine.  Furthermore, all of us are affected in the way we think by the propaganda generated by this machine, even those of us who are aware of how it works. 

 

The reason we are all affected by this propaganda is that the propagandist controls how we think by preying on our ignorance and trust.  This makes everyone vulnerable since everyone is ignorant of something.  We all have no choice but to trust others to tell us what we cannot know firsthand and to explain to us what we cannot understand on our own.  How many people can be expected to know by how much the national debt increased during the Obama presidency? 

 

Unless you happen to be an economist, which I happen to be, not only do you probably not know how much the national debt has changed over the past two years, you probably do not know what government agencies collect this kind of information or how to find the official publications in which it publish.  And if you’re like most people, you don’t have a lot of free time on your hands to go through official documents to check the facts.  You have no choice but to rely on others to provide these facts for you.  And you are forced to trust, not only that those who do the providing are honest, but also that they actually know what the truth is and don’t just think they know. 

 

The problem is, of course, that propagandists are dishonest and do not tell you the truth, and, at the same time, the world is filled with honest people who think they know the truth even though most of the truth they know is gleaned from propaganda.  To make things worse, there are a host of experts out there whose heads are not where they should be.  

 

In spite of what most people think, the truth is not that easy to come by in the face of the kind of propaganda onslaught our country has faced over the past forty years where the propaganda is not only spread by the propagandists but by those who share the imaginary world the propagandist has created for them as well as by experts who earn their living by promoting the ideas of the propagandists. 

 

The consequences of this onslaught have been disastrous for our nation.  Not only has it deluded a substantial portion of our populous into believing outlandish things that are trivial—such as the idea that Obama is a secrete Muslim or that he was not born in the United States—it has deluded a substantial proportion of our populous into believing things that are outright dangerous, the most obvious being that Saddam Hussein participated in 9/11 and was threatening our country with nuclear weapons.  But this is only the most obvious example of how dangerous the delusions created by propaganda have been.  The most dangerous delusions have to do with our economic and political systems.

 

Over the past thirty years this propaganda machine has managed to convince the American people that economic prosperity can only be achieved within our society if we destroy our government.  The people who fund this machine and who earn their livings by furthering the interests of those who fund this machine have been able to convince the American people that our democracy is our enemy and that we must defend ourselves against this enemy by dismantling the governmental agencies and institutions this enemy has put in place over the past one hundred years to protect the public from predators who prey on the weak and vulnerable within our society. The end result of this grand experiment in deregulation was the greatest economic catastrophe since the Great Depression.  Such is the power of the imaginary world of the propagandist.

 

The idea that we must destroy our government in order to save ourselves from our democracy is beyond comprehension to anyone who actually thinks about it.  Unfortunately, to those who live in the imaginary world of the propagandist it makes perfect sense.  This is the kind of nonsense that makes sense, if you don't think about it.  And yet, this is exactly what those who generate the kind of propaganda examined above are in the process of doing.  They are destroying our government.

 

In the process, they are eliminating those parts of the government that serve the needs of ordinary people—Social Security, Medicare, and the rest of the social-insurance programs that came out of the New Deal—and preserving only those parts of the government that serve the needs of the special interests, that is, the needs of those who have the wherewithal to lobby their addenda through Congress.

 

If you are interested in actually thinking about the substance of the issues that are raised in this kind of propaganda, and how this kind of propaganda is changing our government and our economic system, there are eight papers I can suggest:

 

It Makes Sense If You Don’t Think About It (2011) examines how the imaginary world created by this kind of propaganda has led to our economic problems today and how this imaginary world is going to affect our government and economy in the next few years.

 

Where Did All the Money Go (2010) examines how our economy has changed over the past 40 years with regard to the distribution of income, international trade and regulatory policy, and the increase in private debt in our society.  It shows how deregulation led to the same kind of income distribution and financial catastrophe that occurred in the 1920s before we had financial regulation and why the size and actions of our federal government today have allowed us to avoid, so far at least, the kind of disaster we went through in the 1930s.  The role ideology played in bringing on the problems we have today is also examined.

 

Understanding the National Debt (2011) explains the deficit and national debt and examines the history of the national debt and federal budget over the past 81 years.  Particular attention is paid to this history over the past 30 years and the situation we find ourselves today.  The various options available to deal with our deficit and debt problems are explained in this paper.  It is worth noting that all of the data in this paper are taken from the official publications of the Office of Management and Budget and are part of the official public record.  Links are provided to the official tables that provide these data.

 

Understanding the Social Security Crisis (2011) examines the history of the Social Security System since 1980 and the issues confronting Social Security today. Particular attention is paid to The Moment of Truth report written by Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowels, the co-chair of the President’s National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform.  The recommendation in this report are examined and the way in which these recommendations will affect Social Security, Medicare, and the tax structure are explained.

 

The Rise of Utopian Capitalism and the Crash of 2008 (2009) explains the ideological basis of Utopian Capitalism and the Free Market Movement this ideology spawned.  It also examines the nature of ideological thought, the utopian view of reality that underlies the Utopian Capitalists' system of beliefs, the fundamental delusion on which this system of beliefs depends, and why these ideologues are dangerous—why they are willing to ignore the Constitution, wage preemptive wars, and implement a policy of torture to further their ends. 

 

Some Notes on Republicans and Torture (2009) examines the Bush/Cheney torture policy and the problems this policy presents to our society. The parallels between the rise of the Republican Party over the last forty years and the rise of the Nazi Party during the 1920s and 1930s are examined, and it is argued that those who torture must be held accountable for their actions. 

 

Some Notes on Right-wing Propaganda (2010) examines the nature of the propaganda put out by the Right-wing Propaganda Machine, how this propaganda works, who generates this propaganda, and who is affected by it.

 

On the Conservative View of Government (2010) is a short note on the way in which our government has been viewed in the political debate over the past forty years.

These papers do not rely on innuendo to implant false information in your mind, but, rather, actually ask that you think about the substance of the issues involved. 

Bibliography

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