The Evening News

Jim, great post on the radical center, if you will. I mainly agree with you, and I would say that in your main paragraph where you outline how things should be…well, the average Republican, certainly the average (or even every) Republican politician would call you a raving socialist for suggesting such things. I agree that they are in the center, and the right has become so intransigent that they can’t see the center, let alone the left. While I don’t think S&P has any credibility, I do feel it necessary to point out that in their report issued with the downgrade, they did not blame partisanship in general. They blamed the Republicans specifically. The report says, “Compared with previous projections, our revised base case scenario now assumes that the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, due to expire by the end of 2012,
remain in place. We have changed our assumption on this because the majority of Republicans in Congress continue to resist any measure that would raise revenues, a position we believe Congress reinforced by passing the act.” They specifically blame the Republicans because they don’t believe they will allow the Bush tax cuts to expire as scheduled, and that spells doom for our economy.
You haven’t seen that quote on the evening news, you say? Well, I guess that is because of the liberal media conspiracy….oh, wait.
I watched the CBS news with Scott Pelley tonight just cause I’ve only seen him once since he took over and every once in awhile it’s good to check out how they spin…er, report…things.
When I was a kid I remember my day took me to the bank to open my first savings account with a deposit of $50 or something. And even at that, a simple savings account earned about 5.6% interest annually. Saving money was an actual option. Somewhere in the Reagan years and my early adulthood, of course, that changed. Today, even if you have thousands of dollars to deposit, a savings account earns only around 0.2% interest annually, making it not a viable option. The financial interests changed the rules so that the only way to make money on your money was by gambling in the stock market. The rich loved it cause with so much more money in the stock market, they could cash in and make a ton more money. And they did. When I was a kid the richest one percent owned what, 25 or 30% of the wealth in America. Today, they have 90% of the wealth in the country.
So, when I heard Scott Pelley talk about the recent volatility in the market and he said people were worried about their 401K retirement savings accounts, my ears perked up. Because 401K retirement accounts are no such thing as savings accounts. They are gambling accounts. True, over the long haul they have performed better than the old simple savings accounts with their 5.6% interest, but nonetheless they are gambling accounts, not savings accounts. And anyone who has looked at their portfolios lately knows that. The moneyed interests have made actual saving an option that is no longer viable. Sure, it isn’t just CBS, it is the entire media that would refer to it that way, and that is the point. The narrative has shifted so far to the right that talking about actually saving money isn’t a viable option. We talk about gambling as though it were saving. And it’s not.
It’s a subtle thing, and it shows I think, how we all live in a world where the interests of the rich are the only interests that matter.
The other story on the news that caught my attention, on the local 5:00 Chicago news, was the clip of Mitt Romney in Des Moines saying to a group of his Republican supporters, “Corporations are people, my friends.” Followed by him getting booed and shouted down by his own supporters. It was a beautiful thing. May some people are starting to get it.
CBS spent a couple minutes on Rick Perry’s presidential announcement, and they chose not to cover the Mitt Romney story, lest their viewers start to question whether corporations actually are people.
Jim, what I want to see if for people to be educated, really educated. To knows facts, and know history. As Jefferson said, an informed electorate is necessary for democracy. And I believe an informed electorate will steer away from the extremes, from fundamentalism. Only when you have all the information can you have a useful discussion and debate, and only then can you reach policy decisions that are good for the country. Today, people don’t understand their taxes are at near historic lows, that America has become the most unequal society on earth, that the class war has been fought and won by the rich. And therein lies the difficulty. How to inform the people, when the rich and powerful continually pummel the country with propaganda that tax cuts on them create jobs and other myths. (Sure, there has been propaganda on the left too, though right now not nearly as much; they’ve been beaten down and cant’ afford it.)
So yes, as you said, we need open-minded people without blinders. The question is how do we get there when the people with the money have a vested interest in keeping the status quo. I’m more liberal than you, and I need smart people in the center and on the right to keep me honest, as I hope I can help keep you honest. I think one of our biggest problems right now is that we don’t have serious people on the right. We only have fundamentalists, and I would say by definition that means they have blinders on.

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About JP

We're two guys who met in college, in 1980. We've stayed in touch, and like to talk politics, current events, music and religion. JP is nore liberal than Sid, but not in every way. We figure that dialogue stimulates ideas, moderates perspective, and is in general friendly. These are things we need badly in these dangerous times. The blog name is taken from a song by Bruce Cockburn.
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