A veteran journalist's take on such diverse subjects as religion and religious violence, democracy, freedom of expression, sociology, journalism, criticism, travel, philosophy, Southeast Asia, politics,economics, and even parenthood, the supernatural, film criticism, and cooking. Please don't hesitate to participate by starting a comment thread if you have an interest in any of these subjects...or anything else, for that matter...

Trying to fool all of the people all of the time

GOP: “I have always depended on the stupidity of voters…”

Patrick Guntensperger
Parksville, BC

Okay, let’s take two families: one has a net worth of a few million dollars or so, with big savings, maybe even an offshore account or two, and investment accounts and an annual income measured in the millions or high six figures; the other family is struggling to pay off a mortgage and lives from paycheque to paycheque with negligible or non-existent savings and an income just above the poverty level. Now you give both of them a tax break. Hell, let’s give them some cash…let’s say two thousand dollars to the second family and let’s give, what the hell, two hundred thousand to the first family. What happens? 

A tax break!

It ain’t rocket science. The first, extremely comfortable family takes that windfall and banks it; maybe even banks it in Switzerland or the Cayman Islands if they follow Mitt Romney’s lead. The second, struggling family? They spend it; maybe on that new washing machine and long-needed brakes on the car, maybe on clothes and a bike for the kids and a night out for Mom and Dad. Which is better for the country? Well duh.

From Family Two, the benefits of that small windfall are shared by assembly line workers who built the washing machine, the owner of the store at which it was bought, the brake parts manufacturer, the mechanics, the service centre, the clothing designers and  importers, or manufacturers, the retail outlet, the bike shop, the restaurant and the servers. Any one of the foregoing may benefit sufficiently to hire more people or start a new business, if they keep seeing more business; they will be the job creators…the small businesspeople.

Who benefits from the pile of cash given to Family one? A bank may benefit. If Family One was going to create a job…they already had the money…they would have done it by now; 200 K wouldn’t make a difference. And as for indirectly benefiting the economy, the amount of money we’re talking about…a life-changing small fortune for most of us…

Just bank it, Lovey!

while it is no doubt welcome, it probably wouldn’t change their spending habits in the slightest. While the two hundred thousand might bring a twitch to the corner of Thurston Howell’s mouth, it will go straight into a bank or offshore account to grow. There is almost certainly no collateral benefit to the people who are paying for it.

And yet the Republican Party has a plan that will give families with a million dollars and more annual income an additional $250,000.00 per year to put in their children’s trust funds. But what about Family Two? Do they plan to give them that pitiful but desperately needed and very economically stimulating $2,000.00? Hell no! That would make them, in Mitt Romney’s view, dependent on government…it would encourage them to refuse to take responsibility and care for their own lives (Romney’s words). So how do we finance that huge gift to the 2 percent? Well, obviously we take $2000.00 from Family Two.

If we give hundreds of thousands to millionaires, the poor will derive the benefits!

According to campaign rhetoric, that will spur economic growth and lift people out of poverty.

It’s hard for rational people to believe, but the Paul Ryan budget – the cornerstone of Mitt Romney’s economic plan – calls for continuing to give billions of dollars a year to the country’s most profitable corporations (big oil), and increasing the enormous taxpayer subsidised windfalls to the country’s wealthiest. This largess will be paid for by increasing taxes on Family Two and gutting or totally eliminating government programs they rely on to make ends meet…food stamps, health care, unemployment insurance, veteran’s benefits, you name it.

Despite being repeatedly asked, neither Ryan nor Romney will actually tell the voters which entitlements they will de-entitle or detail the eliminations of benefits, or cuts to programs they have planned; trust me, they say. What is absolutely clear, though, is that since they intend to reduce the deficit radically, increase military spending, and at the same time lower the taxes on the wealthy, there is only one place funding for their enormous government largess to the rich can come from: increasing taxes on the middle class and eliminating the social safety net for those in need.

But don’t worry, the rich will be fine.

The irony of this breathtakingly cynical money grab is that hard-core Republican blue collar workers have bought into the mythology and continue to vote for a multi-millionaire candidate funded by multi-billionaires, who has clearly stated that he couldn’t care less about the 47% of Americans of modest means. He is completely clear that his interests and focus are on his big money constituents and those who will never need a government program.

Just to give you an idea of how powerful the big money interests are in this race, a single Romney contributor cut a campaign contribution  check for $100,000,000.00. Yes, you read

It’s not campaign finance…it’s an investment!

that right…one hundred million dollars. Why would even a billionaire do that? Simply put…because if Romney were to be elected, he would make an additional 8 to 9 billion dollars in tax breaks and benefits. Do the math….that’s 8 or 900% profit…a great investment.

Meanwhile, the blue collar worker who is struggling along in an economy that is trying mightily to recover will see his taxes increase and the social programs that allow his family to survive with any dignity and security simply wither and die. Nevertheless, the Republicans cynically lie to him and mange to get his vote by scaring him into believing that he is suffering because people of colour and lazy freeloaders are sucking on the government teat. That the biggest beneficiaries of government largesse (and therefore the biggest freeloaders) are big, successful corporations and the staggeringly wealthy is never mentioned.

Romney rants about “redistribution”, a catchphrase he employs as a code for “socialism”. He doesn’t point out that the Ryan plan is the most extensive redistribution scheme ever proposed since the French Revolution. Only this time the revolution will distribute the funds of the peasantry upwards to the aristocracy; in fact, the Ryan budget, in real terms, will redistribute hundreds of times more revenue upwards than the French Revolution and the Russian Revolution together distributed laterally.

The level of cynicism, greed, and hypocrisy is staggering. But what is even more astonishing and more deeply disturbing is the number of people who will vote to make their families suffer but pad the foreign investments of billionaires…largely because they hate having a black moderate intellectual for a president.

The threat.


Hire Patrick

Want to hire Patrick for a speaking engagement, as a teacher or for a writing project? Send him a message here:



Your Message


Speak Your Mind