Separating Fact from Fiction

June 4, 2012

It's a little more than "if it's Sunday it's, Meet the Press" for me, because I record about seven hours of talk shows, because I'm retired, and I can. It comes down to about 4 1/2 hours after you skip pass the commercials and a lot of the dull talking points. The talk shows I watch are spread out over a period of two days. For example, I watched "Fox News Sunday" this morning. I'll be able to cut that down in half and because lately; it’s just been a venue for rehashing talking points.

I always start off with" Meet the Press" because it's supposed to be the standard of Sunday talk shows, but I think David Gregory has a long way to go before he can be compared to Tom Brokaw or Tim Russert. As expected, David started in on Massachusetts governor, Deval Patrick, wanting him to confirm that the low 69,000 jobs that were added meant doom for President Obama. Governor Patrick correctly said that we should be talking about those people who are out of work and discussing some things that we could do to get them back to work. This angered, David Gregory because he thought Governor Patrick was evading the question. The show then switched to a round-table discussion which was more of the same programmed answers and questions.

Towards the end of the program, David Gregory interviewed former moderate Democrat, Senator Bill Bradley, who had some very promising proposals to get people working again. It would have to start by Congress passing the transportation bill. Mr. Bradley knows that infrastructure has always been accepted by both parties as the thing to do when we need to stimulate the economy. It's no secret that our infrastructure is in dire need of repair and upgrades. He realizes that the impediment to growth is uncertainty and demand, so his proposal takes care of both. We know that big business has about $1.8 trillion in reserve (cash) but they're just sitting on it; Several economists have said that just 20% of that 1.8 trillion could drop unemployment to 5%. Mr. Bradley's proposal would limit the government's investment at $50 billion using that amount to pay for 30% of a company's cost of hiring new workers. There's a catch, the companies would not be able to lay off those workers for the duration of the joint venture.

I wish there was a talk show that didn't have an agenda. That talk show could be bankrolled by some patriotic multimillionaire who doesn't have an agenda. The show could invite the partisan Democrats and Republicans and then have a distinguished panel of domestic and foreign policy experts ask the guests some pertinent questions that will be of interest to the voters. CNN is suffering from dwindling numbers because they refuse to take a stand, and afterwards they allow the politicians to spout their talking points without rebuttal. They would be the perfect fit for this type of show. It will never happen because viewers want to go on believing that their viewpoints are correct. CNN already does at midday segment where they fact check the politicians.

I've noticed that a lot of myths across this nation are taken for fact. I made a long list, but I will only name a few.

1. Liberals are for big government: Name the label of your choice (liberal, progressive, or Democrat) but you will still find that statement to be utterly false. Insert the label of your choice but I think that group wants effective government; small, enough or large enough to be efficient. Conservatives want government small enough to be able to drown in a bathtub and anyone not in line with that thinking wants big government. The anti-government conservatives run a 24/7 campaign criticizing all phases of government because if the voters start trusting government again as in the 1970s, their goal of privatizing everything will be doomed.

2. Labels of your choice, want to redistribute the wealth: redistributing the wealth is a product of a progressive tax system, whether the benefits are geared to the rich or the poor. The tax rates have been the same since 2003.

3. Word games: Conservatives have now changed the name for wealthy people to job creators, redefined the word socialism to government takeover, and has made capitalism a religion and made government abominable, all the while ,spending their Social Security checks and using their Medicare.

4. The U.S. will become Greece: That is just a scare tactic the right-wing uses, and it's ludicrous to compare us to that small country. Unlike America, Greece cannot become more competitive because it now belongs to the Euro. They can no longer boost their exports by depreciating its currency. Foreign investors are still pouring their money into the U.S., not so for Greece.

5. Labor unions: It's been a 65 year goal of the GOP to eliminate unions, starting with the Taft-Hartley Act of 1947 but corruption inside the union’s management did not help the union's cause. Public-sector unions have the most members, but those numbers will dwindle even more if Governor Walker wins the recall tomorrow night. His win will embolden other GOP governors to take steps in finishing the remaining off. Collecting bargaining is just an agreement between employee and management and that’s American as "baseball, apple pie and Chevrolet.”

I'm a believer in capitalism but not the free market because everything has to be regulated or shaped by laws in a civilized society, even though, as it turns out, creates inequality and fewer opportunities for all. For example, predatory lending is immoral not illegal. The financial sector does not have a conscience; therefore, they put all the blame of the financial crisis of 2008, on the poor people for getting the loans and the government for not regulating them. Who me?

This election, like all others, will be about our economy, but we mustn't lose track that we are in a world economy. Foreign policy may be low on the list as far as voters go but our actions overseas impact our domestic budget. Our cyber warfare many have impacted Israel's desire to attack Iran. The cyber warfare started under the Bush administration has been expanded in this administration. Mitt Romney gave the president an "F” for not intervening in Syria, Egypt and Iran, yet his handlers can't identify the people they want to arm.

If we don't have the ability or the desire to separate fact from fiction; can we blame our politicians for acting the way they do?

Tomorrow will be a week since the Republican Party anointed Mitt Romney as their presumptive nominee but all I see is the continuance of Obama bashing but not a single blog detailing Romney's vision.It's not hard;it's more of the same Bush polices sprinkled in with a little of Paul Ryan's privatization and balancing the budget on the backs of those who cannot afford it. That's what I gather after watching Romney's Senior Economic Adviser,Glenn Hubbard describe his economic plan but he didn't say how he will pay for it. He says growth will pay for it but that's like a used car-salesman saying "trust me."