Sanity Restored

1 Nov

I watched a good deal of the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear on Saturday, and was struck by the sheer size of the crowd – it rivaled, if not eclipsed – recent teabagging fiestas that have been held on the mall to protest … what, exactly?

A poll recently revealed

that by a two-to-one margin, likely voters in the Nov. 2 midterm elections think taxes have gone up, the economy has shrunk, and the billions lent to banks as part of the Troubled Asset Relief Program won’t be recovered.

The reality is…

The Obama administration has cut taxes — largely for the middle class — by $240 billion since taking office on Jan. 20, 2009. A program aimed at families earning less than $150,000 that was contained in the stimulus package lowered the burden for 95 percent of working Americans by $116 billion, or about $400 per year for individuals and $800 for married couples. Other measures include breaks for college education, moderate- income families and the unemployed and incentives to promote renewable energy.

The meme that Obama is nothing but a tax-raiser is as false as the notion that he’s a soshulist moozlim sleeper agent.

Almost all of the TARP bailout money has been repaid.  The government will take a hit on AIG and the automotive bailouts, and the mortgage bailouts, but had those all been allowed to fail, it would have been an epic economic catastrophe along the lines of a great depression, or worse.

So, we can – and should – debate how we go forward to further grow and strengthen the economy, and how to help lower the unemployment rate.  But the rhetoric – much of it false and manufactured – needs to be tamped down.  Saturday’s event may have been a bit plodding, but it’s hard to play to a crowd of 250,000-ish people.  But it was a great reminder that many, many more of us are just normal people who think normal things about politics than are followers of cable news network pseudo-evangelists of hatred and falsehoods.

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12 Responses to “Sanity Restored”

  1. Hapklein November 1, 2010 at 7:06 am #

    It is a frightening spectacle. On one hand we have the people we saw in the mall Saturday who are aware that the well financed lunatic fringe is taking over and on the other hand we have the huge body of uninformed Americans who well might be voting tfor the wrong people for the wrong reasons tomorrow.

    All this money and behind the scenes influence controls much of the information and opinion development.

    I imagine a lot of gain for the Party of Unintended Consequences and two years of chaos will provide some terrible theater over the next two years. Perhaps that could give birth to some reasoning. But with all that money flooding the channels I doubt it.

  2. Michael November 1, 2010 at 8:56 am #

    One of the ongoing themes for me of late has been we have all these avenues of information and they get sorely underused as the collective attention span has faded to the point where what you pointed out isn’t known by most of the folks voting. When a tool like Mitch McConnell comes out and say his sole priority is making the President a one term leader, not jobs, economy, health care, etc, but fixing on the President, not only does that get out there, but there are plenty of misinformed fool for whom that will play.

  3. Mike In WNY November 1, 2010 at 9:57 am #

    Saying that Obama cut taxes for the middle class is a false perception. He has vastly increased deficit spending, which not only has a severe negative affect on the economy, but it also amounts to a hidden tax on all Americans because it devalues the dollar in the long run. Also, massive increases in the cost of health care are just beginning to show up, despite what the Obaminator promised.

  4. joker November 1, 2010 at 10:02 am #

    I was struck by the spectacle of the country’s alleged “smart set” brandishing signs with photos of Hitler-moustached Republican politicians, signs that talked about masturbating to pictures of Christine O’Donnell etc. It’s good to see that the left in this country has finally become as stupid and mean-spirited as the right.

    Clearly, the real danger to this country are the 30-odd percent of adult Americans who will vote in tomorrow’s election. Republicans and Democrats alike who think that who they vote for will have any effect on anything are the imbeciles who allow our broken system to continue operating.

  5. Hapklein November 1, 2010 at 10:39 am #

    Gee I read in the Times(http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/19/us/politics/19taxes.html?_r=1) and saw it verified elsewhere that Obama actually has cut taxes but gotten little credit.

    That’s a problem with this entire campaign we have to informed with one view of the world and uninformed plodding along in lengthening lines of ignorance, encouraged by ideologues with a very expensive agenda.

    I can imagine what Karl Rove’s secret handlers expect for their $100 Million dollar investment.

  6. Ethan November 1, 2010 at 12:00 pm #

    @joker: and you’re fixing the broken system by not voting how, exactly? I agree that voting has less impact than it might or ought to, but I fail to see how not voting impacts anything at all.

  7. Mike In WNY November 1, 2010 at 12:25 pm #

    Not voting can be construed as a very ethical position since one would not be legitimizing a corrupt system.

  8. Ethan November 1, 2010 at 12:45 pm #

    I didn’t make any comment on the ethics or principles of not voting.

    I asked about how inaction has an effect (a positive impact, we’ll assume) on fixing a broken system.  My claim is that it has none, and nobody has successfully argued the opposite here, yet.

  9. joker November 1, 2010 at 1:08 pm #

    Ethan…How could politicians claim a “mandate” if, say, only 2 percent of the people turned out to vote? As Mike in WNY noted, the system is fundamentally corrupt, and that corruption is not limited to either the Republicans or the Democrats. With unemployment above 9.5 percent for the past two years, the politicians of both parties waste our time charging their opponents with being racist or sexist or too liberal or too conservative, none of which has any bearing on whether or not they are qualified to discharge the duties the particular office calls for. It doesn’t matter who you vote for, the country will still be run by an oligarchy that never runs for anything.

  10. Jon Splett November 1, 2010 at 2:38 pm #

    You really think a 2% turnout is going to send any message to politicians other than ‘They clearly don’t care, do whatever the hell you want’?

  11. STEEL November 1, 2010 at 5:38 pm #

    I would contend that a candidate “too” anything is very likely unqualified to discharge the duties of a particular office. I would say that a racist or sexist candidate is without any doubt not qualified for any office.

  12. ethan November 1, 2010 at 8:38 pm #

    So let me make sure I’ve got your argument down, for the record: since neither voting nor not voting has any impact at all, whatsoever, on anything, at any level of government, in any emperical way, you choose not to vote? Am I missing any nuance, there, “joker”? That’s your stance?

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