Shhh. Don't Tell Anyone But They're Liars
It's obvious from watching the gasbags this morning that the conventional wisdom about the economy has the entire Village tied up in knots. They know the Republicans are poised to reap big political rewards this fall, but they can't figure out a way to explain it without revealing that they are lying sacks of garbage. And that just isn't done.
So we end up with gobbledygook like this AP story:
The number of people in the U.S. who are in poverty is on track for a record increase on President Barack Obama's watch, with the ranks of working-age poor approaching 1960s levels that led to the national war on poverty.
Among the 18-64 working-age population, the demographers expect a rise beyond 12.4 percent, up from 11.7 percent. That would make it the highest since at least 1965, when another Democratic president, Lyndon B. Johnson, launched the war on poverty that expanded the federal government's role in social welfare programs from education to health care.
Demographers also are confident the report will show:
_Child poverty increased from 19 percent to more than 20 percent.
_Blacks and Latinos were disproportionately hit, based on their higher rates of unemployment.
_Metropolitan areas that posted the largest gains in poverty included Modesto, Calif.; Detroit; Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Fla.; Los Angeles and Las Vegas.
"My guess is that politically these figures will be greeted with alarm and dismay but they won't constitute a clarion call to action," said William Galston, a domestic policy aide for President Bill Clinton. "I hope the parties don't blame each other for the desperate circumstances of desperate people. That would be wrong in my opinion. But that's not to say it won't happen."
Lawrence M. Mead, a New York University political science professor who is a conservative and wrote "The New Politics of Poverty: The Nonworking Poor in America," argued that the figures will have a minimal impact in November.
"Poverty is not as big an issue right now as middle-class unemployment. That's a lot more salient politically right now," he said.
But if Thursday's report is as troubling as expected, Republicans in the midst of an increasingly strong drive to win control of the House, if not the Senate, would get one more argument to make against Democrats in the campaign homestretch.
The GOP says voters should fire Democrats because Obama's economic fixes are hindering the sluggish economic recovery. Rightly or wrongly, Republicans could cite a higher poverty rate as evidence.
Democrats almost certainly will argue that they shouldn't be blamed. They're likely to counter that the economic woes — and the poverty increase — began under President George W. Bush with the near-collapse of the financial industry in late 2008.
Although that's true, it's far from certain that the Democratic explanation will sway voters who already are trending heavily toward the GOP in polls as worrisome economic news piles up.
Beyond this fall, the findings could put pressure on Obama to expand government safety net programs ahead of his likely 2012 re-election bid even as Republicans criticize him about federal spending and annual deficits. Those are areas of concern for independent voters whose support is critical in elections.
Experts say a jump in the poverty rate could mean that the liberal viewpoint — social constraints prevent the poor from working — will gain steam over the conservative position that the poor have opportunities to work but choose not to because they get too much help.
Can you figure out what they hell they are saying there? There's so much he said/she said equivocating that I got whiplash.
The bottom line is that the financial crisis and subsequent slump caused a huge rise in poverty, for which Obama is being held responsible. The Republicans plan to take advantage of that to win the election and then institute policies which will make it even worse.
This is, after all, what they did before. And it's right there in the story:
The all-time high was 22.4 percent in 1959, the first year the government began tracking poverty. It dropped to a low of 11.1 percent in 1973 after Johnson's war on poverty but has since fluctuated in the 12-14 percent range.
You remember that failed experiment the Great Society? Yeah, well it actually worked. And the right has been fighting to kill every last remnant of it ever since. When they say they want their country back, that's what they're actually talking about --- the country that had 22% poverty. And if they manage to seize power in the middle of this slump, there's a fairly good chance a lot of us will be taking that nostalgic trip down memory lane.
It's fairly clear the AP reporter knows that the Republicans are planning to demagogue their way into office and then exacerbate poverty and further decimate the middle class with their policies. He hints at the fact that this state of affairs should help Democrats, but doesn't say why they won't. What comes out of that story is nothing but confusion.
Update: Of course, politics is just a spectator sport with nothing to be done except wait for the people to spontaneously "discover" what it is they want to do and then elect politicians who spontaneously "discover" what it is they can do. Go back to watching TV everyone. You will wake up one morning just knowing what you think and believe without any need for politics at all.
h/t to reader mk