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Well, as I write this, the election is underway.
All I can say is that if Jesus happened to show up, Mitt Romney’s table at the temple would be overturned along with the rest of the money changers.
I’m not quite sure how the Christian right, the Mormons, and the New Conservative Neanderthal Party faithful, brimming with moral turpitude and convenient American values, deal with such contradiction and hypocrisy. But in the effort to oust a sitting president, a whole host of folks sure can turn a blind eye to the obvious. Principles and scruples be damned.
In the tainted view of the right, God just loves this kind of capitalist, free-market fervor. Just don’t tell the Son of Man that the Old Man has had a change of heart and is in full support of change that benefits the rich at the expense of the poor.
Mitt is a money changer. His advisors are money changers. The only product they produce is money. How many parables are there in the New Testament that condemn such habits? Fear is an opiate that can cause extreme myopia and amnesia when it comes to choosing sides. Venture capitalism is money changing. A lot of seeming Christians of the NCNP persuasion sure can ignore the teachings of the Savior when it becomes necessary to do so.
Overwhelmingly white and worried that their way of life is under threat, the Bible Thumpers and the NCNP are willing to accept Mitt and his Mormonism, that belief system where God lives on his throne near the star Kolub, way, way out there in an as-yet undiscovered part of the universe.
Okay, I won’t pick on anybody’s religion, though that’s exactly what the overwhelmingly white, seeming Christians have done to the sitting president for the past four years. He’s a Muslim, he’s a follower of a crazy black preacher, he’s not an American. The lingering fears are ludicrous about a man who seems to be a good example of a self-made American, a black man raised by his white mom and grandparents, a man of shared ethnicity, a middle-class example of the making of a president in this melting pot of a nation.
And in the other corner is a rich man, another rich man, aiming for the top job in the land, claiming to understand the working class even though he’s never faced a financial crisis in his life, never had the middle-class worries most of the 99 percent feel at some point in their lives.
And people are buying into that notion, overwhelmingly white people who seem very able to overlook all the incongruities of a rich man claiming to understand the middle class. They are able to overlook the fact that three decades of a free-market, trickle-down economy—not a sitting president, not socialism, not any other red herring—led the nation to the edge of despair while the top one percent, the top five percent, has prospered wildly.
As Charles Ferguson explained recently about the making of his 2010 Academy Award documentary Inside Job, which chronicled the global financial crisis, never mind that Mitt “changes his beliefs like laundry (abortion, medical insurance, whether Bin Laden was worth killing, attacking Iran), refuses to disclose his tax returns, and won’t explain how he could possibly pay for the tax cuts he proposes. But there is another scandal in Romney’s campaign—namely Glenn Hubbard, Romney’s chief economic advisor, who was chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors under George W. Bush, and is now the Dean of Columbia Business School.
“First, Hubbard has an abysmal track record in economic policy, including the very issues that Romney has made the pillar of his presidential campaign. Second, like Romney, Hubbard refuses to disclose critical information about his income, conflicts of interest, and paid advocacy activities. Third, in both public statements and in my personal experience (Hubbard blew his cool during an interview for the film), Hubbard has been evasive, misleading, and even dishonest when discussing both policy issues and his own conflicts of interest. And last but not least, those conflicts of interest are huge: Hubbard has long advocated policies that Wall Street loves, often without disclosing that he is, in fact, highly paid by Wall Street.
“Let’s start with the tax cuts, since Romney claims that he can cut tax rates sharply without increasing the deficit, and without benefitting the rich. Mr. Romney claims that tax cuts will be fully paid for by closing loopholes and deductions, and will not add to the deficit; Hubbard has publically supported Romney’s claims. Interestingly, Mr. Hubbard has quite a record on this very issue. Shortly after becoming chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors in 2001, he spearheaded the Bush administration’s tax cuts, and he said lots about them.
“How did that work out? First, we now know that over half of the benefits of the Bush-Hubbard tax cuts went to the top one percent of the population. In part to benefit the wealthy, the tax cuts were also structured to reward investment in financial assets, rather than either consumer spending or real capital investment. As a result, the tax cuts caused huge budget deficits, yet did little to stimulate growth or job creation. There were basically no new jobs created during the Bush administration, despite adding trillions to the national debt.”
The money changers may return to power. If they do, we’d better be marching in the streets to bring the facts of a cooked economic system to light.
Former Supreme Court justice Louis Brandeis once said that “Sunlight is the best disinfectant.” Brandeis also said, “We must make our choice. We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have both.”