One is deflation – the prospect that we will be producing goods and services that do not get the prices that they cost to produce. Scary to imagine, but we’ve been there before, during the Great Depression when farmers couldn’t get enough to meet the costs of farming their produce when they brought those goods to market. The other threat facing the United States is political: It’s called conflation. It’s the useful verbal trick of purposely confusing two different things. Remember how the country got sold on the war in Iraq because we had to “get even” with those who attacked on 9/11? The Iraq war was some kind of payback? That’s how it was sold, all right: “Remember how you felt? Remember how bad 9/11 was? So let’s go to war with Iraq. We’ll show ‘em!” So we went to war with Iraq in 2003, even though no Iraqis had attacked us in 2001, because polls showed a huge chunk of Americans believed that Iraqis were on those planes that hit New York and the Pentagon. Iraqis. They believed it because the propaganda machine kept spewing it out. That was the brilliant big lie that sold enough Americans to get us into war: Conflating 9/11 with Iraq. Conflation. This is the tactic: Just keep throwing two things together, so that people get confused and just get too tired of hearing it to resist it. They’re at it again. President Obama wants to end the Bush tax cuts for people in the very top income levels – the few percent who make either more than $200,000 as individuals, or more than $250,000 in joint returns. Republicans are now saying that Obama wants to end the tax cuts for everyone. “Largest tax increase in history,” they boom again and again as they list the size of the whole Bush tax cut. This was Sarah Palin’s line this weekend. Somebody gave her the number. She had the number written on her hand of how much the tax cuts are worth over ten years if you keep them – or cut them – for everyone. So listen to the Republicans push the line that the Democrats want to eliminate the Bush tax cuts for everyone. Listen as they continue to cite the amount of money involved – not for the top two or three percent, which are the cuts that President Obama’s talking about eliminating, but for 100 percent of us. There’s one reason they’re doing this and only one reason. The only reason someone would purposely confuse the truth is because the simple truth doesn’t serve their purpose. So when you hear the people who pushed the Iraq war on behalf of George W. Bush also push the need to keep the Bush tax cuts, please remember that what they are really doing is defending the tax cuts for the richest among us – plain and simple.
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