THE ECONOMICS OF FEAR
MANIPULATING MARKETS IN A CONSUMER SOCIETY
RIGHT-WING POLITICIANS & TALKING HEADS DELIBERATELY TRASH THE ECONOMY
YOUTUBE: FOX NEWS
"Ann Coulter - Obama Attacking Limbaugh To Cover Socialist Agenda"
This b*tch is always scary, like a skeleton with hair.
Generating Fear Is A Republican Specialty. Now It's Killing Any Chance Of A Quick Recovery.
The American economy drives the world. The American economy itself is consumer-driven. Consumer confidence in the United States has hit rock bottom. Until Americans regain confidence in the system, there will be no recovery. No one is starving. Most people are secure in their homes. Unemployment is at record levels, and getting worse. Most people still have jobs, but if everyone stops buying things, even cutting back on necessities, it will be as if there were a full-blown Depression on. The less goods and services consumers buy, the more jobs will be lost. Businesses will cut back and some will close. A chain reaction will occur, accelerating unemployment and business failures. So, even though most people do not have a real economic problem now, their own behavior, or lack of it, may cause them serious economic problems in the near future.
The media are harping on this trend, stoking fear and irrational, self-destructive behavior. Their steady drumbeat of wild speculation, half-truths and outright lies, all delivered with a shovelful of doom and gloom all day every day is doing a job on consumer confidence.
Most of the media in America is now controlled by giant corporations. Even though they are suffering losses in this recession, they seem to be doing everything they can to stretch it out, to delay a recovery. They still influence many minds in the U.S. Although their audiences have been shrinking for years, newspapers, magazines, television, radio and all their Internet sites still permeate the culture with corporate messages. While many people may ignore the specifics of those messages, they have an effect on the general economic and political climate. It's hard to ignore people shaking in fear all around you. That's what the corporations and their corporatist political allies are banking on. They're willing to swallow short-term losses in order to forestall and scuttle solutions that would result in much bigger losses to them, permanent losses in money and power. They're playing the long game here. But they only have to keep the economy tanking until November, 2010. By then, massive unemployment and severe damage to businesses would generate a wave of support for the right-wing opposition, putting them back in power in Congress. Or so they seem to hope.
The corporatists only need a few more seats in Congress. With all the Republicans and the make-believe moderate/ centrist right-wing "Blue Dog" Democrats-in-name-only on board, a couple of seats in the Senate and five or ten in the House could make all the difference. The coalition of Nope could stall and water down legislative, judicial and administrative reform, staging Pyrrhic battles on Capitol Hill, tying up the White House in endless squabbles, and bring all efforts at recovery to a grinding halt. They would do this to prevent reform, and to push the electorate further right in preparation for the 2012 Presidential election. In less than four years, Barack Obama and his "socialist" agenda could succumb to one-term-itis. At least, that's seems to be what the Right and their tame corporate media are plugging for.
What's at stake is the soul of America. Freedom and democracy cannot exist without economic equality, or equitability, at least. The long slow trend toward consolidation of wealth and power in fewer and fewer hands in the United States is killing our country. We are headed towards a corporate medieval system where the vast majority of Americans will have no voice and little of value. We will be poor peasants in a technological supernational society in which we will have no say, and no stake. All the centuries of struggle to get where we briefly have been will be for nothing. If we are ever to be free and equal, in control of our destiny and resources, we will have to fight a long series of bloody revolutions all over again. Only this time, we will be up against a high-tech aristocracy and a military force of unprecedented power and endless capital. This is a fight we cannot win. This is a fight we must avoid. This is a fight we have to fight peaceably right now, while we still can, before corporatization can ever be completed.
Stop listening to the global corporate fear factor. Support your own local community organizations, businesses and people. Break out of your doldrums and go back to business as usual in your home town. Rebuild the American economy one household, one block, one neighborhood at a time. Vote against this corporate conspiracy. Smash them once and for all, while you still can. All you have to do is what you have been doing all your life. Don't let them stop you.
"Survey says consumer confidence up, spending down"
' Consumer confidence in the overall economy increased in March to its highest level in more than a year, according to the Consumer Electronics Association and CNET, but figures hint that technology spending continues to drop. “With recent increases in the stock market and some signs of firming in the real estate market, consumers are beginning to indicate they’ll be better off financially over the next year,” says DuBravac. “Still, until consumers are more confident in an economic recovery, we expect consumer spending to remain muted.” '
"Consumer Spending in the U.S. Probably Rose for Second Month"
' Gains in consumer spending, which accounts for about 70 percent of the economy, are underpinning forecasts for a rebound in growth later this year, just when policy initiatives from the Obama administration and Federal Reserve are also likely to kick in. Still, any pickup may be constrained by mounting job losses that hurt Americans’ confidence and paychecks. The economy shrank in the fourth quarter at a 6.3 percent annual pace, the worst performance since 1982, in what may be the depths of the recession. Consumer spending fell at a 4.3 percent rate, marking the first back-to-back declines in excess of 3 percent since records began in 1947. '
"Democrats Built the Consumer Economy; Then Came the Republicans"
' From 1933 to 1968, Democrats ignited middle-class spending and the economy bloomed. After 1968, Republicans squelched (1) the middle class, (2) the spending and (3) the blooming. Jack Lessinger, Professor Emeritus, University of Washington and author of “Schizomania,” writes that “the proportion of income devoted to consumer spending is not fixed for all time. For 35 years, FDR and fellow Democrats boosted spending and the consumer economy by making labor more expensive. Democrats backed labor unions, regulated business, shifted the cost of government from the poor to the rich and created a plethora of entitlements.” “As they became richer, workers stoked the economy with openhanded spending. The result was full employment, prosperity and rising wages. Not a single recession blemished the 1960s. Growth accelerated.” The 1960s not only brought the highest acceleration in economic growth, it was also the century’s highest decade of equality. Never before had so many pipe fitters, office and factory workers entered the ranks of the middle class. Except for Eisenhower (a New Dealer at heart) the whole period of climb 1933-1968 (from FDR to Johnson) was Democratic. As shown by the attached chart, after 1968, the growth rate per decade steadily fell to less than half. The main reason is clear. Republican policies violated the spending requirements of the Consumer Economy. They brought a decreasing share of wealth and income to labor as a result of reduced taxes on the rich, lower trade barriers, mergers, increasing numbers of immigrants, outsourcing, imports, relaxed business regulations, less favorable treatment of unions and spectacular increases in executive compensation. Down came the relative equality of the 1960s. Down came the vigorous ability to spend. Down came the growth of real GDP per capita. And down came the Consumer Economy. Aren’t consumers spending as much as before? Perhaps. Unfortunately, to keep up the old rate, spending now requires increasing amounts of borrowed money. Hardly a recipe for sustainable prosperity. With its reliance on consumer spending for full employment, the Consumer Economy is no longer an option for the long run future. '
"The Roots of Fear"
' That qualifying "skillful" underlines psychologists' more-sophisticated understanding of the use of fear in politics. New studies show that the genie of fear is most effective if let out of its bottle with more finesse than by yanking off the stopper and wildly flinging the contents all over Iowa and New Hampshire. Through surveys of voters, lab experiments that simulate voting and, now, brain-imaging studies that pinpoint which regions switch on when people weigh political decisions, a new generation of political psychologists and campaign strategists is refining the understanding of the power of fear. The result is new insights into how voters respond to having their anxieties stoked; how playing to fears and anxieties can affect voters' views on issues seemingly unrelated to those that incite fear; how fear is wielded most effectively as a scalpel rather than a cudgel, and how the power of fear can be squared with the political truism that the candidate who best projects hope tends to win. '
"GOP resorts to fearmongering"
' During their eight years in the White House and their time in control of Congress, the GOP used fear as a tool to manipulate the American people in order to achieve their goals and further their agenda. Each time an election approached, President Bush would announce some threat to the U.S. by terrorists and militant Muslims, proclaiming only the Republicans could keep us safe. Oddly enough, once the election was over, the threat seemed to vanish. Roosevelt said the only thing we have to fear is fear itself, almost speaking prophetically about today’s Republicans. They should be feared. '
NY DAILY NEWS
"Calling Barack Obama's plan socialistic lacks any class"
' "Class warfare, class warfare!" With that hysterical cry an assorted group of Republican fat cats and their acolytes are attempting, once again, to taint President Obama and his proposed budget. The "cry wolf" campaign has been gathering speed. From economic wags like CNBC's Larry Kudlow to such conservative think tanks as the Heritage Foundation to past and future presidential hopefuls like Mike Huckabee, the fear mongering over a "class war" and an Obama conspiracy to turn the U.S. into a "socialist" country is reaching a fever pitch. Huckabee, no doubt, takes the cake. "Lenin and Stalin would love this stuff," he has said with quasi-religious fervor. "The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics may be dead, but a Union of American Socialist Republics is being born." Yeah, I know, these guys are laughable. But make no mistake, their intentions are not. For them, market deregulation - the never-ending transfer of wealth to the already obscenely wealthy that went on for the last eight years - was not an act of class warfare. The fact that, adjusting for inflation, the average American earned 16% less in 2004 than in the 1970s, was not class warfare. Even the destruction of the country's economy by their own unbridled greed was not class warfare on the poor and middle class. But President Obama's budget, which attempts to reverse some of the "toxic" economic trends he inherited from the same critics with a modest proposal for a fairer tax code and a more equitable distribution of wealth - well, that's different, that's dangerous, that is a declaration of class war, they say. You have to admire these people's gall. '.
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