March 3, 2011- How did we stray so far from the truth as a nation? What perverse political mindset has doomed our democratic endeavor to the dark recesses of a system drowning in phony rhetoric and nonsensical partisan squabbling? The famous "big lie" of a bygone era has been resuscitated for our times forestalling intelligent discourse and the possibility of arriving at solutions for our wayward democracy.
About Wisconsin we are told that public sector unions earn higher wages than private sector workers and that teachers are a bunch of over-compensated drones (they only work nine months or so during the year and have short work days don't you know). It is said by some in our legislative bodies that although unions were a necessary fix to problems at one time in our history we have "over-fixed the problem" and, in fact, unions have out-lived their usefulness and become the problem
Making them the major culprit for budgeting problems in states and municipalities is a mendacious attempt to assign blame where it doesn't belong. Whatever burdens union contracts may cause they pale in comparison to the assault on our economy wrought by the financial industry's shamelessly manipulative practices that doctored investment data to suit their interests but whose principals continue to draw enormous salaries and bonuses despite their nefarious behavior. It is hard to imagine a more inequitable arrangement of salaries than the average teacher's salary of $40,000 or $50,000 compared to the million dollar remuneration of corporate leaders and hedge-fund operators. The giveaways to the business sector that Governor Walker enacted when he took office and his sly budget revisions are a travesty of the governmental process.
The country is awash in false premises and downright lies. Watching Congress at work is a lesson in how to lie with a straight face, and conservative surrogates abound in deceptive reportage and phony outrage at "the mess" Democrats have created. On Wednesday Representative Lungren took exception to a quote from Politifact that the Republican mantra referring to a "government takeover of healthcare was the biggest lie of 2010" because he felt its use by Representative Blumenauer was directed at him. The dispute was settled in the end when Blumenauer made it clear he wasn't talking about Lungren but insisting that conservatives constantly talk about a government takeover and creeping socialism, playing to an uninformed, gullible base as many of them continue to do about President Obama's place of birth.