Relentless Propaganda

David Foster's post on the effects of relentless gaslighting and propaganda is worth reading (h/t AVI). By coincidence, I was awakened this morning by the New York Times' email of its daily thoughts they'd like me to think. Today's newsletter begins, "Good morning. Why has the U.S. economy fared so much better under Democratic presidents than Republicans?"

Why indeed? Wait. It hasn't, though. The greatest economic growth in decades just happened, growth that (unlike the growth of other administrations) improved the lives of working class people and not just the rich. Until the coronavirus and its associated policy responses, growth was gangbusters under the most recent Republican administration. Likewise, the Reagan years were good years for America -- good enough that our economic growth broke the USSR's ability to compete. 

What follows is the sort of statistics that Mark Twain admired, which ends up putting Trump at the very bottom of the list of economically successful presidents in the last hundred years. Naturally there is no need to contextualize the mass destruction of our economy occasioned by the virus, nor to show how his policies were quite successful at spurring growth before an Act of God (or, arguably, China) came around.

Now everybody lived through this not long ago, so we all know that Trump's first three years were a time of massive economic growth. Yet the thing we're supposed to know is that Trump was the worst president ever, and the thing we're supposed to learn is that massive increases in regulation and vast government spending on the Green New Deal, etc., are the path to economic gains. 

So that is, of course, what the newsletter says. Here's the larger piece from which it was drawn.

Readers know that I think Trump was largely a buffoon, who nevertheless succeeded in several respects in much the manner of the line from Casablanca: "We musn't underestimate American blundering. I was with them when they blundered into Berlin in 1918." His success, where it happened, was bred of his willingness to reject expert opinion and try things that seemed sensible to ordinary people:  drill for oil. Expand fracking. Cut taxes and regulations on business, reducing the cost of doing business so that the little guy can compete with the firms who can afford lots of lawyers and accountants. Help your friends. Punish your enemies. Don't make deals that disadvantage your own country just so you can have some sort of legal arrangement in place. Compete, rather than govern.
Yesterday I read that the Biden administration has changed the rules on calculating the cost/benefits of regulations to allow regulations to enjoy incalculable benefits. Yes, this regulation may cost the average business a million dollars to implement; but there will be an untold benefit to racial or social justice. Therefore, even though we can't say anything about what the actual benefit will be, we can rule it an acceptable burden for businesses to bear.

Bloomberg calls this "exceedingly important," "excellent," and "fresh." The NYT would have you believe the economy is going to benefit from all these new regulations. 

I'll bet it won't. 


Mike Guenther said...

For a buffoon, Trump sure did raze the political landscape in DC.

A lot of the things that "conservatives" had promised for decades, but then came up with excuses why it couldn't be done when push came to shove, were accomplished by Trump.

Moving the capitol of Israel to Jerusalem... Trump

Lowest minority unemployment in history... Trump

Lowest unemployment for women... Trump

Massive tax cuts that enabled the middle class to bring home more of their hard earned pay...Trump

Cutting the corporate tax rate to bring manufacturers back to America and more jobs... Trump

All those things and more, promised for decades by the GOPe and Conservative, Inc., were done by Trump.

I didn't support him in 2016 either, but I would have crawled over broken glass to vote for him this time around.

Biden will have things so screwed up in six months, that rank and file democrats will be putting up billboards with Trump on them saying..."Miss me yet?"

raven said...

"Biden will have things so screwed up in six months, that rank and file democrats will be putting up billboards with Trump on them saying..."Miss me yet?"

Nope. Yuri Bezmanov had it correct-and Orwell said it best- the goal is to have people so conditioned they can look at what is right in front of their eyes, and ignore it in favor of the conditioning. We have all seen it.

"Trump screwed things up so bad even Biden could not turn them around."
That is what they will see.

Texan99 said...

When I feel called on to point out good policies pursued by Biden or someone like him, I may mention that he also supports other policies I disagree with, but I usually leave out the "of course he's a buffoon" part. Politics are already too emotional, and it's already too easy to ensure that people will stop listening to you.

A good comment from David Foster's post: "Communism is international socialism. It is externally aggressive to spread socialism. Fascism is national socialism, and is externally aggressive to support the nation."

Grim said...

I'm generally inclined, where politicians are concerned, to speak my ill of them if people might interpret me as supporting them; and well of them if people might think I'm ill disposed to them. In general, I think they're all scum. Some few of them I think are ok even though I disagree with them. Others, I think have done well in spite of their flaws. But I praise none of them, not one living politician at this point, because I can't see a one who deserves simple praise.

Trump did very well in many respects, though not all respects. Biden I doubt will do well in almost any respect. But Trump was, well, himself; and Biden, well, he's himself too. We shouldn't go out of our way to avoid speaking the truth about their flaws as well as their accomplishments, whatever the latter may entail.