The only blog that can factually claim to shift the Bell Curve, along with the hearts & minds of America, to the right.
Friday, May 12, 2006
Yesterday, the USA Today broke a story about an NSA program that was used to collect phone data of millions of Americans. Immediately, various opponents of the Bush administration came out and denounced the program. Civil liberties being the focus of concern.
The Bush administration has consistently maintained the stance that programs like this are needed to protect us from terrorists and future attacks. Many seem to believe we do not need these spy programs to defeat terrorism. They say the Bush administration is using scare tactics to get certain programs implemented that give the government more power.
This is nothing new. We have heard time and time again that, “those who trade liberty for security will get neither” (to paraphrase Ben Franklin). We have heard it dozens of times, and for the most part, we agree.
Or do we? Democrats would certainly say so. It has been at the forefront of their mantra for nearly five years now. Yet, the Democratic Party has a history (and present) of doing the exact same thing - that is, fear mongering for political gain. This has most certainly been the case regarding the economy.
The economic numbers for George Bush have been good to say the least. Certainly by worldwide standards, but even by American standards. During the 2004 election - for those that paid any attention - the campaign was laden with economic doom and gloom. Phrases like "the greatest job loss since the Great Depression", "tax cuts for the rich", and the ever effective "Bush sucks", were declared in news coverages everywhere. The Democrats were making their best possible arguments against that President in hope to defeat him.
In fact, the CNN exit poll for the 2004 election showed that 20% of Americans considered the economy the most important issue. Of these voters, 80% voted for John Kerry. Ironically, terrorism scored lower than the economy on the importance list. So much for scare tactics.
This economic hysteria has carried over from the election and is still prevalent today. A recent CNN poll shows that, "52 percent consider the economy ‘good,’ while 47 percent call it ‘poor.’ But the results show that even those who consider the economy strong have concerns. More than four out of five -- 82 percent -- said they are at least somewhat concerned about inflation, with 45 percent describing themselves as ‘very concerned.’”
This poll convinces me that about half of Americans do not know what inflation is. How could 45% of the American public be very concerned about inflation is beyond me. I’m guessing it has something to do with gas prices, but the consumer price index does not indicate any significant trend of inflation.
Regardless of whether or not you believe this economy is good, it most certainly is not bad. In Europe, the beacon of light to liberals, unemployment rates are consistently higher than in the US. France and Germany have unemployment rates of 9.5% and 11.5% respectively. The Bush economy, on the other hand, suffers from a 4.7% rate.
It would be easy to give President Bush the credit for great numbers like that and the many other economic statistics available that prove we are in a good economy. Many did and still do so for Clinton. However, economics is complicated. Strong economies develop after decades of good policy. It took America 100 years for it to become the richest country in the world. When did America officially become the richest country in the world? It is debatable and different historians have different views, but it doesn’t really matter. The fact is, one man was president when this event happened. Yet, we don’t look back at history and give credit to one president for his work on the economy. Why should we do so today?
This is where fear mongering comes in. When an economic downturn occurs, it is easy to scapegoat one man. As a result, politicians are forced to react to economic recessions. Many view this as a good thing and that is where many are wrong.
When things get bad economically or even so-so as in 2002, Democrats, and some Republicans, promise all sorts of safety nets and programs that will help “protect” people from a perceived evil. In the process they give more power to government which they are supposedly against. Money is power, and the more money you give the government, the more powerful it is. It seems simile enough, yet many American's do not understand this concept.
In fact, when we pay taxes, it is as if we were working for the government. This has brought on the concept of tax freedom day. Wikipedia explains tax freedom day best as, “the first day of the year in which a nation as a whole has theoretically earned enough income to pay its annual tax burden.” The Tax Foundation says that in 2006, the day will occurred on April 26th while adamsmith.org says the day occurs on June 3rd.
Regardless of what date you choose to believe, the fact is that America spends a lot of time working to pay their taxes. It would seem that such a concrete infringement on rights would be viewed as more creepy and intolerable than the NSA knowing your phone number and the phone numbers of those you have called. Unfortunately, most American's have accepted the fact that the government has the right to protect us by heavy taxing - accomplished by fear mongering.