I just watched Robert Greenwald’s film clip, Koch Brothers Exposed, and was blown totally away at the operation of a brilliant, well-oiled, propaganda machine, making that of Hitler and Goebbels in comparision appear infantile and primitive. This is a propaganda machine well thought out, organized, and orchestrated. In fact, it’s brilliant. Here’s how it works.
First, the Koch Brothers and other corporatist interests fund millions of dollars to right-wing think tanks of economists and political scientists, as the Cato Institute, Heritage Foundation, Mercatus Center, Reagan Foundation, et al, to write the script that these donors want to disseminate to the general public. These think tanks are sort of like screenwriters or script writers, composing and writing the dialogue that the donors wish to be heard by the American public.
Then attractive representatives of these think tanks, often economists and political scientists themselves, make guest appearances on media programs, such as Fox Business, Lawrence Kudlow’s the Kudlow Report, Neil Cavuto’s Your World, and other Fox News outlets, reading their carefully crafted, orchestrated scripts in an effort to get the word out about the political changes that their donors desire.
The next step then is that the various media mouthpieces, such as Lawrence Ludlow, Britt Hume, Gretchen Carlson, et al, start repeating this script as if it’s gospel since it emanated from these so-called unbiased economic experts from these think tanks. This is the important segment missing in the Hitler-Goebbels propaganda strategy. These supposed news reporters and journalists contribute just that right touch of credibility and veracity and objectivity to the political propaganda. Robert Greenwald and Bernie Sanders refer to this ingenious phenomenon as the “echo chamber”.
Lastly, politicians receiving political contributions from these corporate interests then repeat almost word-for-word these carefully crafted scripts of what has been said over and over by the think tanks and the media personalities, appearing on talk shows such as “Hardball” (which in my opinion should now be renamed “Softball”), Fox News, CNN, et al, pushing onto the public the donors’ political agenda: for example, last night on “Hardball”, Texas’ Republican Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison just repeated their script on raising the Social Security age to Chris Matthews, who then exclaimed in his sycophant manner that she should run for President of the United States. Gosh.
It is important to note that both Adolf Hitler and Joseph Goebbels knew and proved that if one told a big lie and repeated it many times, that the majority of the general public would believe it. Goebbels further believed, demonstrated, and stated, that “the bigger the lie, the more it will be believed,” as well as “the most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly – it must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over.” Now don’t invoke Godwin’s Law on me here: I am only comparing the techniques of propagandists, not the inhumanity of any corporatist to these Nazi demons.
And for those of you who would accuse me of being a pinko commie or socialist, here is my response: in my opinion, our government is a wholly owned subsidiary of large corporations, with our Congress and Presidents on the corporate payroll, with many receiving required campaign contributions of millions to be re-elected every couple of years. It is as guilty, if not even more so, than these corporations in the sabotaging of a free economy.
Recall that Adam Smith warned us about this conspiratorial, collusive “assemblies” of government and business, hindering free trade and a free market, in “An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations”. Isn’t it ironic that all of these right-wing so-called “capitalists” fail to quote Adam Smith on this finer point?
For those of you who may not know, having been subjected to this propaganda over the media for months, Social Security is not anywhere near bankrupt; in fact, it has a $2.6 trillion surplus, which is projected to pay 100% of the retirees’ benefits through 2037, and then 75% of benefits thereafter. To fully fund Social Security after 2037, all the government needs to do is uncap the limit on the 12.4% payroll tax so that wages exceeding $106,800 per year would be subject to the payroll tax as well. Of course, the rich are against this tax on their million dollar incomes!
And, of course, Wall Streeters oppose Social Security completely because if it is privatized, then we would all be forced to buy into personal retirement accounts, making all those big corporations in the financial service industries even wealthier than they are now, especially when they eventually steal all of our retirement monies in a fraudulent scheme as that which occurred to many pension funds in 2008 with their secularization of worthless mortgage-backed securities.
I would, in fact, go even further than merely eliminating the cap on Social Security wages. I would also impose the 12.4% Social Security tax on all investment income, since for the rich in our country, that income constitutes the majority of, if not their entire, income. We need to recharactize all investment income as “earnings”. Why? Well, isn’t being an investor a job, a way of earning a living? Does one have to sweat all day to be subject to a Social Security tax? Cannot one who just sits on one’s butt all day investing in businesses, like an independent banker, also be subject to employment taxes? Why this preferential treatment for investors? Of course, I am being rhetorical here because don’t we all know by now that our government always confers preferential treatment on the rich?
Did you know that billionaire Warren Buffett’s effective tax rate is merely 11%, far below the national average of 18%? And he doesn’t pay the 12.4% Social Security tax on those billions every year whereas the average American pays a Social Security tax on one’s entire wages. Is this equitable?
For those of you interested in seeing this excellent clip on the “Echo Chamber” phenomenon by the Brave New Foundation, please see, Counter the Koch Billions. Protect Social Security. Will you help Senator Sanders expose the Koch Echo Chamber? Video Transcript.
For Cenk Uygur’s interview of Robert Greenwald, the producer of this film, please see, Social distortion. Does the GOP suffer from social insecurity? Cenk Uygur June 22 2011 video transcript.