|The Nossiter Net
The net that shall enmesh them all
Edited, Written, and Published by Josh Nossiter
|The Pinocchio Effect
Sunday, February 15th, 2009
|The Nossiter Net is cast to snare some of the riper rascalities of the day. Comments? Send a letter to the editor.|
|Have you noticed that when lies are given equal weight as truth, there's always a price to pay? And that the more influential the liar, the heavier the price? Call it the Pinocchio effect. A mere marionette and product of a humble wood carver, when he lied the only consequence was a longer nose. George Bush lied about the danger of Saddam Hussein's Iraq and so far it has cost us a trillion dollars and fifty thousand U.S. casualties. To say nothing of the four million Iraqi refugees and the uncounted Iraqi casualties and property damage. Now the Republicans are lying again, relentlessly and forcefully, about the economic crisis. Their lies show up everywhere from MSNBC to the Op Ed page New York Times. If they make themselves believed we'll pay for it with a worldwide economic depression.
The chief Republican lie is that the stimulus package Obama will sign into law next week isn't a stimulus package at all. The Republicans claim instead that it's a "spending" bill, an orgy of government pork barrel largesse, a massive frittering away of dollars on wasteful and frivolous projects.
This lie is particularly transparent as well as imbecilic. By definition all government spending is stimulative. Whether the government orders repairs to the monuments on the National Mall or a new battle ship, a high speed rail line or a school, every dollar it disburses stimulates the economy. The same dollar that leaves the Treasury to build or buy anything generates a construction contract, spurs orders for materials and shipping, puts income into the pockets of workers and bosses, gets spent in turn on groceries, clothing, washing machines, stimulates production of all those items, generating more contracts and orders and income, etc. The multiplier effect transforms every dollar of government spending into many dollars of economic stimulus. It's not a question for debate or an opinion or a matter of principle. It's just a fact. Anyone who says otherwise is simply lying.
Branching off from this central Republican lie are many subsidiary lies designed to cause confusion and sow dissension and place the debate on a footing of propaganda instead of data. The GOP argues that increasing an already large government debt is automatically inflationary, inherently harmful, and will impoverish future generations.
This lie contains tributaries. With the prospect of deflation looming, modest inflation is not only desirable but essential to avoiding economic calamity. Quite apart from the fact that the current level of debt was the product of the last Republican administration in the first place, the present debt as a percentage of GDP is not large by historical standards. Furthermore a substantial percentage of the cost of servicing the debt, the interest on U.S. Treasury securities, comes back to the government in the form of tax revenues. And right now the government can borrow at virtually no cost at all because interest rates are effectively nil; this is precisely the time to issue as much new debt as the market will absorb. Future generations will benefit, not suffer, from better schools and roads and health care. And the only way the debt will ever be paid down anyway is in the form of higher tax revenues from an economy that is working near its full capacity. This will not be achieved without a massive stimulus of the type the Obama administration proposes, which can only be paid for with, you guessed it, much more debt.
It seems that nothing will stop the GOP from lying. A political party that formerly harbored at least some honest men, Dwight Eisenhower comes to mind, has degenerated into a party exclusively of pathological liars like Boehner, McConnell, and Cantor. The GOP says the stimulus package is a plot to massively expand the government bureaucracy in order to insure a permanent Democratic government. This is merely another lie, but unless the Republicans reform themselves it might be only sensible policy proposal they are ever likely to make.
©Joshua C. Nossiter, 2009
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A NOTE TO READERS ***Update***
Another three week plus hiatus, from April 30th until May 23rd, again due to Yahoo Geocities dismal service.
There was nothing new at The Nossiter Net between March 3rd and April 26th, 2007, nearly eight weeks. The reason: tech sabotage. Yahoo Geocities, the host for this site, denied access for the entire period. At one point, they even managed to lose all the files. In many discussions with Yahoo staff, no clear explanation was forthcoming. No one seemed able to fix the problem. Ruling out the possibility of Dubbya’s revenge, I finally wrote to Mr. Terry Semel, Chairman and CEO of Yahoo! Inc and described the ordeal the page had undergone since the beginning of March. A week later, a helpful Yahooo engineer named Jason called. He had my letter before him. Though he couldn’t do the repairs on on the spot, he promised a fix by the next day. That was April 26th, nearly two months after shutting me down in the first place.
The Nossiter Net apologizes, which is more than I can say for Yahoo Geocities.
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