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Old ‘bait and switch game’ apparent in modern politics

May 13, 2015
By WILL BRONSON , Lehigh Acres Citizen

Every time I hear a well meaning friend or relative complain about all the welfare free loaders and how they are ruining our country and increasing our debt, I wince. Perhaps it was because I studied economics and learned early that there are lies, damn lies and statistics. When one counts the tens of millions on food stamps, the hundreds of millions that pay no taxes, all the people on Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid, yes it seems that this must be the cause of our economic distress.

Unfortunately, many people are being taken by the old "bait and switch" game. Like a shell game, the answer seems obvious until, low and behold, the pea is not under the shell we were watching so closely. What happened? While we were slightly distracted, the slight of hand trickster did us in.

In politics, we have extremely well paid and clever tricksters pointing at the welfare cheats and the immigrants and anyone down on their luck as the obvious villains in our story. Why can't they work as hard as we do, and get ahead like we have, or almost have, and pay their taxes and get off the dole or out of jail or off drugs and make something of themselves? The question appeals to our pride, and allows us a few bragging rights without actually having to brag. We only have to receive the knowing nod from our listeners.

I just watched Ben Carson declare for president. What a decent man, hard working, American success story, great family. Who better to revive the American dream and urge our underclass to work just a little bit harder and longer and become a success as he has? He claims not to be politically correct and proved it by neglecting the dark side of America's success story, made in no small part off the backs of millions of slaves, the sweat of millions of immigrants who finally made it thanks to organized labor and a progressive income tax of 91 percent on the rich, and let's not forget the near annihilation of native Americans.

Are the Koch brothers playing the race card? Who better to argue for lower taxes on the rich than an African American who says in his announcement for president that we have the highest corporate tax rate in the world (not really true) and that his cure for our economy is repatriating trillions of dollars of off shore funds through a tax hiatus, as though corporations who so quickly deserted our shores for $3 per day wages are likely to come running back. (With the Trans Pacific Partnership, it will be decades before multinational corporations run out of cheap labor and subservient governments.) GE is already paying almost no taxes and corporations all together contribute only 10 percent of our tax revenue, down to an all time low having been over 50 percent during our golden years when Dr. Carson was in med school.

The biggest recipients of government funds, tax dollars, begged borrowed or stolen, are government contractors: primarily the military/industrial/security complex and the health insurance companies that backed the boon that Obamacare became for them.

In aviation we have a term for the Beech Bonanza aircraft: the Doctor's Widowmaker. Why? Because so many doctors with the money to buy this classy plane killed themselves thinking that their expertise in medicine made them an expert in aviation.

My sorry conclusion is that Dr. Carson, a very decent man, will have to do much more homework in economics before he can be more than a sucker in a very lucrative shell game run by the richest of the rich.

Will Bronson is president of the Lehigh Acres Democratic Club.



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