by Pete Nicely
You probably don’t hate gay people. You probably chose not to be a fundamentalist Christian because you didn’t want to think about gay sex that much—not that it works, mind you. And when someone close to you came out, you found yourself surprised to discover it had almost no long-term effect, good or bad, on your feelings. And from this you know that all homophobia is self-hate. Who else has the time?
I don’t think you hate black people. You’ve probably never been faced with how you feel about race mixing, unless your immediate family married eclectically. Then you’re probably among the silent majority of Americans who admit that mixed kids are usually 15 percent cuter. Still, you’re not some Herman Cain running around saying that racism doesn’t hold anyone back any more. The Kochs aren’t paying you enough to do so.
You don’t hate poor people. But you don’t get it. You work hard. Life’s definitely not easy for you. You’ve had tough times and as Craig T. Nelson said, “I’ve been on welfare and food stamps. Anyone help me out? No.”
But you may hate liberals.
The liberals who spend your money, the liberals who apologize for America, the hungry baby liberals who see government as big momma government Dolly Parton as lactating and ready.
Why do you hate liberals? The credit to this goes to Ronald Reagan and his corporate sponsors. Ronald Reagan spoke to America. In the clearest terms, in the most perfectly paced, sotto radio voice of radio’s heyday, Ronald Reagan was able to blame every problem in America on a group almost no one claimed they were a part of—liberals.
In the early 60s, Reagan was the Glenn Beck of the day. Ronald Reagan laid the foundation for all of the liberal hate of the next half-century.
You can listen as Reagan works his silky smooth magic here:
The formula is simple: Socialism became liberalism to erase the greatness of America.
It’s a formula that led to the massive tax breaks for the wealthy of the 80s and the 2000s, tax breaks that are most singularly responsible for the two spikes that have been pounded into the heart of the middle class:
A massive transfer to and accumulation of wealth by the top 1 percent. As deficits skyrocketed, the top .01 of the top 1 percent accumulated the kind of wealth most people don’t have the zeros to imagine. Michael Moore is fond of pointing out that the top 400 Americans own more than the bottom 150,000,000 combined. They also own all of the Republicans. You can buy useful things like Republicans when you have millions sitting in the bank.
The cost of higher education has more than doubled, as a share of income. This is no coincidence. This is the point of tax breaks, to starve the beast, to create an opportunity for for-profit colleges that charge you tens of thousands of dollars for something less than a community college education. This is a Republican party that wants to privatize everything and let the coal and oil industry regulate themselves. Why? Because there is money to be made. And only a liberal would leave money on the table.
Of course, the GI Bill funded by 90 percent taxes on the richest 1 percent built the America Ronald Reagan was trying to save.
Liberals who recognized that certain things like roads, schools, police and fire departments, the military, unemployment insurance, guaranteed pensions, business and environmental regulators have to be socialized or the capitalists would crash this economy again and again… These liberals built this country that Ronald Reagan was trying to save.
Some feel that Ronald Reagan’s goal was to spread apathy, to make it easier for those at the top to lead. Capitalism for those at the top is better than socialism for everyone.
I don’t think Reagan was that smart. Like Glenn Beck, he recognized that he had an opening and opportunity. And unlike Glenn Beck, he could stick to a script, which ultimately won him the part of the most powerful man in the world.
And the fact is all these labels are trappings. I think technically we’re all liberals and it’s clear that most conservatives are regressives.
Most people are not angry with Wall Street because they are capitalists, but because they are hypocrites who socialized their losses. And now they’re using their Republicans to make banks that were too big too fail bigger than ever, which means the whole catastrofuck will happen again.
Many liberals get as giddy with blood lust when a Qaddafi or bin Laden goes down. We take every tax break we can get. We get anxious when the government wants to give us a cup check at the airport.
But the difference between a liberal and you is this: you may think one day you’ll be in that top 1 percent, and when you see yourself there you’re not going to want some Welfare Queen pulling away from the curb in her pink Cadillac with the bulk of your hard earned living.
Gangsta rapper John Steinbeck once gangsta rapped: “Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.”
Top 1% = $368,238 (20.9% of income)
Top 0.5% = $558,726 (16.8% of income)
Top 0.1% = $1,695,136 (10.3% of income)
Top 0.01% = $9,141,190 (5% of income)
Yes. 5 percent of the income of this country goes to the tiny group of Americans earning over $9 million a year. And they are paying the lowest taxes they have paid in a half-century. And they’re probably paying a lower tax rate on you since Bush’s big contribution to the tax system was to tax playing with money at a much lower rate than actual hard work.
Why did this happen? Because Ronald Reagan tricked you into hating liberals.
But I sense things are changing, finally. For the first time, America recognizes that socialism has its place, in Social Security, in Medicare, in public education. Capitalism is an engine that drives this economy. But it has to be tuned and ultimately updated with something that runs on renewable energy.
Why is this changing? Because liberals have a new name—the 99 percent.
And even Ronald Reagan couldn’t fool 99 percent of the people all of the time.
Pete Nicely is @LOLGOP on Twitter and he’s probably tweeting mean things about Ronald Reagan right now.