Adolf Hitler is dead. But his my-way-or-else “negotiating” style lives on in today’s Republican party.
During the summer of 2011, Republicans refused to raise the debt ceiling unless Democrats agreed to massively cut social programs for the elderly, poor and disabled.
If Congress failed to raise the borrowing limit of the federal government by August 2, the date when the U.S. reached the limit of its borrowing abilities, it would have begun defaulting on its loans.
As Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, explained the looming economic catastrophe:
“If you don’t send out Social Security checks, I would hate to think about the credit meeting at S&P and Moody’s the next morning.
“If you’re not paying millions and millions and millions of people that range in age from 65 on up, money you promised them, you’re not a AAA,” said Buffett.
A triple-A credit rating is the highest possible rating that can be received.
And while Republicans demanded that the disadvantaged tighten their belts, they rejected any raising of taxes on their foremost constituency–the wealthiest 1%.
To raise taxes on the wealthy, they insisted, would be a “jobs-killer.” It would “discourage” corporate CEOs from creating tens of thousands of jobs they “want” to create.
Republicans knew this argument is a lie. And so did the editors of Time. The difference is, the editors of Time were willing to reveal the truth.
In its June 20, 2011 cover-story on “What U.S. Economic Recovery? Five Destructive Myths,” Rana Foroohar, the magazine’s assistant managing editor in charge of economics and business, delivered this warning:
Profit-seeking corporations can’t be relied on to ”make it all better.”
“There is a fundamental disconnect between the fortunes of American companies, which are doing quite well, and American workers, most of whom are earning a lower hourly wage now than they did during the recession.
“The thing is, companies make plenty of money; they just don’t spend it on workers here.
“There may be $2 trillion sitting on the balance sheets of American corporations globally, but firms show no signs of wanting to spend it in order to hire workers at home.”
Yet there is also a disconnect between the truth of this situation and the willingness of Americans to face up to that truth.
“The Republicans have pulled off a major (some would say cynical) miracle,” writes Foroohar.
They have convinced “the majority of Americans that the way to jump-start the economy is to slash taxes on the wealthy and on cash-hoarding corporations while cutting benefits for millions of Americans.
“It’s fun-house math that can’t work. We’ll need both tax increases and sensible entitlement cuts to get back on track.
“Yet surveys show 50% of Americans think that not raising the debt ceiling is a good idea — that you can somehow starve your way to economic growth.”
How have Republicans achieved this? By adopting the principles of propaganda laid down by no less an authority on lying than Adolf Hitler.
According to Mein Kampf-–”My Struggle”–-Hitler’s autobiography and political treatise:
- The great majority of a nation is ruled by sentiment rather than by sober reasoning.
- This sentiment, however, is not complex, but simple and consistent. It is not highly differentiated, but has only the negative and positive notions of love and hatred, right and wrong, truth and falsehood.
- Propaganda must not investigate the truth objectively and must present only that aspect of the truth which is favorable to its own side.
- The receptive powers of the masses are very restricted, and their understanding is feeble. On the other hand, they quickly forget.
- All effective propaganda must be confined to a few bare essentials and those must be expressed as far as possible in stereotyped formulas.
- These slogans should be persistently repeated until the very last individual has come to grasp the idea that has been put forward.
Following these principles, Republicans have proved hugely successful at persuading millions that truth is whatever their party claims it to be at any given moment.
“Fascism,” said author Ernest Hemingway, “is a lie told by bullies.” Thus, when Republicans couldn’t attain their goals by lying, they sought to do so by force–or at least the threat of it.
Republicans have repeatedly threatened to shut down the government unless their constantly escalating demands were met.
In November, 1995, Newt Gingrich, then Speaker of the House of Representatives, carried out his threat. Gingrich unwisely admitted that he did so because President Bill Clinton had put him in the back of Air Force One during a recent trip to Israel.
The shutdown proved a disaster for Republicans. Clinton was handily re-elected in 1996 and Gingrich suddenly resigned from Congress in 1998.
Still, the Republicans continued their policy of my-way-or-else. In April, 2011, the United States government almost shut down over Republican demands about subsidized pap smears.