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Tue Jan 24, 2012, 08:43 AM

Salon: How conservatives lie about government

From Social Security hysteria to "Obamacare" madness, right-wing propaganda is increasingly divorced from reality

One benefit of the prolonged campaign for the Republican presidential nomination has been the revelation that most of the 20 or 30 percent of Americans who describe themselves as conservatives live in a fantasy world. In their imaginations, Barack Obama, a centrist Democrat with roots in Eisenhower Republicanism rather than Rooseveltian liberalism, is a radical figure trying to take America down the path of “European socialism.

How can otherwise sane people believe such lunacy? The answer is that members of the right-wing counterculture are brainwashed — that is the only appropriate term — by the apocalyptic propaganda ground out constantly by the conservative media establishment. A perfect example is a recent essay by Philip Klein, a senior editorial writer of the Washington Examiner, the right-wing newspaper owned by the billionaire Philip Anshutz: “The Welfare State Is Destroying America.”

If Klein were honest with his readers, he would point out that the main causes of federal deficits in the last generation have been the Reagan and Bush tax cuts, plus the fiscal aftereffects of the Great Recession, in the form of falling tax revenues and increased spending on unemployment insurance and stimulus programs. But that would distract from the false impression that Klein is seeking to convey.

Philip Klein concludes his Op-Ed about how the welfare state is destroying America with further nonsense (you can’t claim he isn’t consistent). Reciting yet another right-wing myth, Klein asserts that because of Social Security and Medicare, the bond markets in general and the Chinese government in particular will stop lending America money and interest rates will skyrocket, destroying the American economy...

Somebody should tell Klein that China’s export-oriented growth model depends on keeping its currency undervalued and accumulating dollars, which it then uses to buy dollar-denominated debt like U.S. Treasury bonds. If China revalued its currency, it would stop buying bonds to the detriment of its industries and to the benefit of many American exporters. If this were to happen, the U.S. deficit would shrink and we would need less external financing.


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