Saturday, September 27, 2008

What's wrong with this picture? or, when worlds collide

Today I received an e-mail that was a forward of a forward. It read:

"To my fellow Americans ... I'm against the $85,000,000,000.00 bailout of AIG. Instead, I'm in favor of giving $85,000,000,000 to America in a We Deserve It Dividend.

To make the math simple, let's assume there are 200,000,000 bonafide U.S. Citizens 18+. Our population is about 301,000,000 +/- counting every man, woman and child. So 200,000,000 might be a fair stab at adults 18 and up. So divide 200 million adults 18+ into $85 billon that equals $425,000.00.

My plan is to give $425,000 to every person 18+ as a We Deserve It Dividend. Of course, it would NOT be tax free. So let's assume a tax rate of 30%. Every individual 18+ has to pay $127,500.00 in taxes. That sends $25,500,000,000 right back to Uncle Sam. But it means that every adult 18+ has $297,500.00 in their pocket. A husband and wife has $595,000.00.

What would you do with $297,500.00 to $595,000.00 in your family?
Pay off your mortgage - housing crisis solved
Repay college loans - what a great boost to new grads
Put away money for college - it'll be there
Save in a bank - create money to loan to entrepreneurs.
Buy a new car - create jobs
Invest in the market - capital drives growth
Pay for your parent's medical insurance - health care improves
Enable Deadbeat Dads to come clean - or else

Remember this is for every adult U S Citizen 18+ including the folks who lost their jobs at Lehman Brothers and every other company that is cutting back. And of course, for those serving in our Armed Forces. If we're going to re-distribute wealth let's really do it... If we're going to do an $85 billion bailout, let's bail out every adult U S Citizen 18+!

As for AIG - liquidate it. Sell off its parts. Let American General go back to being American General.Sell off the real estate. Let the private sector bargain hunters cut it up and clean it up. Here's my rationale. We deserve it and AIG doesn't. Sure it's a crazy idea that can 'never work.' But can you imagine the Coast-To-Coast Block Party! How do you spell Economic Boom? I trust my fellow adult Americans to know how to use the $85 Billion We Deserve It Dividend more than I do the geniuses at AIG or in Washington DC. And remember, this plan only really costs $59.5 Billion because $25.5 Billion is returnedinstantly in taxes to Uncle Sam.

Ahhh...I feel so much better getting that off my chest. "

I don't know how many other people who received the e-mail checked the calculations, only to discover that $85,000,000,000 divided by 200,000,000 only works out to $425, NOT $425,000.

Unfortunately, it seems to me that this type of sloppy thinking powers much of what the Republican right believes in. This is along the lines of Palin's belief that she has Russian foreign policy experience because Alaska is its neighbor. To progressives, the right-wing world view appears so illogical that it must constitute an alternate reality. To me, this is a VERY FRIGHTENING consequence of eight years of the Bush/Rove/Cheney administration's manipulation of the truth. Those who bought into the truth as pushed by Bush (torture is ok, Iraq war was not invasion but liberation, outing Valerie Plame was not political, etc. etc.) ARE INDEED actually living in an alternate reality from those who did not accept the Bush manipulation of truth.

This situation of differing realities for the right and the left may prove to be as deeply divisive as the difference between Sunni and Shi'ia, or Serb and Croat. It is especially insidious because the fundamental tool of convincing - logic - does not transfer well between alternate views of reality. This disconnect is easily seen in the comment section of online blogs, when right-leaning posters lay out their arguments, which are received with total ridicule by progressive posters.

These differing views of reality are like something out of 1984, or from science fiction. If we get another Republican administration, the battle lines will be drawn pretty sharply, and progressives will likely have no choice but to fight for their view of reality. If Obama is elected, we will have the opportunity to see whether or not the right is willing or able to adjust their world view. I think many who cling desperately to their beliefs may experience some kind of meltdown if Obama is elected. Hopefully, the transition period between November 4 and January 20th will provide some decompression time.

No comments: