Propaganda surrounding Obama’s ‘czars’
Two weeks ago, I drove to my hometown of Chicopee to spend Friday night at the Big E with a couple of my good friends. As I approached the intersection of Route 116 and Route 202, I saw groups of people assembled along the sidewalks holding signs decrying over-the-top government spending.
My favorite sign was “Socialist Obama: Hands Off My Capitalism.” From the use of the S-word to the decrying of his “czar” advisors, it seems Obama’s opponents are always trying to invoke Soviet Russia.
A “czar” is a spin on the word “advisor,” and an extremely propagandist one at that. Woodrow Wilson first used the term after the Russian Revolution to refer to his new leading industry advisor. Since then, many presidents have followed suit. Even George W. Bush had these advisors, and some historians argue he had just as many as Obama, though not as early into his term. “Czars” don’t have any budgetary control or solid authority, and they spend the majority of their day grappling with other White House staffers. Glenn Beck, who is first and foremost an entertainer, used the term because it was once the title of the Russian monarch. Mr. Beck makes money off of inflammatory rhetoric, and he used czar because the main critique of the President’s policy is the claim that he is socialist.
Among conspiracy theorists, it is said our President is secretly moving us towards communism. He will impose a totalitarian government, which will suppress our freedoms and force us to toil mercilessly in communal fields to fill government warehouses with corn for kopeks on the rouble. Glenn Beck isn’t stupid; he’s clever, and he knows just what to say to get people talking. He’s also filthy rich.
Ironically, the office of czar is completely pre-communist. The Russian monarchy was overthrown to create a communist state because Russian peasants were fed up with Nicholas II. It has absolutely nothing to do with communism or its sister-child socialism, and is actually its antithesis. Propagandists picked the most Russian-sounding word they could find that Joe Shmoe would recognize, and they used it scare dumb Americans.
As far as the admitted communist who resigned from Obama’s administration, Van Jones was an advisor. He advised. The three branches of government make policy, and last time I checked, we had a free multi-party system and Joe McCarthy was dead and buried. Van Jones was not going to stage a coup d’état. He most likely sees a lot of inequality in today’s world (who doesn’t?), and subscribes to an economic creed that theoretically doesn’t widen the gap between rich and poor. Lock your doors and keep your children inside till 2012, because we had a socially conscious leftist in the Obama Administration.
Next, let’s discuss “spend-a-thon” Obama. This economic crisis is not our President’s fault. He inherited this mess due to decades of bad policy making and irresponsible financial management on the part of average Americans. Nixon abandoned the Gold Standard in 1971, which meant that the Federal Reserve could print money without gold to back it up. We could simply print our way out of any debt we might incur. Our budget was balanced when Clinton left office, and then, President Bush invaded Iraq and Afghanistan two years later. Bush also thought it was a good idea to cut taxes so that he could fund his two new endeavors overseas. Common sense says that if you are going to fund two wars, you better have the revenue to pay for them. As far as the critique of Obama’s stimulus package, injecting large amounts of capital into a stalling economy is a core Keynesian principle. The vast majority of economists adhere to it, even conservatives, and it is the basis of modern economic theory. There is a method to this stimulus “madness”.
Social Security and Medicare will run out of funds to operate by 2017, which is why I always laugh when I see the elderly holding picket signs lambasting Obama. They’re fighting to insure they have to return to work to pay for health insurance in their old age.
By 2017, healthcare costs will consume 20 percent of our GDP, according to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. That’s roughly $2.5 trillion that would be spent every year on healthcare alone. Diabetes and heart disease cost this country millions of dollars every year, and these figures don’t necessarily include the costs of secondary illness that stem from both. If you want to know who is responsible for the conundrum of health care reform, you need only look in the mirror.
The public option of the healthcare plan President Obama put forward was meant to keep private health care companies honest. His intention was to lower health care costs through market competition, but, he had to abandon this because of the “boogie-czar” hiding under our children’s beds. A public option does not equal socialism. The government already runs Medicare and Medicaid, so this is old healthcare news.
Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines socialism as “various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods; a system of society or group living in which there is no private property”. The pubic option was simply that, an option. When Obama starts confiscating your land and seizing factories, then you can tell me “I told you so”.
The problem with Americans is that they want everything for nothing. If you elect a President for two consecutive terms that thinks war funding grows on trees, and you take out mortgages on houses you can’t afford, there are going to be consequences. Obama is going to have to prescribe a strong medicine to straighten this country out. We’re not going to like the taste, and we might not agree with everything he proposes, but inaction is completely unacceptable.
Meghan Boesch is a Collegian columnist. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.