08/15/2011 12:43 pm ET Updated Oct 15, 2011

Latest Propaganda: Debt = Sewage

I received an e-mail this morning from some Koch-funded brainwashing operation. I get them all the time. So does everyone with an e-mail address for sale, it seems. When I have time, I actually read the e-mails. For the same reason that the French leftist Herbert Marcuse said that he read the Wall Street Journal -- to see what the enemy is thinking.

Here is what it said:

"Better Way To Look at Debt Ceiling:

"You come home from work and find there has been a sewer backup and you have sewage up to your ceilings.

"What do you do...... raise the ceilings, or pump out the sewage?"

Now, I like a good metaphor as much as the next person. Maybe you've noticed. But this one -- debt = sewage -- suggests to me that Frank Luntz and the other right-wing spin-meisters must be working overtime.

Coming from the right-wing worshipers of the free market, this one does seem odd. Borrowing is a voluntary, "arms-length" agreement between two autonomous beings, which is exactly what the free market is all about. You have some extra capital. I need it, and I'm willing to pay interest to have it. Bingo -- a loan.

Actually, borrowing is the third most common transaction in every market economy, after buying and working. 70% of us borrow and buy a home. Many of us borrow to buy a car, borrow to go to college, or borrow from our credit cards. No big deal.

And every economist will tell you that the government has two tools to fight a recession: fiscal policy and monetary policy. When fighting a recession, fiscal policy increases the federal debt. And monetary policy cashes out that federal debt with money, by increasing the money supply.

There is no need to gnash our teeth and rend our clothing over the federal deficit. That deficit is representative government doing its job, trying to end the recession and put people back to work.

So why would right-wingers equate debt and sewage? Well, this actually is not exactly original thinking. In German, the word "schuld" means both "debt" and "guilt." As Nazi philosopher Martin Heidegger noted in his book Being and Time.

And there is one culture that bans debt completely: Islam, under sharia law. Because the Koran (3:130) says: "O, you who believe! Devour not interest, doubled and redoubled, and be careful of Allah."

It looks like when those Tea Party legislators introduced bills last year to ban sharia law, this right-wing preoccupation with the evils of debt slipped right by them.

Isn't this one obvious? They are vilifying the federal debt in order to rationalize cuts in Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, government mortgages, student loans, and other federal benefits.

After spending six years in the White House, Hillary Clinton warned America -- on NBC's Today Show -- about the "vast right-wing conspiracy." Now, 13 years later, we're receiving e-mails from it. All for the purpose of pushing, pushing, pushing public opinion further and further to the right.

And after all this time, anyone who keeps getting fooled by it must be... a fool.

Show that you're not fooled -- visit my campaign.


Alan Grayson