I remember Ronald Reagan talking about the "welfare queen." There wasn't a shred of truth in it but he seemed so charming as he told the story. It had to do with a mother on welfare who, according to Reagan, was symbolic of the abuses of America's social programs.
She got her check every month and then put gas in her caddy and went on a month-long binge of partying on the taxpayer's money. It was beyond snark; it was a stone cold lie. But, he kept telling the story, in that delightful and confident way, and there were people willing to believe it was true. They were known as southern Democrats.
And, oh my, the righteous indignation. "Those people" (psst, that's code for black folks) were obviously gaming the system and taking advantage of "hard working Americans" (psst, that's code for rednecks). All those welfare queens would just keep popping out those babies, Reagan convincingly told us, so as to get bigger checks so as to keep the parties rolling.
Never mind that a welfare check barely covered rent and utilities. Never mind that welfare recipients were the regular checkerboard of pigmentation as our society as a whole. The welfare queen story resonated to the point where a majority of the electorate was willing to vote against their own financial interest because of the outrageous nature of the alleged abuse of taxpayer money.
Using this and other social issues as artificially contrived diversions for cover, Reagan moved the huge monetary surplus from Social Security to the general fund; a true molestation of taxpayer wealth.
This action was necessary to attempt to cover the devastation to the treasury caused by "supply side economics (psst, that's code for tax cuts for the rich) which was the cornerstone of what George H.W. Bush called "voodoo economics" (psst, a slanderous term also known as Reaganomics) while he was competing with Reagan in the primaries. After Bush Sr. joined the Republican ticket, however, he saw the error of his ways.
That money (the Social Security excess) was just sitting there, Reagan asserted, and was after all, a part of the federal treasury. When SS needed it back, a little at a time, why the money could be transferred from the general fund which would have a wonderful surplus built up by the increased economic growth to be realized by continuing the reduction of taxes on capital gains, upscale income and so on.
Reagan left office with the largest deficit ever recorded by the U.S. Government. The mess fell to Bush Sr. who was so clueless that he couldn't hit his ass with both hands wide open. And besides that he wasn't an actor and couldn't tell charming stories. He took the country to war (psst, the Bushbaby used that gimmick too) and still couldn't manage to get himself re-elected.
One of the few good things to come out of the Bill Clinton presidency (psst, the Clinton karma isn't very good) was a balanced budget although that's a misnomer because it still contained the Social Security excess in order to give the impression of being balanced. And, of course, the SS Trust Fund had long since stopped collecting interest. But, there was at least a fiscal restoration although, unfortunately, it came at the expense of even more social programs.
And now, here we are. The Bushbaby has pulled a lot of the same stunts as his predecessors and America once again has the largest deficit in history, which is even worse because it still hides what used to be the SS Trust Fund (psst, let's mint another beloved Reagan memento shall we?). Virtually all of the New Deal innovations have been neutralized while the bellies of the fat cats have grown accustomed to being scratched.
The Bushbaby even tried to dismantle Social Security altogether by privatization (psst, that's code for funneling riches to people who contribute to political campaigns). While that particular ploy didn't work, the little C grade student (psst, this time let's elect an achiever as opposed to a good bowler shall we?) managed to screw every thing up to the point where the next president, on the morning he (yeah, yeah or she) takes office is behind the 8 ball with a hugely unpopular war and an economy that has gone down the porcelain facility.
I mention all of this because it is high time that someone in America besides the fat cats remember to vote based on which side of the bread their butter is on.