An "Open Letter to President Obama" Strikes Out - Part 5
In fact, during Ford's darkest days, when the company's annual losses were being measured in billions of dollars, Ford had the courage to invest $3.5 billion to develop the Taurus—which has become the best-selling car in America.
LAST TIME I PROMISED to take the following quote from Lou Pritchett's "Open Letter to President Obama" apart, and look at it point by point:
You scare me because you want to kill the American capitalist goose that lays the golden egg which provides the highest standard of living in the world.
So here we go:
"to kill the American capitalist goose"
Apparently Pritchett has not been paying attention this last year. It's his Republican cronies that have almost killed that Goose—whichever way you look at it: whether by "deregulating" until the economy was almost dead, or by bailouts that put the government in charge of banks.
Obama, at every turn, has been trying to keep the goose from committing suicide.
"the American capitalist goose"
You've got to give him credit for this one—it's really slick. Notice how he ties "American" to "capitalist", as though there were something about it in the constitution.
The truth is, of course, that presidents from Jefferson to Lincoln and beyond have warned this country about the dangers, to America, of unbridled capitalism and giant corporations.
There is a difference between a free market and a market dominated by multinational corporations. But it's conservative policy to constantly conflate the two, and then pretend that the combination is somehow patriotic.
"the American capitalist goose that lays the golden egg which provides the highest standard of living in the world."
This is also nicely done. It's such a big claim, and yet it's buried so deeply in the structure of the sentence.
You're not supposed to notice this claim at all, consciously. You're supposed to assume it's true without really thinking about it.
And, if you do think about it, he's wrapped the idea completely in the flag—so that you won't question it.
Wouldn't it be unbelievably unpatriotic to ask, even for a moment, whether Americans really do have the highest standard of living in the world?
Actually it wouldn't be. In fact, it would be classy of us to admit that we didn't, if that were the fact.
And it is.
There are a great many ways to calculate "standard of living" but under almost any objective system, the U.S. does not rank first, or even second, or third. That's just the truth.
The door you just heard slamming was Pritchett giving up on me an an America-hater—for admitting the truth.
We do rank pretty high, by the way—anywhere from 6th to 17th (and that's out of a lot of countries). Just not highest. But of course admitting that would be un-American to Pritchett, because guys like him don't think that it's patriotic to tell the truth.
Back to the email:
You scare me because you have begun to use 'extortion' tactics against certain banks and corporations.
This refers to the claim by an attorney that the Obama administration threatened to embarrass a financial institution publicly if they didn't cooperate by helping save a car company. Of course it was to the attorney's advantage to say that, but lawyers never mislead anyone...
Actually, I don't personally see why it would be such a bad idea, given how much we've done for financial institutions. But that's probably why Obama's a better president than I would be.
Unfortunately for Pritchett, both the Obama administration and a spokesman for the financial institution itself say this never happened. Pritchett is now scraping the bottom of his barrel.
You scare me because your own political party shrinks from challenging you on your wild and irresponsible spending proposals.
You can unpack all of the unsupported assumptions here for yourself. Notice the sneaky implication that the Democratic party thinks he's spending too much. I'd be willing to bet that Pritchett has complained elsewhere that Democrats always want to spend too much.
Yes, Obama is overseeing a stimulus plan to pull us out of this crisis. And yes, that costs money—it's a stimulus package. (Much of it spent on tax cuts, by the way.)
But he's also calling for long-term budget reform to get us back on track. Both are necessary. Facing that fact, and doing what has to be done is adult behavior.
Also, we wouldn't be in this fix if conservatives hadn't spent us out of a ten-year $5.6 trillion surplus from the last Democratic administration down to a ten-year $2.9 trillion deficit.
It's interesting that eight and a half trillion in Republican spending didn't make Pritchett scared of Bush. But Obama spends less than half, part of that as a temporary recovery plan, then calls for long-term reform to cut the deficit, and Pritchett is terrified.
You scare me because you will not openly listen to or even consider opposing points of view from intelligent people.
I'll deal with this one next time...