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Sunday, February 13, 2011

This is one of those "please kill me now" posts. As an educator whose mission in life is to stamp out ignorance sometimes I feel like the mytholigical Sisyphus wrestling with that damned boulder. There is no doubt the Murdock communications empire, fronted by the blathering dullards that think Egypt lies somewhere between Israel and Iran and therefore is a cesspool of 'Murikan hatin Is-lamb-iks, banks on the lowest common denominator in its audience to maintain an iron grip on the ignorance agenda. If you think I'm suffering from a bout of ideological hysterical rantings consider these lastest findings in a poll conducted by Perspectives In Politics. These are the kind of poll numbers that the likes of Haley Barbour slowly drink in and savor like a cool mint julip while sitting under a maple tree on an historical state government preserved southern plantation mansion caressed by a cool summer breeze with a chesire cat smile.

I'll let liberal scion David Sirota take the reigns with a rant from the ages in his Huffington Post column on how average Americans view government social programs and how seemingly detached they are from the reality of the impact those programs have on their daily lives. Take it away David:
How aggressively stupid is America when it comes to our debates over taxes, budgets and the size of government? That's been difficult to answer with any precision, beyond simply citing the Tea Partier who famously told his congressman to "keep your government hands off my Medicare." But now we have some hard numbers to tell us how deep this ignorance really goes.

According to new data crunched by Cornell University's Suzanne Mettler, large numbers of Americans who receive benefits from government social programs nonetheless tell pollsters they "have not used a government social program." And when I mean large, I mean large. For example, a majority of those who have received federally subsidized student loans, 44 percent of Social Security beneficiaries and 40 percent of G.I. bill recipients say they have not used a government social program.

These numbers go a long way to explaining why the economic debate in our country is so insane. Indeed, at a moment when taxes have hit a historic low, most politicians -- from presidents to governors to state legislators -- insist we must further cut taxes and shrink allegedly "Big Government." And they are finding a receptive audience in the general public because, as the numbers show, so many Americans wrongly believe they don't receive direct financial benefits from government.

Obviously, this aggressive stupidity politically props up the arguments of the anti-government right. With so many Americans evidently not knowing they receive benefits from the government, it's easy for opportunistic politicians to seize on our "me-first, screw everybody else" culture and misleadingly deride the government as some distant entity that exclusively benefits the "other." And if you don't know that, in fact, you are "the other," then you are more likely to conclude that that opportunistic politician is correct, and more likely to cheer on that opportunistic politician as he/she slashes the programs you directly rely on.

And as for us denizens here in the Sunshine state with newly minted Gov. Rick Scott the party is just getting started. As the Teaparty darling doning the persona of Don Quixote jousting with the evils of the collective in all its forms at the local, state and national levels the conga line for the Governor began in Eustis, Florida. As a school teacher surely to be on the wrong end of that conga line as it dances its way through every Florida county stripping public education of its very essence of existence the only thing I'm going to be reaching for is hemlock. Hey, maybe Socrates was on to something after all.

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