Superficial misleading Facebook graphics

I see lots of graphics on Facebook – some image with a few words – as if what is said is some profound and important thing … which can brook no opposition by whomever posted it. Who knows who makes them? I’ve been making a few of my own lately – anyone can have fun. These graphics often lead to heated arguments in the comment thread – and people call each other “idiots” and such and worse for not “understanding” or “believing” or “being against” something which the graphic purports to show. But behind every graphic there is a reality. And that reality cannot be expressed very succinctly on Facebook – but often takes lots and lots of words, till people’s eyes glaze over and they go for a video which is often just a moving graphic like just the two I’m going to look at today. Oh, I suppose I could analyze them endlessly, for they come in an endless supply. Most of it is utter mush, lunacy, ridiculousness, uninformed, and well, just not good. Let’s take a look

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Who is the “we” who polled these people? Why do they not proudly put their name upon their basket? No, someone decided they would be cute, and trash people who they don’t like. So, they made a pithy graphic. Vituperatively so. For I’m sure that most “members” of this amorphous thing called the “Tea Party” could indeed identify what a “homo sapien” is – and I’m sure most would not throw the kid out for this reason. I’m also sure that if anyone polled a 1000 Liberals, of the Jay Leno “man in the streets” bit kind … you know those videos he does – utter morons – about everything and anything. I’m sure those people would be just as moronic about the meaning of the word “homo sapien” as the alleged “Tea Partiers” mentioned.

What is the point of the graphic? Well, to somehow say “Tea Partiers” are anti-gay – but, in my considerable experience on the matter – Liberals and Conservatives of all religions can be or aren’t anti-gay in one way or the other – it’s quite a mishmash. In fact, there’s a whole cadre of African-American Liberal Democratic Pastors who are viciously anti-gay. The good Liberal Democrat New York state senator Ruben Diaz is a perfect example. I dare say, “Liberals” – which would seem to include all the 95% of the black population that votes Democratic – are just as likely to throw out their homo-son as Conservative White Rednecks. The gay thing is just not a Left-Right issue – it’s a hetero-gay issue.

Now we come to this rather legitimate seeming graphic about economics. It’s “A lesson in economic history” – which reports certain “facts” – and then makes a causality that is just not real.

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The “top tax rate” talked about in 1922 was only on incomes of over $1,000,000 a year – which very few people earned, like, a hundred or so. Meanwhile, the tax itself was only 6 years old at the time. So, technically, prior to 1916 there was no top tax rate whatsoever – and yet, prior to 1916 there were “panics” and “bank failures” and “runs on banks” and “recessions” and “depressions” and all manner of economic grief … as has been happening for well nigh 5,000 years now. Economics goes through cycles – they are called Kondratieff cycles … he being the man who noticed this. The theory’s been tweaked a bit – but still, economies go up, they do down – no one knows why. Not much. A little. However, if there were these economic disruptions prior to the income tax – it can’t very well be caused by reductions in the “top tax rate” – and Mr. Thom Hartmann, so gleefully putting his name to his mush (I applaud that!) is obviously then, unaware that economic history nor downturns or up-ticks is really related to the income tax which was 6 years old in 1922.

Meanwhile, real estate and the stock market are “gambling” in that all things which involve risk is gambling. Mr. Hartmann’s ride to work is a gamble. He’s gambling he won’t get in a wreck – he’s hedging his bet by buying insurance. Getting married is a gamble. Indeed, most of life is a gamble. So to use the word “gambling” is to somehow imply that economics is not a gamble unless evil mean Mr. Harding lowers the tax rate. Which shows that Mr. Hartmann is an economic illiterate. And, a pit of twit for using the word to imply some terrible negative.

Then too, the stock market crash of 1929 was amply laid at the feet of the Federal Reserve Board, itself just 8 years old at the time, by many economic historians, including Von Mises, Hayek, Friedman and others … and which Ben Bernacke, current poobah of the Federal Reserve Board admitted “yep, it’s true, the Federal Reserve wrecked the economy.” So, a tax cut to a few millionaires didn’t cause the crash – but, a contraction of credit by a government agency did.

Astonishingly, Mr. Hartmann, obviously a liberal into big taxes – complains that the rich in the stock market suffered and were made poor, as he wishes everyone to be, or at least “equal” I’m sure. At some level determined by the cads at the Federal Reserve Board or the IRS who perhaps shall be empowered to set the proper level of earnings for all Americans – the very people who caused the crash, as admitted by the man who runs the crashing agency, is now to be gloried with the power to rule the rest of it. Yeah. Brilliant. Yes? No.

Roosevelt raised the tax rates in 1932 – and the Depression got worse … and about the only economic boom times the country saw between 1929 and 1945 (the end of the imperium) was during World War II. So, from late 1929 until 1941, the economy essentially contracted, or muddled along – and regardless of the “top tax rate” not much changed. Then! – A war! When the booming economy that we created was to destroy Japan and Germany and their booming economies – amazingly, by them boom-booming all over the place. A veritable festival of booms and millions dead – and the War economy – you know, evil mean rich arms manufacturers – boomed – and we got corporate health care in the bargain (so we can now argue decades later about what we shall beg from our employers.)

Reagan got the “misery index” – that famous measure of the Carter Administration – which combines the Inflation rate with the Unemployment rate – down from 21 to 8 – but, because the inflation was running so high, and it had to be reeled in, the economy had to contract for a brief bit. All inflated economies have to go through that correction, as anyone who ever studied economics or its history can tell you. Mr. Hartmann here studied his politics, not his economics. So, for the first year or so of Reagan, which was the carryover from Carter who gave us the Misery Index (we were to blame, too, a “malaise” he said we had – cheeky fellow) – and then, once the inflation was rung out of the economy, the economy boomed for the rest of Reagan’s term – indeed, the longest continuous expansion of an economy the world had ever seen. Amazing.

The Savings and Loan “crisis” was more about fraud and government mandated loans to stop redlining – the old practice of not giving loans to blacks, a product of Democratic Party policies for deca…, well, forever … and this banking crisis was a result of HUD and “Fair Housing” and “A mortgage in every pot.” and well, the potheads, couldn’t pay the mortgages. And most of the problem was restricted to a few states, Arizona particularly … went through a few corrupt governors while they were at it. Republicans, true, but corruption is not party-specific.

The Clinton Era is well known for the Internet Bubble, conveniently not mentioned by the gambling bubble concerned Mr. Hartmann – which burst shortly after he left office, dumping his “boom” right into the lap of the hapless Bush, who got an even bigger boom right away, too. The “boom” of the Clinton Era was also related to the new found prosperity in China and Eastern Europe – which Reagan helped create by “Tear Down This Wall” … and so, as must be true for slow moving large objects – like the US economy – what happens in the term of one president perforce slips into the term of the next – to the detriment or boon to whomever is lucky or unlucky.

It’s also not mentioned by our Economic Historian Mr. Hartmann, that Bush senior famously said “read my lips, no new taxes” and proceeded to hide his lips and raise ’em – and the economy fell! Suffered! Unemployment up! No boom – which led to his defeat to Clinton – who saw Bush’s raise and raised ’em some more – like a gambler!

Anyway, the Internet Bubble burst, like bubbles do, and poor Bush junior got the gum all over his face.

As for the “Misinformed Viewers of FOX NEWS” I will not argue – all viewers of any TV news are misinformed – it’s the nature of the beast. I’d say it’s because if one is watching the news – which is about personality – one is not reading about economics or economic history – as Mr. Hartmann so valiantly illustrates. Thank you, sir, for illuminating this reality.

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