The distracting benefits of ACORN hysteria

Apparently, the problem for middle-class and lower-middle-class Americans is not that their taxpayer dollars are going to prop up billionaires, oligarchs and their corrupt industries. It’s that America’s impoverished — a group that is growing rapidly — is getting too much, has too much power and too little accountability. […]

If one were to watch Fox News or listen to Rush Limbaugh — as millions do — one would believe that the burden of the ordinary American taxpayer, and the unfair plight of America’s rich, is that their money is being stolen by the poorest and most powerless sectors of the society. An organization whose constituencies are often-unregistered inner-city minorities, the homeless and the dispossesed is depicted as though it’s Goldman Sachs, Blackwater, Haillburton and combined, as though Washington officials are in thrall to those living in poverty rather than those who fund their campaigns. It’s not the nice men in the suits doing the stealing but the very people, often minorities or illegal immigrants, with no political or financial power who nonetheless somehow dominate the government and get everything for themselves. The poorer and weaker one is, the more one is demonized in right-wing mythology as all-powerful receipients of ill-gotten gains; conversely, the stronger and more powerful one is, the more one is depicted as an oppressed and put-upon victim (that same dynamic applies to foreign affairs as well). […]

John Cole highlights what might be the most telling aspect of all of this: demands for a “Special Prosecutor” into Obama’s so-called “relationship with ACORN” from the very same circles that vehemently objected to investigations into torture, illegal government spying, politicized prosecutions, military contractor theft, Lewis Libby’s obstruction of justice, and virtually every other instance of Bush-era act of criminality. Those, of course, are the very same people who, before that, demanded endless inquiries into Whitewater and Vince Foster’s murder. There’s nothing more valuable than petty, dramatic “scandals” to distract attention from what is actually taking place.

Glenn Greenwald: The distracting benefits of ACORN hysteria

1 Comment

  1. They’ve been pushing the welfare myth for a long time. If you ask the average person, many will say that welfare and similar assistance is a significant percentage of the federal budget. This doesn’t count medicare, medicaid, and social security which are substantial (about about 42%), but to quote from the 2002 budget guide (http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/rewrite/budget/fy2002/guide02.html):

    “Other means-tested entitlements provide benefits to people and families with incomes below certain minimum levels that vary from program to program. The major means-tested entitlements are Food Stamps, Supplemental Security Income, Child Nutrition, the Earned Income Tax Credit, and veterans’ pensions. This category will account for an estimated six percent of the budget.”

    …but, of course, the image of lazy welfare-cheats soaking up your hard-earned tax money will always play better than the truth — that hard-working business and finance types are soaking up your hard-earned tax dollars in ways that make one’s head hurt to figure out.

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