THE GREAT AMERICAN CON
Confessions of a Republican Con Man
Congratulations! You have been cast in the Republican remake of the classic movie, The Sting. We’ve entitled it, The Great American Con.
You remember the original movie, don’t you? Robert Redford, Paul Newman, Charles Durning. It was fantastic! And, of course, you recognized and loved the slick maneuvers pulled off by those wonderful con-men heroes. You saw all of the plot twists and turns and knew exactly how the movie was going to end… which is why you’ve been cast in the remake. You are perfect for the part. Let me run it down for you.
PLOT SUMMARY – The execution of the largest con job in American history. Forget Bernie Madoff and his puny billion dollar Ponzi scheme. We’re talking a multi-trillion dollar swindle. And here’s the best part — like all great cons, we’re going to convince 300 million Americans to simply give us their money.
I know what you’re thinking. We can’t reel in 300 million fish all at once. But we can… we just need a really big “hook” and all the elements of a classic con.
THE HOOK – The hook (or lure) in our con is that “The U.S. is broke.” Americans are always giving money to folks whom they believe are destitute. For this to work, however, we have to have a trustworthy pitchman. But since our scam is so large, we need several trusted pitchmen; such as John Boehner, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Mitch McConnell — all declaring with the utmost sincerity that the country is broke, bankrupt, busted, penniless, destitute… ah, you get the picture. And, of course, all these guys have America’s confidence, so the “hook” is presented as a crisis in order to generate a sense of urgency and to appeal to Americans’ sense of selflessness.
The point of the hook is to seduce the entire population of the United States into believing that a country with a $14 trillion GDP is broke. We are going to have to be damn convincing. But that is not a problem. If David Copperfield can make the Great Wall of China disappear, then you and I, along with the high priests of the Republican Party and Right Wing radio, can surely convince Americans that the country is broke and no longer able to afford schools, roads, bridges, unions, collective bargaining and the like. Piece of cake!
In order to convince 300 million citizens that the country is broke, we will need to use a special tool from our con-man tool bag – a bright, shiny object for distraction.
THE DISTRACTION – Look over here. No, over here! Look closely at this bright shiny object… watch the object… focus on the object. You are getting sleepy, very… Nah, just kidding. Our “marks” aren’t sleepy at all… deceived, maybe, but not asleep. In fact, we need them awake and actually participating in the con so that we may relieve them of their money. The distraction is the National Debt: $14 trillion dollars and expanding like a pulsing, cancerous mass, threatening to consume everything in its path (think 1950’s SciFi B movie). Our goal is to make them afraid. Distract them. Make them ignore the fact that America has the largest economy in the world. Convince them that they must give us their money to save their children’s future.
THE PITCH – Here’s where you come in. Your job is to make the marks believe that the only way to save the country from the massive, out-of-control spending frenzy-induced debt, is by giving us their money. Our message to the marks is that only they can help us end the debt crisis in this country and they do this by ignoring their own self-interests in favor of those of corporate America.
GAINING THEIR TRUST – The key to the successful execution of any con is gaining the marks’ trust and confidence. To do this, we need someone trustworthy, someone whose ethics and motivations are beyond reproach. Now, we Republicans don’t have this exactly. But we do have Mitch McConnell, leader of the Senate in the most powerful country in the world.
Note Mitch’s Mona Lisa-like smile, the cleverly concealed double-chin, the basset-hound- trusting eyes, the sturdy Capitol columns and the Washington Monument in the background. This guy wouldn’t lie to Americans, would he? No, of course not.
THE PLAYTEX STRATEGY – It’s not enough to convince the marks to give you their money. You must get them to convince other dumb boobs to give up their money, as well. How we do this is called the Playtex strategy. By “lifting up” the marks and making them feel special, part of an elite group, we are better able to “separate” them from their money. Thus, to ‘lift and separate’ 300 million folks from their hard-earned cash, we must first create an in-the-know group, with superior knowledge, understanding and acumen. Unfortunately, we don’t have one of these groups, either. Fortunately, the marks aren’t very smart, so we can probably get away with substituting the Tea Party.
TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE – As previously mentioned, we must create a sense of urgency in our marks. We don’t want to give them time to think or reconsider the consequences of their actions. After all, we must make them believe THE U.S. HAS A BLOODY CRISIS on its hands. Doom approaches the longer we delay! We need them to give us their money NOW! Tick-tock.
THE THREAT WITHIN – The only thing better than an overwhelming threat (recall the pulsing, cancerous blob) is a threat from within, also known as “the others” or “those people.” You know who I’m talking about. Actually, you may not, because there are, after all, so many un-American groups these days – Democrats, teachers, American Muslims, Latinos, unions, minorities, people who don’t love liberty / freedom / the right to bear arms, and white people. Our message is: Quick! Give us your money before those lazy, Marxist, Socialist Commie “others” take it.
OK, that covers the con job and the political landscape backdrop. But since you are a cast member, you need to know what we are not telling people. It’s called, “The Truth.” You need to know what it is so you won’t tell it. It’s all in the script, so don’t worry. You’ll do fine.
THE TRUTH – Now, the truth is, there is no crisis… problems, yes, but no crisis. We call it a crisis because we don’t want to let the opportunity go to waste. The United States is the World’s largest economy. The Government is not broke. I know, I know, you’re wondering about THE DEBT. Well, the debt and deficit are real enough, but that’s the pure genius part of our plan. We Republicans created the debt, you see. We did it on purpose. Don’t believe me? Well, here. Let me show you the facts.
Ronald Reagan’s Term – $1.7 trillion increase in the Federal debt
George H.W. Bush’s Term – $1.6 trillion increase in the Federal debt
George W. Bush’s Terms – $4.9 trillion increase in the Federal debt
Over half of the current national debt, 8.2 trillion dollars, was created by us, the GOP. But here is the really cool part: we fixed it so Obama gets all the blame. (God, I swear I have the best job in the world – except for that short stint as a Defense contract interrogator at Abu Graib prison in Iraq. That was fun, too.)
So, we tell the marks that all the debt is caused by the Dems… AND THE DUMMIES EAT IT UP. They buy the whole package. Then, we tell them that they must reduce their own Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid in order to give tax cuts to our corporate sponsors or all their precious jobs will go away. Boo!
The marks still buy the nonsense that tax hikes will kill jobs. Heck, we outsourced all the jobs years ago, but we’re still beating the Dems’ brains in with this issue. They say a sucker is born every minute, but truth be told, we’ve got suckers by the millions. We managed to keep wages low for decades by convincing Congress that an increase in the minimum wage would kill jobs. It was pure crap, but they bought it anyway and thus we were able to provide our corporate sponsors with cheap labor (the small amount we allowed to remain in this country). Our timing and execution of The Plan has been impeccable. Every time our marks turn around, we Republicans show them another left-wing conspiracy and take some more of their money. Republican campaign coffers will soon be filled the brim. It’s brilliant. The stupid marks just keep giving us their money.
Oh, right. I was going to tell you about the tax cuts. McConnell, Boehner and Cheney did a brilliant job setting the stage for the largest swindle in American history. The first thing we did was tell Americans they didn’t have to pay for the wars – that deficits didn’t matter. Next, we pushed through a massive Tax Cut package that dropped tax revenue to its lowest point in sixty years. Worked like a charm. Debt began to grow; we used it to rally the Republican base after GW got out of office and then successfully blamed the mess on the Dems. But let me show you this one chart. You gotta see it to appreciate our genius.
PRESIDENT……YEAR………GDP*……..Tax Rcpts*….% OF GDP………..DEBT*
* in Billions
Tax receipts are the lowest in SIXTY years as a percent of GDP. Let me break it down for you. Our GDP is roughly $14.5 trillion. Not too shabby. We’ve effectively reduced tax receipts by 4%. Four percent of $14.5 trillion is almost $600 billion. That’s basically half the deficit! AND WE’RE JUST GETTING WARMED UP!
Where did all that money go? Glad you asked. Why, it went to the wealthy and corporations. See? I told you it was brilliant. But that was just Stage One of our con.
Next we are going to convince the marks to gut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Then we will double our take easily. One trillion dollars – and that’s just in a single year. We’ll do it E V E R Y S I N G L E Y E A R! The rich get richer. You and I get rich. And the marks? Well, they get what they deserve. After all, it’s a jungle out there.
Listen, gotta go. Just be on the movie set from tomorrow through the 2012 elections. After that, we can spend the rest of our days counting the money we fleeced from the American public. While they are busy arguing over whether to cut six or sixty billion from the budget, we’re going to relieve them of trillions. Dumb clucks!
See you at the casting party. Be sure to come. Everything is free for the taking.
Credits: Money photo by Refracted Momenta