By Brian McKay
The other day I was told that Donald Trump wasn’t overweight. Many people have supported the idea that his inauguration was the largest ever and that 3 million illegals did indeed vote for Hilary Clinton. Another great one recently was that Barack Obama golfed 6 times a week and Trump only golfs once a week. As a follow up to that, Barack Obama didn’t golf once in his first 100 days and Trump is now over 20 times.
While incredibly daft, these alternative facts aren’t going to destroy America. It’s the fact that the terms alternative facts and fake news even have to be mentioned that are truly going to screw America.
Fake shit for the sake of politics isn’t anything new. It’s always existed in one form or another. The problem seems to be that fake and lies are going off the rails at this point.
Case in point: Today the Trump tax plan was released. Some proposals include a 15% corporate tax and 15% pass through tax (income from S corporations and LLCs). The Alternative Minimum Tax and Inheritance Tax would be repealed. Both only benefit high earners and high net worth individuals. Cutting the Capital Gains tax from 23.8 percent to 20 percent and eliminating the 3.8 percent investment tax to help defund Obamacare also results in a huge gain for the wealthy.
American’s will see three tax rates of 10, 25 and 35 percent. The standard deductions will double. Middle-income Americans will see an average savings of about 1.2 – 1.9 percent. At the US median income of $55,000, this amounts to a little under $1,000 per year. High earners will see an average 9.3 percent tax reduction which can result in a 14.3 percent after-tax income increase.
The elimination of head of household deductions and dependents will increase taxes for middle-income earners by .3 percent. At a 15% percent pass through rate, people such as myself will see our taxes fall tremendously from owning businesses. Personally, it could result in an extra $24,000 a year in extra after-tax income. This isn’t to brag, but to highlight how completely unfair this is to ordinary Americans under the guise of trickle down.
Yeah, trickle down my ass. It has frequently been explained on zenruption the extent to which trickle down is an utter fabrication. A Brief History of Trickle Down Economics and Economic Desertification, are two such articles. It has never worked for anything more than creating socialism for the wealthy.
Now trickle down has been sold to people since Reagan, but never to such a detrimental impact. The resulting wealth inequality and deficit increases are an exercise in stealing from our children. In other words, Trump supporters are being convinced to screw themselves and burden their children with some of the biggest alternative facts that have ever been spun. Working class Americans have been calling the new tax proposals a path to growth on social media since the plan was released earlier today. They have no cognition nor desire to know that they are only screwing themselves.
Other alternative facts (or what are called fake news) include climate change, racial disparity, religious freedom, a terrorist around every corner and the “good guy with a gun” myth. CNN is called fake news but the 5th grade writing, white nationalism, conspiracy theories and piss-poor logic of Breitbart is correct. Facebook is fast becoming an echo chamber of memes and the educated experts are now labeled as indoctrinated in communism. The word socialism is thrown around more than a frisbee in a disk golf tournament with no understanding of what the hell it actually means.
Is it any wonder that words of the year for 2016 was “post-truth” as proclaimed by the Oxford Dictionary and “surreal” according to Merriam-Webster. In Germany, it was declared as “postfaktisch” (post truth) by the Society for the German Language in Weisbaden, Germany.
This is now a world where anything can be true and possible regardless of stats, science, facts and even photographic evidence. As populist movements show no sign of abetting worldwide, it won’t be getting better anytime soon.
The world now has no tradeoffs in the age of Brexit and protectionism. Jobs have been claimed to go overseas instead of confronting the fact that they are being automated away. Environmentalism is considered a job killer instead of recognizing that coal jobs aren’t coming back and the potential for green energy jobs is immense. The lack of recognition of trade-offs has also allowed for massive amounts of hypocrisy to go completely unrecognized.
Conservative Americans are now happy to back proposals that violate the very nature of the Constitution so long as those proposals work in their favor. They utilize non-factual tit for tat arguments to say that President Obama had continually violated the Constitution (he didn’t) to justify Trump being allowed to do so in their logic.
America is now allowing itself to destroy the future for its children; environmentally, economically and socially. It seems that alternative facts are here to stay so long as the online echo chambers exist, the logic is easy and everyone can brand themselves an expert with a quick Google search to reaffirm what they believe.
It is now the duty of those of us that embrace facts, stats, logic and impeccable sources to toe the line. More than ever it is our duty for political involvement regardless of how distasteful it seems at times. At time has it ever been so important for us to show the need to trust the experts.
There once was a time when it was safer to be scared by the gargoyle on the church than it was to observe the natural world. One made you think all was going to be okay and the other landed you on a stake with some serious flames underneath.
For the sake of the world, our kids inherit, we can’t afford to go there again.