Why Power Elites Are So Afraid of Telling the Truth
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In the last week there were two high profile events that highlighted the inability of those in power to reflect reality and put forward solutions to the urgent problems faced by the United States and the world: the State of the Union and the World Economic Forum at Davos.
The reality is that the current economic and political systems are in crisis. The economy will not recover and the government cannot function to meet people’s needs or to protect the planet. Structural change is needed but the power elites are addicted to the current system. They happily funnel more wealth to the top with confidence that their own pockets will be filled. There is no room in their lives for attention to anyone else.
Although they are skilled at distracting the public and themselves from the truth, the façade is crumbling. There are signs that more people see through it, e.g. there was an avalanche of critical analysis of Obama’s State of the Union not seen in prior years.
And as it falls apart, those at the top are more fearful. They lie to protect themselves. The investor and political classes have not forgotten the national awakening shown in hundreds of Occupy encampments. They see, as we report daily on Popular Resistance, the escalating movements for worker and immigrant rights, to protect education and the environment and more.
Obama’s false reality and inadequate solutions
In Black Agenda Report, Glen Ford called the State of the Union “a festival of lies.” Margaret Kimberly described the speech as “theatrics, worthless punditry and outright lies.” She wrote, the annual event “is used to masquerade drivel as accomplishment and reinforce the notion that a collapsing society is a thriving democracy.” Americans seem tired with this annual show as it had the lowest number of viewers since 2000.
Political comedian Lee Camp described President Obama as “Out Orwelling Orwell” from his false rosy picture of the economy to saying that fracked gas is good for the environment to his glorification of war; Obama’s State of the Union presented a false reality.
Seven members of the Green Shadow Cabinet wrote responses to the State of the Union. Ben Manski described the speech as one that could have been “given by a robot, or an actor, or a media spokesperson.” They criticized the failure of the president to address multiple crises. They also criticized the fraudulent peace process in Syria which seemed more designed to lay the groundwork for war. Ajamu Baraka called it an “ Orwellian subterfuge.” Jackie Cabasso exposed the hypocrisy of our ten year trillion dollar commitment to upgrading U.S. nuclear weapons while opposing the (non-existent) threat of Iran developing a bomb.
Economist Jack Rasmus pointed out that President Obama and his allies have finally discovered income inequality. Of course, most of us have been acutely aware of it for decades. The wealth divide was a root cause of the revolt known as Occupy and 67% of Americans recently told Gallup they were dissatisfied with the way wealth is distributed. Seattle’s socialist city council member, Kshama Sawant said in her response to Obama, during his presidency “poverty is at record-high numbers; 95% of the gains in productivity during the so-called recovery have gone to the top 1%. The president’s focus on income inequality was an admission of the failure of his policies.”
While President Obama acknowledged the wealth divide he failed to put forward policies that really address it. Political economist Gar Alperovitz describes the real state of the economy as “long-term stagnation and decay.” When that reality is faced, then totally different solutions are needed, solutions that would really challenge the present system of big finance capitalism.