Misdirection and deception

ARNO VOSK

Williamsport

A stage magician uses a technique called misdirection to facilitate many of his tricks. His right hand does something interesting and the audience watches it. Meanwhile the left hand is doing the important work of the trick.

That’s how the Trump administration and our Republican legislature try to fool the American people. The “migrant caravan” is a good example.

We are supposed to pay attention to the “caravan,” and worry about how dangerous it’s supposed to be, while all kinds of other things are being done that really are a threat to our nation.

The “caravan” originated in Honduras, a small Central American country that has the highest murder rate in the world. Ordinary people in Honduras are daily threatened by gangs that extort and kill with impunity.

Police are ineffective at best, often paid by gangs to look the other way, often actually allies of those who commit the crimes. It’s impossible for anyone to start a business in Honduras without paying “protection” to criminals.

I know this because I have myself spoken with refugees from that country.

There are many families, probably several thousand children in the “caravan.” There might be some gang members or criminal types, but has anyone actually found any? Even if all 5,000 of the people in the “caravan” were admitted to this country, they would only add .003% to our national labor force. How much of a threat is that to working Americans?

Meanwhile, here’s what the other hand is doing. The Republican tax cut is adding thousands of dollars to the incomes of the super-rich–big campaign contributors–while ordinary Americans see little or no benefit. The national debt is increasing, and all those extra billions will have to be repaid by our children and grandchildren. Oh, and Republicans in Congress are trying to take funds away from Social Security and Medicare in order to “solve” the problem.

Nothing is being done to relieve the crushing burden of student loan debt, today owed by 44 million Americans, currently $1.48 trillion nationally. The average college student graduates owing $39,400. Trump’s Secretary of Education is actually working to make debt repayment even more burdensome. In 2016, student loan companies spent $1 million on campaign contributions, and $4.4 million on lobbying.

The U.S. healthcare system is the most expensive in the world, and still our national health statistics are worse than practically every other industrialized country. Nothing is being done by our federal government to help this.

With or without Obamacare, the cost of our health system is increasing every year, but with no improvement in our national level of health. In 2018, the health industry gave $225 million in campaign contributions, and spent $422 million on lobbying.

The Trump administration is dismantling environmental regulations that protect public health, for no other reason than that complying with those regulations imposes a small financial burden on big corporate contributors. Local governments are undertaking programs to combat the opioid epidemic–at local taxpayers’ expense–but do you see anything being done at the federal level?

We are supposed to worry about the “migrant caravan.” Meanwhile the Trump administration is doing everything it can to benefit the super-rich–the president being one of them–at the expense of regular Americans. So…how long is our nation going to be fooled by this piece of misdirection?

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