Sarah Palin (R-AK Half-term) gave a speech in Iowa on Saturday in which she compared the national debt to slavery -- being sure to preface her words by saying, "This isn't racist, but..."
(You know that's always a bad sign. That's when most people shut their eyes and clench their teeth, and holding their breath wait for the worst.)
Well, first of all, as I noted here the other day, I'm not sure if Sarah Palin should be the judge on whether what she says is racist. Actually, that's not fair. No, Sarah Palin should not be the judge on whether she's saying something racist. But let's forget that for a moment, because that wasn't the point of her speech. The point was centered around her comments warning about "free stuff" coming from the government:
"This free stuff, so seductive. Why do you think marketers use free stuff to bring people in? Free stuff is such a strong marketing ploy. "But didn't you all learn too in Econ 101 there ain't no such thing as a free lunch? Our free stuff today is being paid for by taking money from our children and borrowing from China."
First of all, before we get to her comments, I'm just trying to figure out what all this "free stuff" is. I assume she's probably trying to reference the Affordable Care Act, or Social Security, or Medicare, or...whatever. Who knows, I'm just guessing. And it's confusing because none of that is "free," nor has it ever been presented as "free." It's paid for by our taxes. What we get from Social Security, for instance, is based on our money we ourselves put into it, what was taken out of our paychecks. It's not "free." The Affordable Care Act isn't "free." Nobody ever, ever, ever says it's free. Only someone foolish or deceptive would portray any of it as free, and I'm not sure which of those two options, foolish or deceptive, Ms. Palin is in this case. Perhaps both.
Maybe though she's just referring to things like government brochures or tax forms that you get at the post office or library. Those are free. (Though yes, technically they're paid for by taxes, but still, there's no limit on how many you take, you could just pick up a pile of them if you want.) So, maybe that's the "free stuff" she's referring to. Hey, after all, it really is "stuff." Indeed, it's far more "stuff" than you'd consider Social Security. The problem is that I don't think brochures about how to insulate your home are causing debt problems with China.
But secondly, that brings us to her actual words. She began: "Didn't you all learn too in Econ 101 there ain't no such thing as a free lunch?"
For starters, I'm guessing that Sarah Palin didn't take Econ 101. And I'd be hard-pressed to find even a semi- respectable Econ 101 class that teaches "there ain't no such thing as a free lunch." That said, One thing we did learn long ago is that using a double-negative reverses what you might think you're saying when you're trying to be folksy and one o' the people, which in this case could make her sentence, "there is such a thing as a free lunch."
But if only Sarah Palin had stopped there, it would be just "okay bad." But no, she had to go on with her faux-analogy and try to sound smart and like she had a clue what she was talking about. (Sorry, "talkin' about.")
And so, alas, she continued --
"When that note comes due -- and this isn't racist.. but it's going to be like slavery when that note is due. We are going to be beholden to a foreign master. Because there is no plan coming out of Washington, D.C. to stop the incurrence of debt."
(Well, actually, yes there are plans to stop the incurrence of debt. That's what the sequester is. That's what budget cuts are. That's what raising taxes is. But I digress. Why let truth and reality get in the way of a good Palin Rant to Scare White People.)
"It's going to be like slavery when that note is due." Because, yes, having a debt is just exactly like slavery.
Hey, they don't call it "MasterCard" for nothing.
(True story -- or not -- but supposedly the original name was supposed to be "MassaCard." I haven't been able to verify that, though, so don't hold it to me. But making up facts is standard for the half-term governor, so we'll go with it here.)
The reality is that all those card companies you owe money to, the banks you owe money to, and -- most of all -- the government of China, they are all exactly like slave masters when That Note Is Due. Interestingly (and this is quite fascinating how it works), according to Ms. Palin all those evil beholden masters aren't like slavery in the slightest before that note is due. It's apparently Flexible Slavery, starting with Kindness and Generosity where they first give you money, piles and piles of money with huge limits of tens and tens of thousands of dollars, so that you can buy a nice house, and a nice car, and a snowmobile, and fine dining, and travel the world -- very much like the precursors of slavery, I guess -- and buy missiles and telecommunication satellites and build bridges and infrastructure, and then...and then when that darn note is due, only THEN it is suddenly switched and going to be exactly like slavery. When that note is due. Beholden to a foreign master. (Not to worry, a domestic master isn't as bad, apparently.) Beholden! Forced to pay off our entire, freedom-draining debt when it's due -- unless you happen to have a monthly minimum you're allowed to pay off or can negotiate better terms or consolidate your debt with another lender or just declare bankruptcy and go on living your life pretty much as before, except you won't be able to borrow. All of which is exactly like slavery.
And it's even more exactly the same as slavery, even if you are a country. And China has become the Master of the Orient. (This is not racist, by the way.) Tying the United States to a tree and whipping it until the country is bloody. Hanging the United States by its neck and lynching it. Taking the United States out to the shed and having its sexual way with it. Taking states away from the United States, and giving those states away to other countries, All the while beating the United States with sticks, throwing the United States into dark holes as punishment for doing just about anything,, and shackling the United States by its united ankles so it can't escape to become part of Canada.
It is EXACTLY like slavery. Exact-freakingly like slavery. Even down to the tiny details where the enslaved United States can raise taxes to pay off the debt or print its own money or simply default on the loans and say, "Screw you" to China. Which, when you really think about it, is almost near-identical to to how slavery works.
So, in the end, I do agree with Sarah Palin. What she said was not racist.
It was just incredibly, insanely stupid. And ignorant beyond almost belief.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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