How Deep Runs the Corruption?
For the last several years, my friends in public health and science have expressed astonishment and professional disorientation at the behavior and messaging of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The scientific journals are part of this.
They simply could not believe the brazen manipulation of science for political purposes. They could not believe that so many people within these agencies and journals went along with it for reasons of career protection. They have been appalled that science and public health have been deployed in this way.
They worry about the future with this level of corruption. And they have been quite passionate in decrying it, while paying a professional price for not going along.
Implicit in this reaction is a history in which they implicitly trusted these institutions, their data, their reporting, and their sincerity with regard to public health. They presumed that these agencies were not capable of manipulating science for political reasons. They certainly would never have believed that they would preside over the worst public-health calamity of our lifetimes.
When they set out to decry this, correct the error, and alert the public to the truth, it was not because they hated the NIH and the CDC. Indeed it was the opposite. They wanted them to be good. They wanted their integrity restored. They wanted to trust again.
In other words, what motivated them is piety in their professions and the agencies that preside over them. In this, the real haters get it all wrong. My friends are not disinformation spreaders. They are spreaders of facts in the interest of public well-being. They believed strongly that the system is not broken fundamentally and could be improved.
They decided that they did not want to practice their craft in an environment of lies. They wanted restoration of truth.
I’ve listened and understood but because this has not been my realm or my main intellectual interest for the dominant part of my career, I’ve not entirely understood the intensity of their critique or the motivations of my friends. Maybe I’ve always assumed that such enormous bureaucracies were up to no good. I’ve never believed that the CDC, for example, was a net positive in terms of public health, not that I thought about it much before the pandemic.
I’m seeing this fully now because of something that happened this past week. It affects a realm about which I care deeply, namely economics. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported the jobs data again, with a headline number of 187,000 new jobs. That’s not great but it is not bad news.
But over the last year and a half, I’ve grown incredulous toward these data releases and the little essay that sits on top of them that is routinely copied by all media outlets as the truth. So I’ve started to look more carefully at the underlying data. The release text said that the number of part-time jobs for reasons of economics, meaning that the people who have part-time jobs when they would actually like full-time jobs, was “little changed.”
That’s what the BLS said but the data showed otherwise. It showed an increase of 221,000 part-time jobs. That’s 5.4 percent growth. That’s not “little changed.” That’s a huge and alarming change.
It’s also more than the total number of jobs created. This means that many people have lost full-time work and been forced to take part-time jobs. This is truly awful news, the very opposite of where we would like to be. One might suppose that the BLS would just admit this outright. They didn’t admit it. They covered it up. The person who wrote those words “little changed” either knew and lied under pressure or did not look at the data himself and simply trusted his superiors.
In any case, it is flat-out wrong. And demonstrably so!
This makes one wonder about all the data releases coming from the Biden administration. Every month, an output release from the previous month is reduced. This has been systematic and large. It just keeps happening.
It raises the question. If we were in a technical recession now – or if we never left the one from 2020 – would we actually know it? We have no choice but to trust the government’s numbers. Maybe we shouldn’t. Maybe everything is much worse than we know from the agencies’ reporting. It certainly feels that way.
We look at independent data that we know we can trust and find out terrible things. A survey by the Lending Club recently reported that nearly two-thirds of Americans are living paycheck-to-paycheck. This is not only a huge increase; it is completely unsustainable.
Why is this happening? Many consumers are spending without thinking. They are persisting in their old habits even though the value of money has fallen nearly 20 percent in three years. Everyone is poorer than before but continuing to live as if all is normal. To blame at least in part is the relentless propaganda from the Biden administration that says the economy is in great shape and there is nothing to worry about.
These are very costly lies.
Do you see the relationship here between economics and public health? During COVID, we were told that distancing would protect people. Then we were told that masks would do the trick. Then we were told that the vaccine would work. Do all those things and you will not be bothered by COVID.
That was a lie. Everyone got it anyway. And once people got sick, they had no real protocol for how to get better. That’s because the agencies had disparaged repurposed drugs like Ivermectin. They did this in order to pretend as if the vaccine was the only real solution, thereby making the “Emergency Use Authorization” compatible with prevailing conditions.
Thus, when people got sick, they had no idea what to do. The agencies that people trusted are fully culpable for this.
It’s true in the economic realm. The government has not been straight with people about the economic crisis of our times. All official channels say everything is hunky-dory, just keep adding to that credit-card debt, spending as always, draining your savings such as it is, and don’t worry about your job. Everything is fine. Look at our press release! Listen to the weird White House spokeswoman!
This is malpractice. It also undermines trust even further.
No society can run without trust. Builders have to trust measurements, economists trust the data, scientists trust the journal, doctors have generally trusted pharmaceutical companies, and philosophers trust logic. There is just no alternative. If we take that away and replace truth with lies, where does that leave us? As one of my friends says: in a new dark age.
Last night I was watching the U.S. Open. Several times, an ad came on saying that COVID is still with us, killing more people than the flu, so we need to be alert. The ad is just text with ominous music. It ends by urging that everyone get the COVID vaccine immediately. The closing slogan is: no one has time for the 19.
That’s weird, I thought. We know for sure that the vaccine does not protect well or perhaps at all against infection. Who is putting out this propaganda? The CDC? The third time the ad ran, I noticed a tiny word at the end: Moderna. It’s a pharmaceutical ad. For some reason, the ad escaped all the usual legal injunctions about side effects and downsides. There was not a word about those.
There is no way viewers knew that this was a pharma ad. It looked for all the world like a public-service announcement from the CDC or NIH. It turns out to be a Moderna ad. But, really, is there much difference? We know now that these agencies themselves are wholly captured and doing pharma ads themselves.
I never wanted to live in a world without trust. I perhaps hoped that people would trust government less but there is much more going on now. Government is involved in everything and therefore a loss of integrity in government means a loss of integrity in a huge range of areas, leaving us confused about what the truth is.
There’s never been a better time to trust your instincts. If you smell a rat in these official pronunciations, there probably is a rat. The corruption goes very deep. We don’t yet know the bottom of it.
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