Monday, December 06, 2010

Shame on Scrooge Congress

The American people have a government dedicated to enhancing the freedoms, rights and well being of the people--rich people, that is. As record numbers of families face foreclosures, as unemployment hovers officially at approximately 10 percent (far higher in many communities of color), and as the budget hawks eyeball cutting Social Security, help for Americans with disabilities, and public education yet again, Mitch McConnell and the rest of the Banana Republicans rise to defend the elites in Richistan.

Like the mafia only with far more reach and power, they are linking help to America's unemployed to extended tax cuts to the most wealthy millionaires and billionaires. No free pass for the elites, no help for people who cannot find work in a country with less and less work to find. As Christmas approaches, they make deals that make the rich richer and the poor poorer. It is truly Governance by Scrooge.

For a good overview of one primary part of the problem, take 13 minutes of your day and listen to Bernie Sanders. In this remarkably illuminating speech, Sanders delineates the collapse of the middle class by the numbers. The gathering of income and wealth at the very top and the impoverishment of Americans is stunning. The Hypocrisy Index of the Republicans and their Democratic slinkdogs is pegged at Maximum.

From the transcript, which has been started by a young fellow named Tim Novotney:

Mr. President in the year 2007 the top 1% of all income earners in the United States made 23.5% percent of all income. The top 1% made 23.5% of all income more than the entire bottom 50%. That’s apparently not enough. The percentage of income going to the top 1% nearly tripled since the 1970′s. In the mid 1970′s the top 1% earned about 8% of all income. In the 1980′s that figure jumped to 14%. In the late 1990′s that 1% earned about 19% and today, as the middle class collapses, the top 1% earn 23.5% of all income, more than the bottom 50%.

People need to read these numbers--Bernie cites many more, but this is one key set--and consider the human stories behind these stark statistics. The more we humanize these numbers, the more outraged we become at Congress allowing the rich to continue to crush everyone. That wind chill we are feeling is not seasonal winter cold, it's the stagnant atmosphere of our economy as we plummet from middle class down to poverty, thanks to the insatiable greed of the war system.

Bernie doesn't cover that part, but in fact it is the war system that is responsible for these numbers. The military spending of the US correlates pretty much perfectly with the destruction of the economy--exactly backward from the common wisdom that war is good for the economy. War is horrible for the economy. War creates fewer jobs per $billion spent than does any other sector of the economy. It is capital intensive, not labor intensive. It is only good for rich people's economy and they live in a different one than the rest of us.

So we can keep our eyes shut and focus on meaningless trivial inanities or the flatly outrageous--where was Obama really born? why does Julian Assange still breathe when Mike Huckabee, Tom Flanagan (Canadian Tory--Republican), Joe Lieberman and Sarah Palin want him dead? what can we learn about pro football today to give real meaning to our lives?--or we can listen to Bernie and start to make plans to replace all Republicans and many Democrats as they continue to betray us daily. The Ghost of Christmas Past could show us the human stories of the numbers Bernie Sanders lays out for us--time to help the Scrooges into retirement so we can turn this around. It will take a lot of work to replace these people, but their loyalty to Richistan is clear and we need representatives loyal to human security and justice. The strategic planning should start now.

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