Tag Archives: class warfare economics

Impotent Nation

Yesterday,  I wrote a little blurb about taking a step back for a minute in the wake of all the recent shootings.  I spoke about letting reason overcome our fears and that there is room for compromise and discussion.   Yet as I typed those words, and even hoped for their fruition, I realized that we probably won’t allow ourselves the opportunity to discuss and listen and come to a middle ground, we’ll most likely continue down this path of shouting matches and shooting matches until we destroy one another.  We’ve been rendered impotent you see, unable to discuss and engage, unwilling to lay down perceived notions and take up another for even a second.   As a democracy we are currently unreachable and unteachable.   I hold the Koch brothers, our current President, and our 111th and 112th congress entirely, utterly responsible.

A nation is only as good as its leaders and our leaders have robbed us of the ability to have any sort of national discussion about anything.    Consider Mitch McConnell’s message that we need to make sure President Obama is only a one term president (I know there are arguments over the ‘context’ of this comment, I’m not buying them.  Actions, in this case, back up the literal interpretation of the statement, I’m inclined to believe that he meant exactly what he said.)  There’s been time after time the past eight years where congress has not just failed to communicate, they’ve refused to communicate altogether.  President Obama’s unwillingness to open up the TransPacificPartnership for examination makes an absolute mockery of the democratic process for which our soldiers ostensibly fight.

During the writing of the Magna Carta, in the aftermath of the storming of the Bastille, when the forefathers of the United States meted out a document intent on keeping a balance of power and enabling democracy – compromise, not stubbornness, led to growth and vitality.   Enlightenment, openness,  and opportunity guided the ideals and produced healthy nations that went on to become world leaders.  To the shame of our democracy, we currently witness political leaders on both sides of the aisle who blatantly and very publicly refuse to bear the burden of their democratic duty and moral responsibility of engaging in public discourse.     They are goaded thusly, thanks to secret meetings comprised of Wall Street’s elite of the elite where strategy sessions for the best way to gain and keep control of the government include this very  notion of an uncooperative spirit. (See Jane Mayer’s most recent work, “Dark Money,” Doubleday, New York, 2016). The results have manifested themselves in the form of a stagnate economy and an obviously broken society.

So while I wrote with hope and an admittedly idealistic tone, I lamented with each letter and form of punctuation.   I fear we are too far gone.  I am deeply concerned that we’ve already dug our heals in considering the actions of our leaders who have proven to possess an inordinate inability to engage and compromise, and accounting for the echoing sentiments of the ‘us vs. them’ narrative ubiquitous on social media the past several hours.

Today, I write about a new hope.  I hope that I am mistaken about my conclusion.   I  hope we haven’t crossed some point of no return and we can muster the strength to empathize. But if the last decade of leadership and our own reaction to these most recent events is any indication, we are now an impotent nation with regards to conversation and meeting in the middle, and my hope is in vain.

May I be proven wrong….

Frankie

 

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….And in economics today…..

This great article from Alternet.org  (one of my favorite websites i might add).   Amid the noise that things like The Affordable Health Care Act and food stamps are hurting our economy and creating dependency, this article pin points the real takers.   But it also offers some interesting suggestions for improvement…..

Here’s to a more balanced society….

http://www.alternet.org/economy/weve-got-billionaire-bailout-society-and-99-may-never-recover-it-our-lifetimes

 

Be Well,

Frankie

 

 


Our Great American Failure: Blaming the Poor, Condoning the Wealthy

My local Police Department and certain businesses recently put together a “Don’t Feed the Habit” campaign aimed at discouraging people from giving money to the homeless.  There is definitely an underpinning of disdain for the homeless within my community, I am ashamed for some of the comments I read on the local paper’s website.  No empathy whatsoever. No thought of “There but for the grace of god, go I.”  None of that, only criticism, judgment, and heaping suppositions about the person’s life.  (Two caveats:  I work on the main strip where many of these ‘ne’r-do-wells’ come into my lobby and I have to shoo them off.  I myself was homeless for a while, and worked three jobs at the time – I know the gig intimately. Read:  I understand the homeless issue from both sides of the coin.) And then there are the Facebook posts:  “Why should the girl in front of me that has an iphone and tats be able to pay with food stamps?”  “Why should I feed a homeless person and his dog?”  “We should drug-test every welfare recipient and generally micro-manage their lives.” Unfortunately, there are million variations of this theme:  blaming the poor for being poor.

Juxtaposed against…

…What I’ve heard and read just today:  from Bloomberg TV, “Banker compensation has now outpaced shareholder profit,” and “16 Giant Corporations That Have Basically Stopped Paying Taxes — While Also Cutting Jobs”  or “From 1987 to 2008, corporations paid an average of 22.5 percent in federal taxes. Since the recession, this has dropped to 10 percent — even though their profits have doubled in less than ten years.” There are a million variations of this theme:  the rich getting richer at the expense of their fellow Americans.

We are witnessing The Greatest American Failure to date:  blaming the poor while allowing the wealthy to escape accountability. 

We sneer and blame the down and out for being down and out, assume they are lazy and without ambition, and blame them for taking money out of our pockets so they can at least survive.

Meanwhile, the real moochers, the real psychopaths, the real thieves and villains sit in their palatial surroundings without a word of condemnation from us. They finagle and manipulate in a way that no welfare queen could dream of doing.   They break the laws and pay no penalty.  They are without government oversight, or if they do have oversight, their overseers tend to ignore any discrepancies.  They take money out of our pockets so they can maintain their extravagant lives.

Then…..they manage to convince us that the poor are the parasites of society since they expect entitlements and a free ride without putting forth any effort, they milk the system and drain it dry.

Then….our focus is distracted and we fail to observe that the real expectants of entitlements are the wealthy.  They ‘expect’ their government to keep their taxes low; somehow they are entitled to low taxes because of their high income.  They ‘expect’ that we will trot along with their schemes like blind, haltered horses; somehow they are the only ones entitled to freedom and vision. They ‘expect’ that their illegal activities will go unnoticed; somehow they are entitled to immunity from the law because they are wealthy. They milk the system and are draining it dry.

But because they are far off and difficult to see, we end up condoning the behavior of the wealthy by default – that is we don’t hold them accountable. The homeless and poor however, because we see them every day, bear the burden of our focus and derision.  Tough crowd.

What does it say about a nation whose willingness to blame the poor is greater than the effort to bring justice to bear and hold the wealthy accountable?

One could interpret it as a Great American Failure.

Be Well,

Frankie