Saturday, October 22, 2011

Do Republicans Want to End Democracy?

Never before in American history has there been so brazen an attempt to destroy American democracy. The wealthy and global corporations have and are continuing to use misconstrued interpretations of the principles that this country was founded upon, to rationalize profiting  from the destruction of this country. At least the robber barons built railroads and steel mills and, looking at the big picture, were much different than the "New Derivative Thinkers" of  today.

The Tea Party- a slick well funded invention of the upper classes- partially as a reaction to the election of a Black President, and also as a force to continue the destructive policies of the Bush administration that served the agenda of the 1%, appeared magically and permeated the consciousness of Americans. Using wealth to control the media, and propaganda techniques of historical dictatorships, the American people were and continue to be hoodwinked.

With America focused on this "grassroots" diversion, Republicans continued their traditional assault on democracy in Washington with their lobbyists, and the army of newly elected Tea Party "foot-draggers" (pun intended).

I truly hope that with the inception of the 99% movement, America is finally waking up. At least one of the perpetrators, Eric Cantor, is starting to get nervous.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Plan 999 from Outer Space

A flat tax is nothing new. Forbes proposed a flat tax- I believe it was 12%- during his run for the presidency some years ago. Few took him seriously. But, the fact that anyone would take this proposal seriously, and the fact that the main street media, Fox News excepted, is covering and analyzing it, makes me ashamed to be an American.

All sitting presidents, both Republicans and Democrats, including Reagan, and especially Eisenhower, understood the fairness and necessity of a graduated income tax. The vast majority of Americans hold as truth the notion that those who profit the most from America, should pay the most.

The notion of a flat Federal sales tax is insane, pure and simple. Without discussing elasticity of demand, there is an obvious difference between the impact of a sales tax and an income tax. The working classes and poor must spend most or all of their income to survive, unlike the upper classes. So, in effect, this tax burden will fall squarely on the backs of the lower classes. The upper classes will loose incentive to spend and create jobs because of the tax. They're doing it now without the tax. Now flash back, during George Bush's tenure, consumer spending accounted for 70% of all economic activity. The tax, especially without deductions to encourage spending, will disincentivize spending except for those that must to survive. Welcome to the jungle.

Purely as a didactic exercise, Will, poor and lame, proposes a 15-30-60 graduated flat tax. Households will pay a 15% flat rate on incomes up to 50,000$. This should appease Tea Partiers. A 30% rate will be applied to that portion of income that is above 50,000$ and below 200,000$. And a 60% rate will be applied to that portion of a household's income that is above 200,000. With some slight cuts and modifications to Social Security and Medicare as well as greater regulations and oversight to prevent guys like Rick Scott from ripping off the system; and without a federal sales tax, we are on our way. Heck we might even be able to make less defense cuts. My Boston Terrier is barking with joy.

In closing, the Wall Street protest has given this old guy some hope; something I haven't had since Stewart's Rally to Restore Sanity. And the innocuous, unbridled passion of the rallies makes me reminisce. They are focused on the institutions that, with the help of the oil patch boys and Republicans, played a major role in bringing about the state we Americans are in.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Ugly Americans

The new American heroes are not teachers or doctors, nor even captains of true industry- though there was some coverage of the life of Steve Jobs; but rather repo men, pawn brokers, and people fighting over abandoned storage lockers. The predatory practices of the New Derivative Thinkers, not only have influenced Republican candidates like Rick Perry, but they have trickled down to Main Street.

The Tea Party philosophy of no government- except for a government funded by the middle class to protect the interests of the super rich is not democratic and certainly not free market. What Tea Party candidates advocate is destruction of the free market. To keep a football game fair we need referees. To keep our roads safe and functional, we need traffic signals, speed limits and courts and policemen to enforce the rules.

In order to maintain the values and ideals that were intended by our Founding Fathers, and to provide equal opportunity, and insure the preservation of "certain unalienable Rights" for all Americans, which includes the right to vote, we need government and a fair judicial system.

There is an old saying: "The Pen is mightier than the Sword." The wealthy and global corporations understand this well, witnessed by their control of the media.The medium for the 99 percenters is through their numbers and their right of assembly. I truly hope that the protests we are witnessing signal that the Revolution of Sanity in America has taken hold. And I hope that the American people say No More to the current Republican Congress whose mantra is just say no to progress and the American way. As a people we must unite and work together towards our common good if we are to sustain our beloved country.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

"Denial ain't just a river in Egypt."

The quote is from Mark Twain. It appears that many, too many, Americans refuse to accept that our economic system has been corrupted and that our democracy has been co opted. The great values that this country was founded upon : hard work, self-reliance, truth, justice, and liberty for all; are values that define us as a people. To acknowledge, or even ponder the notion, that these "values" have been diluted or lost is beyond the comprehension of most true Americans.

We 99 percenters are partially to blame. Many of us have taken our democracy for granted. We failed to stay abreast of political issues. Often it was inconvenient to vote. We took our middle class prosperity and freedom for granted. Some of us became selfish and we felt entitled.

All the while we were "luxuriating" in our malaise, the super rich and global corporations were very busy buying the media and control of our political system. In anticipation of our discontent, they disseminated propaganda to confuse us. At the same time, the new Wall Street derivative thinkers, were working diligently on how to steal our savings and retirements, both private(401K's) and public(Social Security), our homes; and fundamentally our futures and the futures of our children.

As an American, a student of political economy, and a person that extensively studied Marx and rejected his philosophy, I find it difficult to believe that our economic system is broken. I recently read an article that discussed group health insurance for small and medium-sized businesses. Companies are facing on average a 12% rate increase next year. And that rate increase is based, not on usage, which has gone down overall, because Americans cannot afford the co-pays and deductibles; but on anticipation by the major carriers that the economy would be better by this point and people would be able to afford the increase!

Philosophers differ greatly on the value of historical analysis. However, behavioral psychologists, tell us that the best way to predict future behavior is to look at past behavior. The economic policies- or lack there of- of both Cleveland and W. Bush are remarkable similar. Reagan began his presidency in the same manner but changed course in his second term and was bailed out by the tax increases of Bush Sr. Cleveland led us into the Great Depression where we remained until World War Two. "W" led us into the Great Recession where we remain today. The Tea Partiers will led us into Apocalypse.

The New Conservatives (RINOs) believe that it is their god-given right to do anything to obtain wealth and power, regardless of how many Americans are destroyed and what it does to this country as a whole. They do not possess the values that this country was founded upon and sustained with. These are truly precarious times for all of us.