You know what? I am soooo over this whole “the world will end if we don’t do such and such” mindset that the politicians and the newsies want to keep us perpetually wrapped within. Fear keeps them employed so I can see why they like it. I just can’t figure out why we let them do it.
Here’s two things about our most recent world ending, hellsacommin fearfest:
A) If every nation that ties its currency to ours suddenly fails because we owe more than we’re allowed to by law (an arbitrary law we made up and changed several times to suit our expedient needs) then they’re all stupid and deserve to go belly up. But they’re not stupid and they won’t go belly up. They’ll change a law or a line in a law or move some electronic numbers from one column to another and the sun will still come up tomorrow (bet your bottom dollar). Everybody will still be here and the next fear threat scandal will already be loaded up in the barrel and ready to fire straight at our gawping faces.
B) There’s too much money and real estate involved and they’re never going to let it all crumble away because rich people will always do what is in the best interest of rich people. If you count on nothing else in life it should be that the ultra wealthy have very strong instincts for survival and greed (and the survival of greed).
Here’s the info you should have in the front of your brain but don’t. This is the stuff that the republicans seem to be very good at deflecting attention from and the democrats seem to be completely incapable of focusing our attention on:
If we let the Bush tax cuts expire… the tax cuts for the top 2% of the wealthiest Americans (the wealthiest population in the history of wealthy populations), we would be out of debt in just over 5 years. We, the US, the country with the biggest debt any nation has ever had, the largest economic engine the world has ever known and the home of the greediest muthers the planet has ever seen, could be out of debt and paying for new roads, bridges, hospitals and teachers in five short years if we simply asked our richest 2% to pay the level of taxes that they were paying under Bill “depends on what the meaning of IS is” Clinton.
Why isn’t that “Page One – Above the Fold” in every newspaper? Why isn’t it on the front of Google and Yahoo News, AOL, MSN, the NYTimes-Online and the Washington Post eVersion every day… all day?
It’s almost like rich people control the media.
Why aren’t you mad about this? You live here. You vote, or at least I hope you do. You may feel powerless. You may think, “What’s the point? They’re going to do what they’ve always done.” But the only reason they get to do that is that you stay sitting on your couch when you should be sitting at your computer typing 60 enflamed words a minute to your congress person telling them to get this shit fixed and that the 2% can damn well cough up some green backs to repair the thing that they broke in the first place.
In the 1950’s the pay separation between the CEO’s and average workers in what we now call the Fortune 500 companies used to be about 20 to 1 (a CEO made 20 dollars for every dollar a mid level manager made. ) 20 to 1 was here in American and extreme compared to the rest of the world where even now it is more commonly about half of that. During the 1980s the pay gap between CEO’s and average workers grew from 42:1 to almost 85:1. By 2004 it had jumped to 301 : 1. And now???… well now, right here in the good old US of A, the ratio of CEO pay to average worker pay is running 475 to 1 while in Japan, a very profitable nation with a very good standard of living, the ratio is 11 to 1. The average Japanese CEO would kill himself in shame if his company failed so badly that it needed to be bailed out by the government in order to stop the world economy from crashing. American CEO’s take bonuses of 15 million dollars for doing that.
In case you need somebody to characterize that for you… that’s a bad thing. This level of greed is not a sign of American business success and superiority. It is an example of institutionalized insanity because these companies can and do lose billions of dollars in a single year and the CEO’s still make the monster money.
How can there be people who think of themselves as republicans while also being middle-income, poor or unemployed? How is it even possible that there are people who are not rich, yet still believe that it’s in their best interest to vote for the republicans who clearly have only the protection of the rich as their goal? It reminds me of that line about the greatest thing the devil ever did was to convince you that he wasn’t real… Well, the greatest thing the republicans ever did was to convince 14% of the american population that protecting the rights of the rich was somehow good for poor and middle-income people. The reason I say 14% is that one-third of eligible voters (33%) actually vote and one half of them ( 16% or so) vote republican. Take out the top earning 2% and you’re left with 14% of the population that have been brainwashed into protecting rich people contrary to their own self interest. It’s like these people are saying to themselves, “Maybe I’ll be rich someday so I’m not going to vote for things that are against the interests of other rich people.”
They have a better chance of winning the lottery or being hit by lightning than of becoming rich enough to join the two percenters. Yet they feel they need to protect the future possibility of success rather than the current reality of privation.
Republican politicians protect themselves and their monied patrons with the argument that what’s good for business is good for the country and that, in turn, is good for poor people. Taxing rich people is bad for business and therefore bad for poor people. They’ve done a fantastic job of connecting the two arguments but I promise you that they are not connected. Taxing the rich is not the same as taxing business. The tax rate for businesses is too high (one of the highest in the world) and is one of the primary reasons that so many corporations have moved their operations and business addresses overseas. On the other hand, the tax rate for rich people is the absolute lowest in the world.
We need to separate the concept that Rich People equals Business Owners. It’s just not true in most cases. The richest rich guys I’m talking about are not owners. They’re the CEO’s hired by stock holding board members to run the companies and they’re living like princes. Employment packages for these guys now normally include massive contractual bonus structures, golden parachutes and stock options that pay off regardless of the company’s actual bottom line. The basic argument in favor of this system is that you have to pay really big money to get the best people. But these are the same guys that destroyed the economy and bankrupted the world as well as their own companies. Yet they still got paid. In some cases, they got paid with our money from the bail outs.
The Bush tax cuts that need to expire are not about companies. They’re not about keeping business moving or greasing the wheels of industry. They’re about tax breaks for private jets and massive yachts and 15 million dollar bonuses. They’re for rich people. For protecting the money of rich people who have paid their republican butt monkeys to hold the rest of us hostage and threaten the end of everything we hold dear so that they can continue to light giant cigars with hundred-dollar bills. And if that doesn’t piss you off, you’ve either been completely hypnotized by republican rhetoric or you’re opening a box of stogies right now.
Got a light?