22 Sep


Have you ever played the game Monopoly? I think most everyone has at sometime or another in their lives. If you have, then you know that everyone begins the game with an equal amount of money and that the game involves moving around the board and buying land on which you can then place houses and hotels and charge rent to the other players who land there etc… until one of the players has all of the money that the other players used to have thereby ending the game. There is a point however, during the game when all of the players realize who the winner is going to be. Once it becomes obvious who owns the most expensive properties and who has the most cash to out purchase the other players, when it comes to buying houses and hotels that demand the highest rents, the outcome is inevitable. Usually that’s when everyone decides to go home because what’s the use in playing a game whose outcome is already known?

Perhaps you remember the winning player offering to return some money to the losing players so you all could keep playing because you were having so much fun and did not want to go home yet. Do you remember doing that? Or maybe you would just distribute more money from the bank to the losing players so they could stay in the game a little longer? But one thing that never did was change the inevitable outcome of that game and you certainly never offered to give more money to the leading player at any point during the game because then he would just win faster, right? He’d just use the extra money to but more houses and hotels to hasten your demise. And even if the player with most of the money kept you in the game he never ever helped you to the point where he actually changed the outcome and lost, right? So usually once that “tipping point” was reached, where everyone but the person with the most money became dependent on that leader to keep everyone else in the game, everyone just sort of lost their passion for playing and packed up and went home. But did you know that that was the original intent of the game when it was invented back in the early 20th century?: to illustrate the negative aspects of concentrating land (or money) in private monopolies.

This brings me to my next question…

Who said?

“There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. There are 47 percent who are with him, (150 million people) who are dependent upon government, (150 million people) who believe that they are victims, (150 million people) who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, (150 million people) who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it, (150 million people) that that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them.

These are people who pay no income tax. (150 million people) My job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.” (150 million people)

The numbers in parenthesis are mine but 47% of the U.S.A. is just about 150 million people!

Anyway…One of the numbers that I have constantly heard over the past few years is 700,000,000, as in 700 billion, as in dollars returned or no longer collected from the richest 2% of Americans since the tax cuts under President Bush went into effect during his tenure as president and now having continued during President Obama’s term. Coincidentally that figure ($700 billion) is almost the exact amount that all of the Americans who are living under the poverty line in this country are worth if you were to pool their collective assets.

So, during a time of two wars costing trillions of dollars, our government decided that the patriotic thing to do would be to return, or rather not collect, 700 billion dollars from the wealthiest Americans by cutting their taxes. That sounds like an insane idea to me.

What if instead we had taken the 700 billion dollars (that we said we didn’t need…during a time of 2 wars) and had simply distributed it among those living under the poverty line (since apparently we didn’t need or want the money anyway) thereby doubling their collective net worth. Then the richest Americans would still be the richest Americans just as they were before the tax cuts but the poorest of Americans would no longer be poor because we would have doubled their worth…and I might add made them all ineligible for welfare or those other “government handouts” that so many Americans seem to despise! Thereby ending government handouts and poverty! That sounds like a sane and awfully nice thing to do.

Of course doubling the poor’s net worth with 700 billion dollars would have been a very big government handout that somehow I feel would have pissed most of us other Americans off, yet not collecting 700 billion dollars from those who had been already paying it and who were all still quite wealthy anyway seems somehow like the lesser of two evils and not a “government handout” at all.

So why did our government choose door #1? The Rich get richer and the poor stay poor.

Rather than door #2? The Rich stay rich and the poor are no longer poor.

Why do we as humans always seem to feel angry or upset when someone else who has little or nothing gets something for nothing, yet when someone who has everything gets something more it just seems not as bad? One is called socialism and the other is called…capitalism is it not?

Now consider this true but almost never reported news. Have you seen this anywhere?

In 2011 The first top-to-bottom audit of the Federal Reserve uncovered details about how the United States government provided $16 trillion in secret loans to bail out American and foreign banks and businesses during the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. An amendment by Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont to the Wall Street reform law passed in 2010 directed the Government Accountability Office to conduct the study. “As a result of this audit, we now know that the Federal Reserve provided more than $16 trillion in total financial assistance to some of the largest financial institutions and corporations in the United States and throughout the world,” said Sanders. “This is a clear case of socialism for the rich and rugged, you’re-on-your-own individualism for everyone else.”

According to the GAO report, among the investigation’s key findings is that the Fed unilaterally provided trillions of dollars in financial assistance to foreign banks and corporations from South Korea to Scotland.

“No agency of the United States government should be allowed to bailout a foreign bank or corporation without the direct approval of Congress and the president,” Sanders said.

But they did. You can check out Senator Sanders’ website if you don’t believe it. (And we have always been told that it was only 1 trillion dollars) And if you add to the 16 trillion dollars the potential 3 trillion more dollars (also misreported as being much less) that we have spent on 2 wars in the last 10 years then any amount of money that is paid to the imagined 47% of Americans who are supposedly on “welfare” would be trivial at best! What would 1 trillion dollars more for healthcare for all of our citizens matter in the face of these expenditures, or another trillion dollars to save Medicare and Social Security???

And now according to 2012 Federal Reserve data, the wealthiest 1% of Americans have a greater net worth than the bottom 90% of Americans combined.

And this brings me to my last question:

Have we reached the end of the game?

We apparently are now lending just about ALL of the money to the leading players in the game (the 1%) rather than to the losing players (the 90%). Does this not mean that we are hastening the endgame just as would happen in a game of Monopoly? When the banker steals money from the bank he literally cannot lose! Our leaders must be aware of this. So to what end are they hastening? They know we can’t leave the game because it’s not a game. We can’t get up and go home because we are home. And they apparently are aware that here in America so many of us hate what we think of as socialism and sharing and giving away what we think is ours, so much so, that we would rather fight amongst ourselves and play the game to its inevitable conclusion, all the while continuing to lose rather than…

My final question: Do what?

5 Responses to “Endgame?”

  1. momshieb September 22, 2012 at 10:39 pm #

    Can you hear me screeching?
    I am voting third party: I wish that a few million other disgruntled voters would join me, and send a message to those two big, corporate dependent parties that we are paying attention and we are mad!

  2. wingsaseagles40 September 22, 2012 at 11:42 pm #

    There are a few things that you need to consider:
    1. Very few conservatives line up with Ayn Rand, so the monopoly theory is an extreme example.
    2. Conservatives are notorious for donating MUCH more than 2% of their income to charity, willingly.
    3. Not taxing someone on their own money is NOT the same as giving them a hand out.
    4. Opening up a business is VERY hard work and requires a HUGE commitment, but if we keep the taxes low, ANY healthy American can open their own business and make their money. Not everyone has the wherewithal to do it, and not everyone is willing to take the risk, but that is why those people make the money. We NEED those risk takers to balance our economy and keep the jobs coming!

    • gpicone September 23, 2012 at 3:59 am #

      What I’m saying is that if we have 16 trillion to help the bankers of the world then there should be money to help everyone else. I know lots of people who own their own businesses and ask to be paid in cash so they don’t have to…do what? Starting your own lawn mowing business is more worthy than what other job? But to each his own. I don’t like being told that any worker has to take a cut in pay or benefits when money is being handed out on a gigantic scale to others on the top end of the income bracket. Are banks and bankers creating jobs? Really?

  3. m lewis redford September 23, 2012 at 1:19 pm #

    my heart beat with this article; and I live in the UK … and by the end of a game of Monopoly isn’t playing it just excruciatingly boring BECAUSE there is no hope, no power while looking to the winner and seeing h/er satisfied but wishing h/er munificent?

    It is fascinating the fear and loathing of socialism – especially in American history, but almost equally in Europe [in ‘western’ 20th century …?] – I suppose because it is most markedly NOT an alternative WITHIN the game [i.e. conservative / liberal] but starts as a CRITIQUE of the whole game in the first place, like someone saying during a Monopoly game ‘let’s just take all the money out of the bank share it among ourselves and live on the empty space in the middle of the board’.

    Nice article

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