Tag Archives: wealth

“All for ourselves, and nothing for other people.”

2 Jun

I saw a post on Facebook recently espousing this thought:

“We must put an end to economic freeloading…There must be no place for parasites who draw their sustenance from society without giving anything in return.”

We have over 50 million people in this country who live below the poverty line. And it’s a pretty low line…certainly not one that we or anyone else that I know would want to live under for one day… let alone a year or two or a lifetime. And of all the industrialized countries in the world we, the United States, the richest, mightiest, most boastful country in the world… is last in helping its poor people.

Wow! We’re last in the first world at charity…and as far as I can tell it makes most Americans sick…and not because we’re last but because we can’t get any lower… without leaving the first world and joining the second and third world countries in order to do it that is. Most folks and certainly all Republicans, would like to cut programs for the poor (like food stamps, rent assistance, healthcare and welfare) all together and completely.

After all there is no place for parasites is there? Unless we count prison, and we are first in prisons and prisoners aren’t we? Huzzah! At least we are proud to be number one in some category among the wealthy, advanced nations of the world. But if the poor are parasites and undeserving moochers who draw sustenance from their hosts while offering nothing in return, what are we to do with them? Kill them? Eat them? We already ignore them don’t we? If they aren’t already in prison then they certainly are pretty much invisible. Right?

I mean seriously, do you see a lot of poor folks during your daily routine? You pretty much have to go out of your way or take a wrong turn or exit on the freeway to bump into them don’t you? Or maybe you sometimes see them get shot by scared witless policemen in their efforts to “protect and serve” as you channel surf on your cable TV. So really, what more can we do besides cut those checks?…and I mean cut as in off… not as in… write.

But who are these undeserving poor that beguile and bewilder our great United States of America with their hands out for more and more of our hard earned money every day? Who are these 50 million or so ingrates who can’t stand on their own two feet? These huddled masses who are bankrupting the richest citizens of the richest country in the world? Which, by the way, they aren’t because in case you missed it at the beginning of this blog post, we don’t really give them anything, because we, in all actuality and factuality, already are the STINGIEST, wealthy country in the world!

But I digress…

Because, who are these money grubbers anyway?!

Well… 35% of the 50 million or so poverty stricken Americans are kids! They are all under the age of 18 so how much of a slacker can they all be? Are we going to call 17.5 million children parasites and undeserving moochers for whom there must be no place in our society because they don’t pull their own weight in this world? Yet? They haven’t even graduated high school.

Another 10% of the poorest Americans are elderly. They are all over 65 years of age and can’t work or shouldn’t have to work anymore. How much financial independence and personal accountability do we require from those who may not have had any pensions or 401K plans during their working years or who saw them swallowed up by banks or government cuts or by the financial sector’s mismanagement? Can we give these folks a break and help them out with food stamps, medical and housing assistance or is there simply no room in our society for this particular type of societal parasite? You know…the old and feeble kind.

So that accounts for almost half of all the poor citizens in our country: old folks and children. But did you know that another 31% of the poor in our country are poor because they have mental and/or physical disabilities that prevent them from working or that caused them to lose their jobs in the first place? They might be veterans, paraplegics, developmentally challenged, perhaps those who suffered on the job injuries where no workman’s comp. was in effect or those who were suffering from severe mental incapacitates when their hospitals were closed during the cutbacks of the Reagan years and beyond. Are these citizens to be considered freeloaders also? Lazy work shirkers on the public dole? Irresponsible no-gooders who need to have their food stamp purchases monitored lest they buy an occasional steak or seafood out of season so that we do-gooders can treat ourselves to another tax cut?

A full 76% of those who live below the poverty line here in the United States of America are either children, senior citizens or disabled…that’s 3 out of 4… and what of the other 24%? Mostly they are comprised of mothers: more than likely they are single, divorced or unwed women with children (and a man on the lam from his child support)

And all together they comprise the Approximately 50 million people who can’t make ends meet in this, our Land of Plenty. Sure it’s a big number…but we’re a big country…and a rich country…the richest country! One that can afford to spend 20+% of its budget on blowing the citizens of other countries up and then debate whether or not we should be spending more on such endeavors.

But when it comes to helping our own poorest of citizens, the great majority of whom are either too young, too old, too disabled… or mothers trying to make ends meet…we wag our fingers and say, “We’ve given you enough! What more do you want?”  And yet, We as a nation are last in the world at helping our fellow citizens get back up on their feet now, so really, How much crueler and indifferent can we be?!

Well…The United States also has the highest poverty rate among the major industrialized nations of the world! And Our poverty rate for children is just as bad. So that means that we are first in creating poor people and last in helping them! Do we now need to make sure that we constantly refer to the poor in America as Parasites? Fraudsters? Morally bankrupt? Undeserving? Lazy? Cheats? Thieves?…

Do we really need to add insult to penury?

Because after all. Haven’t we fortunate Americans…God Bless Us…done enough already?

It’s Academic

25 Feb

In the history of the world there have been many great and prosperous civilizations and they have all failed. And usually at the time of the failing some few folks had all of the money and most other folks had none. They were either Kings or Queens or Popes or Emperors or Czars or Caesars or Pharaohs or whatever and they always invoked the divine right of the gods as the reason for concentrating all of that wealth in the hands of one man or one small circle of family and friends. Eventually the disenfranchised, poor populace grows disinterested and disaffected and the empire succumbs to a force of outsiders who invade and plunder. While the wealthy few run away or hide or are murdered or all 3! Then the new conquerors share in the plunder and even rejoice while sharing, and then the cycle begins anew as the new leaders emerge and invariably begin indulging in their own grandeur until…

Fortunately we no longer have empires such as those in the world today but we still have world leaders who rule with concentrated power and wealth. In the United States however, our president is not among the wealthiest men in the nation and we have no all powerful despot who rules with an iron hand under the divine rights of either religion or lineage but we still have concentrated wealth in the hands of a few and those few are now the business and corporate leaders of the world. Where we once had popes and kings we now have CEOs and corporations (The latter which ironically enough have recently been declared to be persons by our Supreme Court composed of actually real people!) and they have quite a large amount of wealth at their disposal which is growing while the wealth of the common population is shrinking. This is the historical recipe for national disaster. No matter how vast and distant the empire may reach, when the interior rots the empire always withers and dies.

Our public schools represent that interior. They are the nucleus which fuels the fire of freedom and free enterprise. We have built our greatness from the inside out and we look to replenish our strengths and our greatness through the rebirth and reaffirmation of our ideals in our children. In our best of times, We have spread our influence through the free trade and free movement of our citizens and by setting an example of economic wealth that can be earned and shared and experienced by all and not concentrated within a few.

Our public schools must be fortified and not abandoned. They must be embraced and enhanced and empowered in terms of anticipating and responding to technological, social, political, economic, and competitive change. Healthy cultures must always be willing to rethink their most basic assumptions about themselves in order to improve and grow and repair their societies and we must be willing to accept that what our schools need now more than ever is not a cut in spending but rather a renewed effort to spend more on the future and the future generations who will lead us.

Today’s students are willing to work hard but what makes us think that they are going to be willing to work hard for low wages that would suffice a life in China or India or some other-where where they don’t live? America’s corporate leaders and great men of wealth need to stop hoarding and start spreading the wealth. They can begin by first embracing the public schools of this country with largess and generosity and then by raising wages across the middle and poorer classes of society so that the term “working poor” is eradicated from our vocabulary.

Today’s students of the 21st century in America are beginning to notice that it is getting harder and harder to bring the American dream, a dream of studying hard then working hard, and then achieving affluence, into focus and for most of our poorest students that dream is nothing more than a taunting apparition of their hopelessness: a happy meal that they will never be able to afford

All You Need is a Dollar and Bread in your Bag

26 Jan

If you watched the Republican rebuttal to the President of the United States’ State of the Union speech last year, The speaker kept talking about how what every American really needed to have was a dollar, a dream and the blessing of God and that should suffice to help them obtain a successful future, just like the one she was enjoying.

But This year’s Republican rebuttalist began by letting us know that this year Republican’s had a much different plan for America, because she, like all conservative Republicans, felt our pain. And that all Republicans politicians everywhere realize that we Americans are tired of working hard for low wages, are afraid of our family’s futures, and are hurting during these difficult economic times of high deficits and uncontrolled government spending.

Then she offered a little more clarity and substance as to what American’s really need to do to live in a more perfect American, and Non- President Obama, world. And if you were watching and listening like I was, then here is what we all learned about what we need to do in order to make the United States a better place in which to live.

1. (Don’t worry about low wages)  Live simply!

2. (Don’t worry about the future) Don’t waste anything!

3. (Don’t worry about economics and unemployment) Rejoice in the knowledge that in America you have been given freedom: to…sacrifice, dream and enjoy hard work.

Then she went on to punctuate every Republican’s ideas about what America needs and doesn’t need:

America needs the Keystone Pipeline, fewer overseas trade barriers, lower taxes and more military spending!

American Does Not need: “Obamacare” and abortions.

And finally she concluded by reassuring all of us hard working Americans, living in this great country of ours, that wealth and privilege are not important!

So don’t despair America! You do not need wealth and privilege! All you really need is a dollar, a dream and bread bags to keep your feet dry. Live simply! Work hard! Don’t waste anything. Be free and have babies! Make sacrifices!… Big oil, Big business and the Military will protect us… And if you get sick…just suck it up and feel better.

Because that is how Joni Ernst, the newly elected senator from Iowa, who gave this year’s Republican response to President Obama’s State of the Union address, did it in her life and became the successful citizen that she is today! Of course the $460 thousand dollars that her family received from the federal government in farm aid and subsidies didn’t hurt either. Nor did the $200 thousand dollars in county contracts her father’s construction company received while she served as auditor of Montgomery County, Iowa.

Really, I ask you…Who needs wealth and privilege in America these days, when you’ve got all that bread in your bags… huh?

The Taxman Cometh

15 Jan

Here’s an interesting bit of news that contradicts just about everything you think you knew about finance, government and taxes… At least everything that you’ve ever been told by everyone or thought to be true yourself, simply because it would seem to make perfect sense. That is if we all lived in a fair and just society.

But according to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy ( a non-profit, non-partisan research organization that works on federal, state, and local tax policy issues) their newest study on taxation in the United States reveals that, in 2015 the poorest fifth of Americans will pay on average 10.9 percent of their income in state and local taxes, the middle fifth will pay 9.4 percent and the top 1 percent will average 5.4 percent.

The tax study’s major conclusion is that  “Virtually every state’s tax system is fundamentally unfair. Unfair tax systems not only exacerbate widening income inequality in the short term, but they also leave states struggling to raise enough revenue to meet their basic needs in the long term.”…  And to make matters worse, several states have adopted or are considering changes that will further lighten the tax load on their wealthiest residents.

And you thought that rich folks pay more in taxes because they make more money didn’t you?

It seems that States and localities have regressive tax systems because they tend to rely more on sales and excise taxes (fees tacked onto items like gas, liquor and cigarettes), which are the same rate for rich and poor alike. Even property taxes, which account for much of local tax revenue, hit working- and middle-class families harder than the wealthy because their homes often represent their largest asset.

Of course we know that The federal income tax system, primarily taxes individuals at a graduated rate, and those who earn more pay a larger share… But don’t forget that the federal system also uses payroll taxes to raise large sums for Social Security and Medicare, which also comes out of the pockets of many low- and moderate-income Americans who pay little, if any, income tax. So when you here stories about how 47% of Americans don’t pay any taxes at all, and in fact make money from the government…well, plain and simple, that’s a lie. When you put all of the federal, state and local taxes together and subtract those from earnings, the United States is #1 in income inequality…in the world!

Wherever there are rich folks passing by you can always find poor folks left in their exhaust. And I believe that it is safe to say that poverty is a waste product of wealth. Seriously, when the richest 1% hold about 38% of all privately held wealth in the United States, and that is more than the bottom 90% who also hold 73% of all debt, and 15% of all Americans live below the poverty line…then how can you possibly imagine that what I just said about the wealthy and their exhaust being poverty, isn’t true?

There should be an AA for the wealthy, as in Avaricious Anonymous: A place for the money abundant human to go and stand in front of his or her fellow citizens, be welcomed, and then declare. “I’m really rich…but all I really want is more!” and get some help.

But I doubt that we could help them, or even help ourselves, if we found we were in the same condition, for no matter how hard we seem to try, and no matter what facts are presented before us, we still seem to believe that wealth equals hard work and goodness… while poverty equals sloth and iniquity…and who doesn’t want to be good…really, really good?

So it’s time to embrace the obvious, if you dare. The poor are poor because they have no money, not because they get free stuff from rich taxpayers. So enjoy your money while you still have it, because the inequality is getting worse not better, and rest easy in the knowledge that the poor are getting the shaft… just like the rest of us. And if you are rich than you can just rest easy, because giving folks that shaft isn’t really hard work at all.

Raise Your Hand If You’d Like a Raise

3 Jun

It was recently reported that the median CEO salary in America is 10.5 million dollars per year.

That’s an increase of 8.8% over last years median CEO salary.

That’s almost a 1 million dollar raise…per year.

How big of a raise did you get last year?…if you got one at all…

(You might have even taken a pay cut…or had your entire job cut.)

How long can our Republic continue on this path of immense raises to our wealthiest, while middle and lower income earners stagnate under lower wages, lessened benefits and the burden of increasing debt?

I understand that it works great for the wealthy but…How is this a responsible and sustainable economic model for the free and modern world?

 

 

 

Share the Wealth?

9 Oct

A few weeks ago in my blog I asked this question…

Have we reached the end of the game?

We apparently are now lending just about ALL of our money to the leading players in the game (the richest 1% of Americans) rather than to the losing players (the poorest 90% of Americans). Does this not mean that we are hastening the endgame just as would happen in a game of Monopoly? 

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…

Last Wednesday night Mr. Willard Romney said that although he loves Big Bird and Sesame Street, he would cut PBS funding from the federal budget because it is just too expensive. And that we shouldn’t borrow money from China to pay for such things. And all the while he was wearing a big smile on his face as though to say. I’m sorry children but we just can’t pay for these expensive toys anymore.

Then Mr. Romney says that giving big oil and gas companies 4 billion dollars in subsidies is not all that much. What’s 4 billion? Not as much as 450 million right? 450 is a whole lot more than 4 isn’t it? At least that’s how it sounds to a little child I guess.

Sesame Street costs the federal government about 8 million dollars. PBS and the arts about 450 million dollars. Compared to 5 trillion dollars in deficit spending that would be like asking your dad for 8 cents when he had 50 thousand dollars in his pocket!

But dad smiles and says, no son that’s too expensive. We all have to learn how to be careful with our money… and then he drives away in his Mercedes Benz to pick up his girlfriend and a pound of heroine!

But the really sad thing is that President Obama never challenged Mr. Romney and his numbers. He just stood and listened like another loyal member of the club who was on the same page…just another dead beat dad.

I am afraid that the rich are going to get richer and the not so rich are going to get not so richer and the poor won’t even be able to throw Big Bird in a pot and make soup.

But as long as we can’t do math and we’re all on the same page…it will all work out in the end.

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