“The creation of wealth is certainly not to be despised, but in the long run the only human activities really worthwhile are the search for knowledge, and the creation of beauty.” – Arthur C. Clarke
All right people, the Reverend has his panties in a bunch again. You might think Im kidding around when I end my little diatribes with “Viva la Revolucion”. Wrong. This country is headed toward the third world and if you’re not paying attention, it’ll take you right along with it. So listen up. I got some preachin to do…
The largest transfer of wealth in THE HISTORY OF THE PLANET has taken place in the last 30 years. And it didn’t happen through war, imperialism, or revolution. It happened right here in these United States. In 1980 most of the wealth and income produced here found it’s way to the middle class. Now most of the wealth is gone, legally stolen by a very small group of extremely wealthy people. And we let it happen. Think I’m kidding? Think I’m exaggerating or employing hyperbole. Nope. Not one bit. Some things are so large they can barely be understood but the numbers don’t lie. Try these on for size:
* 83% of ALL stocks are owned by 1% of then population. 66% of all income growth for the last decade went to this same 1%.
* In 1950 the ratio between the executive pay and average pay was 50 to 1. Now that ratio is 500 to 1.
* Despite the financial crisis the number of multimillionaires actually rose 16% last year, Wall Street bonuses were up 17%, and the top 10% of Americans earn more than 50% of all income.
* More than 40% of all Americans now work in low paying service jobs, up from 15% in 1980.
* The top 1% of households own nearly twice as much America’s wealth as they did 15 years ago and for the first time in US history banks own a greater share of housing equity than all American homeowners put together.
* The bottom 50% of income earners now collectively own less than 1% of the county’s wealth and the bottom 80% only control 7% of liquid financial assets.
How did this happen? It was easy enough. Cut the highest tax brackets, change the inheritance laws, slash capital gains taxes, relax enforcement of monopolies, change the media laws to allow more corporate control, stop most forms of corporate regulation and voila, the money heads up the economic food chain. You know it’s happened. Look around you. How are the trappings of middle class existence holding up? How are the schools? How’s your health insurance? Are your local police and fire stations well funded? Can you afford tuition if your kid wants to go to college? Is your house as nice as your parents or grandparents? And by the way, didn’t they have most of things on ONLY ONE SALARY?
Our economy is fucking huge. It’s way the hell bigger than it was 40 years ago. So why do you have so much less? Why are cities failing and budget cuts killing really useful stuff? Where did that money go? Well, now you know. It went into some greedy little fucks portfolio. Pissed off yet?
There’s a huge temptation to blame all of this on Republican administrations, and much of the guilt is theirs. But let’s not forget that the many of the changes happened under Bill Clinton or a Democratic congress. And the liberal savior Obama immediately appointed a who’s who of Goldman Sachs employees. Elliot Spitzer had the great idea to look up Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner’s phone records for his first year in office. He thought it might interesting to know who he talked to, and it was. Guess what? All his calls went to NY. No calls to the National Retailers Assoc., manufacturers groups, silicon valley, unions, steel companies, importers, nothing. Just Wall Street. Funny how he thinks no one else had anything to say about the economy outside of lower Manhattan.
So who’s speaking up? The Tea Partiers? Oh please. It’s funny, because they’re right in many ways. There is a big problem, their way of life is threatened, and they should be up in arms. But they’ve been completely manipulated by big corporations into attacking the one institution that could help them. And most of them are not big in the brains department. They demand a smaller government but if asked about cutting defense, social security, or medicare (the three biggest government expenditures) they freak out. They couldn’t buy a clue if Vanna White climbed into their laps with a bag of gold.
Our brilliant founders thought they could build a nation where everyone had an equal shot. They figured that most people would vote in their OWN SELF INTEREST, thus keeping a check on any group running away with the economy. And it worked for a long time. But it’s stopped working now. Because people don’t vote in their own interest any more. Poor people, in particular poor white people, keep voting for candidates that run on a platform of taking all their money and giving it to rich people. Lately, they don’t even bother to lie about it. The Republicans just blocked a middle class tax cut in order to save tax cuts for people making millions of dollars. With impunity. And they’re polling very high. So what gives? Why REPEATEDLY vote to have your wealth moved up? Why vote for people who have fucked you over and are promising more of the same? The age old pairing of fear and religion.
How do you get people to ignore their own losses? Scare the shit out of them. Sure, we’re stealing your wealth, but the people who would really represent your interests are black, or gay, or smart, or educated, or have sex. And we all know those people can’t be trusted. God hates them. And if you listen to them they’ll steal your children, rape your wife, and you’ll go to Hell. Besides, we’re in a war against ‘terror” and I think those people might be ‘terrorists’. After all, they’re ‘different’ than you and me, and ‘different’ is scary and evil. So vote for me. I’ll steal your way of life, blame it on the government, and protect you from your own insecurity. And it doesn’t even matter that these idiots don’t actually live according to their own values. Exactly how many of these guys have been found with women who aren’t their wives or with a penis in their mouth? It’s enough for me to hope there is a hell. Cause these manipulating little fucks belong there.
The big corporate interests decided there was money to be made by teaming up with the culture warriors on the right, and they were correct. The Tea Party is full of these nut cases. They hide behind the banner of ‘fiscal responsibility’ but scratch the surface and you find that most of them are campaigning for draconian abortion laws, antigay legislation, religious intolerance, and poorly concealed racism. They’re Theocrats, and in order to get the Christian Utopia they imagine they’re perfectly happy to sell your ass down the river. Look at their candidates: Palin- I’m better because I don’t know things. O’Donnell- the real evil is masturbation. Sharon Angle- Let’s return to prohibition and do something about the fluoride in the water. Jan Brewer- Scary Mexicans are cutting off heads in the desert. Not a true representative of economic realities in the bunch. And these people might win. Wow.
So let’s review. What do we see in most third world nations? A few very rich people, a lot of very poor people, an increasingly restrictive government, a tendency towards religious extremism and intolerance, and very poor social services. Sound familiar? So what are you gonna do about it? How about starting by only voting people who run on a platform of ‘Tax the Rich”. Cause that’s the only way forward towards a future that involves the middle class lifestyle that benefits all of us. Vaya con Dios and VIVA LA REVOLUCION.