Tag Archives: Austerity

Right-Sizing the Federal Government

From Mark Fernald

Republicans argue that the Federal government is too big. Democrats
argue that revenues are too low. The fight is over money, but the real
debate is over the size and scope of the government.

Before we line up on one side or the other, we should look at recent
history.

Over the past forty years, federal spending has averaged a little over
20% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). When the economy has been strong,
federal spending as a percentage of GDP has dipped below 20%. When the
economy has been weaker, that figure has been several points higher.
[1] <http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/Historicals>

During the same forty years, federal revenues have averaged about 18%
of GDP. As a result, the federal government was in deficit for all but
three of those years.

During the Clinton budget years (1994-2001), federal outlays as a
percentage of GDP declined from 21% to 18.2%. During the following
eight Bush budget years (2002-2009), that percentage rose from 19.1%
to 25.2%, as the Great Recession, and spending for two wars and
Medicare drug coverage, all had an effect. (The Obama stimulus
increased spending by 1.5% of GDP.) [2]
<http://www.factcheck.org/2012/06/obamas-spending-inferno-or-not/>

During the Obama budget years that have been completed (2010-2012),
spending as a percentage of GDP was 24.1%, 24.1%, and 22.9%, while
revenues as a percentage of GDP have been 15.1%, 15.4% and 15.8%
(estimate).

As the economy improves, the gap between spending and revenues will
narrow, but there will continue to be a significant gap.

Social Security and Medicare are not part of our current deficit
problem. Revenues for those programs are about equal to spending. As
the retirement of the baby boomers continues, expenses will rise
faster than revenues, and those programs will have to use their
reserves. Medicare is projected to exhaust its reserves and be unable
to pay all its bills in 2024 [3]
<http://www.cms.gov/Research-Statistics-Data-and-Systems/Statistics-Trends-and-Reports/ReportsTrustFunds/downloads/tr2012.pdf>
while Social Security is projected to exhaust its reserves and be
unable to pay full benefits in 2033. [4]
<file://localhost/%255b4%255dhttp/:www.ssa.gov:oact:tr:2012:tr2012.pdf>

By 2040, Medicare costs are projected to increase from 3.7% of GDP to
6% of GDP. Social Security will increase from 4.9% of GDP to 6.4% of
GDP in 2035. [5]
<http://www.nasi.org/learn/socialsecurity/economy-share>

If we are to keep our promises to seniors, the federal budget,
relative to GDP, will have to increase by several percentage points.

Republicans have other ideas. In 2011, every Republican in the Senate
voted for a constitutional amendment that would mandate a balanced
budget, and that would limit federal spending to 18% of GDP. [6]
<http://www.opencongress.org/vote/2011/s/229>
If implemented, this amendment would require huge cuts in Social
Security and Medicare, or huge cuts in everything else, or a cut of
17% across the board–seven times as large as the sequester.

The goal of the Republican Party is to reduce the federal government
to a size we have not seen since before the days of Medicare,
Medicaid, the EPA, food stamps, Head Start, and student loans. Do we
really want to go back to those days?

There are alternatives. Cuts can be made to eliminate federal subsides
for agribusiness, ethanol, and fossil fuels. The defense budget can be
cut by eliminating weapons the Pentagon does not want, and by bringing
home troops that are stationed in countries that no longer need our
military assistance.

On the revenue side, we could eliminate special tax rates for hedge
fund managers and investment income, enact a financial transaction tax
(both to raise revenue and cut speculation in the stock market), and
limit or eliminate deductions for luxuries, such as the mortgage
interest deduction on second homes and mansions.

These changes would reduce the deficit by hundreds of billions of
dollars a year.

Changes are also needed for Social Security and Medicare so that they
can be self-sustaining programs in the long term. A balanced approach
of revenue increases and benefits adjustments makes sense to
many–unless you are a Republican sworn to oppose all tax increases,
which then leaves only benefit cuts.

It’s budget season in Washington. The media will focus on the clash
between the parties. You should look for the alternate visions of the
parties.

Democrats want to gradually decrease spending, and increase revenue,
so that the two balance somewhere near 21% of GDP. Republicans want to
radically change the scope and mission of the federal government,
reducing it to a size not seen in a couple generations.

You get to weigh in again on election day, 2014.

/Mark Fernald was the Democratic nominee for Governor in 2002. He can
be reached at //mark@markfernald.com/ <mailto:mark@markfernald.com>
/. This column, with supporting footnotes, can be found at
//www.markfernald.com/ <http://www.markfernald.com>

Advertisements
Tagged , , ,

Workers Burn While Unions Find Their Ass

Make sure you find your local and stick yourself there.

Of course by now nearly everyone from your wingnut uncle Walter who lives in a trailer in the middle Ozarks to the brain-dead hipster in Greenwich Village knows that the Hostess company has filed for bankruptcy and basically screwed workers out of nearly everything.  Of course anyone with half a brain who’s been around long enough to know the lyrics to a famous Nazareth song about being pissed off and ready to fuck some shit up pretty quick, knows this old story about corporate meltdowns and workers getting the boot with nothing more than their last paycheck.  Its old hat these days.

So why the whining and hand-wringing going on among so many in the leftward blogosphere about “What Really Happened to Hostess”.  I mean really, Black Commentator had a piece a bit back, written by someone on the front lines in St. Louis, telling sordid tales of long active racism within the company’s management, about the company’s anti-union tactics and other misdeeds also so typical of the American worker story today.  We noticed other stories, well written that popped out right away telling the whole story for what it was.

So now again, why now all the Johnny Come Latelies?

Possibly we’d say because the unions have had to wake up from their trance and figure out that they just lost their ass again.   Oh wait, I forget myself; that’s right, the unions that the workers at Hostess were a member of weren’t part of the other fight [name one in your community or Local] because you know, the other unions have their own battles and hey, tough luck there kid.

Or something like that.  I know, how naive of me to imagine that possibly unions might be able to climb over their proverbial, imaginary fences that divide them and reach out and work with each other on a meaningful basis.  Of course that might also mean that the AFL-CIO drop their absolutely offensive “Save the Middle Class” campaign and stop trying to convince their rank and file that they are some kind of bourgeois Third Estate that the worker/proletariat must serve and that they must not soil themselves with fighting their battles.

I mean, have you seen teachers, fire fighters, police officers, janitors, hotel workers, meat packers, millwrights or the candle stick maker, the butcher and the baker for that matter all stand together in solidarity when one of them gets threatened by the plutocracy?  No, neither have I.

It seems high time they did.

Classism is a construct and tool of the elites, whether of tyranny by capitalism or whatever other means.  One will not find a donut in a shit pile and you won’t find democracy or justice within the oppression of classism, racism or any other construct made to divide one group against another, which only benefits those outside the struggle for crumbs.

Despite all the hand-wringing and analysis and the “OMG!” going on about the unholy greediness of the plutocrat class, the fact is you’d have to not only live under a rock, but possibly be living under a rock under Uncle Walter’s trailer and be deaf and dumb as a stump to not know that this has been going on with plutocrats for a pretty long time.  It seems at some point we can conclude that the capitalist class really sucks at creativity no?  They keep playing that old song of rape and pillage and many of us hold our hands to our ears and say, “I can’t believe it! I didn’t know they knew that tune!”

But with a regularity you can set your watch by, the liberals and left end of the spectrum here in the Land of the Not-So-Free acts with shocked and stunned surprise when they find out that a capitalist is greedy and selfish.  This happens so often that one might begin to think that a large portion of our society really wants to believe that capitalism really works.  Like the wife of the cheating husband who promises to be good next time, a large sector of Americans continue to sit at home alone, tears streaming down their faces not believing he did it again!  What happened, they think and then they ruminate on husbands misdeeds.  Well sweetheart, that works for the first time around.  Remember the old saying, “Fool me once…don’t get fooled again.” Oh wait that was the Bush II version, anyway, you know what I’m talking about; stop being a damned sucker.

Without solidarity — you know unity, without workers coming together from all sectors and standing up when any sector is threatened — as a unified act of power — nothing will change.  The plutocracy will not stop until every single worker in this country is reduced to the newly cherished and celebrated “entrepreneur” who struggles for whatever he/she can pinch out of the economy, with little hope of a pension or even basic protections such as worker’s comp or the added luxury of health insurance.  Don’t believe this? Look around at skilled jobs in the “private sector” among the working classes, besides the low hanging fruit of the Wal-Marts of the world.

You will see auto mechanics, trades people, sales professionals, temp workers, computer techs, service workers, maintenance workers, those in the building trades — all often working under the ubiquitous “independent contractor”, temp worker status or as the much maligned and marginalized non-voting/non-citizen resident worker.  A part of the new worker frame, found more and more tolerable as the standard among the young, the world many happily escape with a union retirement just one jump before the ax.

All the while though, the major business unions seem to be doing what?  Wisconsin was ready for a major general strike that would have shut down the whole state and showed workers where their power was, but the major unions bargained that power away with the Democrats who wanted a chance to grab power — and couldn’t do that competently.  For whatever the incompetence or compliance the Democrats demonstrated, the fact is that workers lost and large labor unions cemented their traditional bond with the Democratic party — you pay us to organize our people (not all workers mind you, just the select middle class) and we’ll deliver when you need them or hold them back when you ask.

Now again, a major company falls off the edge and throws its workers off the cliff and although the struggles of the workers at Hostess and the poor management of the company was no secret, the larger unions couldn’t find a way to get there and help the workers out.   Maybe run a picket, a campaign.  What did they do, clear their throats before their party overlords and ask permission that was denied?  Or did they more accurately, realize that they probably couldn’t even get their rank and file anywhere since they can’t even get them most of them to come to a meeting.

Now Michigan is about to turn, as one Facebook commenter aptly stated, “Right to Freeload”.  Unbelievable, historically the last bastion of the rust belt.  First Wisconsin last year, now St. Louis and Michigan in a matter of months.  In some ways its no surprise as the unions sat on their hands for thirty years, have ignored the job of educating their rank and file about the labor struggle and had the audacity to even (under the leadership of Lane Kirkland most notably) let Reagan and Carter before that negotiate rust-belt jobs away in the name of “competition” and some other capitalist tripe about impending globalism sold to the workers as meaningful economic theory for worker prosperity.

St. Louis needs another factory to leave that area like capitalism needs another ethical black  hole.  But hey, who cares? Anyone who had lived in the Mid-West knows damn well that workers there cannot afford to lose a job; the city like most of the rust belt was hollowed out long ago.  But let’s go ahead and talk theory; how and who was screwed over and especially how the Republicans are big bad meanies.  There are people going hungry on the streets, losing their homes — not just houses they bought, but apartments they rent.  There are people whose last paycheck was last week, last month, last year and they know all too well what it is to “struggle” in the “free market”.  Oh and by the way, let’s ask Warren Buckets-O-Money what he thinks.

Nothing like being one of those workers and having a member or a lackey of the plutocrat class tell you about how “liberals” need to stop “programs” because you know, what poor folks don’t have is ambition.  Because finding the ambition to make it to the next week is just small stuff; no worries.  Homelessness is a myth of course; it only happens to the drunks down by the river, in a tent, on your street corner with a cardboard sign.  Because we all know what their problem is and they stand as examples of what a “poor work ethic” will do to you too — until of course your company closes and you are thrown out in the street with the paper recycling; a commodity used up, disposed of and gone.

As I write this, a worker tells me tonight that he has worked for a week and a half, after being unemployed for months, his hands rough and nicked from the metal roofing he works with open in frustration before me, “I work for two days, get out for one day to heal myself and then go back to do it all again to make him [owner of the company] more money!” he then goes on, “Then what do I have? Two days of work, a prescription I can’t pay for a hospital bill that I’ll never be able to pay and if I don’t show up, I’m out with nothing.  I work to make him money and wear myself to the ground.”

He said that he told the hospital staff, “Insurance?! I have no insurance, I don’t even have workman’s comp! I’ll have to pay all my taxes myself, I can’t even get unemployment!”  The woman behind the counter quietly says, “Its too bad you don’t have a friend who has a prescription with Wal-Mart where you can get your prescriptions for a few dollars.”

Well I know that fact to be untrue.  I have a Wal-Mart card and I know that only a few commonly used drugs that are cheaply produced on the generic level are offered to Wal-Mart customers at ridiculously low prices and it wouldn’t surprise me if they receive a grant from the government or from the manufacturers to distribute some drugs cheaply through Wal-Mart.

Whoops, now we’re off on the healthcare system, but frankly, its all related.  As wages among workers stagnate with the least organized going first, all workers will face the multitudinous ways in which the capitalist system screws them over.  If they get paid, its so little that they can barely meet their most basic needs, but, a lifeline is woven inside the thicket of human commodification that helps to keep the workers on the thread and also appearing just saved enough for the masses to ignore.

Ignore at their peril as all worker’s wages are inextricably tied together and one lead weight over the side of the ship pulls the whole vessel further to collapse.  So long has this gone on and so gradual has the shift been (although it is disputable as to how gradual it is now, but that’s another discussion) that most of the workers in this country believe the shift to be minimal, to be an isolated event. “Keep calm and carry on” as they traditionally say in Britain with a stiff upper lip supposedly, carry that burden and shut up, keep up the faith, the one speaks first loses so the game goes.

Tagged , , , , , ,

British Unions Shut Down London With Strikes – Over 700,000 March

Image from Washington Post online slideshow

Nearly 800,000 union workers in Britain converged in London on yesterday to demand that the government end its austerity measures.  Similar to other unrest in Spain, Portugal and Greece and across the Atlantic in the US last year, Britian’s workers demand an end to the distribution re arrangement policies dubbed “austerity measures” by the press and politicians.

In favor of the conglomeration of capital among elite global finance and banking interests worldwide, government worldwide have proposed cutting public social safety nets.  The obvious effort to turn the world’s workers into pools of low-wage labor has met with resistance across America and Europe and now Brit workers take their turn to be heard.  In the rally labor leaders call for a general strike.  In addition, as Real News reports, London and other EU countries have November 14th in their sights for a continent wide day of action against austerity.

The Real News has posted a video and report:

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Workers Continue to Defy the EU’s Oppressive ‘Austerity’ Demands

More news that gets little to no air play in the American corporate media: Greece continues, along with other southern countries of the EU, to resist the “austerity” methods of the finance/capitalist sectors in the EU.  Flexing their muscle through the leadership of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, leaders of the major finance and banking interests attempt to keep the lid on the boiling pot.  No doubt, to much consternation of the powerful elites, workers in the southern tiers demonstrate that they will not be cowed, demonstrating that an educated workforce will not accept reduction to the role of capital commodities for the benefit of plutocrats.

From Socialist World:

German chancellor Angela Merkel is expected in Greece on Tuesday, 9 October. She will be greeted by an increasing bitterness and anger against the ongoing destruction of the Greek economy and living conditions of working people. An escalation of the struggle against the latest Troika-imposed austerity is developing from below. It has the potential to bring down the Samaras government and challenge capitalist austerity. We publish here an article by Xekinima (CWI in Greece) on the latest developments and the steps which need to be taken by the workers’ movement.

Greek society is in uproar. Everybody knows that the situation cannot continue. The so-called Troika (European Union, European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund) have led the Greek economy into a collapse, and are now demanding another round of savage austerity cuts.

The Samaras government of New Democracy with the participation of its fake “left” allies (DIMAR and PASOK) are preparing cuts that will lead to untold misery for millions of workers, pensioners, the poor and the unemployed.

Here are the key statistics that themselves explain the type of war that has been launched against working people:

Official unemployment stands at 23.6% (real unemployment is more like 30%) and among young people is 55%. According to the European statistical agency Eurostat (July 2012), 68% live at or under the official poverty line. Gross Domestic Product has fallen by 22% since the beginning of the crisis. The “national” debt is estimated to be 179% of GDP in 2013, according to the government’s new projected budget, while it was 109% of GDP in 2008 (’Imerisia’ newspaper, 2 October 2012).

In reality, the Greek people have no choice but to try to stop the criminal plans of the Troika leraders and that can only mean trying to bring down the government that collaborates with these criminals. The government (which at the moment faces a serious crisis as scandals are exploding) can be brought down with mass strike action, mass occupations across the country and an indefinite general strike.

Read more: Trade Unions Pushed to Escalate the Struggle

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

In France Hollande tells Plutocrats to Pay Up

So France now offers the world a vision of the hope of the fall of global corporatocracy.  The people have spoken and overwhelmingly and enthusiastically embraced socialist Hollande for President, having had enough of the capitalist boot licking of Sarkozy and his participation in the increasingly crushing pressure of global capitalists on the last vestiges of government for the common good.

Unfortunately most Americans know very little about this revolutionary act on the part of France’s people as the corporate press is quick to pass over such news.  With little critical mass over the masses, so to speak, the real story gets buried between the Kardashians and fluffy puppies.

But, a bright light shall shine out of the darkness and on September 27th, news ran over the internet such as this post from Addicting Info that summarized the news of Hollande rolling out a reversal on capitalist created impoverishment:

France Tells Austerity ‘Go To Hell’

September 28, 2012

By


Across Europe, the failure of austerity is clear. However with the weakness of the Eurozone’s de-centralized government apparent, France took upon itself a very different path to rectifying its financial woes. Instead of cutting services, punishing its population for the excesses of the élite, France has taken a page out of history, and taking the old tactic of raising its taxes.

The new tax rates top off at 75% of income earned over $1 million euro (approximately $1.3 million USD) for individuals. Some economists are quick to proclaim that such a tax rate would cause the economic conditions to become worse and that it sends a message that France does not like the rich and is not open for business.

This of course is nonsense. France, like many nations, has a tax penalty for taking money out of the country. France also utilizes a value added tax on goods going into the country. This means if a business decides on moving, to say Africa, to avoid the higher taxes, it would find any of its goods at a severe penalty when they returned to sell their goods and services to one of the largest economies in the world. Any business which decides on not selling to the market, of course, is being stupid. They are doing the metaphorical cutting off of their nose to spite their face. Every business can be replaced, so if a market is there, a company will come to fill it.

Instead of being anti-business or anti-rich, it is instead very pro-business. Now a business cannot waste its resources in supporting overpriced leisure-rich. Instead, the businesses which for invest in expansion, in its customers, and in its employees will find themselves rewarded. This becomes a very business friendly environment, companies which work in France will be very pro-growth. This will in turn expand their owners fortunes and overall wealth.

This is not a record for taxes, the United States once sported a 94% income tax rate. What this is, however, is a rejection of the Chicago and Austrian school of economics which have dominated the world for the past 40 years, and an embrace of the American school of economics, a school which has been sorely missing from the austerity debate.

But it all seemed too good as they say and as typical, all one need to do is wait for the wakes to break the shore line from the rock falling into the muddy, still waters of capitalist propaganda.  Today, October 7th, the Huffington Post runs (a willing servant of the corporate class, despite its ruse of being left leaning) an article on Hollande and his socialist agenda run with the usual requisite capitalist outlook.

Quick to assert that Hollande’s policies of taxing the rich and daring the corporatists to play chicken with him has failed after only a few whole days of real time, the Huffie-Post writers beat the drum.  In this paragraph they claim that France has had it with Hollande and his economic plan, after not making change in three days:

But the freefall in his popularity ratings shows that many erstwhile supporters are already asking whether he has a plan at all, as his inexperienced ruling coalition is buffeted by events rather than shaping them.

Then in the next few paragraphs we hear from “Stephane Rozes, head of political consultancy Cap” who then goes onto characterize France’s social safety net as “generous welfare state and high level of labour protection.”

Of course, those silly silly French with their lattes, red wine and protectionist trade policies.  You know the country is just on the brink of disaster, the streets teeming with welfare queens and labor thugs running around in berets, eating government issued Crème brûlée and quoting Proudhon or hiding in dark alleys with guillotines and singing the Internationale, waiting to beat up poor capitalists trying so hard to suck the labor out of everyone and give back nothing make the economic system work for just plutocrats everyone.

But we digress..what deserves attention the most is the paucity of critical information regarding France and Hollande. Reuters refers to Stephanie Rozes of the consultancy Cap or CAP.  Since many news organizations use Reuters as their resource, the story with his quote has been repeatedly dozens, if not hundreds of times in the US press without further analysis.  This scrap about Rozes was dug up after extensive plowing through French language news publications.  Apparently he’s quoted quite a bit, but one might make the assessment that “advises companies” places him firmly in the pro-capitalist camp.  Which one could logically infer would not jump to approve Hollande’s refusal to coddle plutocrats and capitalist speculators.

The former director general of the CSA polling institute, now head of the Cap (analysis and perspectives), which primarily advises companies, communities or states such as Monaco or African countries, confirms: “I work with Francis on the fundamental issue of the country.

In May before Hollande’s President’s chair had a chance to be warmed, Timothy Geithner, commenting on the apparent but rarely spoken fact that impatience with economic policy can be self defeating.  But then Geithner’s comments are followed quickly by

New York TImes, May: Change in Paris may Better Suit the US

“If every time economic growth disappoints, governments are forced to cut spending or raise taxes immediately to make up for the impact of weaker growth on deficits, this would risk a self-reinforcing negative spiral of growth-killing austerity,” Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner told a Congressional committee in March, comments echoed since then in his statements at many international forums.

But the article was quick to add correction to Geithner’s statements by adding commentary from an a senior fellow of a think-tank that carries a heavy industry representation on its board.

“The administration hopes, in broad terms, that this election will change the conversation,” said Edwin M. Truman, a senior fellow at the Peter G. Peterson Institute for International Economics. “In principle, you’d be saying, ‘Don’t tighten your belt!’ to the countries with the scope to do so,” Mr. Truman said.

Indeed, possibly the US and France has more belt tightening room than many other countries, the question of course is what group within these countries should do the belt tightening.  Their silence on that speaks volumes.

Opinion article in Financial Times of May 14, 2012 : What to Expect from Francois Hollande

First, France’s future depends on delivering all three of growth, social inclusiveness and budgetary discipline. No one element can be achieved without the other two. Without a belief among the French that burdens are shared, it is hard to elicit the necessary sacrifices to achieve budgetary discipline. In turn, fiscal discipline should allow the government to conduct more expansive fiscal policies to boost growth if demand is depressed. Fiscal reform and spending cuts will also allow France to fund investments that support growth.

Make no mistake “fiscal reform and spending cuts” meaning deep cuts in social programs that benefit the public.  The capitalist speculator cannot suffer a little without making sure the rest of the world does too, even though the rest of the world has already suffered much more and far longer.  A call for the plutocrats and corporatist to pay their fair share gets reduced to ‘sharing the burden’ so to speak.  Exactly its time for the ones who created the current condition to step up and pay for it.  The proletariat has paid enough.

The Economist in September : France’s Economy: The Performance Gap

The end of the early shift, and workers at the Peugeot car factory at Aulnay-sous-Bois, near Paris, are streaming out through the turnstiles. The anger is raw; the disappointment crushing. In July, when the company announced that the plant, which employs 3,000 workers, was to close, President François Hollande loudly branded the decision “unacceptable”. Two months and an official report later, his government has now accepted its fate. “Hollande said that he would look after us,” says Samir Lasri, who has worked on the production line for 12 years: “Now we regret voting for him.”

The decision by Peugeot-PSA, a loss-making carmaker, to shut its factory at Aulnay, the first closure of a French car plant for 20 years, and to shed 8,000 jobs across the country has rocked France. It has become an emblem both of the country’s competitiveness problem and of the new Socialist government’s relative powerlessness, despite its promises, to stop private-sector restructuring. Tough as it is for the workers concerned, the planned closure may have had at least one beneficial effect: to jolt the country into recognising that France is losing competitiveness and that the government needs to do something about it.

Of course the key problem is that the glue that kept all developed countries together; trade that supported higher labor rates has collapsed.  Pressure from global companies that can force “competitiveness” by cheap labor extraction coupled with lower regulation in new hosting countries, has caused the current crisis.  Lower labor rates and lax regulation have become the new markers for competitiveness.  Which begs the question, can any socialist system exist when surrounded by unregulated capitalism?

Bloomberg in May: Merkel Rejects Stimulus in Challenge to Hollande’s Growth Plans

German Chancellor Angela Merkel rejected government stimulus as the way to spur economic growth in Europe, setting up a clash with French President-elect Francois Hollande before he’s even taken office.

In her first response to Hollande’s victory in yesterday’s French election, Merkel rejected a return to the “huge” stimulus programs following the financial crisis in favor of business-friendly economic changes. She and Hollande will talk “very openly” about the form of growth to pursue, a discussion now taking place across Europe and “to which the new French president will bring his own accents.”

Germany, the center of the banking community in the EU fell in line, demonstrating its preference for recovery from the capitalist/banker point of view; let the market regulate itself.  Promoting “business friendly” recovery certainly comes from the pro-capitalist library of euphemisms   Bankers and capitalist will not let go of the trajectory that business looks out for the national and global interests, even when clear evidence exists to the contrary.

Then finally we get to the meat of the issue: but we have to get to the French press to get it:
From France 24, from October 9th: Hollande Unveils Two Year Plan, Billions in New Taxes

French President François Hollande pledged on Sunday to honour his campaign promise of a 75 percent income tax on wealthy individuals as he unveiled a two-year economic recovery plan featuring strict budget targets and 20 billion euros in new taxes.

Well there you have it, what the mainstream global press will not say, Hollande shall follow through on his promise to put the squeeze equally on the plutocrat class as well as the working, who have already suffered job losses and other devastation of what has become essentially, Prime Minister Merkel’s efforts at constructing the EU into the miniature domain of bankers and casino capitalists.

With Greece, Portugal and Spain beaten nearly to its knees, global capitalists have turned their attention to reigning into and destroying socialists all over the EU.  The upstart France as usual must turn her head otherwise and lead the charge against the take-over.

While certainly this constitutes a simpler analysis, the distillation remains the same; the global capitalists have made their intent clear.  They wish to crush the power of labor in some portions of the EU to turn them into their own speculator’s dream market to exploit to produce goods to sell to the wealthier, plutocrats, protected by government support of speculative monetary and economic policy which feeds the global uppers.  In addition, as long as the middle classes in countries remain intoxicated with cheap goods, gross consumption that exceeds need and short-term gratification, the money will roll in.

Tagged ,

The Poor and Low Wage Workers Pay More in Taxes than Romney

cartoon by David Horsey, LA Times

 

 

Article by John Funiciello published in Issue 487 of Blackcommentator.com

Once again, the Republican candidate for president has expressed his contempt for a large percentage of the American people, by claiming that they are “dependent” on government for their very lives and, therefore, will automatically vote for President Obama.

The real wealth of the nation is in its people.

Comments by the GOP standard bearer, Mitt Romney, were caught on tape in Florida last spring and released last week by Mother Jones magazine. In a matter of hours, the comments were seen by tens of millions and caused Romney to call a press conference to explain himself.

What he had said at a private fund-raising dinner was that 47 percent of Americans pay no federal income tax and that they are Obama’s supporters. USA Today his explanatory statement: “The president believes in what I’ve described as a government-centered society, where government plays a larger and larger role, provides for more and more of the needs of the individuals,” Romney said in Orange County, Calif. “I happen to believe instead in a free enterprise, free individual society where people pursuing their dreams are able to employ one another, build enterprises, build the strongest economy in the world.”

By now, it is clear to virtually everyone that Romney doesn’t have a clue about what real Americans’ lives are like. He certainly doesn’t know what it is like to try to stretch a $15,000 annual income and keep a family from starvation. And, he never will. In fact, living on low wages or a low fixed income is one of those weekly miracles that happen and the plight of those millions of families goes unnoticed. Out of sight, out of mind and Romney wants to keep it that way.

The rich are going to be swimming in the same pool as the rest of the country if the whole thing collapses

The GOP, as expressed by Romney in constant campaign rhetoric, wants to reduce the government, so that it never will be able to provide for that 47 percent of the electorate, which likely would never vote Republican. Only the irrational would vote for a party, the main philosophy of which is to cut taxes for the rich and corporations and cut social programs and most functions of government, except for the military and defense. But, books have been written, speculating on why average Americans, who are only one or two paychecks away from needing government assistance, continue to support the GOP platform and its philosophy. They’re out there and they do, indeed, vote Republican.

Democrats are on the horns of a dilemma. They have been subject to the same propaganda from the right wing think tanks and Corporate America for decades and have weakly fought the GOP’s efforts to diminish every function of government at every level. At the same time, they have presided from time to time over a country headed in the same direction, no matter which major party is in charge. The difference is that they don’t sing the same no-taxes-no-social-programs song that the Republicans sing.

For that alone, they have a leg up on the coming election, but this does not leave them in the clear, by any means. Many of their policies on the important issues of our time are much the same as those of the Republicans. These issues include, but are not limited to: global trade, the continuing growth of militarism, the magical vanishing manufacturing base (except for those things that are made by robots), the lack of sustainable and low-cost housing, the food system that is damaging the people’s health, the lack of an affordable universal health system, the staggering cost to students of higher education, endless war, diminishing civil rights, and the continuing assault on virtually every vital aspect of the environment. Other than that, Obama is doing better than the party of Romney.

Many of their policies on the important issues of our time are much the same as those of the Republicans.

Back in the 1980s and 90s, over-the-road big trucks had painted on them something like, “This truck pays $4,467 in road use taxes every year.” That was supposed to show everyone driving a car or pick-up that the truck bearing the sign and weighing some 80,000 pounds was paying more than its fair share to use the roads. A quick check of the “road use” taxes that a car or pick-up truck paid at the time showed that, pound for pound, the car paid about four times what those trucks paid in road use taxes and they didn’t crumble the roads to dust.

So it is with the Republicans and their insistence that the behemoths (wealthy) pay all the taxes, and that there are so many poor and low-wage Americans who pay no income taxes. (We’ll leave aside for a moment that there are giant transnational corporations that pay no taxes and lots of rich folks who pay no taxes, but that’s a subject for another discussion.) The fact is that the poor and low-income wage earners pay plenty of taxes: sales taxes, payroll taxes, gasoline taxes, excise taxes, and endlessly increasing fees for everything from driver’s licenses, to fishing licenses. Low-income Americans pay a much greater percentage of their income than the wealthy or even the middle-income earners.

Somehow, this fact of life has escaped Mitt Romney and people like him, George W. Bush and virtually his entire administration, for example. These are people who are so alienated from the lives of most Americans that they don’t know that the country’s emergency rooms are not universal health care and they are not free.

Thinkprogress.org recently noted: “For example, if you look at state and local taxes, the working poor actually pay a higher percentage of their income in these taxes (all of the other taxes and fees) in every state except for Vermont. (In) Alabama, for example, low-income families (which make less than $13,000) pay 11 percent of their income in state and local taxes, while those making more than $229,000 pay just 4 percent.”

And, Wealth for the Common Good also noted recently that the top 400 taxpayers (those who have more wealth than half of all Americans) pay lower taxes today than they have in about two decades. Their tax responsibilities have declined sharply in 70 years and, during that time, wage-working men and women have been asked to pay more. There was a time when lawmakers discerned a difference between those who could afford to pay taxes and those who were not able to pay taxes and occasionally, they adjusted the tax code to lighten the burden on the poor. This is not one of those times.

Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, and most of the Republicans and many Democrats seem to have forgotten that the Democrats once stood for the New Deal (putting people back to work and giving them the means to maintain their living standards, through union organizing), the War on Poverty, and the Great Society.

Instead, at this time, in the midst of a presidential election campaign, the word poverty is barely mentioned. And, if the word “poor” is used, it is to call them lazy, parasites, and a drag on the economy and the national budget. There is no apparent plan from either party to deal with the severe problem of poverty in the U.S. Certainly, there is no plan for the two parties to come up with a plan, and that’s what it takes to solve the problems of a nation that owes its soul to the company store, that is China, Europe, Japan, and several other countries.

Romney doesn’t have a clue about what real Americans’ lives are like.
The right wing (in politics and Corporate America) in this country would do well to hold its tongue when criticizing any of those creditors, because it is people who look and act just like them who have removed the manufacturing base from the country to seek ever lower wages and lower “labor costs.” They are the ones, along with the people they employ in the Congress, who have caused the economic problems, with their constant push for lower taxes for the rich and corporations and the push for rewards for taking their plants out of the country. They have received all of that.

As we have seen, the working class and the middle class, however it is defined, are the ones who pay (remember, they somehow have morphed from citizens into consumers). When they lose their jobs, there’s no one left to pay. How hard is that for the politicians to understand? We’ve had a steady decline of jobs for decades, we have people in mid-life living off their retirement savings, and we have college graduates who might be able to pay off their student loans by the time they are 50 years old.

Like or not, the rich are going to be swimming in the same pool as the rest of the country if the whole thing collapses. Then, they will be seeking out people who have real skills for living, to show them how to do it. Generally, the rich are engaged in enterprises that produce nothing but money and we are beginning to realize that this money is worth about as much as the paper used for printing it.

The real wealth of the nation is in its people. When they are healthy, the nation is healthy. When the people are weakened or sick, the nation is sick. Poverty weakens and sickens a nation and the disparity in wealth in the U.S., at a level not seen in 80 years, has weakened the nation. No one in government at any level seems to be willing to proclaim the danger out loud and, so, the problem is not addressed and the nation is in deep trouble.

BlackCommentator.com Columnist,John Funiciello, is a long-time former newspaper reporter and labor organizer, who lives in the Mohawk Valley of New York State. In addition to labor work, he works with family farmers as they struggle to stay on the land under enormous pressure from factory food producers and land developers. To contact Mr. Funiciello, please go to BlackCommentator.com.

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

The American Stinker Lays Another Pooper

Hard at work for the corporate agenda.

Stephen McCann a classic plutocrat and contributor to the site American Stinker and the site linked to the magazine, American Spectator, sits on the Stinker pot and performs the rectal birth of a tract so full of lies even the lowest of parasites might have to bring out the lie detector.  Compensated at a rate of a mere 4.5m a year, Mr. McCann gets passive into that very narrow canal of American mogul-lovin’.  Sitting firmly within the top 1%, possibly the top .01% of wealth holders globally, the Australian McCann we’re sure gets a big BFF ranking from the plutocrat class here in the states.

So onto his scribbles from the war room water closet and why we should really give a damn what he says anyway. First off, its worth pointing out that although McCann sits in his house on the near bottom of the globe where our winter is his summer, he seems awfully disturbed by certain sectors of the American population known commonly as the “left”.

Yeah you all you pro-choice, tree hugging, union thug, anti-racist, anti-war leftists, this fine gentleman is fed up with your anti-austerity politics you hear? He’s had it with your desires for justice and equality and wants you to grow up and practice some good old austerity.  Concerned as he is with the deficit in the United States  … er… his portfolio.   He’s sick and tired of “The Childishness of the American Left” and he’s going to tell you why.

The American left is the most self-indulgent, arrogant, and spoiled group of people on the face of the earth.  They live in a nation facing national bankruptcy and societal upheaval — a country presently subsisting on the residue of past economic achievements.  Yet the only things that matter to them are their lifestyles and imposing their self-determined superiority on rest of the American people.

Social upheaval?  Could it be the social upheaval of a population sick and tired of the 1% wealthiest “imposing their self-determined superiority on the rest of the American people”?  Seems to many of us here in the US that once an economic system existed wherein at least there was some hope that a rising tide would raise all boats.  That with the work of the left through government regulation and correction,  social inequities would soon begin to disappear and anyone, a person of color, a woman, a disabled person, could as the old saying goes, capture the American Dream by working on a finally leveled playing field.

But as we all know now, the job of straightening out 300 years of socialized inequality takes some sacrifice from everyone and we’ve had our share of resistance.  Us lefties always do after a while tend to get all misty-eyed and go on about hard to quantify issues such as racial justice, gender equality and LGBT rights, worker’s rights and a clean and healthy planet.   We on the left have known for quite some time that the existing system favors a certain group of people and we have tirelessly pointed this fact out.  Basically many of us figured out after about 5th grade that the Land of the Free we learned about ain’t exactly free for a large portion of the population.

Unlike the minority who upon their birth are cloistered among nannies, private schools, Ivy League colleges and a nice inheritance, the majority of people in this country live quite modest lives.  We on the left selfishly have worked tirelessly for little money (because where do you think money comes from?), to champion causes not particularly popular with the ownership class.

We have repeatedly marched down streets, sat in halls, picketed and boycotted businesses to protest the sending of our young people to die for the myriad wars that benefit only the 1%, protested and worked toward changing injustices from gay rights to women’s rights, from working against racism, to saving the planet from industrial destruction, all in the name of that selfish idea; justice.

Do we have a superiority complex? Possibly, if one equates having a sense of fervent duty to the social contract of humanity; yes possibly if one takes seriously the precept of the prophet of our Christian based culture; “Do Unto Others As You Would Have Done Unto You” All this while swarmed by a capitalist campaign of mass consumption, exploitation and greed.  We on the left have worked tirelessly to draw attention to how global capitalism exploitation kills humans and the planet.

But let’s take our lesson from Mr. McCann and hear about his concerns about the debt and the GDP; essentially his global balance sheet shall we?  First McCann draws our attention to an NPR interview:

The true indebtedness of the United States now exceeds $222 trillion.  Appearing on National Public Radio in August of 2011 Professor Laurence J. Kotlikoff of Boston University said:

If you add up all the promises that have been made for spending obligations, and subtract all the taxes we expect to collect, the difference is $211 Trillion.  This is the fiscal gap.  That is our true indebtedness.

Since that interview, the indebtedness has increased by another $11 trillion.

Well it seems the kind professor was making an effort to point out that with falling revenues from tax cuts, funding wars will drain the treasury.  Tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans became all the fashion when Ronald Reagan proved just how easy it is to fleece the American people as long as you lie to them enough.  So easy that H.W. Bush and Bush the Younger have pushed the envelope further not only cutting taxes for their buddies but also borrowing to finance some major military adventures.  So again the professor points out that when the boss cuts your pay, going to Disneyland may not be such a good idea.

But let’s take the boss analogy a step further.  When your boss learns that you’ll  work just as hard on $7.25/hour as you would on $15/hour, especially if he promises you get a ticket to Disneyland, do you think he’ll go back to $15?.  Nope, you’ve just got suckered.  Boss got just as much work out of you for less and what’s more he didn’t bother to tell you he borrowed from your pension fund to pay for those tickets to Disney, what a deal!

Not rocket science, nor a big secret.

Then further down, McCann rails about the GDP versus expenditures.  The fact is, just looking at the GDP fails to consider so many other factors that have caused the largest economic slump since the Depression.  As is detailed on a page here a bit back, McCann doesn’t bother to tell his dear readers that while the GDP has failed miserably, corporate earnings  have multiplied upward for the last three generations, while earnings growth for those who work for a wage has stagnated since about 1979.  Also McCann fails to mention that those who possess high wealth have enjoyed as much as a 200% or more increase in their portfolio value at the same time.

So in summary, tax cuts sent the money into the hands of the plutocrats, cuts in services such as housing, poverty programs, cuts in agency funding, cuts in education funding also sent more money to the plutocrats which for some reason never came back home.  All the while corporations learned that lay-offs reward richly (and thus rewarded their CEO’s thusly), temp labor is a pip and people will work for dogs on mere promises. Add to that the people’s gullibility for tall tales about scary hordes that must be brought down by fancy artillery and young Americans’ lives and you’ve got one heck of a mess.

Now Mr. McCann, being only human can’t help but look a gift horse in the mouth.  As if fleecing the American and global population hasn’t made him rich enough, he’s now concerned about the possible collision of the health of his portfolio with the health of our nation.

Yet these estimates do not include the full impact of ObamaCare, which could add another $17+ trillion.

Now taking away the fact that McCann seems to think that Americans don’t need affordable healthcare like Australians enjoy, let’s just focus on his concern about our fiscal health shall we?  Wait what’s this? All over the internet sites figures keep quoting the CBO and its research that purport that in fact, the ACA will reduce the deficit by $210 billion, not increase it.  So in other words, McCann is either very poorly informed or just telling lies because he doesn’t think we should have public healthcare like his homeland does.  We’d suggest that McCann follow the old rule; those who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.  Oh, Australia doesn’t fund healthcare for rich guys, oh well.

On the other side of the ledger: the annual Gross Domestic Product (the value of all economic activity in the U.S.) is $15.6 trillion.  The indebtedness to GDP ratio is a staggering 14.2 to 1 and guaranteed to further accelerate if Barack Obama is re-elected.

See Disneyland borrowed on your pension fund. We explained that already.  Mr. McCann hopes to impress and bamboozle his readers with statistics and figures that really say the same damn thing no matter how you turn them around; the rich guys spent all our money and borrowed to the hilt for whatever our paychecks couldn’t cover.  Pretty simple; you spend more than you making, you going to end up bankrupt.

The United States is not facing bankruptcy, it is bankrupt.  The primary factor that has kept the nation afloat over the past four years is that the dollar, albeit temporarily, remains the world’s reserve currency, thus allowing the Federal Reserve to print enormous sums of money to cover the Obama budget deficits and flood the global market with near worthless cash.  Today it requires $100.00 to purchase the same goods $10.00 purchased in 1950.

Firstly, the Federal Reserve does not print money! Contrary to popular belief, the Fed is not some super-secret club full of special presses stamping out benjis to add to the “money supply” as they please.  So we can dispense with this quickly and move on, please see the following comic made up by the Fed in an attempt to dispel ignorance.

Comparing the value of the dollar today to its value in 1950 is much like picking up

Oh do we need to go back what was good in 1950 compared to today? Like the fact that nearly 50% of American workers were union members? That save for the social inequities that still existed, many people enjoyed a prosperity most young Americans cannot even imagine today.  Taxation was progressive and effective with the top tiers paying as much as 90% of their income, so revenues were high, wages were healthy and what’dya get? A healthy economy!  Infrastructure expenditures were up, employment rose and the standard of living in the US rose for a large majority of Americans above nearly the entire world.

Increased indebtedness due to wars funded on borrowing, money policy that shifted wealth from the commoners to the elites and the resulting bust in GDP growth among the population that depressed revenues and consumption seems an indication of selfishness, but of the leftie kind.

As a further comparison, the total annual GDP of all the countries on earth is $70 trillion.  The American indebtedness alone exceeds that amount by a factor of 3 — which contributes mightily to a world drowning in debt and facing an inevitable debt crisis and financial collapse, which will trigger a massive global depression.

Thanks again in large part of levering of the American economy by the elites on the backs of the working people who have seen their share of the pie steadily decrease even though their production has rivaled other first world countries for decades.

Currently, just 58.4% of the civilian population is employed, as compared to 64.3% twelve years ago.  Factoring in the growth of the population during that period, this drop represents over 22 million Americans unable to find work.  Since January 2009, 74% of all new jobs created in the U.S. were in the lowest-paying sectors of the economy, thereby stifling any chance of upward mobility and growth in median income which has fallen by 9% since January 2009, and average household wealth that has declined by nearly 40% over this same period.  This failure is a byproduct of a tsunami of government regulations, mandates, and taxes which has nearly destroyed the innovation and business and job-creation that made the American economy so vibrant over the latter part of the 20th century.  That innovation has now moved overseas, along with over 7.5 million high-paying goods-producing jobs since 2000.

Another patent lie, since the 1980’s government sectors on all levels have suffered massive cuts and laws that regulated finance, commerce and trade have been modified to favor corporate growth over national growth.  Couple that also with the outsourcing of the white color and blue collar sectors then mix in outflows of investment dollars to those offshore operations and you have decreased consumption within the US market as workers’ buying power decreases,  increased outflows of revenue from the what production remains (as it flows upward and not into worker’s pockets)  into the coffers of tax-free havens, off-shore trusts, third world sweat-shop factories and overall global manipulation of labor, finance and government regulation. Whew and McCann calls us selfish for bitching about it?

The reaction of the self-described progressives to this dire scenario?  Sweep the facts under the rug or ignore them completely, as it appears that the most important things in their lives are the legalization of gay marriage, free contraceptives and abortifacients, worshiping at the altar of extreme and discredited environmentalism, mocking and undermining all organized religion (except Islam), and telling the American people what they can eat, where they can live, what may be taught in their schools, how they must operate their businesses, and what health care they can access.

Au contraire Mr. McCann, while the left has beat the drum of reigning in the cowboy plutocrats, ending the wars, regulating off-shoring, stopping the trade treaties that favor global corporatism and bringing back a truly progressive taxation strategy, the right wing has gone on an endless campaign of distraction by fighting gay marriage and rolling back women’s rights to bodily sovereignty.  We didn’t choose to put these issues front and center, the Republicans did and we have been forced 24-7 to fight these battles on basic human rights, while the economy suffers global moguls continue to rake in the money.

Yes, Mr. McCann we bleat on and on about the importance of an educated and healthy population.  We voice and express concerns about how exploitative capitalism, on which your portfolio and business model relies, has caused irreparable harm the planet we call home.  But we know, worrying about an endangered planet and humanity causes your portfolio to wilt like you probably do when you’ve run out of Viagra in the middle of the deep blue on your shiny yacht after your escort has finished dictating for you.

To the true believers on the left, re-electing Barack Obama is not a matter of what is or is not good for the country; rather, for the majority on the left, the primary motivation is geared solely toward defeating their sworn enemy: conservatives and Republicans, whom many falsely believe are a right-wing horde determined to create a theocracy and impose old-fashioned morality.  But what they fear most from the right is a determination to reinstitute unfettered individual freedom and concomitant economic growth, which would relegate the American left to the back bench of American society.

Yeah we got it.  Apparently McCann seems to have a misunderstanding of American history? We’re not going to the back of the bus as much as the GOP, Tea Partiers and others wish.  In fact, its pretty clear the country is changing and electing a black president only constituted the beginning.

Thus, to them, what the policies of Barack Obama and his radical minions are doing to the long-term fate of nation is immaterial as long as Obama regurgitates his support for the various causes that are near and dear to the coalition that makes up the left.  There are two common threads to the belief system of American progressives: 1) an omnipotent central government controlled by them, and 2) an assumption that there is a bottomless pit of money to be siphoned from an equally bottomless pit of wealth.  But this is not the same nation that experienced unprecedented prosperity from 1946 to 2007.  It is not the same nation in which these narcissists on the left grew up, never knowing national adversity or trauma.

1. Yes, we do in fact represent every single portion of humanity not represented by the guests on your yacht Mr. McCann, yes we do in fact believe that the government’s role is to put selfish pricks like you where you belong — in the palm of our sweaty, hard working hands.

2. We do indeed see a bottomless pit of money — our money that we worked damn hard for that you stole from us through your wrangling and perverting our government to allow you to extract every penny from our efforts and give as little back to us as possible.

And we also know that the national prosperity has been in decline for us ever since your patron saint, Ronnie Reagan took office here and began to strip every single protection from greedy, self centered, hypocritical plutocrats like yourself.   We’ve suffered enough trauma under the reign of the greedy and we’ve had it.

The manner in which these progressives, and their titular leader Barack Obama, are conducting themselves in the current campaign season is indicative of their arrogant and immature mindset.  To the vast majority on the left, this campaign is merely a game played out on the playground of American politics, wherein they childishly engage in name-calling and temper tantrums reminiscent of spoiled brats determined to get their way, regardless of the consequences.

Well, to the vast majority of Americans this playground is ours and its our damn business how we play it out and we’d like it if global moguls like yourself keep your filthy paws out of our political and electoral business.  We are indeed determined to get our way but it seems last we knew, the bamboozled foot soldiers of the plutocracy were the ones throwing the biggest temper tantrums about having a Kenyan born Islamic black man chosen as the president of their whites-only fiefdom.  But like most spoiled brats, you people just refuse to take your marbles and go home to cry to mama, nope, instead you have to put millions into SuperPACS and keep trying to play petty games with our political system to feed your own selfish desires.

It is time to grow up and understand that the America that could absorb all the excessive spending, promises, and left-wing fun and games is no more.  This nation cannot survive on its present course, and if that course is not dramatically reversed, those on the left will suffer as much as if not more than the bulk of the American people they are trying to rule.  History has shown repeatedly that when an overwhelming political and social catastrophe strikes a nation, the people turn against the ruling class, often with a vengeance.  In the United States, that ruling class is presently dominated by the American left.

You’re absolutely right Mr. McCann, the country can no longer continue on this course.  Scientists say if we don’t make radical life style and consumption changes we may not have a planet worth living on in another twenty or thirty years.  History has indeed shown repeatedly that when aristocrats and their inbred offspring are allowed to run things, they tend to make a big damn mess of the house and leave the adults to come and clean it up.  The clean up time has begun and we’re ready to evict you and your lying friends.  Thanks for playing Mr. McCann, there’s a spot in the back of the bus for you.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Screw the Troika!

Europe is awakening to resist the efforts of the German-led bankers to use the Euro to squash public services and safety nets in order to increase profits for the global elites.  Mirroring in many ways the strategies imposed upon Americans here at home by capitalist elites, the global capitalists have started the slaughter of the people’s rights on European soil as well.

Here, the site Igualistarista puts out the call from Portuguese resistance activists to stand up and protest against the austerity measures pressuring Portugal, Greece, Italy and Spain in an effort to get them to succumb to secondary status to as laborer-serf countries for European capitalist interests.  So without further delay:

Screw the Troika, We Want Our Lives!

This is a call to protest made in the last few days by Portuguese activists for a new day of protest against what is known as the Troika (the International Monetary Fund, the European Commission, and the European Central Bank). You can find the protest and the original call in Portuguese here:

Que se Lixe a Troika! Queremos as nossas Vidas – Screw the Troika,  We Want Our Lives!

It is necessary to do something extraordinary. It is necessary to take to the streets and squares in both our cities and our countryside. To join voices and hands. This silence is killing us. The noise of the mainstream media fills the silence, reproduces the silence, spreads the network of lies that puts us to sleep and annihilates our desire. It is necessary to do something to reverse the submission and resignation, to do something against the filtering of ideas and against the death of the collective will. It is necessary to once again call upon our voices, arms and legs, of everyone who knows it is in the streets that the present and the future is decided. It is necessary to overcome the fear that is constantly spread and, once and for all, see that we no longer have much to lose, and that the day will come when everything has been lost because of our silence and our surrender.

Read the rest of this excellent post Igualistarista

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Ayn Rand Acolytes Have Finally Struck Pay Dirt

Certainly a part of Ryan and Mitt’s undeserving.

After all these years, the debunked pseudo philosopher has finally gotten herself a road to the White House.  Although long dead, her spirit has thrived in the hearts and minds of 15 year old males and selfish plutocrats looking for a way to justify their refusal to clean their rooms or their burning desire to keep their interest and dividends earnings/trust fund/insider trading windfall all to themselves.

Meet Paul Ryan, the newly minted Republican Vice Presidential candidate. Strapped onto Romney’s side like a Rugar onto an aging New Hampshire Libertarian, Ryan is posited as the one who will make Romney human.  Yes, Ryan, the self proclaimed student of the archetypical anti-human, Ayn Rand, will give the public the illusion that someone among the two of them gives a damn about someone besides themselves.

Already the Romney camp has had to decide to stuff down the press’ anxious inquiries into the details of the famous Ryan plan — you know, the plan that Newt Gingrich himself thought was going a little too far? Yeah, that Newt Gingrich, he of the “make mothers drop their babies where-ever to work at McDonald’s” Contract on America Gingrich, no shining Samaritan he. But that little glimmer of empathy made the GOP panic enough to furiously remind Newt that the Big Daddy GOP ain’t having any of that middling concern for old people, children and poor folks.   Ryan’s plan must succeed! Old folks wheel your chairs to the gallows! The time has come for the great sacrifice for Capital!

Can we imagine a world ruled by Romney and Ryan?  A world where insider trading becomes a right, where the sitting president’s offspring will run to hold the highest office in the land year after year? Where Congress won’t have to bother to have session because everyone knows the outcome already — what’s to argue? Where the television shows will blast sitcoms of happy rich people day and night and news casts will consist of lost puppy dogs and the weekly roll-call of prisoners condemned to death?

Can we imagine a world where housing subsidies are cut and a half million people will find themselves instantly homeless? Where the disease stricken or the mobility disabled will be left to hobble or crawl home to die because they can’t buy a hospital voucher? Will apartment buildings that once the landlords received subsidies for become abandoned as they can’t make the mortgage payments for lack of tenants that can pay rent on a Wal-Mart salary?  Will municipal welfare departments shutter their doors, lacking the resources to serve? Food pantries run dry, soup kitchens become over run, having to turn out before the line outside is exhausted?  Will entire neighborhoods turn black at night as power prices soar without subsidies to control them?

Will children who slept in parks, cars, alley ways, abandoned buildings, with no heat, no running water, filthy from the day before, shy away from school? Living with no place to study, with no cooked food to eat, living among a world of prosperity, what message will those children absorb?

Will murders rise as people in the cities fight over scarce resources? Will an armed suburban guerilla warfare begin as the inner city poor turn to the suburbs where once soccer moms plant homemade mines around their pristine three acre plot? Where angry and hungry inner city residents crouch behind mulberry bushes and stinkweed in the summer humidity to wait for the right moment to fire and overtake the house that has a water well and a churning diesel generator keeping the well stocked freezer going?  Will the police state expand, will martial law be called?

Paranoid some? Talk to your neighbors.  Talk to some “preppers”, one underground group among many convinced that the scenario described in the last paragraph isn’t too far off.  Unfortunately, what’s lost is the trajectory of how the nation could get there.  Its in our control, we don’t have to give up and allow defeat to define our future.

Often pundits and other observers remark on the poor memory of the American electorate.  While the poor recall of a politician’s remark or slip of judgment is one thing; to forget our entire human history is quite another.  Only within the last half of the last century did a huge portion of the human population get a chance to know what its like to have a place out of the rain and cold; to know when or where our next meal is coming from — or what it will be; a rat? a discarded piece of bread? a donation from the back of a UN truck?  A lot of that had to do with capital prosperity, but that, unlike the story repeated erroneously among the American public, did not happen naturally by the accumulation of capital alone.  It seems that people assume that the accumulation of wealth and capital assets automatically results in general popular prosperity, as if a natural occurrence as regular and reliable as the sun following the moon.

But the social contract did not fall out of the sky, it is not written in the bark of trees.  What is written in the bark of trees is the struggle of nature, of the universally understood vulgarity of nature that many like to not think about; the live and let live, the kill or be killed.  Paul Ryan’s mentor in spirit Ayn Rand celebrated the brute violence of survival and believed that all humans had attained their highest actualization when they begin to act as if they had no more self awareness than a snarling dog in a pack.

We have the capacity to become dogs; to emulate the most vile and base behavior and return to our mammalian roots.  But with our larger brains that developed the awareness we call “self”; the “I”, also came the awareness that without the ‘you’ — our mother, our father, our brother, our neighbor, that “I” becomes merely a weak, hungry mass of flesh whose worth can only be redeemed by the contribution made to the other — the community who can hear us cry out.  If Romney and Ryan get in the white house and do what they wish, we’ll need more than just a god to help us, we’ll each other and our memory.

Depression Era Daydream – http://seaheff.com/pages/comics.html

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,
Advertisements