Monday, March 28, 2011
Did God Bless America?
According to the New York Times a recent report from the Bureau of Economic Analysis claims corporate profits rose 29.2 percent last year in 2010. That is the fastest growth in over 60 years! So tell me then, where are all the jobs that the Republicans have promised that the Bush Tax Cuts would create, and who's paying payroll taxes?
Social Security and Medicare benefits help old, sick, and disabled Americans. Medicaid (for the low income and non-income people like myself), helps the downtrodden and poor. But all these social services will soon exceed the payroll taxes that fund them.
But if programs such as Medicare are "going broke", then why did our government just reduce BY HALF Medicare taxes in average working people's payroll taxes in the Obama Compromise this past December? This was part of the deal with Republicans to extend the Bush Tax Cuts* for the wealthiest 3% (for 2 years) in exchange for extending just the funding of unemployment benefits (for those who still qualified) for only 1 more year.
* Corporations like GE pay no taxes at all, and the Republicans want to lower corporate taxes and eliminate capital gains taxes entirely (capital gains taxes are the rich man's "payroll taxes", and pay no Medicare or Social Security taxes at all).
Wealthy people don't NEED Social Security or Medicare when they get old, sick, or disabled. But because they consider it "free money" when they turn 62 (or have a working spouse who gets laid off from a job and qualifies), they will apply for Social Security and unemployment benefits whenever possible. They will take from the government treasury (i.e. tax breaks, loop holes, subsidies, etc.), but they never want to contribute their fair share to it.
So if we just relied on payroll taxes alone to fund these government programs (Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid), and we have 40 million people dependent on these government services - just for their very survival, and we now have 15 million unemployed Americans paying NO payroll taxes at all (and another 15 million under-employed Americans now paying far LESS in payroll taxes because of reduced hours), how can ANY government program remain viable if the wealthiest are paying less and less into the government treasury - all while their massive wealth is just being hoarded away in off-shore bank accounts and earning interest?
Now we learn that our old, sick, poor, and disabled Americans will get no "cost-of-living" increases - AGAIN! - because our government says there has been no significant rise in the cost of goods or services. But they conveniently leave out the cost of food and energy when calculating this "cost-of-living" index. The two most basic needs just for human survival! They're basing this "index" on such items as the cost of flat screen TVs that are being imported from China. Why is this?
So, with the corporations and bankers and CEOs getting richer and paying less in taxes; with more and more American workers losing their jobs or getting paid far less; and with the Republicans (and Tea Party) recklessly slashing the budgets, I've come to only one conclusion: Our government, the Republicans, and the wealthy wants to work the rest of us to death...literally.
If you are 21 years old today and digging holes for minimum wage, you will need to do this for the rest of your life - until the very day you die. Is this how God blessed America?
50 years from now when you are a great-grandpa, and after breaking your back digging holes all your life (even if you increase your "worker productivity"), you will not be able to retire, pay for heat in your home, buy basic food, or get any required medicine unless you continue to break your back digging holes until the very day you die - and fall into the very hole you've been digging all your life.
If you are 21 years old today, there most likely won't even be any Social Security or Medicare for you, or by then, you won't be able to qualify until you're at least 80 years old. That's where it's going now. You will need to work all your life, digging holes, and being grateful that, unlike China* , America is "exceptional". And unlike Europe*, you'll realize that America doesn't care for their old, sick, poor, and disabled citizens. Here in the United States of America we throw them away like used paper towels.
* Is it that wealthy Europeans no longer want to help their old, sick, disabled, and poor...and that's why we see the all the protests in Europe today? And what of the people in North Africa and the Middle East? Is it JUST "freedom and democracy" that they clamor for, or is it really for better economic conditions? I predict that it is THOSE people who will be the new "emerging market", and that the working people in China (the new middle-class) will be then be complaining when all THEIR jobs are outsourced from China to the Arab countries...to people who will be more than happy to work for one-dollar-a-day, breaking their backs to further enrich the wealthy American and European corporations and bankers.
* What would it take to induce a Chinese company to move to America and pay American workers our higher wages? Would lower corporate taxes in America (with all the "legal" tax loopholes) be more profitable for them? Or would paying their domestic workforce much lower wages be much more profitable?
It's odd that the Republicans would attack the old, sick, poor, and disabled Americans...the way they attack labor unions who only want fair wages. The Republicans must think that old, sick, poor, and disabled Americans are also Socialists who just want to "redistribute the wealth". But isn't that EXACTLY what the Republicans have been doing for the past several decades? Taking from the average working people (and the weakest among us) so that they'd all have less, just so that the richest among us could have more?
So, judging by the past 50 years, we might also assume that 50 years from now (at the present pace) 1% of America's population will have 99% of all the wealth and be living in luxury, while everyone else will be digging holes all their lives - until the very last day until they die - just so that the rich can live longer and better than everyone else.
If you come from a poor or working-class background, your chances of obtaining vast wealth is as good as hitting the lottery, even if you work hard, save your money, and go to college. Sure, we always hear about the great American success stories (the American Dream come true); but in reality, these stories are much more rare than they are common. Very few of us actually have the talent, opportunity, or the good luck to obtain this dream. There are a lot of very talented rock bands that no one has ever even heard of, so most of them don't become ROCK STARS, but must also dig holes for a paycheck and pay payroll taxes to the government, just like the rest of us. (I know a few.)
But the Republican's argument has always been that if you tax the wealthiest less, they will create more jobs for us digging holes (but paying us less than before) - - - and maybe, if you dig long enough, and if you dig deep enough, then you TOO can stop digging holes and one day become rich just like them! But while you've been digging your holes, they were shoveling shit. But if you CAN stop digging, shouldn't you at least keep paying taxes?
When can you stop digging holes? Will you EVER qualify for Social Security? And if so, will it be enough to pay for heat and food? Or will you have to dig until the very day you die? Did God really bless America, or just the richest people in America?
Quote of the Day by Mike Thornton: "George Orwell quotes 'Truth is treason in the empire of lies.' That about sums up my thoughts of how the government handles truth. The three branches of our government used to be the executive, legislative and judicial - but that has since changed. It's now the bankers, corporations, and the news media."