"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." - Lord Acton
It literally takes an act of Congress to punish a high ranking politician for lying, cheating, stealing, tax evasion, or even an act of treason. Although occasionally, if they fall out of favor among their peers, one might be thrown under the bus and made an example of, to appease the masses. But most of the time common citizens are always held accountable for their actions, and are always reminded we must take personal responsibility for our deeds. Members of our Supreme Court are especially above the law, as they have no ethics laws to abide by - - - no matter what, they have a job for life.
Even the President of the United States can be impeached, but not a sitting Supreme Court Justice. Short of murder, they are off the hook (although even some politicians have gotten away with DUI and manslaughter, and had been forgiven in the past). Diplomats get "diplomatic immunity" for almost everything as well, as do members in our intelligence community who are acting in our "national interests".
But sitting members in our highest courts are like gods, as they answer to no one. 308 million people in the United States have to rely on nine human beings to abide by their conscience and their interpretation of our sacred Constitution. Look at some, such as Clarence Thomas, or the ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. It's an outrage. The PEOPLE can't vote them out of power, no matter what they do.
The next most corrupted and most powerful people in our government are the Republican politicians, who get unlimited financial backing from corporations who don't represent the interests of common citizens, but corporate charters, whose only interest is not the environment, public safety, national security, or infrastructure, or anything else that the PEOPLE care about - - - but just corporate profits and enriching a few at the top.
"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely."
When a Republican politician uses statistics that are spoon-fed to them by their conservative think tanks such as the Heritage Foundation, they don't take the time to research the facts on their own before presenting them to their constituents or to their audience on Fox News. Or if they do, and they know better, then what they repeat is even more egregious.
For example: They want to raise the age for retirement, moving the goal post back several years for those who can qualify for Social Security, saying it wasn't meant to be used as a pension fund, but as a "safety net" for the elderly. The statistic they site is that people in America are living longer. But the life expectancy has mostly increased for wealthier people, for those who have access to better healthcare and don't have to engage in extremely labor-intensive work. The rich may be living much longer, but the poor, only slightly so.
Forbes, quoting the World Health Organization, "People further down the social ladder usually run at least twice the risk of serious illness and premature death of those near the top." And the Republican think tanks know this, yet they still want to raise the age of Social Security, and maliciously call it a Ponzi Scheme, knowing full well it's not. The Republicans just want to use the Social Security Trust Fund as a big piggy bank for themselves and their corporate masters on Wall Street. Poor people still get old and sick and still need Social Security and Medicare. They aren't out-living anybody or anything, except for maybe their usefulness to corporate America.
If someone without healthcare insurance is on their feet all day long earning a minimum wage digging ditches, pulling vegetables from the ground, lifting heavy boxes, laying bricks, tarring roofs, stocking shelves, or operating a jackhammer - hard work is still hard work if you're doing it every day for 50 years. Advanced medical science hasn't come so far as to eliminate natural aging. With all the aches and pains that comes with aging, who wants to bust their ass doing manual labor any longer than they already have to?
Republican politicians that propose raising the age for Social Security don't NEED Social Security for themselves - and they have cushy desk jobs, and can sit on their ass with a cold bottle of Perrier, with a secretary in the next room. Poor people have slave labor with a boss breathing down their neck, and many sweat under the hot sun for ten and twelve hours a day. A Republican politician in Washington D.C, has a 2-hour 3-martini lunch before going back to their air-conditioned office to ignore their constituent's phone calls and letters.
Instead of moving Social Security higher to 67 from 65 like we did, shouldn't we have moved it lower to 62 from 65 instead? But the Republicans want to move it to 70 to save rich people more in taxes, so we can work harder and longer. Moving the age higher for retirement is regress, not progress. Is our society in regression? Are we moving backward? Are we in decline?
A few have made comparisons to the United States and the fall of the Roman Empire, and for very good reasons: political in-fighting, greed, disparity of wealth, a break down in infrastructure, a military spread too thin, corruption in government, massive debt, and a reluctance to heed to the people's wishes...a society in decline.
After the fall of Rome, all of Europe fell into decline. The years from approximately 408 (when Rome was first sacked) until the 14th century (the Renaissance Era) was considered the Dark Ages. Civilization broke down, and as the old relics of Rome's greatest achievements such as the aqueducts, amphitheaters, and the Pantheon laid waste and stood in ruin, the people of the time must have wondered at the greatness that mankind once was - when instead, they now had starvation, plague, poverty, constant war, and feudalism. The great Roman Colosseum was eventually picked to pieces for its stones to build homes, used to house livestock, and became a shelter for the homeless.
Is this were America is headed? The Republicans want less for the poor, and will only begrudgingly support education, infrastructure, and our cultural institutions (but not the NPR). The Republicans only seem beholden to corporate interests for profit, not to the citizens or society as a whole. The Republicans insist on "less government", even though our population has grown from 200 million people to over 300 million in just the last 40 years. When they say they want "less government", what they're saying is they want less services for more people. That is going backwards. That is regression. That is a society in decline.
And the Republican's goal to achieve this "smaller government", is to keep taxes low on the rich, forcing more cut-backs on the poor and middle-class, and reducing all government spending as the population grows. Because of the runaway greed of the rich, who are no longer paying their fair share of tax revenues to the government, we see massive cuts in the budgets to fund government services. It's as though the wealthy has already ceded from the union (the government...us...the PEOPLE). Eventually we'll end up with two classes of people, just rich or poor, and nothing in the middle.
This is a country in decline, as we cut back in education and infrastructure spending just to a enrich a few powerful industrialists that are represented by corrupted politicians in government who are beholden to these corporate interests. We're losing our previous dedication and commitment to our citizens, allowing millions of them to live in poverty, just so that a few in a segment of our society can become even more rich and powerful...until the day when Washington D.C. is finally sacked and America goes through its own Dark Ages.
It's already started, and raising the age for Social Security is just but one of many signs of things to come unless we change our attitudes, and the people can get themselves represented by their political leaders to do the right thing, and not allow runaway corporate greed to rule our country.
Rich Republican politicians, many already millionaires, who also have their fat government salaries, government pensions, and government healthcare, might live longer than the rest of us, because most of us have to actually work for a living - and we most likely won't live as long as they do. 50 million Americans have no healthcare insurance at all. So normal people, average Americans, regular people, working citizens, do not want to work another 5, 10, or 15 years (or until they day we drop dead) to get what we paid for all our lives. We want a Social Security check every month and Medicare when we turn 65 years old after busting our asses all our lives.
Let the healthier and wealthier people work until they're 70 years old if they want to. The rest of us work to live, not live to work.
When Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan ran for President in 1980, they didn't take one penny in campaign contributions, they ran their campaigns on the $1 we contributed in our federal tax returns. Take money out of politics, make the uber-wealthy and corporations pay the same EFFECTIVE tax rate as we do, impose legal and ethic standards on members of the Supreme Court, ban all products made by American corporations manufactured (or assembled) in foreign countries, hold members of Congress accountable to the same laws we must abide by, and make it a crime of perjury when a political candidate lies to us, the same way it's a crime when we lie to law enforcement. And don't raise the age for Social Security, otherwise, it's just one more step towards a nation in decline...and America will go the way Rome did.
Under a Republican ruled plutocracy governed by corporate America, one day we might also look up in wonder at our past crowning achievements such as the ruins of the Golden Gate Bridge, the Empire State Building, and the Hoover Dam - structures that were built in the 1930s - and be awed at what our society was once capable of, while the homeless are finding refuge in the White House.
In hundred years will our grand-children's children look back on us and think of us as a backwards and uncivilized society? Or will they only wish that things were as good for them as they are for us today? A fellow named Ernest Ackerman got a lump-sum payment of 17 cents in January 1937, when Social Security was once a one-time pay-out. Now 18-year-olds today may have to work until they're 70 or 75 years old, and might not have any Social Security at all if the Republicans had their way.
And if it's true that the rich live longer, then it must also be true that only the good die young.