I also have a one-word answer: "Greed."
It's one thing to be born and raised, and ultimately die, in poverty. Other than what they might see on "reality" TV shows, the abject poor have known nothing else. It's quite different than pulling yourself out of poverty to eventually become very wealthy. But what America has mostly seen over the past 35 years (and more so since the Great Recession of 2008) is millions of Americans being born and raised in middle-class households, only to become reduced to poverty over the span of their adult working years. I am just but one example.
|It appalls and enrages me that Ali Velshi continues to allow economic extremists such as Stephen Moore and Alan
Greenspan to constantly spew their failed economic polices of Reaganomics, as well as their egregious and dangerous -- and even laughable -- farce of "trickle down" economics on CNN.
Since the Reagan era, it's been very well documented and proven that wealth for working Americans has dwindled and wages have remained stagnate or declined over the last 35 years because of the
"conservative's" failed financial, social, and economic
What really stood out for me was when I heard Alan Greenspan on CNN yesterday complain of the enormous increase in what he called "the so-called social programs" (or, as Mitt Romney and Bill O'Reilly would called them,"free stuff".)
Most of this "free stuff" goes to our seniors, those who have worked hard all their lives to QUALIFY for all their "free stuff" (when they either retired or became disabled). They paid payroll taxes on 100% of their earnings for all their working lives in return for all their "free stuff". People like Mitt Romney may have paid 0.0001% of their total life-time earnings into Social Security and Medicare taxes; and the rich live longer, so they can retire earlier, collect more, and collect longer.
Much of all this bandied about "free stuff" also goes to our military Veterans who sacrificed for their country*, those who are poor, and millions of our children. The rest of this "free stuff" goes to corporate welfare and corporate subsidies that benefit millionaires and billionaires.
* Much of the time, American soldiers sacrificed their lives on the false pretense of defending working Americans at home (and this country) and defending democracy abroad, when what they were really defending were American corporate interests and their profits overseas. The corporations lobbied Congress against paying higher taxes, and Veteran's benefits suffered when our soldiers came home. Let China have Taiwan, and maybe all those cheap-labor manufacturing jobs might come back to the United States as good-paying union jobs for Americans.
Most people who get "free stuff" from the government (healthcare, food stamps, etc.) don't really WANT this stuff, they NEED it; most of these people would much rather a have a job paying a REAL living wage. But right-wing conservative extremists NEVER ask the question, "Why has there been such a huge increase in social programs and government entitlements?" I suspect I know EXACTLY why they never ask this question out loud, because they know, but they would just rather not say. Why didn't Ali Velshi ask this question of Stephen Moore or Alan Greenspan yesterday when they were on his show?
It's for the same old reason: the rich get richer as the poor get poorer. Prices go up and wages goes down (and/or jobs are shipped overseas for cheaper labor). It's math. When 50% of the workforce (currently in this country today, data here) only earns less than $26,000 a year when it costs $26,000 a year for rent, heat, clothing, and transportation, they can not also buy healthcare and food (unless they give up some other living necessity). And how are they to also save for their kid's college education, their retirement, and any emergencies? How can they live without this "free stuff" when they are already struggling enormously just for their already meager existence?
If the much idolized "job creators" paid labor (wages and salaries) a REAL middle-class wage in a 2012 economy, the minimum wage would be $20 an hour, not $7.25. But instead, the job creators pay their employees at Wal-Mart, Staples, McDonalds, and Papa John's Pizza an average of $8.50 an hour, offer less than 40 hours a week, and give them no healthcare or pension plans. If labor unions dare to organize for fair wages and healthcare, multi-billion-dollar corporations move jobs to anti-union Southern states or to places like China (Just ask the auto industry or companies such as Boeing or Apple or Hostess).
Ask big-mouth Donald Trump. After repeatedly (and falsely) bashing President Obama's stance on trade with China, and while also praising Mitt Romney's intended policy with China (branding China a currency manipulator during his first day in office and possibly starting a trade war), Donald Trump went on the David Letterman Show to pimp his new line of clothing that's on sale at Macy's. When asked where his ties were made, Trump claimed he didn't know (micro-managing his businesses?)...and then Letterman read the label and it said, "Made in China".
The average weekly unemployment check: $309 --- The look on Donald Trump's face: PRICELESS!!! See the video at YouTube.
Why does Apple's CEO Tim Cook need a $400+ million salary when most of his employees work in China at Foxconn (a Taiwanese multinational electronics manufacturing company) for $1 an hour? Couldn't Mister Cook have earned $10 million and put Americans to work for $20 a hour? How much money is ever enough for the "job creators"? The CEOs at American corporations on the Fortune 500 list would rather squeeze their workers to increase their own salaries from $10 million a year to $15 million a year, because for them...$10 million a year just isn't enough to adequately live on. Now there are millions of workers in China (and elsewhere) paying taxes to THEIR country and contributing to THEIR economy.
Bill O'Reilly can pay CASH for a multi-million beachfront mansion in a wealthy neighborhood on Long Island, but he threatens to quit his job at Fox News if his federal income taxes go up just a measly 4% to contribute to the social programs that might help keep poor families from becoming hungry or homeless. Am I the only sane person left in this country that sees how ludicrous, evil, selfish and mean Bill O'Reilly really is?
People like O'Reilly think that just BECAUSE of their financial success, that that somehow makes them special and more entitled -- and makes people like O'Reilly think they are wise old sages, and they believe that also makes them pompously correct on all their public policy opinions. People like O'Reilly and the bankers on Wall Street (as opposed to those in Hollywood) rarely attribute their vast wealth to any luck at all, but attribute their good fortune to skill, hard work, and by pulling up their boot straps.
I pulled up my boot straps, and I'm still poor. I'm pulling them up right now, at this very moment, as I type. I've been tugging on my boot straps for 35 years before I finally became laid off from work in 2008 while in my 50's, denied re-employment just for BEING unemployed and in my 50's, and denied Social Security disability for arthritis in my back (from working hard over the last 35 years at labor intensive jobs). I'm no longer a "maker" but a "taker" because I rely of "free stuff" (food stamps).
Regarding "entitlements" and those who are the "government dole" --- last week I heard Steve Doocy on Fox News say people who earn $45,000 a year are saying to themselves, "Why I should I go work when I can stay home and watch TV and make just as much."
Doocy is a douche bag, plain and simple. Where I live in Las Vegas, welfare (TANF) pays a single male person without kids $400 a month ($4,800 a year). The average Social Security payment is $1,111 a
month ($13,332 a year) . I get $200 a month for food stamps ($2,400 a year).
So even if I COULD qualify for ALL this "free stuff" (which is impossible to get SSD and TANF at the same time), it would total only $20,532 a year, less than HALF of what Douche Bag Doocy claimed on Fox News to millions of his viewers. And that is STILL below the poverty level for a family of four. But Douche Bag Doocy thinks people like me would rather quit their job and live on half their previous salary just so they can sit on the couch and watch more TV. Is he serious? How could I afford cable TV living on only $20,532 a year? Basic cable would be a luxury!
A couple of months ago on Fox News big-mouth Bill O'Reilly falsely claimed that "millions of Americans are leaving their jobs to go on disability." O'Really O'Reilly? You're telling us that millions of people would prefer to live on much less, or nothing at all, rather than go to work?
Will someone please tell me where I can sign up for all this "free stuff", because I was laid off in 2008, my unemployment benefits ran out in 2010, I was denied disability in 2012, and I won't qualify for EARLY Social Security until 2017. I won't be able to pull up my boot straps much longer because my boots are worn out and frayed with holes, and the boot straps are in disrepair...and without any income, my boots can't be replaced.
I would only hope that Ali Velshi only continues to allow economic extremists such as Stephen Moore on his show to point out the stark contrasts to economic fairness and the ridiculous and selfish economic polices that people like Moore and others consistently promote.
Republicans keep saying "You can't raise taxes in a bad economy." Does that mean that in a good economy we should raise taxes? Like in 2001 and 2003 when George W. Bush lowered taxes while starting two wars? What defines a "good" economy for people like Stephen Moore? When the stocks on the DOW JONES doubled in value over the past 4 years, like they did under Obama? Or when every American worker fresh out of high school can find a job in a local factory earning a "living wage" of AT LEAST $20 a hour in 2012?
Why have more people been reduced to using food stamps? Because of the greedy rich. "Wealth is like sea-water; the more we drink, the thirstier we become; and the same is true of fame." - by Schopenhauer
The Waltons (Wal-Mart) are collectively worth over $100 billion. Couldn't they have just as easily doubled their employees' wages and provided them all with healthcare insurance, and still be collectively worth $50 billion? How much money does one person need to live on in their life-time? Isn't over $1 billion pushing the limit on obscene when so many other Americans are being pushed out of the workforce and forced to need "free stuff" like food stamps?
Every time I see Stephen Moore (a shallow, selfish, putz, and a shill and pimp for the very wealthy) open his mouth on my TV set, I have to change the channel for fear I might throw a heavy object at the TV and break it. He is NOT a REAL "economist", but a snake in the grass selling snake oil.
As far as Alan Greenspan is concerned, it's been widely noted that he is one of those who are directly responsible for the financial meltdown in 2008, so why does Ali Velshi even give him any relevance at all on a national TV forum? Greenspan should be unceremoniously hung from the nearest tree for all the lives he helped ruin just to make a handful of already very wealthy people a lot richer.
Shame on Ali Velshi for giving people like this so much time on his show. Let's see Ali moderate an hour-long debate between Stephen Moore and someone like Senator Bernie Sanders...over even myself. I can tell the American people the truth about how Stephen Moore consistently LIES about corporate tax rates, and how Ali NEVER challenges him on "EFFECTIVE" tax rates...what big corporations are actually obligated to pay.
And although this might be off topic, why are all those white people in Southern and Mountain states petitioning the White House for succeeding from the union after Obama was re-elected? I say, let them. Those states get a lot more federal money than then pay in. The rest of the country would be much better off economically without them. They've been an infected pimple on the ass of this country since 1863, so let them all go.
That way, the South can "rise again" and they can keep their Dixicratic "small government" ideology, keep their anti-worker and anti-union philosophy, impose their fanatical religious beliefs on others, have their Constitutionally guaranteed State rights, believe in their ancient and backward scientific theories, raise their Confederate flag, continue with their bigotry and racism, keep the Aryan Nation and the KKK, propagate their war and hate on the poor and minorities, make moonshine, continue their disrespect for woman (barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen), build an electrified fence keep out Mexicans, and write their voter suppression laws so only rich white men can vote.
Maybe they can grow their economy by building cotton plantations again and they can all live in huge and obscene mansions, just like they did in the "good ole days" (when slave labor paid ZERO an hour). Let the South build their own infrastructure, railroads and Navy (they didn't before, and that's why they lost the LAST Civil War). That way, the rest of this country can just move on into the 21st century without the rest of those ignorant and idiotic morons.
And they can also take Alan Greenspan and Stephen Moore with them. We'll think about keeping Ali.