Early this morning while the top 1% partied like it was 1929, the Senate approved a bill on the "fiscal cliff". In an overwhelming 89-8 vote they approved a plan to let tax rates go up on families earning more than $450,000 a year, postponing the so-called sequester cuts for two months, and extending unemployment benefits for one year (among other provisions). Only 5 Republicans and 3 Democrats voted against it.
The problem right now is, the bill has to go to the Tea Party controlled House of Representatives, and the House Majority leader and the Speaker of the House has to allow it come to the floor for an up and down vote (as it is, without amendments or any changes). And then (and this is the hard part) a few sane Republicans will then have to vote in favor of it. The House convenes later today to "take a look at it".
How much you wanna bet there will be more Republican obstructionism? The sticking point for the GOP has always been government spending (aka "entitlements" = stuff for poor and middle-class Americas. See my post: Starve the Beast: The GOP's 30-Year Strategy)
"Government spending" does NOT include the billions of dollars spent every year on defense contracts or congressional salaries (and their "government entitlements"). Members of Congress (50% of who are already millionaires and "earn" $174,000 a year) will soon be getting another pay raise; while at the same time, Republicans are currently attempting to change the COLA for the disabled and Social Security retirees.
Besides giving very low tax rates to the very wealthy (that's a given), we know what MIGHT make the Republicans happy in 2013, and that's entitlement reforms. But what exactly ARE "entitlement reforms"?
- The Republicans and the media keep calling cuts to Medicare benefits for the elderly "entitlement reforms".
- The Republicans and the media keep calling cuts to Social Security retirement incomes for the elderly "entitlement reforms".
- The Republicans and the media keep calling raising the age for Social Security and Medicare "entitlement reforms", even though it's the rich who live longer.
- The Republicans and the media keep calling cuts to Social Security disability compensation for those who can no longer work "entitlement reforms".
- The Republicans and the media keep calling cuts to unemployment insurance for those who can't find work "entitlement reforms".
- The Republicans and the media keep calling cuts to healthcare and medicine for the poor and impoverish children (Medicaid) "entitlement reforms".
- The Republicans and the media keep calling cuts to Pell grants (tuition for poor kids who want to go to college) "entitlement reforms".
- The Republicans and the media keep calling cuts to SNAP (food stamps) and TANF (welfare) for the most impoverished in this country "entitlement reforms".
Most Republicans believe that an entitlement is "a belief that one is deserving of and/or entitled to certain privileges."
The Democrats (and the more sensible Republicans) believe that an entitlement is "a right to benefits specified especially by law or contract" (such as Social Security and Medicare, which the Republicans have always been against since 1965).
I personally believe that people like Mitt Romney feel they are "entitled" to write off $17,000 a year from their income taxes for a show horse in the Olympics --- and I believe that ALL human beings (not just wealthy ones) are "entitled" to basic healthcare (especially in the richest country in human history during modern times in a civilized society).
I strongly believe that it is usually the ultra-wealthy who believe that it is they who are more deserving of and/or entitled to certain privileges -- and I truly believe that the poor and middle-class are much more humble and almost never feel that way.
I also believe that it is the rich who feel entitled to a bigger yacht because they truly believe that they worked harder, were much smarter, and were much more responsible than anybody else, and that God and good luck and chance had absolutely nothing to do with their good fortunes.
What would make the Republicans and their wealthy sponsors (and the big banks and the major corporations) happy in 2013?
The stock market recovery over the past four years didn't make them happy. Record profits haven't made them happy. Bigger bonuses and higher salaries, year after tear, haven't made them happy. The Bush tax cuts for the past 10 years didn't make them happy.
It seems as though NOTHING will make the wealthiest "job creators" happy or give them ANY "certainty" in the marketplace, because they have been bitterly complaining about "freeloaders" and "entitlements" for decades. If you only watch Fox News, you'll hear them whine every day.
And why in 2013, do so many Americans now need to rely on any form of "entitlements"?
It's really quite simple. After the end of the Vietnam War, our American "job creators" have outsourced the better paying manufacturing jobs
to China, Taiwan, and Korea --- while leaving us with the lower paying jobs in the service industry
(e.g. Wal-Mart, Dominos, Staples, McDonalds, etc.)
Apple pays their employees at Foxconn in China $1 an hour --- how can American workers possibly compete with that? Meanwhile Apple's CEO has a pay package worth $500 million.
The Walton's pay their employees $9 an hour while sitting on $100 billion in the bank. How much money do these "job creators" need to put people back to work and to pay them a "living wage".
How much "certainty" do billionaires need, and do the working poor deserve any certainty at all in their lives?
According to the Social Security Administration 50% of all U.S. workers only earns
$27,000 a year or less, forcing many families to rely on these "government entitlements", when really,
they're "wage subsidies".
Not to mention, the large corporations are paying historically low "effective" tax rates and their CEOs only pay a 15% tax rate on their "capital gains" earned from stock options, while someone earning $50,000 a year is in the 25% the marginal tax bracket.
For the past 30 years the wealth in this country has been extracted from the bottom to the top. The only thing middle-class taxpayers (and the poor and unemployed) have left going for them is Social Security when they get old, and unemployment benefits and food stamps when their jobs get sent to China. But the GOP wants to end that too.
What would finally make the Republicans happy?
Would it be when 99% of the entire U.S. workforce is making minimum wage, has no healthcare insurance, has no retirement income from Social Security and has no Medicare when they get too old and sick to work any longer?
Would the Republicans be happy if taxes would only be collected and used to fund an already bloated defense budget? What exactly does $650 billion a year defend working Americans from? I know it defends corporate interests abroad and the wayward millionaire who gets lost on their yacht in pirate seas.
And I know it fattens the wallets of the CEOs in the defense industry, who make multiples of millions of dollars every year.
Would the Republicans finally be happy if they could say, "To hell with the poor, the disabled and the unemployed! They can all go panhandle for quarters or starve in the streets! They're not real Americans, they're lazy freeloaders who take no responsibility for their own lives!"
The GOP says the poor and unemployed could rely on the charity of our neighbors and the church, but the neighbors are in the same boat that we are, and the church says they are already over-extended because of the Great Recession when 8 million American were laid off, most who never found work again.
What would finally make the Republicans happy? Their "job creators"
have had their tax breaks for the past 12 years, and the few jobs they actually
created were mostly low-paying. But yet they keep insisting that if we lower
their taxes even more (and made them permanent) they would magically create 30
jobs! (Where, in China?)
Very few Americans WANT to rely on food stamps or unemployment checks. We don't LIKE living in poverty. We want "stuff" too! We'd rather work. The federal minimum wage today is only $7.25 an hour. I made that as a high school drop-out 40 years ago while working in a factory!
The rich are living longer and evading income taxes, while the rest of us are being left to wither on the vine. But STILL the Republicans aren't happy. Can't their billionaire sponsors EVER be happy with what they already have?
What can poor people do to make the billionaires happy, besides just busting their asses to the bone while working for them all their lives, before finally dropping dead and having nothing to leave behind to their children and grand-children?
What will make the GOP and their wealthy sponsors happy in 2013?
Nothing. It's impossible to please malcontents, but yet, Democrats keep foolishly trying to compromise with them. The Democrats have been compromising with them for decades, and that's why we're here where we are now.
What will make the Republicans happy in 2013? Nothing; not until 99% of us are left with nothing but sticks and rocks to survive on.
Warren Buffett wasn't joking, America's poor and middle-class are literally being exterminated.
The True Burden of Government
If you make $250,000 a year, you're rich.
Medicare Spending Isn’t Out of Control
If your taxes do go up next year, count your blessings...you will have been earning a very good a income.
Corporate Profits Hit Record High --- Worker Wages Hit Record Low
The Corporate Tax Rate Is Lowest in Decades
CEO's in the S&P 500 Now Average $13 Million a Year, Year after Year
Capital Gains Taxes for Rich CEOs at Historical Lows
50% of all American workers earn less than $26,965 a year
Why the Rich Live Longer
Every Year $1 Trillion is Not Taxed on the Rich for Social Security or Medicare
Murder, Greed and Betrayal of the Rich and Famous
Every Year Billions of Dollars Lost to Tax Evasion
Austerity for Posterity
A Conservative Case for the Welfare State
*** Google "Bank fraud", "libor rate fixing scandal", "robo-signing mortgage foreclosures" (etc.) to complete this list.**** And why does Akamai Technologies spy on all computer users? *****ALERT!!! "Get Rabbit TV" is another corporate scam!