Tuesday, April 12, 2011

U.S. Constitution is Cause for Economic Mess

At first I was very suspicious when I heard about a young and upcoming (and inexperienced) senator from Illinois running for president. But I wasn't all too thrilled with the rouge senator from Arizona either. I thought at the time that - again, as usual - America was being given a choice between the better of two evils (or two flip-floppers).

The president we got was Obama, and like most presidents before him (in my life-time) he flip-flopped on his campaign promises. It was politics as usual, candidates saying anything they know the voters want to hear, just to get themselves elected so as to pay back favors to their major corporate campaign contributors. Just like any other dirty unethical politician, Obama was beholden to bankers and corporations - and was burdened with broken campaign promises.

As a candidate, he promised to allow public comment before signing bills, raise taxes on the filthy uber rich, provide tax credits to businesses for hiring new employees, allow Americans to withdraw funds from 401(k) and retirement accounts without penalties, ban lobbyists from serving in his administration, reform earmarks, bring all combat troops home from Iraq in 16 months, give Americans $4,000 in tax credits for college, and run a "transparent" administration.

He also said he would march for worker's rights, but nary a peep from him about Wisconsin.

And why have I been having such a hard time getting a damn doctor's visit? What ever happened to "health care for all"? Now I hear that in the new budget, beside Pell Grants for college students, they want to cut out Medicaid for the poor too! WTF!!!

Obama promised he would repeal the Bush Tax Cuts to increase capital gains and dividends taxes from 15 to 20 percent for those making more than $250,000 (couples) or $200,000 (single). But that was total B.S., we saw how well that went last December with the Obama Compromise. Disgraceful I would say.

From the Daily Kos: As I was watching John Boehner's brief statement about the deal to keep the government going by screwing the poor and elderly out of more of the things they need to survive, I was struck by one of his statements—that this budget will "help create a better environment for job creators in our country." Job creators is, of course, Republican-speak for "the wealthy." They're not greedy people hoarding the nation's resources and wealth, they're "job creators"!

Read this interesting concept: The Job Creation Accountability Act would hold these "job creators" accountable: If they're performing their function in our economy and creating jobs, their taxes will be low. If they're are not performing their function, their taxes will be high, so their wealth would "create jobs" in other ways. (Low-paying jobs at McDonalds wouldn't qualify > Desperate Job Seekers Turn to McJobs)

On taxes for the elderly Obama said, "I will eliminate all income taxation of seniors making less than $50,000 per year. This will eliminate taxes for 7 million seniors - saving them an average of $1,400 a year-- and will also mean that 27 million seniors will not need to file an income tax return at all."

Not only was that total B.S. but we also have a new budget bill that threatens their healthcare too. But thanks to the stimulus bill, everyone who got Social Security benefits received a paltry $250 check to quiet the masses...tossing them a measly little bone like Obama did by cutting Medicare taxes for the middle-class so that the rich could earn windfall tax breaks.

Obama promised to save money and reduce corruption regarding "no-bid government contracts - "I will ensure that federal contracts over $25,000 are competitively bid." It never happened.

Obama on bankruptcy: "I will protect the jobs and benefits of workers and retirees when corporations file for bankruptcy by telling companies that they cannot issue bonuses for executives during bankruptcy while their workers watch their pensions disappear."

The federal government creates the rules that govern bankruptcy, which is when people or businesses (like Donald Trump) go to court to declare they are unable to pay their creditors. Obama pledged during the campaign that he would get new rules created so that corporations in bankruptcy would not be able to give their executives bonuses. But such a restriction would have to be approved by Congress, and Congress has taken no action on the matter...and probably never will.

During the presidential campaign, Obama promised to allow Americans to buy their medicines from other developed countries if the drugs are safe and prices are lower outside the U.S. - - but such a provision was not included in the final health care law that passed both chambers of Congress and was signed by the president. Nothing was ever done to promote generic drugs, so the big pharmaceutical companies continue to gouge Americans, especially seniors, who the GOP is trying to eliminate Medicare.

"I will create a centralized Internet database of lobbying reports, ethics records, and campaign finance filings in a searchable, sortable and downloadable format." (More transparency in government) Never happened.

To reduce bills rushed through Congress and to the president before the public has the opportunity to review them, Obama "will not sign any non-emergency bill without giving the American public an opportunity to review and comment on the White House website for five days." The credit card bill of rights passed without a five-day break, and the just-passed annual budget bill was supposed to be on-line for all to see for 5 days before anyone was to vote on it. Total B.S. when THE PEOPLE have major legislation hidden from them.

On tougher rules against the "revolving door" policies for lobbyists and former officials: "No political appointees in an Obama-Biden administration will be permitted to work on regulations or contracts directly and substantially related to their prior employer for two years. And no political appointee will be able to lobby the executive branch after leaving government service during the remainder of the administration." NOT! Corruption in government as usual.

Allow bankruptcy judges to modify terms of a home mortgage: "I will repeal provisions of the Chapter 13 law that prohibit bankruptcy judges from modifying the original terms of home mortgages for ordinary families - regardless of whether the loan was predatory or unfair or is otherwise unaffordable - so that ordinary families can also get relief that bankruptcy laws were intended to provide." NOT!!!!

And Obama said he would create a $10 billion fund to help homeowners facing foreclosure, but he out-did his promise, instead creating a Home Affordable Modification Program that totaled $75 billion. It excluded investors, speculators, people who fraudulently obtained loans, and people who purchased homes so beyond their means that even refinancing won't help them. It was paid for with funds from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) and the government sponsored mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Officials said the fund could help 9 million homeowners. But as of January 2011, the program had given permanent loan modifications to only about 500,000 homeowners, thanks to Bank of America, Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase, and Citibank.

Failure or not, why should this have cost taxpayers any money at all? Couldn't all the banks, across the board, have been forced to convert all adjustable-rate mortgage loans to conventional loans with the prevailing interest rate as a condition of receiving TARP loans? And the plan may end up being more expensive than $75 billion because it also provides a taxpayer-guarantee of up to $200 billion more in capital for federal mortgage holders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. What happened to that original $75 billion, how was it spent, or was that looted too? ($75 billion divided by 500,000 "modifications" is $150,000 per refinance.)

On energy Obama promised: "We will require oil companies to take a reasonable share of their record-breaking windfall profits and use it to provide direct relief worth $500 for an individual and $1,000 for a married couple. The relief would be delivered as quickly as possible to help families cope with the rising price of gasoline, food and other necessities. The rebates would be fully paid for with five years of a windfall profits tax on record oil company profits."

Last month in a press conference on March 11, 2011 Obama talked in length about his energy policy. He talked about boosting domestic oil production, energy conservation and investing in clean energy alternatives. But one thing you didn't hear him talking about was the need for a tax on windfall profits for oil companies. And Obama's 2012 budget plan does include a proposal to cut or eliminate taxpayer-paid subsidies to oil, gas and other fossil fuel producers either. Exxon-Mobil paid $15 billion in taxes on HUGE profits to foreign countries last year but the U.S. Treasury (I.R.S.) got paid ZERO in tax revenues. (No friggin' wonder we have a budget crisis and the long-term unemployed such as the "99ers" are being left to starve on the streets.

And this is EXACTLY why we can't fix our government, and it's in our U.S. Constitution: It's because our elected officials (who are suppose to represent THE PEOPLE) are beholden to campaign contributors. And last year our U.S. Supreme Court affirmed* that corporations have the same "rights" as we, the individuals, by allowing them to essentially buy (bribe) our members of Congress. Ironically (and tragically for us, THE PEOPLE) it almost takes a miracle from God (as opposed to an Act of Congress) to change this injustice to American citizens. That's why we can't get our tax codes changed to a more fair collection of much needed revenues, nor can we outlaw the outsourcing of American jobs, or retain government programs that the poor need in our federal budgets...corporations call all the shots! (Social Security will be next because the CEOs will never need a check from them!)

* Because of HUGE American-based multi-national conglomerates, hence the controversy regarding "foreign influence" in our government's political system.

The U.S. Constitution provides that an amendment may be proposed either by the Congress with a two-thirds majority vote in both the House of Representatives and the Senate - or by a constitutional convention called for by two-thirds of the State legislatures. (None of the 27 amendments to the Constitution have ever been proposed by constitutional convention.) Regardless of which of the two proposal routes is taken, the amendment must then be ratified, or approved, by three-fourths of states.

With the fox in the henhouse, do you REALLY think our Congress would ever change the law and amend the Constitution to outlaw political campaign contributions from big corporations like Exxon-Mobil, who made billions of dollars in profits but paid no corporate taxes? I THINK NOT!

The last Constitutional Amendment ratified was the 27th Amendment (Proposed on 9/25/1789 but not actually ratified until 5/7/1992) - Limiting Changes to Congressional Pay: "No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of Representatives shall have intervened." 

But because of the Great Recession, one guilt-ridden lawmaker did the right thing. A bill nixing Congress' automatic 2011 pay raise was signed into law by President Obama and marked the second consecutive year lawmakers have opted not to receive their automatic cost-of-living increase (no cut, just a temporary pay freeze). The law governing congressional pay raises requires members to vote against getting a raise. Otherwise, the increase would have taken effect automatically.

Congress also voted NOT to allow the elderly to receive cost-of-living increases in their meager Social Security checks too. That must have been the "shared sacrifice" we've been hearing about so much lately.

This would be reason #101 for revolution.

Congressional flip-floppers, liars, bribe-takers, and cheats:
100 Senate Members - 51 Democrats, 47 Republicans, 2 Independents (Flip-flops within a flip-flop status)
435 House Members - 241 Republicans, 192 Democrats, 2 Vacancies (Should I apply?)


  1. Bud, Everything that you write is all too true....I am so angry but there is nothing that I can do....our govt. has forsaken all of us...I too am having it difficult to obtain any medical benefits so that I can go forward with SSD...are you having the same problem? The doctor that they sent me too only asked questions about my unemployment and the report she sent to SS intimated that i was only applying for disability due to the fact that I was unemployed..my friend had the same experience.....I think that this is another way of denying us a way to live..any thoughts? Susan

  2. Susan: Make sure the Social Security office knows you want to apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) also - especially if you have no income or assets (over $2,000 I think). The monthly amount is usually lower (capped at $675 a month) but you get the Medicaid health insurance with this. Then if you qualify for the higher monthly amount for regular SS disability (depending on the annual work credits you earned over the years), if you're approved, you'll get the higher money benefit amount (the average is about $1,200 a month I think, but can be as high as $2,600 for the maximum monthly amount.) The SS office will send you to doctors for evaluations only - they sent me to three so far. Because I no longer own a car, the SS office provided a free taxi for me to and from the doctor's office. I received a temporary medical card from my local county social service office (welfare, where I got my food stamps) that says "Pending Medicare" that allowed me to schedule an appointment to see my own doctor for actual treatment. Then I can notify the SS office to have all my medical records from their doctors to forward them to my doctor. After that you have to wait for an approval or rejection notice from the SS office. Most of the time the first application for SS benefits are denied (you'll get a letter), and then you have to file an appeal. That's when you get a lawyer involved (like Binder and Binder). They get 25% up to the maximum amount up to $5,000 (or something like that) out of retroactive proceeds if you're finally approved for SS disability. It starts one month after you first apply for SS benefits. It could take up to a year or longer to finalize. Hope this helps. If I learn more (in my own pending case), I'll post an article with this information included. Hang in their...the Republicans are going after Medicaid in the budget while giving tax breaks to the rich.

  3. Thanks Bud for all of the info...I am sorry I wasnt more concise in my post...I have applied for SSD and I was denied twice..my case status is that I requested a hearing...I did apply for Medicaid but am waiting to hear on that ...I have talked to 3 attys.and they have all informed me that they could not take my case since I do not have any recent medical records...SS only sent me to see one doctor...maybe different state to state? I will do more research and keep me posted on your case!! Good luck with everything!!!