Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas to Bill O'Reilly

Today is the 5th consecutive Christmas I've celebrated since becoming unemployed after being laid off in October 2008, and the 3rd consecutive Christmas I've celebrated with no income at all since my unemployment benefits expired in June 2010.

Since then, I've lived on the generosity of another person for a spare room and food stamps from the government and Bill O'Reilly.

I no longer own a car, it was repo-ed. I'm living in the suburbs of Las
Vegas, one mile away from the nearest bus stop. But even if I had a car, I still couldn't go anywhere, because I can no longer pay for auto insurance or gas. I can't even pay for a bus ticket --- I'm broke.

I applied for Social Security disability in January 2011, but I was eventually denied benefits at a hearing in September of 2012 -- so now I'm waiting for an Appeal to Counsel for a government hand out entitlement.

I imagine people like Bill O'Reilly, safe and snug (and smug), and secure in a big warm 15-room house with a 10-foot tall Christmas tree with tons of presents underneath it, while nearby a fire roars in the fireplace as it's peacefully snowing outside his living-room windows.

I also imagine Bill O'Reilly has Christmas Day off (with pay) from Fox News. But people earning minimum wage don't usually get the holiday off with pay...that would be a union entitlement.

But for millions of Americans, today Christmas is just like any other day of the year, worrying about how to pay the rent, buy food, and put off paying their enormous heating bill. I for one can say, that if I had a Social Security "entitlement" check, my Christmas would certainly be much more merrier.

The first definition of an "entitlement", as defined in the Merriam-Webster dictionary, is "a right to benefits specified especially by law or contract."

Their third definition of entitlement is "a belief that one is deserving of or entitled to certain privileges."

The first definition refers to people like myself, those who worked for 35 years paying Social Security taxes on 100% of their income before eventually becoming disabled and were no longer able to financially support themselves. They had an expectation that, just like with an insurance policy, they would be entitled to a disability income.

The third definition of entitlement refers to people like Bill O'Reilly, who makes millions of dollars every year, lives in a mansion on the beach, and threatens to quit their jobs if their taxes go up a measly 3% to help pay down our national debt.

These people, those who claim to be American patriots, would rather see other people's disability checks cancelled, while our government builds more war ships, rather than make any personal sacrifices themselves...a meager sacrifice that would in no way alter their standard-of-living.

It is people like O'Reilly who, just because of their own personal success, feel that it is they who are entitled to make judgments affecting other people's lives -- such as influencing government policy and public opinion --- with his daily diatribes, spouting lies that usually provokes decisions that affect people like myself in the most negative of ways.

Bill O'Reilly besmirched the 99ers, the poor, the working poor, single moms, single dads, the disabled, the elderly, war vets, the jobless, the mentally ill, and any other American that's had to rely on some form of public assistance.

Mitt Romney called them the "47%", and that's why he lost the election.

If Bill O'Reilly's huge mansion on the beach in Manhasset, New York had burned down, and his insurance company paid him off to rebuild it (and everyone else's insurance rates went up), could we accuse O'Reilly of getting "free stuff"? Did he feel entitled to a special privilege, or did he have a reasonable expectation that he'd be compensated because he had "a right to benefits specified especially by law or contract."

Social Security, Medicare, and unemployment checks are not government hand-outs to lazy people who feel that they are entitled to free stuff (And especially at Bill O'Reilly's own personal expense).

The reason why 46 million Americans rely on food stamps today is because Bill O'Reilly's much beloved corporations refuse to pay their workers a real living wage. Today the minimum wage is only $7.25 an hour. I earned that as a high-school drop-out 40 years ago in 1973. Hey O'Reilly, didn't you know? Most so-called "entitlements" are really "wage subsidies".

Bill O'Reilly is not concerned about the working poor, but he is very concerned about his stock prices. But millions of Americans are more concerned about paying for rent, heat, and food....stuff that Bill O'Reilly takes for granted these days.

Bill O'Reilly, his colleagues at Fox News, his Republican henchmen, his Tea Party thugs, and all the other conservative ideologues, are more concerned about themselves rather than this country as a whole. The national debt wasn't such a huge concern to them during the entire time George W. Bush was in office. But now they are using fear to say our children and grand-children are at risk to a national disaster if we don't get entitlement spending under control. (Read my post: Sons & Daughters of the Greatest Generation Struggle)

All of a sudden, the day after Obama was elected, they're saying that somebody's disability check is going to break the government's piggy bank; and Bill O'Reilly fears that someone like me will make America more like Greece. But hey...let's go back in to Iraq you say!!!

Meanwhile, people like Bill O'Reilly believe that they are entitled to make millions of dollars every year, and they believe that they are entitled to live in a mammoth beach-front mansion in a wealthy Long Island neighborhood. And they also believe they are entitled to call people like me lazy; and they believe they are entitled to pay a lower federal income tax rate on their "investment income" than somebody else does who breaks their back doing manual labor all their lives, or those who have to pay those same taxes on their unemployment checks.

When I hear people like Bill O'Reilly whine about quitting their jobs if their taxes go up, just a little, it reminds me of a rich spoiled child who believes that they are entitled to everything.

In reality, Bill O'Reilly is really an uber-rich con artist who pimps for large corporations. He's not a patriot and he's not lookin' out for you, he's only lookin' out for himself. Every night he pimps his books.

When I hear Bill O'Reilly disparage the working poor*, the abject poor (like myself), the elderly, the disabled, and our military veterans on his Fox News cable show (because they have to rely on government entitlements), I hope Bill O'Reilly goes to church today (on the day of the birth of the baby Jesus) and prays for those who don't have it nearly as good as he does.

* 50% of all American workers earn less than $26,965 a year. (Source: Social Security Administration) Could Bill O'Reilly live on that today without any government entitlements such as Social Security or Medicare?

And what about the millions of other Americans who don't work at all, don't file a W-4 form with an employer, are no longer obligated to pay any payroll taxes (FICA), and rely SOLELY on their government checks?

Last year, because my total income was ZERO, I wasn't even required to file a federal income tax return for the first time in 40 years!

I also hope that Bill O'Reilly thanks the good Lord that he doesn't need his Social Security checks that he is also currently entitled to, but that others desperately need just to survive on.

Merry Christmas to the ultra-wealthy people "job creators" like Bill O'Reilly, those who ruthlessly advocates for lower taxes for the rich, while at the same time, demanding huge cuts to entitlements for the poor.

Go ahead, send another good-paying job to China so as to fatten up Bill O'Reilly's stock portfolio! Go ahead, give the CEO another million dollars a year in his salary for doing it...he needs it!

I hope O'Reilly remembers to pray for those millions of other Americans who can't afford to celebrate this most joyful day of the year in the same fashion (and with the same peace of mind) that he can.

This year I asked Santa Claus for razor blades, tooth paste, soap, and socks...because food stamps (my government entitlement) doesn't cover non-food items.

And how did I spend my Christmas Day? In my room, blogging about Bill O'Reilly, stranded in the suburbs. I might as well be in the middle of a corn field. Pathetic.

Will I ever have "a life" again?

But people like Bill O'Reilly would most likely just say, "Bah humbug!"

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