Beaver County Blue

Progressive Democrats of America – PA 12th CD Chapter

Archive for April 10th, 2011

America’s Class Problem

Posted by randyshannon on April 10, 2011

…Instead of taxing the super rich on the bonuses dispensed by top corporations such as Exxon, Bank of America, General Electric, Chevron and Boeing, all of which managed to avoid paying any federal corporate taxes last year, the politicians of both parties in Congress are about to accede to the Republican demand that programs that help ordinary folks be cut to pay for the programs that bailed out the banks…

America’s Class Problem

A “working class hero,” John Lennon told us in his song of that title, “is something to be/ Keep you doped with religion and sex and TV/ And you think you’re so clever and classless and free/ But you’re still fucking peasants as far as I can see.”
The delusion of a classless America in which opportunity is equally distributed is the most effective deception perpetrated by the moneyed elite that controls all the key levers of power in what passes for our democracy. It is a myth blown away by Nobel Prize winner Joseph E. Stiglitz in the current issue of Vanity Fair. In an article titled “Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%” Stiglitz states that the top thin layer of the superwealthy controls 40 percent of all wealth in what is now the most sharply class-divided of all developed nations: “Americans have been watching protests against repressive regimes that concentrate massive wealth in the hands of an elite few. Yet, in our own democracy, 1 percent of the people take nearly a quarter of the nation’s income—an inequality even the wealthy will come to regret.”

 

That is the harsh reality obscured by the media’s focus on celebrity gossip, sports rivalries and lotteries, situations in which the average person can pretend that he or she is plugged into the winning side. The illusion of personal power substitutes consumer sovereignty—which smartphone to purchase—for real power over the decisions that affect our lives. Even though most Americans accept that the political game is rigged, we have long assumed that the choices we make in the economic sphere as to career and home are matters that respond to our wisdom and will. But the banking tsunami that wiped out so many jobs and so much homeownership has demonstrated that most Americans have no real control over any of that, and while they suffer, the corporate rich reward themselves in direct proportion to the amount of suffering they have caused.

Instead of taxing the superrich on the bonuses dispensed by top corporations such as Exxon, Bank of America, General Electric, Chevron and Boeing, all of which managed to avoid paying any federal corporate taxes last year, the politicians of both parties in Congress are about to accede to the Republican demand that programs that help ordinary folks be cut to pay for the programs that bailed out the banks.

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“Just follow the money.”

Posted by randyshannon on April 10, 2011

“Just follow the money.”

by Randy Shannon

April 10, 2011

Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward was told by an inside informant to “just follow the money” in order to break the criminal conspiracy in the Nixon White House. This is advice that always serves well in searching for the roots of our problems and finding solutions.

As billionaire Warren Buffet pointed out last year: “There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”

The budget cuts for working people and the tax cuts for the wealthy passed by the Republican majority with the help of Rep. Jason Altmire and other corporate Blue Dog Democrats shows that there are no holds barred. The narrow social strata of the financial elite are conducting a scorched earth economic assault upon working people.

The wealthy have enjoyed a tremendous increase in their personal income and financial holdings. They control the levers of power in the government and can present the President with offers he can’t refuse.

An important role in exercising this power is played by the Blue Dog Democrats like Jason Altmire, who aligned with the Republican minority in the 111th Congress to block progressive legislation and now is aligned with the Republican majority to help them pass these attacks on the people’s welfare.

One might wonder, with all this money the banks have, why do they want more? The banks have never recovered from the crisis of 2007. They are entering a new phase of their financial crisis based on the lingering foreclosure crisis. The largest banks – JP Morgan, Bank of America, Citibank, and others –  remain insolvent and unprofitable.

Their political power, their control of a Republican-Blue Dog axis in Congress, saved them from a government controlled liquidation and restructure in 2008. The Government is subsidizing these banks to keep them afloat. This course of action condemns the nation to years of economic malaise and further job losses. This course of action will also fail to revive these banks.

Naomi Klein, author of “The Shock Doctrine: the Rise of Disaster Capitalism,” explained this irrational impulse in an interview for the film Children of Men: “It doesn’t have the ability to think rationally, this economic model. It thinks like a drug addict: ‘Where can I get my next fix?’ It doesn’t learn wisely. You know if we think of any kind of measure of natural wisdom, it would be, you make a mistake, you correct it the next time around. But a drug addict feels terrible and then says: ‘I want more.’ And unfortunately, we have an economic model that thinks like a drug addict.”

So there is no real deficit crisis. The budget cuts are simply a transfer from your pocket to the bankers’ pocket. The cuts will also remove fiscal, health and safety restrictions on businesses so that riskier and more dangerous pursuit of profits will be possible.

As Rose Schneiderman said a century ago: “It is up to the working people to save themselves.” A rising tide of protest must be organized against the banks’ austerity policy of spending cuts for the people and tax cuts for the rich. Marches and rallies must be joined to political action to defeat Blue Dogs like Jason Altmire and the Republican majority in 2012.

Rep. John Conyers “Full Employment and Training Act” – HR 870 should be a focus of organizing. It has two essential components that can lead the nation out of this swamp. First it establishes a full employment program. Second it funds the program with a financial transaction tax on Wall Street speculators, an important step toward controlling the banks. Labor and community activists should form committees to study this bill, organize hearings, and lobby public organization to endorse the bill.

A broad coalition for full employment, a tax on Wall Street,  national healthcare and an end to wars of conquest can build a movement to change Congress in 2012.

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