Greetings and salutations from the sand, sun and surf of Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and the sunny, warm breezy island of Nantucket! Great to be with you on this Thursday morning–the 11th day of June, 2015–a real summer day out there on the Hyannis/Hyannis Port Waterfront(s), so get out there and enjoy it!
There has been a lot of talk about this Grand Canyon gap between the haves and the have nots in this great country of ours over the course of the past five years or so, becoming more vocal everyday. Where did it all come from? Back in the 1970’s there was a lawyer for the dreaded tobacco industry, named Lewis Powell, who was eventually appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court by then president Richard Nixon. But before that, he released an infamous memo to his corporate brethren, mainly in a response to political/economic/consumer protection advocate Ralph Nader, whom the corporate establishment at the time feared greatly. This confidential memorandum entitled, “Attack on American Free Market System” outlined a plan of action to re-take it’s power, privilege and pomp, not to mention it’s circumstances, from those wishing to curb it’s powerful intentions; most of which were and are unholy indeed…
Influence peddling became rampant with many high priced New York lobbying firms moving south to Washington D.C. where they would cozy up with senators, congressmen and even presidents; the goal being a successful fruition of the express wishes of his or her Master. Legislation would now be written by the corporations themselves, e.g. the shadowy A.L.E.C., ‘American Legislative Exchange Council’, irregardless of whether or not it reflected the will of the American people these men and women were supposed to be representing. In this fated memo to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce a road map was forged; a corporate takeover of American public institutions. He called for American corporations to become far more aggressive in molding American politics and the law. An enormous buildup of corporate lobbying power aimed squarely at Capitol Hill in the latter part of the 1970’s created those intimate relationships between CEO’s and say the Executive branch, or members of the U.S. Congress, resulting in policies that favored the wealthy, while simultaneously (on purpose), badly and sometimes mortally damaging middle class and working poor families. The lobbying industry going from a 400 million dollar a year (the 1980’s), endeavor to well over 4 billion in this early part of the 21st Century. The result being the wealth of top 400 ‘earners’ in this nation now equals the wealth of over half the U.S. population: 150 million people.
The ‘grand’ and unholy plan of the plutocratic class is to starve the U.S. government of most of it’s former tax revenues, i.e. eliminate as many taxes on wealthy individuals as possible, people who can afford to pay that fair share. Moreover, demanding the corporations they own pay next to nothing in taxes, while politicians who work for them, turn a blind eye to all of that off shore money. Because of the George W. Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003, tax revenues in the U.S. have dropped of a cliff; to the lowest point in our history as a country at 15%. We can’t pay for basic social services: roads, bridges, hospitals, police, fire, schools, the things of a civilization. GE, for example, made 5.1 billion dollars in profit in 2011, according to the Institute for Public Policy. The CEO made out with 15.2 million and GE received a tax credit, a rebate of 3.3 billion. What is wrong with this picture?
Tax breaks, loopholes, clever accounting (i.e. theft), have resulted in the effective tax rates (1950-2010), dropping from well over 50% to it’s all time low of 12.1%. The same holds true for personal income taxes, especially the ultra-rich, who have seen their tax rates plummet. In 1994, tax rates for millionaires have dropped by more than 25 percent in those past two decades, and for a handful of extremely wealthy individuals at the top (”the top 400″), the .001, those ‘income’ taxes have dropped by well over 50 percent.
Bush slashed the capital gains tax rate on investments to 15%, nearly half of what the rate was under then U.S. President Ronald Reagan. The big LIE, or ‘argument’, was that these tax cuts would benefit all of us. There is no evidence of that being true. In fact the polar opposite is, with the GDP, an economic indicator most often used by economists, falling like a lead balloon, into negative territory, from a healthy 7 plus percent in 1985. O growth since the infamous Bush tax cuts of 2003. A real line of demarcation if you will. Those tax cuts have ballooned the national debt by 2.9 trillion dollars. Paul Ryan (R-WI), a political puppet for the Koch Brother’s “American’s for Prosperity” think tank, has put forth a turd called “the Path to Prosperity”. This joke of a budget would slash and burn the social safety net while adding another 4.6 trillion to that debt. While CEO take home pay has increased from 20 times the amount the average worker makes (in 1965), to to well over 231 times that amount today. An Ayn Rand special from hell.
The argument that 45 percent of American workers pay no income taxes at all, a negative tax liability if you will, holds no real water, for those poor working people pay plenty in sales taxes, property taxes, payroll taxes, gasoline, cigarette, liquor taxes…, all while not nearly making enough money in a dead end job that does not pay a living wage. Not to mention the fact most, if not all of ‘those people’, have no real opportunity to get ahead. Indeed, how could they? Living in such a rigged and unholy system that rewards the cheaters, liars and thieves. Infant mortality being 4 times higher for poor families than their wealthy counterparts.
“Men” like Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan, with the help of think tanks and shadow government entities like “the Heartland Institute”, are engaging in the real class warfare going on in this 21st Century America. Succeeding in turning that middle class resentment (regarding the state of the U.S. economy), against their poorer fellow citizens, who are clearly not to blame for this sad state of U.S. economic and social affairs. Instead of taking aim at the policies ‘encouraged’ by the .001 percent who are to blame for this crumbling of the United States of America. Puppets like Ryan have convinced his constituents in Wisconsin to vote against their own best interests, e.g. Republican Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker winning his recall election with the help of a whole boat load of Koch $, while tying one hand behind their backs when it comes to getting their collective voices heard. Make no mistake about it, this is a national agenda. Unions–public sector unions–being the primary target.
For if billionaires like the Koch Brothers can run unions out of the picture, they effectively take out that critical voice that speaks for those without a voice, hence the purpose of a union to begin with. By simply signing a bill, Scott Walker effectively ended collective bargaining for unions in the state of Wisconsin for the foreseeable future; voices silent as well as opportunity for said workers in a once proud and robust public state…
Opportunities drying up like a reservoir in California.
In the game of “Monopoly”, expensive properties like “Boardwalk” and “Park Avenue” are increasingly out of reach for at least 90 percent of Americans. And because the game is rigged (politically, socially, economically and every other way imaginable), in favor of this ever more controlling/manipulative/vicious/Machiavellian power player–the .001–it is not a shock that the ever growing Grand Canyon gap between those living at 740 Park Avenue and those living just a little north of the river that separates them will just continue to grow, until our 239 year old democracy–paid for in blood, sweat, treasure and tears–with that little letter “d” becomes the Kleptocracy “Mother Russia” has already become.
“This isn’t Russia Danny… Is this Russia?”
(credit the great Chevy Chase from the classic film “Caddyshack”, circa 1980).
Have a nice day everybody!
PRESERVE THE WILDERNESS! Peace~M