Mr. Smith finally came to Washington. Only his name wasn’t Smith and the message went out far beyond the chamber of the U.S. Senate. A determined, intelligent, dedicated U.S. Senator told the rest of the country what he, and many million other citizens felt…that he was mad as hell at the lobbyists and the billionaires that hired them and the arrogant, evil Neocons in the former Republican Party.
Some of us already knew the numbers, but someone had to stand up, for at least one day, and read the riot act to the Republican Senators and their banker friends and their oil industry and media-industry friends who have had a technical strangle hold on the rest of the 310 million Americans who just want to get a job and get on with living.
The Neocons have created 14.9 million unemployed, and from what we heard yesterday from Senator Sanders, have created…if his mail is even in small measure typical of others…another 20 to 30 million more people who are employed but simply cannot live long-term on their meager salaries.
The Health care industry has so tied up the boot-licking Congressmen, like Darryl Issa of Calfornia, one of the super rich himself, who wants to simply stop funding Medicare and Medicaid, cutting off services and literally sentencing some people to death. Are we going to allow one man to continue to cause the deaths of tens of thousands of Americans simply to give more money to the rich?
Fifty million Americans are without health care insurance. Forty-five thousand of them will die specifically because they are known to have had diseases or problems for which they needed medical help but had no ability to see a doctor. Even those with health insurance have experienced average rate increases of 15% and 18% in the last two years alone!
Sanders’ speech started with the basic problem, laid out simply but setting the platform for all the other injustices that have come about in the last 8 years. Now…in the current Civil War against the Middle Class…one fact has become dominant–that the top 1 percent of Americans have 23 percent of all income, up from just 8 percent up to the las days before Ronald Reagan took office.
At first that gradual switch became an interesting phenomenon and we thought that it was merely the creation of new millionaires in an expanding economy. But then saw the numbers, the huge national debt (we thought then) of 3 trillion dollars when Reagan left office.
We had already begun the borrowing from other countries, like China and Saudi Arabia to fund our government while cutting taxes for the wealthy in half and making corporations basically pay none at all. The average unemployment, we discovered, had been over 7 percent over the entire 8 years of the Reagan presidency.
Only then did we realize, or some of us did, that the economy was not expanding here in the United States. We were simply borrowing a lifestyle…especially for the wealthy, whose top marginal tax rate had gone from 74% on that portion of income over 1 million dollars annually to ultimately 35%.
Big corporations and the super-wealthy owners were begininng to shutter plants here, lay off hundreds of thousands of workers in order to take advantage of new Republican polcies enabling them to expand their fortunes with plants and businesses abroad.
They used their tax-rebate-enriched corporate incomes not only to live a fabulous life here but also using it to buy lobbyists to continue the process and work even harder to eliminate unions and fair-wage practices. The goal became one of trying to drive down corporate costs and taxes by forcing the government and the Middle Class into bankruptcy.
We all know the story by now of the slimy little weasel, (no, not Eric Cantor) Grover Norquist of the Right Wing pandering “Americans for Tax Reform” who has said that he wants to shrink government to a size so small that he can drown it in a bathtub.
And did it work? Well, perhaps not yet for the country, although not for lack of trying. The Neocon Bush-Cheney Adminstration drove us from about 5 trillion dollars in debt in 2001 to a current 14 trillion dollars in debt by the end of this year, 2010. So if you are one of those people cut off from public assistance because of government cutbacks because multi-millionaires and billionaires got tax breaks they didn’t need, you may want to track Mr. Norquist down in Washington, D.C. and thank him personally.
The Neocons have been hard at work trying to ruin you, nonetheless. In 2010, there were 1,538,033 personal bankruptcies, an all time high. In 2009 there were 1,344,095 and in 2008 there were 1,004,342. So, there were nearly 4 million personal bankruptcies during the last three years of the Bush Administration, the highest in history.
Business bankruptcies were at an all time high in 2009, with 58,721. Why? Well, how about the crash of the unregulated, unsupervised, wild-wild-west show called the Wall Street casino? The huge market crash sucked every last dollar out of the financial sector. They had gambled every last dollar belonging to a lot of citizens who lost savings, home equity and money from their 401K accounts.
As bad as things were in 2008 before the crash, with a manageable 7 percent unemployment and no new jobs, there were still only 38,651 small business bankruptcies. One year after the crash, when hundreds of thousands of jobs had been lost per month and the stimulus, thanks to the Republicans took until the Fall to take hold, the number had climbed to 58,000.
In 2010 it continued at 58,322. By contrast, even in the bad Bush II years, the numbers didn’t reach these heights, even with the bad economy, with only roughly 27,000 and 26,000 in 2006 and 2007. So Bush-Cheney, Norquist and Chris Cox the man who supervised the Wall Street crash, actually doubled the number of business bankruptcies with their effort to bring about the Great Bush Recession.
But George II, was not the first Bush to crash the economy. His father did it before him. Here’s an example of what happened under the first Bush, who was President from January of 1989 to December of 1992. During his tenure as President, Federated Department stores filed for bankruptcy with almost 8 billion (with a B) dollars in assets.
Continuing, Allied Stores filed with 3.5 billion in assets. Southland Corp filed bankruptcy with 3.4 billion. Ames Department Stores filed for bankruptcy…2.3 billion. Circle K Convenience Stores filed…2.0 billion. Carter Hawley Hale filed for bankruptcy….2.0 billion. And renowned retailer, R.H. Macy & Co. (if they couldn’t survive the first Bush, who could…not even Santa could save them..) filed bankruptcy for 4.8 billion dollars.
Now the first George Bush will probably tell you that the reason for all these huge bankruptcies…in case you didn’t add it all up, it amounted to about 17.8 or more billions of dollars…were the policies of “voodoo economics” of Ronald Reagan.
Of course Bush the Elder and Brighter won’t actually come out and say that because he sold his good qualities for money. He became a hack politician who had wonderful courage and intelligence as a kid, a real authentic war hero and a brilliant student, but became a panderer after years and years of living amongst the Neanderthals in Texas and the crooks in Washington (on both sides of the aisle.)
Of course, those of you who were employed in the early 1990s may recall that it was not a good time. If you had a business, you may have gone out of business, just as many did in the early 1980s, ten years earlier under Ronald Reagan. Is it any wonder? How many jobs do you think are created from 17.8 billion dollars being removed from the economy in a space of less than 3 years? Hundreds of thousands of jobs lost, and from the overall economic impact….millions.
OK. so now we know that as of 2010 Grover Norquist got a lot of his wish and he is smacking his lips with the kinds of recommendations coming from the Simpson-Bowles Committee…cut, cut, cut…but never tax a multi-millionaire. Norquist is one sick son-of-a-bitch and probably deserves to drown in a bathtub.
Sanders isn’t buying any of the Bush or the Norquist or the other Neocon crap. He points out that the top 1%, or roughly 3.1 million people earn as much as the bottom half, or as much in other words as 165 million people. And the Neocons now want to cut all taxes from people like Paris Hilton who inherit multi-million-dollar estates. In fact, because of a devious provision in the Bush tax cuts, millionaires and billionaires who die this year, 2010, have left or will leave their estates to heirs entirely federally tax free!
The fact that Paris Hilton gave oral sex or had sexual intercourse with her boyfriend and broadcast it over the Internet does not mean that she should be disqualified from inheriting millions from the Hilton Hotel fortune, nor do we even know that she will.
The point is that she is a public figure, fairly controversial for her rather lavish lifestyle. Is George W. Bush right? We know now that he is not the best authority. Does does Paris Hilton know better how to spend that money than the Federal government?
The government would use it, not for more expensive Mercedes convertibles but for emergency funds for things like helping Katrina and the Tennessee flood victims, the Veteran’s Administration, food and medicine for the small children of poor families, public health care and national security?
Well, maybe Paris would change. But not likely. Should she keep more than half of what she inherits, still millions and millions of dollars? No one is even questioning that…this is America, for good or ill…and that’s how we do it. Except the Neocons…, the greedy bastards who only want more nor matter how much they already have.
Here’s what Senator Sanders has to say about the breadth and the depth of their greed:
“Now one of the things that we are going to see going on is that while we struggle with a record breaking deficit and a large national debt caused by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, caused by tax breaks for the wealthy, caused by an unpaid-for medicare part D prescription drug program, caused by the Wall Street bailout, driving up the deficit, driving up the national debt, then some people can say, ‘Oh my goodness, we got all of those expenses, then we got to give tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires, but we want to balance the budget. Gee, how are we going to do that?’
“Well obviously we know how they are going to do that. We’re going to cut back on healthcare, we’re going to cut back on education, we’re going to cut back on childcare, we’re going to cut back on pelt programs. We just don’t have enough money for working families and their needs. We’re going to cut back on food stamps, we surly are not going to expand unemployment compensation.”
And he is right. As soon as the new Congress takes over, with “Tobacco John” Boehner leading the way for his Neocon lobbyist buddies on Wall Sreet and in the executives suites of the Health Insurance Industry, we will see the biggest onslaught on the Middle Class ever launched by any government on its own citizens.
Senator Sanders is a Jew. If you think that Jewish names on hospitals and museums and universities protect people from blind hatreds, you don’t know much about the position of Jews in the cultural life of Germany and Austria in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Bernie Sanders is a great American and a good Jew. He knows, as Jews know, because they have lived in a continuous state of persecution for over 2,000 years, when the mood is shifting from simple debate to political takeover.
When politicians and citizens begin to allow racial and ethnic attitudes to take over the debate. Anti-black, anti-Hispanic, and anti-Liberal hatreds are being used to fuel propaganda successfully for the super-rich against the Middle Class.
We all know from history what follows that. Senator Sanders has brought it front and center to our attention before it goes that far. In this case, Civil War against the middle class is simple persecution of the average citizen and the less fortunate citizen. Anyone on the Internet knows that the Right Wing is stirring up racial and religious hatreds to help them win more tax breaks and other benefits for the rich.
Senator Sanders knows that this is the Rubicon. When you ask for billionaire tax breaks and deny even pennies to the destitute…how much more do you need to know about Neocons?