Amber Waves Of Grain; Purple Mountains Majesty

Photo Courtesy of Barb&Kathleen@ ThriftTalkDiva

Four out of 5 U.S. adults struggle with joblessness, near-poverty or reliance on welfare for at least parts of their lives, the Associated Press reported this weekend.  I know a lot of adults breathed a sigh of relief going:  “whew… at least I’m not the only one.”

One can shrug their shoulders and say that’s the way it is supposed to be, I guess.  Not much one can do about it.

But to do so, one has to forget their lives growing up.  Where their parents made do, often having something extra to pass down to us, their children, when they moved on.

Whether it was a house, a small savings, they lived well enough, They died with dignity knowing they started with nothing, and actually “made it.”  Today, comparatively, the baby boomers started out wealthy and now have nothing to give their children, except  their debt.

How did this happen?

The year was 2001.  Bush was elected and Republicans had a majority in the House, and were one shy in the Senate.  Time to implement the  election winner’s policy.  The campaign was run on tax cuts, and tax cuts we were going to have….

On the floor of Congress, the debate took place like this:  “Look” the Democrats said, “we have a stable economy with the national debt hitting 0 in 7 years. Why do you want to mess around with that?”

Republicans replied: … “Tax Cut. Tax Cut.. Get your tax cuts here.” and America began its swirl down the toilet.

The Democrats countered:  “if you cut taxes now, in 15 years the rich will have all the money, and the middle class will become poor. A society can’t be all about “making a profit”. As with a business, there has to be continuous reinvestment back into the economy; otherwise sooner or later the supporting structure runs out of juice, gets tired of holding everything up, and it all crashes down….”

Republicans replied: … “Tax Cut. Tax Cut.. Get your tax cuts here, ”  and it was done.

With a party supporting their every wish, the wealthy started dismantling the single biggest drawback keeping them from earning top dollar:  the middle class.

The argument became:  we aren’t making enough profit.  Everything had to go that got in the way making a profit.  Making a profit became how we identified ourselves.  Of course that only applied to the corporate world.  The US Government was gutted to assist in the making of profit.  The Middle Class was gutted to assist with the making of a profit.

How was this done?  The word “no” was used to respond to all increased payroll requests.  And our expenses that benefited major corporations, kept edging higher.  Medical coverage, a necessity, now took a bigger bite out of the no-go-higher paycheck.  Utility costs, a necessity, now took a bigger bite out of the same no-go-higher paycheck.  Insurance of all kinds, now took a bigger bite out of the same no-go-higher paycheck.

Government itself was cut back, whittled down, eradicating the purchasing power of a lot of those no-go-higher paychecks completely.  Soon there were too many people looking for work.  Some were desperate to work at all, no matter what the wage.  Really?  That made those who run companies to ask themselves this question:  why should we continue paying  Mr. X this high amount, when we can get Ms. Y to work for this with the same productivity?  Mr. X joined the lines of the unemployed.

With more Mr. X’s in the unemployment line,  those still working accepted more and more stress for the paycheck they still had, and gave more and more concessions to their employer (who mind you, was quite happy before with his more than adequate income while paying out those amounts), digging themselves further and further into the hole.

So the entire middle class is working for less, and paying it all back and more….

According to Republicans, it is all their fault; they are lazy, insolent, disagreeable louts who deserve every bit of pain they’ve received.  They are the surplus population that needs to be eradicated from existence,   Sorry, but that’s just the way it is..

And was, through American history until the 1930’s.

In the 1930’s Democrats said, “no, it doesn’t have to be this way.”  We can tax those with money, have Social Security when we retire, build projects and invest in infrastructure that improve our lives, like electricity, like telephones.  You know, we can set prices so people can make a living off what they work. we can set profits so small businesses can live off what they sell; we can make it so everyone can have a house, food on the table, and die with dignity, not being a burden to the next generation.

And that is what they did.  They said profit is good. Too much profit is bad, and so we are taking everything over this ascertained level.

And to be honest, it was touch and go for a while, and gradually the meticulous detailed economic planning gave way to market economics, but only after the economic free-fall had been stopped.

And yes the rich screamed ferociously loud (and lost every national election for the next 60 years).  But we got the childhood we lived through because of that action.

There was more.  We said banks could not invest the money that people needed for their livelihood. That restriction has since been removed.  We said, if you paid into Social Security, when you retired, you got something back.  That promise is now gone from every Republican platform. Done away with. Eradicated.  We said that income taxes were good, they supported the country and made us strong. That held true until we chose to let the wealthy have more, and take less ourselves.  We said, of course, it is right for a employees to strike, stop working if the boss won’t pay them correctly. He can’t fire you for striking.  Once that was protected, the bosses eventually caved in when he saw paying proper wages was cheaper than the alternative.  Over the course of these actions, it enabled a person to go to work for a company, and retire from that company with a pension, with Social Security, with Medicare; they could pay their bills up to the end, and still pass something onto their children, us.

When we get told today by our media that we can’t afford to live like we used to, no one except the bravest of us, dare stand up to ask why?  Are you so brow beaten? Are you so numb you can’t see it is you’re own actions that are the cause of your demise?  Are you no better than the prodigal son, who squandered his father’s wealth, and now has nothing?  You had it all once.  Remember the dreams, the life plan you had for yourself when you graduated college?

And how much did it cost you to graduate from that college?  As much as a house, as our graduates today now face?  A tab so high Just so those who lent the money can make 10 times the amounts they made back when you and I were lent money to put ourselves through school?

So the problem is very simple. Very small.  Giving more money to the wealthy, the rich, the multinational corporations, takes money that should be ours, right out of our pocket.  It is that simple.  That is where we went wrong.  That is how we got here.  Four out of five adults facing poverty.

There is no guaranteed right that one must make a profit.  It’s not in the Bible.  It is not in the Constitution. Everything does not have to give just so you can make more money.   There are things on this planet far more important than how much “extra” money you can squeeze out of your fellow human beings.

All that we need to do to rejuvenate the middle class, is control excessive profit.  Not in a heavy handed way, mind you, but through proper levels of taxation.  Profit is extra.  It’s superfluous money. A business can run fine without making a profit.  In fact, most small businesses do.   They are trying to survive like you and I, with loans, with IOU’s, with barter arrangements,  with reinvestment, with building on, etc.

Remember how life used to be so good.  Now four out of five adults will, if not already, face poverty before they die.  Four out of five.  Is that the promise we got when we were told to stand by our desks, put our hands on our hearts, and  mumble to squeeze some  fun out of the daily ritual…. ” I pledge allegiance, to the flag, of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands; one nation under God, indivisible; with liberty and justice for all.”  Did we go to school, go to college, marry, raise a family, struggle to put them through school, for this?  Four out of five of us living in poverty?

And  it took place while we worked very hard, getting conned into giving away all the things we every had all rights to, simply because we once elected the Republican Party of the United States of America into power.  Happy with yourself now?

Let’s get that dream back.  Screw their profits; rebuild America back into its beautiful dream, now.  Let’s give our children their dream back! At least that is something worthy.  That would make it all worth while.