Monday, August 22, 2011

New American Dream Or Nightmare?

(Yesterday's Sellout Crowd at the Wyndham Golf Championship - Greensboro, NC)

It's not really much of a mystery.

The people who nod in agreement as they watch the Faux News every day, listen to the lies about the necessity for ever-increasing Defense Department spending against people living in caves (or in far-away wastelands) who have access to NUKES(!) and can thwart NORAD, and the so sad "out-of-business state" ("insolvency" is the latest fear word) of the programs paid for through the "broke" and no-longer AAA-rated US Treasury, while trillions of dollars are being hidden by the wealthy who received the taxpayer bailouts/tax breaks (and bonuses for a job-well-done, obviously) are ensuring that the "American Dream," which is being enjoyed by the top 0.1% of the population (that the Main Stream Media (MSM) reports on daily) is a sure nightmare for the remaining 99.99%.

And now they are predicting that the Disability fund is insolvent (well, in 2017, possibly, if no minor tweaks to the system to ensure its continuation are made by the Rethuglican Congress). And how likely is that?

The New American Dream

Thursday 31 March 2011

William Rivers Pitt

If you are wealthy, you are living in the Golden Age of your American Dream, and it's a damned fine time to be alive. The two major political parties are working hammer and tong to bless you and keep you. The laws are being re-written - often by fiat, and in defiance of court orders - to strengthen the walls separating you and your wealth from the motley masses. Your stock portfolio, mostly made by and for oil and war, continues to swell. Your banks and Wall Street shops destroyed the economy for everyone except you, and not only did they get away with it, they were handed a vast dollop of taxpayer cash as a bonus prize.

The little people probably crack you up when you bother to think about them. Their version of the American Dream is a ragged blanket too short to cover them, but they still buy into it, and that's the secret of your strength in the end. So many of them walk into the voting booths and solemnly vote against their own best interests, and for yours, because the American Dream makes them think they, too, will be rich someday. They won't - you've made sure of that - but so long as they keep believing it, your money will continue to roll in.

The Citizens United Supreme Court decision swept away the last tattered shreds of the façade of fairness in politics and electioneering, and now you own the whole store. You can use your vast financial resources to lie on a national level now, lie with your bare face hanging out, because it works. You're not the bad guy in America. Teachers, cops, firefighters, union members and public-sector employees are the bad guys, the reason for all our economic woes. NPR and Planned Parenthood are the bad guys. You did that, and when governors like Scott Walker rampage through worker's rights on your dime, you chuckle into your sleeve and enjoy your interest rate.

We're firing teachers and missiles simultaneously, to poach a line from Jon Stewart, and the inherent disconnect fails to sink in among those serving as dray horses for your greed and ambition. They're in the traces, bellowing about what you want them to focus on thanks to your total control of the "mainstream" news media, and they plow your fields with the power of their incoherent, misdirected rage.
They pay their taxes. Isn't that a hoot? They pay their taxes dutifully and annually, and that money gets shunted right to you and your friends, thanks to the politicians who love you and the laws that favor you, not to mention the wars that sustain you. They pay their taxes when they should just pay you, right? Talk about getting rid of government waste. They should just pay you directly and cut out the middle man, because it all goes to the same place in the end. You.
You are General Electric, and you paid no taxes in 2010. You made $14.2 billion in worldwide profits, $5.1 billion of which was made in America, and your tax burden amounted to a big fat zero. In fact, you claimed a tax benefit of $3.2 billion, thanks to your anti-tax lobbying efforts in Washington and your use of offshore tax havens that protect and defend your profit margin.
You are ExxonMobil, and you paid no taxes in 2009. In fact, you got a $156 million return.
You are Bank of America, and despite receiving a massive chunk of the taxpayer-funded bailout, despite recording a profit of $4.4 billion, you paid no taxes and received a $1.9 billion rebate.
You are Chevron, and you made $10 billion in 2009. You paid no taxes, and got a $19 million refund.
You are Citigroup, and you paid no taxes despite earning more than $4 billion, and despite getting a sizeable chunk of the taxpayer-funded bailout.
Your favorite part of it all?
The part that makes you laugh out loud?
It's when you hear the politicians you own talk about "shared sacrifices" and "fiscal responsibility." Man, that's a hoot.
You watch them rave and froth on Capitol Hill about shutting down the government because the country doesn't have enough money to fund "entitlement programs" the little people have been paying into for decades.
The very term - "entitlement" - cracks you up; how is it an entitlement if people paid for it? Nobody asks that question, of course. Nobody asks about cutting the bloated defense budget. Nobody asks where the billions diverted to Iraq and Afghanistan actually went, or where the money for Libya is going. For damned sure, nobody demands that you pony up and pay your fair share. You made sure of that, and the show goes on.
The United States of America has undergone a powerful transformation over the course of a single generation, and you are right up there in the catbird seat, watching it all unfold.
For you, the New American Dream is "I got mine, kiss my ass, work and die (if you can find work, sucker), and pay me." For everyone else, the New American Dream is about simple survival, about running as fast as they can while going inexorably backwards.
Maybe you can even see the cancer eating away at the country that has treated you so royally, but you don't really care. You are safe and comfortable behind your gilded walls.

For now, anyway.

Oh to be rich!

And in control.

A somewhat final analysis of when and why things got so far off the track of actually fixing the economic/financial problems brought to us by all the events leading to the 2008 meltdown (and the "fixes" that fixed Wall Street but not Main Street):

 . . . when you read that this could be one of the longest and most difficult recessions in history, and that it’s due to the “unusual nature” of the financial meltdown, essentially the Ken Rogoff/Carmen Reinhart “This Time Is Different” analysis, understand that such an analysis ignores the self-inflicted wounds from Washington at a time when the economy could have been revitalized.
We have a demand problem, and government didn’t do what was necessary to boost that demand. What’s more, to the extent that this is a balance sheet recession (and it is), reducing household debt, particularly through the largest source of such debt, mortgages, would be the appropriate response, and yet the housing policies have been utterly useless if not actively harmful.
You can talk about structural factors, the particular past performance of financial crises, and what have you. Government had the ability to fix this – at the absolute least ameliorate this – and they chose not to.
In short, there is no deficit that cannot be plugged except for our political deficit.
It sustains the defeatism of years of no growth, stagnant wages, high unemployment. The political tendency toward right-wing and corporatist policy ideas over the past 30 years, tied up with the cost of running campaigns, the failure of traditional media, the conservative movement’s public relations machinery, has widened that political deficit between what government can provide and what it will provide. And this is exacerbated in a recession of this type. 
 But not for these guys.



One Fly said...

Nope -"not for those guys".

I saw the whore AP article on SS and don't believe a tenth of it.

These problems are so easily solved but of course that means they will not be because to do so would mean this country has to go to where most of the money is and they will not a penny to us.

This is the way it is. Thanks Susan!

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

"It's called the American dream because you have to be asleep to believe it."

- George Carlin

Suzan said...

You're very welcome, Tom.

"Whores?" Come on - B A S T A R DS A L L.

The bare-faced lies are what always get me going. Such obvious lies.

It all makes me wonder how a country populated by an upper class who seem to enjoy listening to sugary lies (that appeal to their vanity and hot buttons), lies that eventually will drive them all to poverty or early death can exist for long.

How long?

We gotta get out of this place.

All I hear at my end is "businessmen" who think this is a stellar buying opportunity and that things will be much better for the world after the lower classes are taught a lesson about buying houses they can't afford and paying off their overextended credit cards.

There is no thought about the corruption of the banks or investment houses or the rapidly increasing desperation at the desparity of the country's income structure at all.

Just "giving it" to the lower classes in the worst possible way because their irresponsible behavior caused it all, you know!

It brings much glee to these wolves in human form.

And you both know how much I loved and still love George Carlin!

I just ran a great video of his last week. Look it up for a grand few moments of visceral release!

Love you guys!