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Friends,

I don't know which to write about first:  the morally sickening blatant racism of the Republicans's destruction of the ACA as devised and passed by the Obama administration or the now rapid advance of the vast transfer of wealth that has been going on in the US since the 1980s when Reagon took office.

But perhaps I should start with this parable: the Democratic party can no longer fight the Republican successfully because the Republicans are now shamelessly anti-democracy and are doing all they can to destroy all rights for everyone but the super-rich (voter suppression, egregious reactionaries running the courts, gutting the first amendment to the point that organizing peaceful protest is racketeering, gutting the power of any office where a democrat has won, giving police power to kill with impunity) while the democrats persist in behaving if in a partisan manner (yes they gerrymandered) it's not to the point of destroying any power the constitution (checks and balances) originally intended for parties, religions, political persuasions of all kinds. The Republican party today is a group of people armed with guns they are willing to kill the other side with; the Democratic party is a group of people who don't want to kill anyone and think still to negotiate and compromise; they don't even want guns.



I felt so morally sickened when I watched for less than a minute these Republicans destroy Obamacare. It was given that name because it has been invented by a black man. I have been told that many people saying they hated Obamacare would then say they liked the Affordable Care Act, not knowing these were the same thing. I feel they did more out of spite against a black man than almost anything else. Oh yes throw millions off the system, yes allow businesses not to offer health care, yes to stop subsides, yes give the rich more tax breaks but the real thing they were after was to humiliate Barack Obama. There was nothing in ACA they couldn't afford, that hurt them one little bit. This was a vast racist act in front of the world. I feel so ashamed to have to live in this country and have people like this present themselves as representing the people of the US. I know these people are fleecing me and conducting a vast transfer of wealth from the poor and middle class to the very wealthy. They never believed in democracy and now they act this out. How will democrats fight them? They have taken over because they have destroyed central aspects of democracy at every turn. They will continue to do so. I know Obama does not need my sorrow for him; he will be very rich man for the rest of his life but nonetheless this racist spectacle is horrible. They couldn't care less about MLK because they killed him (at age 37!), but they didn't kill this black man, instead they thwarted him at every turn (he tried for a bill where he would have reformed immigration itself legally) and now where he succeeded so importantly, have killed what they could of him. He kept thinking he was their Negro when he'd tried to negotiate ....




When I paid this year's taxes I realized that the US gov't takes in effect 3 of my 12 checks away. I make less than $50,000 a year with my social security and widow's annuity. I pay a heft tax for land and house I live in. This situation is the result of 40 years of changes which has taken the very wealthy from paying 90% on a calculated percentage of their luxury income (a formulation wiped out in the 1980s) to less than 30% of all their income omitting money protected under many many deducations and formula so that no tax is paid.

What is happening is the prevention of accumulation of income. Ta Nehisi Coates made a splash when In the Atlantic he demanded reparations after he demonstrated how for decades black people were fleeced and prevented from accumulating anything. My parents lived in a rent control apartment, maybe they took 3 trips in their lives, he had hardly any clothes (she had a closet stuffed and no where to wear them), he took his books from the library. I cost nothing to go to college; I never had a wedding. They didn't give anything to help buy the house.  So since the 1970s they accumulated bit bybit -- slowly.  She also took out loans and paid them back. But what I have is chicken feed to  wealth person. It's a cushion. I can leave Izzy the house and if I stop taking trips I will leave the money my parents left me. Eaten up by inflation.

Fees for so much and so high. Nowadays the 8th amendment is gutted .As punishment any court can bankrupt a person. We have a form of debtors' prison for those who can't pay court bills. With privating prisons (shown to offer deadly care), I've read in some of them for the person to eat well his or her relatives has to a pay. I'm also paying monthly far more than Jim would have countenanced, from the cable TV for $225 a month to the cell phone for $160. but Izzy loves both; they are central to the comfort of her existence and the Internet too. 4 sports channels, 2 money channels, a little computer she takes with her.

The renewed gouging of people for health care and the huge sums demanded for college educations makes a further reverse: millions end up in hopeless debt: peonage.  There was a phone town hall meeting with Don Beyer, the congressman for my area, and of all the subjects he presented not one concerned taxes, not one about money. So you were given 4 choices what worries you most, environment, the immigration snatching (not put that way), civil rights and another. There was no choice for diminishing income and gouging. No choice which would bring out how the republicans are now stymying the Consumer Financial Protection Board. People could ask questions and each one almost concerned some worry he or she had which went back to a lack of money but no principle is brought out. The Nation (which now sends me paper copies again) had a long story about Sanders: he is a socialist and it's been a very slow climb up; he doesn't get to reach people; he had 1/16th the coverage of Trump. The day he won so many primaries and made a speech, his speech was not broadcast. He presents himself as for gov't-supported college but the center of that is not going into debt and it's not attached by him publicly to his other interest: universal health care, single payer. And the average person doesn't think and is ashamed.




In the NYRB there was a striking article by David Cole on how the right for free speech is not enough. What I thought remarkable among many things he said is it was Roosevelt who was a rare public advocate for the state working proactively to make sure this free speech reached everyone. FDR was the one president we've had in history who had the strength, power, will and vision to set up the legacy that ever since has been whittled away and now is about to be defunded: I am sorry to say it's a locked one:

The refusal to fund public transportation isolates people. This Trump regime is not going to rebuild the infrastructure but give a bonanza of tax breaks to companies with no effective demand they build roads, railroads, public transportation systems. It's been shown again and again the promises Trump gets from companies to hire people in the US and build factories here are never fulfilled.

Public transportation doesn't exist in much of the country. Last night I had ahelluva time getting into DC to see an HD screening of a play from the National Theater. Pinters No Man's Land. Actually it was enigmatic and not as it should have been overtly political: only than what you saw would make sense. Many in the audience sat there like the people watching the emperor with no clothes -- or maybe there was no such outer perspective.  But it took me well over an hour each way because of "single tracking" trains. No money put into the Metro for years and now they are desperately fixing what is dangerous. You are told find some other way to 'get there.' Carpool. Right.  Take a cab.  Right.


Into the Woods -- Blake out of Dante

In the NYRB books an essay by the usually un-alarmist Elizabeth Drew and she was alarmed. At the end she suggests despite the obvious set of cogent aims at regulations, any social program paid for by taxes, and deep racism of Trump and his regime's agenda, he is also mentally crazy, either with some kind of dementia (the limited vocabulary) or emotional disorder. Next to it was a long letter from college presidents to Trump against his immigration policy as wreaking havoc centrally on US education in colleges. These people are trains scholars, potentially productive people as students, the progams to be destroy (NEA) are important helps. The two together show a whole way of life is to be destroyed. I suppose this is what Hitler successfully attempted until he lost WW2.


Lastly the great irony that it is the average person paying another  15% towards social security across the US who is funding much of this fascist regime:

This was Alan Greenspan’s trick that he pulled in the 1980s as head of the Greenspan Commission. He said that what was needed in America was to traumatize the workers – to squeeze them so much that they won’t have the courage to strike. Not have the courage to ask for better working conditions. He recognized that the best way to really squeeze wage earners is to sharply increase their taxes. He didn’t call FICA wage withholding a tax, but of course it is. His trick was to say that it’s not really a tax, but a contribution to Social Security. And now it siphons off 15.4% of everybody’s pay check, right off the top.


The effect of what Greenspan did was more than just to make wage earners pay this FICA rake-off out of their paycheck every month. The charge was set so high that the Social Security fund lent its surplus to the government. Now, with all this huge surplus that we’re squeezing out of the wage earners, there’s a cut-off point: around $120,000. The richest people don’t have to pay for Social Security funding, only the wage-earner class has to. Their forced savings are lent to the government to enable it to claim that it has so much extra money in the budget pouring in from social security that now it can afford to cut taxes on the rich.

So the sharp increase in Social Security tax for wage earners went hand-in-hand with sharp reductions in taxes on real estate, finance for the top One Percent – the people who live on economic rent, not by working, not by producing goods and services but by making money on their real estate, stocks and bonds “in their sleep.” That’s how the five percent have basically been able to make their money.

The idea that Social Security has to be funded by its beneficiaries has been a setup for the wealthy to claim that the government budget doesn’t have enough money to keep paying. Social Security may begin to run a budget deficit. After having run a surplus since 1933, for 70 years, now we have to begin paying some of this savings out. That’s called a deficit, as if it’s a disaster and we have to begin cutting back Social Security. The implication is that wage earners will have to starve in the street after they retire.

The Federal Reserve has just published statistics saying the average American family, 55 and 60 years old, only has about $14,000 worth of savings. This isn’t nearly enough to retire on. There’s also been a vast looting of pension funds, largely by Wall Street. That’s why the investment banks have had to pay tens of billions of dollars of penalties for cheating pension funds and other investors. The current risk-free rate of return is 0.1% on government bonds, so the pension funds don’t have enough money to pay pensions at the rate that their junk economics advisors forecast. The money that people thought was going to be available for their retirement, all of a sudden isn’t. The pretense is that nobody could have forecast this!

There are so many corporate pension funds that are going bankrupt that the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation doesn’t have enough money to bail them out. The PBGC is in deficit. If you’re going to be a corporate raider, if you’re going to be a Governor Romney or whatever and you take over a company, you do what Sam Zell did with the Chicago Tribune: You loot the pension fund, you empty it out to pay the bondholders that have lent you the money to buy out the company. You then tell the workers, “I’m sorry there is nothing there. It’s wiped out.” Half of the employee stock ownership programs go bankrupt. That was already a critique made in the 1950s and ‘60s.


Miss Drake

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
misssylviadrake
Mar. 13th, 2017 12:17 am (UTC)
Vile republicans; Obama was in danger
CHBartells: I had such deep fear for Pres.O being assassinated, I was in mental pain. Their vile hatred was despicable and treacherous. I remember the D.C. Protests over the ACA, the poster signs with him as the Grim Reaper, and Death Panel propaganda: they were vile.

I've never been political, just voted every Presidential Election. I got motivated when Pres.O came on the scene, and old toddering McCain chose S.Palin for VP...listening to her hatred and stupidity mobilized me...and ive never stopped spreading facts and truth, not just my opinions. Palin becoming President was too much a Horror Story!

Now we actually are living with it daily and have it in our laps.

I feel like I need therapy to handle all this Upheaval of the country and our Safety from the enemies that surely see our weakened state..then there's the Environment...a mess, another dangerous mess... People are worked up over the A.C.A. getting axed, but look who this demagogue let into the Govt...Russians !
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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