Monday, September 26, 2005

SMALL GOVERNMENT - BOOM FOR RICH

Grover Norquist, one of the ideological leaders of our current
administration, once said he wanted to shrink the federal government until
it was small enough to be drowned in a bathtub. Well, those who believe in
his view of things have worked very hard to accomplish this, and we see
now what happens when you do that. In this case, the government did not
drown. An American city did. - Wm R Pitt

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The saddest reality in this SMALL GOVERNMENT ideology is SMALL GOVERNMENT FOR THE RICH IS A BOOM... less tax, less regulation, less conscience over helping others; But for the poor of a nation... SMALL GOVERNMENT means, in plain words... FEND FOR YOURSELF... Now to the well-to-do on the right, FEND FOR YOURSELF simply means PULL UP YOUR BOOTSTRAP, ROLL UP YOUR SLEEVES AND GET YOURSELF BACK ON YOUR FEET... They chant this Horatio Alger creed over and over again, not realizing they have the resources to easily accomplish this… if ever they were down on their luck they would just reach for well-off acquaintances, relatives, associates and fall back on their education, experience and insider knowledge.

I wonder how any of these blinded by the right conservatives would fair if
they came from a generational poverty line that dates back to slavery.
They claim they can put themselves in another persons shoes… but I beg to
DIFFER.

Just imagine for a moment, a person of generational poverty trying to get a job with no education, no skills, an image of poverty ( i.e. bad teeth,
inferior language, worn-out, faded clothing). An employer would say SORRY WE ARE NOT HIRING AT THIS TIME and send him on his way. (I have seen this happen). Where is he/she to turn, it should be to the government, a citizen should be able to obtain help from the government, but with SMALL GOVERNMENT… his government isn’t there. Why aren’t we all in this together…? We are only as strong as our weakest link! For the poor there
is nothing and for the rich there is EVERYTHING. Why can’t the conservative, smug snobs see this.

We the people, ALL THE PEOPLE, need our government when times get tough. We pay out taxes and deserve a helping hand. Taxes should be sort of an insurance policy for us to help educate us, give us health care
(especially dental) and help us procure a LIVING WAGE. We the people need an equal playing field. Today, with the government take-over by the RIGHT
our playing field is anything but EQUAL. We, ALL THE PEOPLE deserve and
should expect better. TIMES HAVE GOT TO CHANGE. The people, ALL THE
PEOPLE must wake up and smell the coffee… I know this is a worn-out idea
but it must be repeated over and over, again and again… BEFORE IT IS TOO
LATE!! ThinkingBlue

PS: Below is an article that tells it a lot better than I:

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The Real Costs of a Culture of Greed

By Robert Scheer The Los Angeles Times Tuesday 06 September 2005

What the world has witnessed this past week is an image of poverty and social disarray that tears away the affluent mask of the United States.

Instead of the much-celebrated American can-do machine that promises to bring freedom and prosperity to less fortunate people abroad, we have seen a callous official incompetence that puts even Third World rulers to shame. The well-reported litany of mistakes by the Bush administration in failing to prevent and respond to Katrina's destruction grew longer with each hour's grim revelation from the streets of an apocalyptic New Orleans.

Yet the problem is much deeper. For half a century, free-market purists have to great effect denigrated the essential role that modern government performs as some terrible liberal plot. Thus, the symbolism of New Orleans' flooding is tragically apt: Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal and Louisiana Gov. Huey Long's ambitious populist reforms in the 1930s eased Louisiana out of feudalism and toward modernity; the Reagan Revolution and the callousness of both Bush
administrations have sent them back toward the abyss.

Now we have a president who wastes tax revenues in Iraq instead of protecting us at home. Levee improvements were deferred in recent years even after congressional approval, reportedly prompting EPA staffers to dub flooded New Orleans "Lake George."

None of this is an oversight, or simple incompetence. It is the result of a campaign by most Republicans and too many Democrats to systematically vilify the role of government in American life. Manipulative politicians have convinced lower- and middle-class whites that their own economic pains were caused by "quasi-socialist" government policies that aid only poor brown and black people - even as corporate profits and CEO salaries soared.

For decades we have seen social services that benefit everyone - education, community policing, public health, environmental protections and infrastructure repair, emergency services - in steady, steep decline in the face of tax cuts and rising military spending. But it is a false savings; it will certainly cost exponentially more to save New Orleans than it would have to protect it in the first place.

And, although the wealthy can soften the blow of this national decline by sending their kids to private school, building walls around their communities and checking into distant hotels in the
face of approaching calamities, others, like the 150,000 people living below the poverty line in the Katrina damage area - one-third of whom are elderly - are left exposed.

Watching on television the stark vulnerability of a permanent underclass of African Americans living in New Orleans ghettos is terrifying. It should be remembered, however, that even when hurricanes are not threatening their lives and sanity, they live in rotting housing complexes, attend embarrassingly ill-equipped public schools and, lacking adequate police protection, are frequently terrorized by unemployed, uneducated young men.

In fact, rather than an anomaly, the public suffering of these desperate Americans is a symbol for a nation that is becoming progressively poorer under the leadership of the party of Big
Business. As Katrina was making its devastating landfall, the U.S. Census Bureau released new figures that show that since 1999, the income of the poorest fifth of Americans has dropped 8.7% in inflation-adjusted dollars. Last year alone, 1.1 million were added to the 36 million already on the poverty rolls.

For those who have trouble with statistics, here's the shorthand: The rich have been getting richer and the poor have been getting, in the ripe populist language of Louisiana's legendary Long, the shaft.

These are people who have long since been abandoned to their fate. Despite the deep religiosity of the Gulf States and the United States in general, it is the gods of greed that seem to rule. Case in point: The crucial New Orleans marshland that absorbs excess water during storms has been greatly denuded by rampant commercial development allowed by a deregulation-crazy culture that favors a quick buck over long-term community benefits.

Given all this, it is no surprise that leaders, from the White House on down, haven't done right by the people of New Orleans and the rest of the region, before and after what insurance
companies insultingly call an "act of God."

Fact is, most of them, and especially our president, just don't care about the people who can't afford to attend political fundraisers or pay for high-priced lobbyists. No, these folks are supposed to be cruising on the rising tide of a booming, unregulated economy that "floats all boats."

They were left floating all right!

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A FEW FACTS ABOUT THE MINIMUM WAGE

The Federal minimum wage is steadily losing buying power. Once it is adjusted for inflation, the $5.15/hour minimum wage was worth only $4.40/hour in June 2004. Increasing the minimum wage to $7.00/hour by the year 2006 is a modest proposal which will help restore the value of the minimum wage.

The minimum wage as a percentage of the average wage has also been declining. In the decades of the 1950's and 1960's, the minimum wage was worth more than 50% of the national average hourly wage. Since 1968, the ratio of the minimum wage to average hourly earnings dropped from 56% to 36% in the 1990's. The current minimum wage of $5.15/hour represents only a third of today's average hourly manufacturing wage.

The annual earnings of a full time minimum wage worker in the 1960's and
1970's equaled or exceeded the poverty line for a family of three.
Starting in the 1980's, the annual earnings of a minimum wage worker began
to shrink as a percentage of the poverty line. Today, annual earnings from the minimum wage ($10,700) are 75% of the poverty line for a family of three and 57% of the poverty line for a family of four.

Contrary to predictions by opponents of the minimum wage increase, an Economic Policy Institute (EPI) study of the effects of the 90-cent increase in the minimum wage legislated in 1996 failed to find job loss associated with the 1996-97 increases. This study, and other studies of previous minimum wage increases, challenges the textbook theory that raising the minimum wage will cause employers to fire minimum wage workers. Commenting on these studies, Robert Solow, an MIT Nobel laureate economist has written, "The main thing about the research is that the evidence of job loss is weak. And the fact that the evidence is weak suggests the impact on jobs is small." (New York Times, 1/14/95)

The proposed increase in the Federal minimum wage will both strengthen consumer demand and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans and their families; and, studies of the effects of recent increases in the minimum wage do not find significant job loss.

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ANOTHER GOOD READ:

The Death of Horatio Alger

Audio - Kanye West "GEORGE BUSH DON'T
LIKE BLACK PEOPLE"


VIEW VIDEO HERE

SEE MY PAGE HERE

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QUOTES:

They took over the country like a coup. Eight or nine guys came and took over the country, they overran the press, the congress, the bureaucracy and we all fell down so easy. Is our democracy that fragile that it can be taken over so quickly by a group of people who are zealots, who are ideologues, Utopians if you will? They didn't go into Iraq because of oil or Israel, they went in because they really believe they could go in with ten-thousand American soldiers, a few bombs, a lot of American flags, Saddam would fall, new government would come in, and democracy would flow like water out of a fountain. Seymour Hersh from a Daily Show interview

The question is not whether the system works, but
whether we like the way it works. Just because something works doesn't
mean it is desirable. Concentration camps work, if your purpose is to
enslave people. Stealing works, if all you care about is money. Lying
works, if you don't give a damn about your personal integrity. Literally
anything, no matter how monstrously immoral will work, depending on your
desires and how you define the term work.
Sy Leon

By definition, a government has no conscience.
Sometimes it has a policy, but nothing more
.Albert Camus

Patriotism is the willingness to kill and be killed for
trivial reasons.
Bertrand Russell

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CAROLYNCONNETION - I've got a mind and I'm going to use
it!
Thinking Blue

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