Category Archives: Economy

Mr. President, Lucy always moves the football(but now the chains are off)

The thing President Obama seems to never learn is that Lucy, in the Charlie Brown comic script, always moves the football so that Charlie Brown misses his kick.  Translation:  The health insurance companies never intended to cooperate and they will never cooperate so you need to stop playing the conservatives game. Mr. President when you apologized for the cancellations that the health insurance companies sent out, your weren’t strong enough in stating the realities.  Mr. President I hate to be the one to tell you this but you’re at war. And you should state the case unequivocally:  There are people who don’t want to cover pre-existing conditions because it cuts into their profit margins, therefore they will raise your rates.  Stay on message: “I am not taking your policies away.”  Mr.  President you need to hone your message because people don’t get it unless you do.  Stay on message in an “Its-the-economy-stupid” kind of way.  You are in a campaign to change the conversation.  Tell the American people that you are fighting for them and that “the insurance companies are taking your insurance away.”  Tell the American people that we are going to close the doughnut hole, insurance companies will refund premium payments to customers (a total of $1.5 billion overhead savings and insurance rebates to Americans since its implementation in 2011),  that we will through the ACA, supply funding for scholarships and loan repayments for primary care doctors and nurses working in underserved areas and funding to support the construction of and expand services at community health centers and no amount of sabotage in the form of cancellation notices will change that.  Mr. President here is where the Conservatives keep winning they keep it simply and repeat.  Take a lesson from the cowboy theater and watch someone like Donald Rumsfeld because it appears that the American people are accepting even when the message is stupid, if you state it simply. Just watch:

The conservatives continually refer to the ACA as a train wreck, this is an attempt to saturate the the American psyche with falsehood because they know that repetition of the big lie works as FDR explained years ago

About your messaging problem, this is what you said back in 2009 according to Politifact:

“When I say if you have your plan and you like it, or you have a doctor and you like your doctor, that you don’t have to change plans, what I’m saying is the government is not going to make you change plans under health reform. … Let’s say that we take the advice of some folks who are out there and say, ‘Oh, this is not the time to do health care. We can’t afford it. It’s too complicated. Let’s take our time,’ et cetera. So let’s assume that nothing happened. I can guarantee you that there’s the possibility for a whole lot of Americans out there that they’re not going to end up having the same health care they have. Because what’s going to happen is, as costs keep on going up, employers are going to start making decisions: ‘We’ve got to raise premiums on our employees. In some cases, we can’t provide health insurance at all.’ And so there are going to be a whole set of changes out there. That’s exactly why health reform is so important.”

Mr. President you are dealing with an “is-Khole-going-to-leave-Lamar” America, I mean Mr. President, the guy we elected before you said things like this:

Too many good ob/gyn’s aren’t able to do what?

People who voted for him, Mr. Bush, are far more likely to cherry-pick your words and attempt to hold you to standards they don’t even now apply to him and never held him, Mr. Bush,  and his “we-will-be-greeted-as-liberators” crowd accountable for the contributions that the war that would “pay for itself” has added to and continues to add to the national debt.  You remember the “smoking-gun-mushroom-cloud” gang.  Don’t fixate on their agenda. And yes I do say that their concern with the national debt is bull hockey and the evidence is the absence of Tea Parties in the Bush years.

So Mr. President, with an audience which is so inattentive to the nuts and bolts of how things work and who are unlikely to see the sabotage at work, the only part of that paragraph that was really useful for moving the agenda of health care access forward was  “what I’m saying is the government is not going to make you change plans under health reform.”

Remember you are dealing with a public that devotes a huge amount of their mental capacity and emotional involvement to entertainment.  They don’t have time or enough capacity left to digest paragraphs.  Therefore repeat: “Those cancellations come from for-profit insurance companies and they cancel policies for-profit every year.”

The health care industry cancels plans every year.  The government is not going to make you change your plan.  The insurance industry chose to gouge you for profit sake, thus the cancellations.  Lucy pulled the ball away.  Remember that the ball with which we are playing was Lucy’s ball from the start; we didn’t have a public option which means that the for-profit health insurance industry controlled how the game was played, who gets access related to coverage.  Just remember when you hear someone complaining about the President’s promise that we don’t know which of the cancellation notices would have been sent or which of the policies would have been altered even if congress hadn’t passed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.  Mr. President some of your surrogates should be telling the public ever day, all day that that there was “normal turnover in the individual insurance market” before the the ACA and that  “40 to 67 percent” of customers would not have been able to keep their policies anyway.  The truth of the matter is, the insurance industry cancels plans to maintain and increase profit margins and would do so whether or not Obamacare existed.

Mr. President when it is reported that explanations for cancellations go like this

The main reason insurers offer is that the policies fall short of what the Affordable Care Act requires starting Jan. 1,

 

the health insurers may not be so much like Lucy as they are like the abusive white supremacists in Pulp Fiction.  The insurers are actually treating American citizens, only for profit, the way that Marcellus and Butch were being treated in Pulp Fiction, in essence like we’re at their, health insurance companies, mercy.

 

Mr. President you don’t have an election to win anymore and in the words of Marcellus its time to get “Medieval” on this mob.

 

Continually challenge the CONNINGservatives to pull the anti-trust exemption which can’t be good in any “free market” sense for the American consumer.  As a matter of fact, America doesn’t need for-profit insurance companies we need health care access for all. That is the challenge for progressives.  We need to get our views in the conversation as consistently as the Crypto-Fascists who are using every tool in the box to maintain the worst, most expensive healthcare delivery system (go find the Brits, Canadians, French, or Japanese who go bankrupt because of medical expenses) among the major industrialized nations.

Clowns? Jokers? You ever feel like you’re stuck in the middle?

It’s the distraction (our entertainment) that has us stuck!!! The jokers and clowns are empowered by our collective ignorance.

 

As I watch the city government in Richmond Virginia, lead by an African-American mayor, disrespect the memory of the American slave in a way that Holocaust descendants would never disrespect the memories of their ancestors, I think. This is the fruit of a collective ignorance which facilitates comparison of American slavery, in grand acts of public trivialization, to mandatory health care access (in the case of Dr. Ben “Americans-use-too-much-healthcare” Carson) or to the national debt (from Sarah “you-can-actually see-Russia-from-land-here-in-Alaska” Palin). In the minds of “I-built-this” American, the self-made person (I mean who needs God or grace anyway?), it is perfectly logical, in the minds of the history-illiterate, to link slavery to health care or to say slavery is like the national debt. American history, as we are taught it, plays up the image of colonial America as the land of the persecuted-taxation-without-representation Christians even as it down plays the foundation of the independence America felt compelled to declare from Great Britain, an independence borne aloft on the scarred backs of black men and women. Peering back at the past would show how ludicrous the notion of unassisted-by-government wealth creation like comparing health care or the national debt to slavery really is. It was government which made wealth accumulation possible.  Without laws and the apparatus (can you say government) to ensure their application and maintenance the following would not have been possible.

“Slavery led to great wealth not only in England but in the

Chesapeake as well: “In the middle of the seventeenth century … the

richest 10 percent of the families owned roughly 40 percent of the

wealth, a figure that was to approach 70 percent by the eve of

independence.”80 Studying inventories of planters’ estates, Menard

notes that “slaves accounted for only 20 percent of inventorial wealth

in the seventeenth century … but nearly 60 percent by the 1720s and

65 percent in the 1740s.”81 Slave labor was the central source of

Chesapeake wealth and capital. The best-known Chesapeake

entrepreneur, Thomas Jefferson, owned about 200 enslaved workers

in the year of the Declaration of Independence; fifty years later, in the

year of his death, he owned more than that.82 Howsoever some leaders

of the revolution might philosophize about the Rights of Man and

liberty for all, they took care not to apply such doctrines to the

enslaved workers they owned.”

~ A Short History of American Capitalism

by Meyer Weinberg

 

 

It is the nation’s collective, seemingly hermetically-sealed ignorance which gives us a middleclass and underclass enslaved by miseducation and sedated by entertainment. We just don’t seem to get it. While the CONNINGservatives are telling us that government is the problem, they are using the government to write rules that increase their wealth even while they call many who vote for them lazy 47%ers, takers. How do you know that our government, that is to say the structure given to us by the lobbyists who write the laws while I play fantasy football or keep up with the Kardashians or attend a Tea Party rally carrying an Obama-is-a-socialist-witch-doctor-from-Kenya poster decrying government hands on my Social Security, our government (a system of laws with the apparatus to ensure their application and maintenance) is committed to doing things which have as a by-product, the maintenance and increase of a permanent underclass? In the latest regression, the corporatists sold the public a bill of goods called NAFTA and watched as Mexicans, pushed out of farming at home by American agri-business, fled their country for work in America even as they, the corporatists, exported middle-class jobs and kept profits offshore. And somehow we believe that baseball diamonds in Richmond, Va. and, in the case of Mississippi, outlet malls are the answer to our economic woes.

Of course the corporatists, the Citizens United crowd, would have you believe that these are the forces (producing job exportation and profit offshoring) of globalization at work, the forces that have Americans scrambling for jobs at baseball stadiums or outlet malls and for foreign investment for manufacturing by Siemens and Toyota and Yokohama as defined benefit plans disappear and conservatives seek to cut food assistance programs and resist Medicaid expansion. The narrative says that we, the American public, just need more education so that we can profit from the globalization trends and that Obamacare is ruining our economy. The irony is those foreigners from whom we beg for investment subsidize education better (Japanese doctors don’t have nearly the education debt that American doctors have) and have excellent universal health care. Contrary to what the CONNINGservatives preach, I guess that stuff, universal health care, doesn’t kill jobs after all. The jobs don’t die; they multiply because of the foreign facsimiles of Obamacare; Universal healthcare countries even send jobs all the way overseas to America. What they, the American corporatists, make sure we never hear much about or at least what that attempt to make sure is crowded out off our consciousness by their Think Tanks and talk industry, when we aren’t trying to see who gets voted off the island next or wins the Amazing Race, what is pushed from our field of vision, what is flooded from our cognizance is how the Germans have 200 insurance plans (nonprofit entities that pay medical bills not dividends) and they have insurance even when they are unemployed. While attacking the Affordable Care Act, you’ll never learn that Germans, to whom southern governors go begging for plant investments, make certain that their workers have great input into corporate decisions with works councils, the co-determined board, and wage-setting institutions. Of course the lethargic, infantile American Labor movement would finally grow up and do the American public a great service if it adopted some of these concepts.  But even the American Labor Movement appears to be as trickle-down, top-down oriented, and untrusting of truly democratic functioning with real leadership rotation. 

 

No, you see if things like these were widely known and taught we’d laugh, the joker, John Boehner off the podium when he says that America had the best health care delivery system in the world before the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and he would be forced to help improve healthcare access which is substandard instead of running interference for the health insurance industry. We’d laughed at the clown, the mayor of Richmond, and tell him to advocate for a national development plan where certain industries are nurtured the way the Korean’s and others nurtured industries to improve the living standards of their countrymen. But target the plans to the areas “left-behind” so that we can reduce the “takers” in America and increase the number of Americans participating in the production processes in the country. That would be true patriotism.

One thing is evident by the language and focus of these two “economic” leaders, the clown on the left and the joke on the right, is whether it’s the Mayor in Richmond Virginia or the Speaker of the U.S House of Representatives, offense is not easily achieved in America where it is entertainment which is truly the opiate of the people.

▶ Wont Get Fooled Again – YouTube

 

or will we?

“plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose”

“The more things change, the more they stay the same” –  Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr

Mississippi Republicans’ masterful utilization of the levers of power, i.e. being able to have U.S. Senators at their beck and call for Yokohama officials (Yokohama Tire Corporation is the North American manufacturing and marketing arm of Tokyo, Japan-based The Yokohama Rubber Co. Ltd.) reveals the true power structure, ancient and plutocratic in nature, of the state (see Jeff Pender’s story, “Landing Clay County tire plant was no easy task,” from the Clarion Ledger 4-27-13). The Governor of the state even gave the Yokohama representatives gifts “paid by private funds.” (Who were the private sector players who provided funds for the Japan junket and what were their motivations?; what did they get or do they hope to get for their investment, since we know that according to conservatives the only motivation for men is self-interest, this being the driver of the free-market?) On what do they get first dibs? What inside information do they get or fast track to supplier contracts will be coming their way. Is their identity a matter of public record? Funny how small government really means government by the few.

 

It looks like the supposed small-government crowd (at least those are the rank and file people who elected a Republican-dominated Mississippi state house, House of Representatives and Senate, and Republicans to every state-wide office except Attorney General believe they are) is now getting “big government” legislation. RepubliCons passed legislation which effectively bans abortion despite recent overwhelming defeat of a personhood initiative which would have effectively banned abortion. How’s that for the will of a few controlling “big government” so that government determines that a woman has no right to decide with her doctor what to do with her body? And now a few men have drawn up a plan to give millions of dollars to a Japanese company and presented it, fully developed, to the legislature for rubber-stamping (“The approach we take with confidentiality is tight-lipped, driven by the commitment we have made to the company with regard to confidentiality- remarked Sally of the Mississippi Development Authority of the secrecy involved before a “a closed and confidential briefing,” according to an article, “Tire plant seen as big jobs producer in the Clarion Ledger, 4-25-2013.

There is not one TEA (taxed-enough already) party scheduled to protest this “big-government” plan. And the Teabagger’s were the crowd that protested so loudly about not knowing what was in the Affordable Care Act. The levers of power in Mississippi are still controlled by a few Oligarchs or Plutocrats, the same as it ever was and the rank and file Republican is satisfied with merely carrying the Republican name.

Mississippi today bears a striking resemblance to Mississippi before the Civil War, where a few wealthy men dictated the course of government, with none-slaving owning lemmings following because of their possible slave-owning potential, 19th century trickle-down economics which also sustained the class structure. The average Mississippi Republican, like the Mississippi Democrats before the Civil War (blacks didn’t get the right to vote until after the war and the Redemption essentially eviscerated the black franchise in the south until the 1960’s), isn’t against big government if the “right” people are in positions of authority perpetuating the status quo, i.e. slow economic growth channeled through a private sector which segregates itself at every opportunity and deplorably under-funds the education system which militates against the development of a truly well-educated (economically and politically)citizenry. The reason you won’t see any TEA party rallies against the Yokohama tire plant “give-away” is because the Heritage clones at the Mississippi Public Policy Center couldn’t generate a whimper from the supposed anti-big-government Mississippi Republicans who are too poor and uneducated (economically and politically) to respond to anything but dog whistles (see my previous post on the dog whistle that kills bugs.)* The Mississippi Public Policy Center can only get a rise out of the racially-responsive population when that population can hear the dog whistle (say ObamaCare or Obama anything in Mississippi and you have blown the whistle)

At the heart of attacks on government, for southerners, and the reason it has a special appeal in the south, is that the attack is an ancient appeal to racial supremacy. It was “Big Government” intervention in the south, interfering with the southern way of life through first trying to maintain the Union and then through Reconstruction, which necessitated the Redemption (In the 1870s, the Southern Democrats exercised power through paramilitary organizations such as the White League and Red Shirts, especially in Louisiana and Mississippi, respectively. The Red Shirts were also active in North Carolina. These paramilitary groups turned out Republican (who were affiliated with the north and freedmen rights) officeholders and terrorized and assassinated other freedmen and their allies to suppress voting. –see Wiki entry on Redeemers). To this day, the flag which was adopted after a massive, horrifically violent post-Reconstruction disenfranchisement period (in 1894) remains as the symbol of white supremacy.  The Mississippi flag is a symbol of planned, structural exclusion.  Those responsible for maintenance of that structural exclusion responded to school integration with a Sovereignty Commission. That structural exclusion, today, has vestiges in schools that were formed as Seg-Academies. That structural exclusion did crack a bit when the University of Mississippi, recognizing the economic impact of not being able to attract many talented black athletes, got rid of the battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia (Confederate flag) from its sporting events.  The racist superstructure (the underlying power structure) is part of the reason funds can never be found to sufficiently, continuously fund the Adequate Education Fund in Mississippi. The superstructure is a manifestation of the racial-purity philosophy which was the goal and legacy of the Klan in Mississippi. In keeping something pure (communities, schools, etc.) like keeping government small, something most be excluded, something must be kept out. Now this exclusion is in effect a shrinking of opportunity for training and economic mobility, which can be readily accomplished in a segregated (in terms of employment opportunities) private sector, which ideally you, as a small-government advocate, would want to expand while shrinking or “drowning” in a bathtub the government sector (with its more egalitarian proclivities and determination to monitor inclusiveness and insure diversity and access to opportunity). Of course the diminished or constricted educational funding will have some white, expendable, casualties as well but this simply reinforces the classism but using poor whites as a buffer and shock troops in the political battle to maintain the status quo.

Underfunding education (as in purposely siphoning some of its funding off to fund charter schools) gives the true ruling elite two obvious advantages. First the pool of people competing with them intellectually is constricted through access depravation which makes the dog whistle more effective as supposed racial inferiority becomes superficially evident. The distraction of race allows for a concentration, a concentration facilitated through trade agreements which eviscerate the middle class, of resources into fewer hands. These resources are channeled away from un-educated and under-educated whites through trade agreements which ship jobs overseas depleting the tax base and with it funds for education. The un-educated and under-educated whites don’t know that they have the power to affect these decisions and accept their plight as just a matter of markets at work and are vulnerable to appeals to “entitlement reform” as minorities are viewed as the principal recipients of their tax dollars and that they are Taxed Enough Already. Playing up the notion that the wealth of the nation is being greatly dissipated by entitlement programs or by “welfare queens” is a perfect distraction like the Jesse Helms sponsored Harvey Gant commercial, all the while corporations and wealthy individuals stash billions off-shore and companies, sitting on trillions of dollars display the true blue-smoke-and-mirrors essence of trickle-down economics. Secondly, they, elite white men, the upper-class, firmly in control of the bulk of the capital, can dole out resources (through campaign support and jobs) in the private sector to re-enforce and animate their political views about school funding, abortion clinics, state-approved prayer, etc. The South’s economic drag on the American economy is the price the country must pay for turning its back on the American South for almost 100 years after the Civil War, and allowing a class of white southerners to resist changes that would have enriched the region far faster by keeping a lot of talent here to bloom and ripen. So when you think Yokohama, think how that could have been an American plant with union labor years ago if certain men had not been so successful in fanning the flames of white-hot white supremacy which enriched the upper echelons, retarded labor development and contributed not only to a brain and talent drain which continues to this day but to the under-development of so many of the minds that remained.

*According to Sam R. Hall of the Clarion Ledger in Jackson, Ms., the Milliman study is

“a Dec. 7 report prepared for the Division of Medicaid by Milliman Inc. The report, of course, looks at the costs to the state for expanding Medicaid

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant sent the report to Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves and Speaker Philip Gunn on Friday, according to the letter attached to the report.”

The report refers to Mississippians or people who currently quality for Medicaid but are not covered as if they were insects or bugs who would come out of the woodwork when it refers to a Woodwork affect as follows:

Woodwork effect
Milliman’s study also includes what he calls the “woodwork effect,” an allusion to people who currently quality for Medicaid but are not covered and will “come out of the woodwork” to qualify because of new changes affecting people without insurance.
Milliman predicts the following costs over the seven-year period, regardless of the state’s decision to expand Medicaid:
• 60 percent: $319 million
• 80 percent: $413 million
• 100 percent: $474 million

Ruining Government(The Great REpubliConned pastime)

Who’s to say that those services or wages are needed? 

This bit of sophomoric logic, aged in the American psyche through years of Heritage-funded (Koch-brother produced) repetition, comes, liberal and moderate America, from your political competition, the Tea Party. This in essence is the Teabagger philosophy. We would be better off without government is their belief. “Government is the problem” to quote the most beloved Republican of the twentieth century, contrary to the belief of the last great Republican president, Dwight Eisenhower who warned of the military-industrial complex and brought us the interstate highway system, contrary to JFK who pointed us toward a moon landing. Mind you a lot of these people, (the know-nothing Republicans, they vote Republican, they call themselves conservative; make no mistake about it, Teabaggers vote Republican and there is no difference just look at former Senator Bennett of Utah and his Teabagger replacement Mike “laughingstock” Lee who advocated a situation which costs his state tons of money by blocking “services or wages” which weren’t “needed”) mind you a lot of these people never rallied and complained about being taxed enough already (TEA’d) when the Bush Administration Curve-balled us into Iraq one of two-unfunded-unread-Bin-Laden-determined-to-attack-PDB wars. Tellingly, these “fiscal” conservatives never complained about two wars being not budgeted, remember the Teabagger rallies that didn’t happen during the Bush administatrion; they aren’t bright enough to know that the American economy lost the opportunity to focus on greater economic productivity (being greater competition to the Chinese and every one of our other economic competitors) by channeling all the manpower and resources to the misadventure which is Iraq. I challenge their concern about leaving debt to future generations and deficits because we never raised taxes to cover the cost of the war, so the cost including interest on the borrowed money used to fund the war make Iraq the gift that keeps on giving.

So when you hear a Teabagger, in response to cost estimates of the Teabagger orchestrated government shutdown:

Bad assumptions for the most part.

First, the impact on the economy. S&P calculates the $24 billion impact based on all the wages federal workers didn’t get, and thus didn’t spend, plus the side effects from that lack of commerce. But what S&P doesn’t take into account is that those federal workers will probably see an increase in their commerce once they get their back pay.

The furloughed workers are all likely to engage in about the same level of commerce as they would have had the shutdown never happened. The timing may have changed due to the furlough, but they are still going to buy clothes, fuel and food and go out to the movies”

Just remember you’re listening to people who either have an agenda or who are operating unwittingly on behalf of people who have an agenda. The agenda is to castigate and undermine the functioning of government at every opportunity, as part of a grand privatization scheme benefiting an oligarchic donor class. To them, “Government is the problem,” except of course when they are diverting it to their friends like Haliburton or Blackwater in a no-bid kinda way). Some of the cohorts are so simple minded that they say things like:

“those federal workers will probably see an increase in their commerce once they get their back pay.”

The Teabaggers, and remember the “TEA” stands for taxed enough already, are perfectly ok with forcing a shutdown and then paying back-pay to workers who they forced to sit at home (“Federal employees sat home for a combined total of 6.6 million days, more than in any previous government shutdown”) because they, the Teabaggers, were attempting to defund the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act by monkeying with a continuing resolutions to fund the government. The shutdown-didn’t-cost-that-much argument (indicative of the mentality of a group which is properly referred to as “know-nothings”)is about as moronic as the equally clueless plea to congress to “keep your government hands off my Medicare” or “Social Security.”   

 

Medicare was brought to you by a Democratic (LBJ’s) administration.  And now conservatives now want to voucherize it so that 75 year olds can go into the private “junk” insurance market to buy healthcare((Paul Ryan’s plan) or in the case of Dr. Ben “I-need-my-head-examined” Carson, who is now Heritage’s (what’s a word that rhymes with stitch and begins with a b), you can just save the money to cover your old-age medical expenses. Conservatives never wanted you to have it, referring to it as socialized medicine; and now conservatives claim they want to preserve it, socialized medicine, for you the unwashed masses who should turn to your churches and are using too much healthcare, according to Dr. Ben “if-you-can’t-afford-that’s-just-tough” Carson?

Wait, here is more comedy. And that Social Security, that the Heritage Foundation (the Koch brother monstrosity) advocates be privatized so that you can make some Madoff or Ebbers rich before they go to jail, Social Security was brought to you by, wait for it, wait for it, another Democratic (FDR’s) administration 

From Liberals not from America’s Hezbollah (the conservatives) who see the poor as Godless people who wouldn’t be poor if they just worked harder!

.

The great irony is that the safety-net which supplies enough societal stability to provide Americans with enough breathing room mentally, mental comfort, to leisurely form notions of government dismantlement was brought to you by progressive Americans, brought to you by liberal Americans. The magical thing about the CONNservative appeal is that many people who voted for Mitt Romney are, by his definition, takers (depending on government of the people for support, VA, disability, Sandy Aid, farm support, but not, in their opinion, the military-industrial complex); that is they are receiving some sort of government assistance but view themselves as superior to others who are receiving government assistance and want to attack “entitlements” but never complain about lobbyists writing laws which allow Romney-types to hide money in the Cayman Islands and corporations to outsource jobs and offshore profits which means that they, the poor and middle-class whites who voted for Romney-Ryan, have less resources to take care of themselves and contribute to the tax base upon which all those “entitlement programs” depend.

 

And that “increase in commerce” that this particular Teabagger estimates will occur says nothing about the time value of money (what was not accomplished because the money was not there on time when it was needed and used as planned for something like saving or investing) and what was lost in make-shift arrangements by those furloughed to make ends meet while the government was shutdown (like short-term borrowing and added expenses). No, the Teabaggers see this inconvenience and the very real costs the workers incurred as just a means to an end, the end being a destruction of a government that is too big. That Heritage-Foundation-too-big rubbish could only take root with the working-class due to mental insulation afforded by the productive foundation brought to Americans by past generations which gave us everything from the TVA, to the G.I. bill, to VHA and FHA loans to the interstate highway, most of which were brought about when tax rates where much higher on the upper income bracket. Heck, even the “big government” Postal service (which has its origins in the nation’s founding) was a boon to rural road development.

 

You’ll hear comments like the following in places like Forbes

“People who cancelled trips to D.C., national parks, or other sites may instead have taken a trip somewhere else.”

Did you notice the “may instead” in this theory? What if the trip was cancelled? What if no one received the funds through a sale or purchase because of elimination of the government services or functions? What if things were postponed? Can you say uncertainty, Teabaggers? Aren’t they, conservative, Teabaggers, always complaining about economic uncertainty and the affect of uncertainty on the economy? Funny, how the word just disappears from the conservative vocabulary in the context of a government shutdown. Business don’t invest because of uncertainty, goes the tale of the great pumpkin, I mean the tale of uncertainty. H E double hockey sticks, you even had a conservative at an institution of higher learning in Mississippi using “uncertainty” as a pretext for layoffs. Funny, how even in this continuing resolution device, the RepublCONs found a way to put a damper on economic activity and still complain about slow economic growth.  You have to give them credit for the consistency and the diversity of their attack

There are also Heritage feces loads like:

“Because the government workers are being paid for the days they did not work, the cost of government services will not decline and, therefore, neither will the government contribution to GDP.”

These clowns never heard of anything like multipliers and derivatives unless they are talking about Wall Street or the stock market. The government contribution to GDP does stop with the money paid to government workers. What conservatives never count is the money that is spent, the goods that are produced because the government employee is there. Just because you pay government employees after they have been idle doesn’t mean that the government contribution to GDP didn’t decline.

“Communities lost $500 million in spending in their communities as a result of shuttered National Parks.”

To say that those funds were spent elsewhere is just ludicrous. And the numbers don’t support the RepubliCONNED assertion. And if consumer confidence means anything at all, then those government employees would defy the notion if they spent at the same level as before the layoff and so would those people who depended upon their, the furloughed employees, expenditures and work product. And furthermore, with clowns like the Teabaggers in office, the economy must necessarily be adversely affected. In their continued effort to downplay the derivatives of their economic madness, CONNINGservatives are hoping to be successful in keeping people from seeing the

“continued government brinksmanship as a major factor holding back the U.S. economic recovery.” 

The most sinister part of the shutdown strategy is that by destroying the ability of the government to function, the CONNINGservatives can make a better case for privatization. There is an OMB report which says

“The shutdown “risks seriously damaging the ability to attract and retain the kind of driven, patriotic Americans to public service that our citizens deserve and that our system of self-government demands,”

Those flag lapel pins CONNINGservatives wear should burn holes in their suits.

Walmart Corporate – YouTube

 

Walmart Corporate – YouTube

Every time you see this commercial,


you should remember this:

 

Thank you once again Thom Hartmann!

The attack on poor people as being the great downfall of America is embodied in the following which was an email that was in circulation in 2009 after President Obama’s election.  This was from a co-worker in Mississippi in March of 2009, coincidently about the time that the Tea Party began its rise to political prominence.

 

Urine Test — This guy has a point! This was written by a construction worker in Fort McMurray . Read on . . .
I work, they pay me. I pay my taxes, and the government distributes my taxes as it sees fit. In order to earn that pay check, I work on a rig site for a Fort McMurray construction project. At any time I am required to pass a random urine test, with which I have no problem. HOWEVER, what I do have a problem with is the distribution of my taxes to people who don’t have to pass a urine test. Shouldn’t one have to pass a urine test to get a welfare check because I have to pass one to earn it for them? Understand – I have no problem with helping people get back on their feet. I do on the other hand have a problem with helping someone sit on their butt, drink beer and smoke dope. Could you imagine how much money this country would save if people had to pass a urine test to get a public assistance check? If you agree, please pass this along, or simply delete if you don’t. Hope you will pass it along though, because something has to change in this country.

 

My response to this inane, bitter assault, which illustrates the effectiveness of the divide-and-conquer strategy which is at the core of what made the southern strategy work (a strategy which placed at odds people who are natural economic allies), my response was as follows:

This implies that many people who get assistance are drug addicts.  There is a better than even chance that the costs of testing everyone who receives assistance will be far greater than the money saved by finding and removing those who are doing drugs.  Alcohol is not illegal, you can’t buy it with the electronic debit card and the last time I checked there aren’t any more food stamps to sell for cash with which someone could then purchase drugs.  If we are talking about marijuana or cocaine, then I haven’t seen any news of opium production or marijuana fields in trailer parks or projects.  This means that someone must be looking the other way to allow it into these areas.  People on public assistance are the least mobile in our society.  This means that someone who isn’t on assistance must be financing drug distribution.  If this guy actually knows of someone who is on assistance and using drugs, he can anonymously report them for possession of a controlled substance, thus saving the tax-payer the expense of a drug test. Either this guy knows someone who is breaking the law and he is looking the other way or he’s just ticked that he has to take drug tests.

The fat cat bankers have all but destroyed the banking system, corporate executives fly on corporate jets to any personal event of their choosing without being taxed for the use of the jets while conducting $100,000 bathroom renovations with corporate funds on which they pay no taxes, corporations set-up off-shore offices to avoid paying taxes leaving everyone else to pay disproportionately for schools, roads, the military and everything else, and this guy is worried about someone on assistance?  Welfare reform was passed sometime ago, meaning anyone receiving assistance must seek employment.  So the thing about “helping someone sit on their butt, drink beer and smoke dope” is the old tired “welfare queen” complaint from 1980.  If this guy wants to know who’s robbing him blind, it ain’t the guy below him, it’s the guy above him.  I have been drug tested several times on my job as a condition of continued employment and I just think that his anger is misdirected.

Conservatives have counted, successfully, on poor white people and middle-class white people not realizing that they have been mesmerized by a distraction, the dark-skinned ne’er-do-well’s and poor foreigner boogiemen who are supposedly depleting resources (wrecking the economy) and taking jobs (they see this as the  reason that they don’t have enough money and that living is so hard) even as the elite in America have devised methods of legally stashing money in accounts in the Cayman Islands and illegally in Switzerland, sitting on trillions of dollars in profits, and offshoring jobs.  None of these thefts from the economy and depletions of America’s revenue stream are beneficial to main street.  The game of resource hiding and transference could also be seen as the reason defined benefit plans are increasingly disappearing as companies are allowed to move capital and leave the people, U.S citizens, stranded as consumers with fewer revenue streams.  While they, poor whites and middle-class whites, are focused on arguing with women over what to do with their bodies and denying adults the right to marry and see these as reasons to vote for Teabaggers aka conservatives, the elite are using those Teabagger, conservative elected officials to divert attention from how they are escaping paying taxes which means that others have a heavier tax burden coupled with fewer job opportunities due to the offshoring of jobs which contributes to a widening in the country’s wealth gap. Central to their tax-cuts-improve-the-economy theory is the shrinking of the government.  Less government means less need for taxes in their plan.  And of course, they, the CONservative elite, the Think Tanks, have convinced the unthinking Republican voters that government doesn’t create jobs (even though it does) through shear repetition, which instigates their attacks government even as they scream “keep your government hands off my Medicare.” What has kept some of the Republican base in the stable has been selected government assistance which masquerades as national defense. But in all their tax-shrinking trickery they hide the way they are increasing the burden on lower and lower amounts of income.  “Changes in the tax system had vastly expanded the ability of the megarich to save while those making less than $72,000 had their ability to save stripped away by rising Social Security taxes.”*  And why should they, the megarich, have tax advantages like carried interest?  No, no, the unthinking, programmed Republican voters somehow have been convinced that drug testing people receiving government assistance is more important to the economy than taxing a hedge fund manager like a bus driver, or having a truly progressive tax system.  No, no, the Republican, CONNEDservative voter is more concerned with personhood amendments and unnecessary photo ID laws than with “the tax rate on capital gains, the source of more than half of income for the super rich, was 28 percent starting in 1987, fell to 20 percent in 1998 and then was lowered again in 2003 to 15 percent,”** and how this contributes to the widening of the income gap and allows some people to better withstand things like government shutdowns.

Thom is right.  There are real welfare queens in America, boogiemen if you will.  And they are shielded and protected mostly by the people commonly known as social conservatives who seek to control the personal lives of others even as their ability to care for themselves is degraded by the policies of the people and they are labeled as takers.

 

*”Perfectly Legal” by David Cay Johnston

**Ibid