Not Redistribution of Wealth! Oh No!

We need to help middle class workers prepare for new jobs.
We need this kind of shot-in-the-arm free community college program that the
President is recommending and that he talked about in his State of the Union
address and that infrastructure stuff and child care. But we have learned all too much about “pay for-s” over the past six
years.
 “That’s impossible.”
say the Republicans, “How will we pay for it?”
So then President Obama rolls out his tax plan. And it’s a
doozie – an in-your-face Grover Norquist, No-Tax-Increase-Pledge doozie! And I
am smiling a big smile even though I know it won’t fly. I also think that if we
say it enough and own it enough it could all happen. We could have lower taxes
for the middle class and we could raise the taxes on corporations and the
wealthy. We are the people. It is our government. We are the 99%. They are the
1%.
“That’s ‘redistribution of wealth,” say the Republicans as
if ‘redistribution of wealth’ is a mortal sin; as if it rings the ‘communism’
alarm bells in the heads and hearts of all sane capitalists.
Why should such obvious fear-mongering and name-calling
bother us? This is not the days of Joseph McCarthy’s Un-American Activities
regime which set out to ruin many successful Americans by painting them ‘red’
for ‘communist’. Americans have no wish to turn over all their property and
money to the state and start a communist revolution in America.
What is clear to most middle class Americans is that we,
however suspicious, were sort of uneducated on the wiles of politicians, and so
we let these powerful and wealthy people create a set of rules about taxation
and profit which sent most of America’s money to a few greedy,
financially-savvy rip-off artists and that now that these people – these 1% – have
all this money they are damned if they will let us rewrite the rules so that
some of this profit stays with the middle class, and some of it funds the
activities of our federal, state, and local governments in order to provide
ourselves with the services and resources we need to keep America great.
Are we frightened of
a label that was once considered a ‘politically dangerous’ one? Do we really
believe that these people deserve all the monies that have accrued to them?
They don’t employ us anymore, they don’t need us anymore. They want to be
Americans in name only and pay nothing for the privilege.
We did not force our corporations out of America through
middle class greed as these folks would have you believe. I will keep saying
this until we all accept it. Globalization was inevitable. There was always
going to be a moment when our corporations moved into less-developed nations.
Nature abhors a vacuum. Once communism proved inferior as an economic system –
at least the brands of communism that have been tried so far – it was just a
matter of time before these communist countries loosened up. It was only a
matter of time before business men’s eyes got bigger and bigger as they thought
of all the potential buyers living in developing nations, how cheap labor would
be, and how easy it would be to operate in countries with no environmental
rules.
There is nothing the American worker could have done to
stop this stampede. Stop letting the 1% blame the 99% for things they had no
control over. Stop letting some simple words, said with a sort of implied
sneer; words like ‘redistribution of wealth’; stop us from changing the way we
tax wealth in America.

There could be backlash, unforeseen outcomes. Going up
against people who are rich and powerful is not without consequences, but if we
are already headed towards a serfdom of low wages and life-long toil, I think
we should risk it. Raising taxes is cheaper, less disruptive, and less costly
in terms of human lives than going through a revolution which is often how
wealth gets redistributed. This is not a threat. This is, however, a
historically accurate observation.
By Nancy Brisson

Redistribution of Wealth My Eye

 
 
OK, I’m
still trying to work this out. I have talked about this before but I keep
adding scenarios on to it as the situation morphs through new phases. The
factories left us. I don’t know about your city but those familiar business
names from my childhood disappeared one after another. There were businesses
that thrived through the early 40’s, were turned to war production in the mid
40’s, and went right back to thriving in the late 40’s and early 50’s, pretty
much until the advent of the computer, when Asia joined the marketplace,
beginning with Korea and Japan, and moving, eventually, to that giant, China, a
nation that was finally ready to stop resisting progress and to allow some
capitalist economics to coexist with its communist government.

At first my
thinking just focused on the jobs lost by family and friends (and their
facsimiles all over America) who often did not go to college (for any number of
reasons) but who earned salaries that promised a safe, healthy life and a
comfortable retirement. These workers were climbing up through the middle
class, through two cars (and two-car garages), through college for the kids,
through family vacations and travels, and through second homes on local
waterways or in the piney woods.

And then it
all ended – it all slipped away – boom, gone.

But we have
lost more than jobs. We have lost our usefulness to the rich and powerful. They
are no longer anchored to our communities by their buildings where they used to
do business. Perhaps they have fears that their own money will dry up. They
blame us for sending the corporations away, for the flight of business from
America. They blame the unions and they blame environmental protection laws.
They, apparently, do not believe that the great corporate migration was
inevitable. When America began importing so many inexpensive products,
manufacturers who stayed put either folded or realized they would also have to leave.
However, we should not buy the guilt that has been heaped upon us, upon
middle-class Americans. We should never accept the prevalent story that most of
the money in America belongs in the pockets, safes, and bank accounts of the 1%
and that they did nothing to stack the deck in their favor.

The one
percent of wealthiest Americans are desperate to hang onto their profits and
since we no longer take a major part in producing those profits (we no longer
labor for them) (we have not kept up our levels of consumption), they have
decided to cut us loose. They believe that they are subsidizing the poor, the
lazy, the old, the sick, and the disabled (and the children of these parasites).
They picture themselves weighted down by all the bloodsuckers (money-suckers)
hanging on to their designer shirts. They are feeling injured and used; they
are paying the lion’s share of the taxes and society is freeloading. They have
been trying to tell us in many different ways that we cannot afford to pay for
the services offered by our government with the taxes we pay. Without their
dollars the whole system will come apart. They are, in their insulting way,
trying to warn us that they no longer intend to pay but they are trying to
engender “taker” guilt so that we will blame ourselves when they yank support
for our social programs away. They also feel that they may be able to profit
from privately providing these services to us, at a price. I am betting that
unless we wake up soon and skew the laws back in our directions (if it is not
already too late) that we will not really have any choice about keeping our
social safety net. It is all but gone. Wave good-bye! Poverty and disease and
sorrow await. The country that was once the richest in the world is broke
because the one percent have cornered and intend to keep all the money.

Not only
will we be poor, we will lose all the cultural treasures we once enjoyed
because they were all subsidized by the wealthy and the corporations. Will a
bankrupt Detroit be able to hold on to its art treasures? That’s the question
that was asked on the news last week. I don’t know why I didn’t see this
coming. My small city already lost access to the ballet companies that used to
visit. We lost our very accomplished symphony. Will we eventually lose all our
museums? Will all our art treasures go to live in wealthier nations where we
will no longer be able to afford to visit them? Will our famous public
buildings sit empty and eventually turn into roofless ruins full of plants
growing amongst the marble?

I hope I am
just having a dramatic dream, that one where the house starts out nicely
furnished and structurally lovely, even if including a few strange anomalies
and then, in the dream, the rooms gradually retain less and less intact
structure until, by the end of the dream, the house has turned into a pile of
rubble.

What can we
do to fight back and to try to hang on to our social programs which will make
our lives more livable, especially if we continue to lose ground economically?
What changes can we push for that will return our nation to the prosperity it
has long enjoyed and get these fear monkeys off our backs. They sneer when we
discuss re-skewing the economy in such a way that it will return the strength
to our middle class. They call it “redistribution of wealth”, as if they have
not already redistributed it into their own pockets. We actually want to re-re-distribute
the wealth. This is not socialism. This is a far more American policy than the
laws we have been living with which send all the money to the top and leave an
awful vacuum at the bottom. America doesn’t have to fail, but if we are
submissive, if we give into “taker” guilt, if don’t elect people who will tilt
the whole top-heavy economy back until some of that lucre can indeed run
downhill, then to the bottom is where we are going. The Republicans are playing a huge
role in turning us into an America in ruins. They refuse to help us keep
American infrastructure in order and to invest in businesses that look to the
future. I’m not sure that the Democrats are still champions of the common man,
but if we elect Democrats in 2014, we will see. If the Republicans keep gaining
ground in the House and in the states we are screwed. We will get more of the
same obstructionism we have now. (Of course, if the next new thing comes along
and we capitalize on it we may all be saved and we won’t have to take back the
affluence stolen from us by laws passed by our own lawmakers, but that doesn’t look very likely — the magic solution will probably not be pulled from that shiny old top hat.)

 #redistributionofwealth, #re-redistributionofwealth, #thegreatcorporatemigration, #whatAmericalost
 

This is the
view from the cheap seats.

This blog
post is also available at www.brissioni.com