(Article changed on December 10, 2012 at 16:42)
Deficit Reduction Committee by Unknown
The game is rigged, and they have played it so well that they are able to work their deception and iniquity with impunity.
And they're all in on it. Well, at least most of them. The general consensus among both Republicans and Democrats, as well as most of the TV pundits, is that to resolve the current stalemate over economics and avoid going over the "fiscal cliff" we need to cut "spending" and "Entitlements" in order to require to wealthiest few to pay even a little more in taxes.
That is a clear indicator of how successful the Republicans and Tea Partiers have been at their misleading and dishonest fear tactics, and a clear indicator of just how far the Democrats have sold out and caved in. That's why I decided to share the following beginning of an article that addresses that.
In December 2012 as America slides down the slippery slope toward the "fiscal cliff," as they say, Republicans have convinced everyone -- even progressive Democrats -- that there must be cuts in "spending" and "Entitlements" along with any increase in revenue.
But, is that true? Is it fair? And is it just?
Consider that during the last 40 years the wealth of the nation has been redistributed so that the wealthiest 20 percent of the population now own 95 percent of the total financial wealth of the nation, while 80 percent of the population now owns only 5 percent of it.
To be a little more specific, one percent of the population now owns 42 percent of the total financial wealth of the nation, and the next wealthiest 19 percent of the population now owns 53 percent of the total wealth.
Now also consider that during that same period of time, while the wealthiest few have been enabled to get incredibly richer, everyone else has become less financially secure, the middle class population has shrunk, more and more people have fallen into the working poor population which is rapidly growing, and more and more people have fallen into poverty, are hungry, and even homeless.
Politicians may want you to simply forget or ignore all that. But we cannot. We need to be sane, fair, reasonable, and honest.
We need to have sufficient revenue to make necessary investments in our people and in our country. Republicans try to label it as "spending" to fool you, but they are wrong -- and the only "Entitlements" we need to cut are those those that have been going to the wealthiest few, since we have entitled them to pay far less than their fair share of taxes and take far too much out of the national treasury in tax loopholes, deductions, shelters, havens, subsidies and other "welfare for the rich" that we have been allowing them to take.
Let's Look At More Reality
America is in deep trouble economically because too many Americans have either forgotten or denied some very valuable lessons of American history --- not only the lessons we should have learned from the 1920s, "30s, "40s and "50s, but the lessons provided by the Founders during the early decades of the nation's formative period.
Therefore, to start at the beginning, all Americans should realize that most of America's Founding Fathers intended to establish a government of, by and for the people, rather than a government that would produce and perpetuate plutocratic rule by the wealthiest few.
John Adams wrote: "Government is instituted for the common good; for the protection, safety, prosperity and happiness of the people; and not for the profit, honor, or private interest of any one man, family, or class of men. Therefore the people alone have an incontestable, unalienable, and indefeasible right to institute government and to reform, alter, or totally change the same, when their protection, safety, prosperity and happiness require."
In a letter to James Madison in 1785, Thomas Jefferson suggested that taxes could be used to reduce "the enormous inequality" between rich and poor. He wrote that one way of "silently lessening the inequality of property is to exempt all from taxation below a certain point, and to tax the higher portions of property in geometrical progression as they rise." And Madison then said using laws to "reduce extreme wealth towards a state of mediocrity (referring to the middle) and raise extreme indigence towards a state of comfort."
In Thomas Jefferson's writings he showed he felt strongly about providing the average citizen with equal opportunity. He even wanted to establish publicly funded higher education so that all citizens, regardless of their personal or family wealth, could fulfill their highest potential. Of course, he was unable to do that (as is painfully evident now since higher education is rapidly becoming out of reach for the majority), but Jefferson tried to make public education complete because believed in equal opportunity for all.
Interestingly, regarding taxation, the Founders originally established a government that relied mainly on tariffs to collect revenue, because they recognized that wealthiest people bought most of the imports and they thought it only fair that the wealthy should pay most of the taxes.
Even in 1811 Jefferson wrote: "The rich alone use imported articles, and on these alone the whole taxes of the general government are levied."... "The poor man, who uses nothing but what is made in his own farm or family, will pay nothing. (With) our revenues applied to canals, roads, schools, etc., the farmer will see his government supported, his children educated and the face of his country made a paradise by the contributions of the rich alone, without his being called on to spend a cent from his earnings."
Regarding banks and corporations, as president in 1801, Jefferson warned against the unregulated and unchecked power of banks and corporations. He realized they had already created a wealthy ruling class of men in America, and he recognized the terrible threat that insufficiently regulated or unlimited banking and corporate power represents.
In fact, Jefferson said that "banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies." He warned of the danger of private banks getting too big and having too much power, and he warned that they could "deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless."
Unfortunately, the Hamiltonian "Royalist" view regarding economics, banks and corporations prevailed over the Jeffersonian view. For while most people admired and respected Jefferson's views on democracy and freedom from Theocracy, the wealthiest European Americans still preferred the aristocratic British traditions that heavily favored and benefited the very rich property and land owners. Therefore, banks and corporations thrived and still enjoyed a great deal of power and free rein to exercise it.
That had inevitable consequences, and finally by 1929 the consequences of plutocracy and unbridled greed, self-interest and corruption became painfully apparent and nearly ruined the nation's economy. There was a terrible stock market crash. Tens of thousands of banks failed and $140 Billion of depositor money disappeared -- all of which caused the Great Depression which made millions of Americans jobless, poverty stricken, and homeless.
In 1932 Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt provided a New Deal and began implementing needed reforms and regulations on the banks and corporations, provided a safety net and Social Security for those who needed it, and by 1947 he had won World War II and made America the greatest nation in the world by making its middle class large and great.
Then, however, between 1947-1957 McCarthyism or the "Second Red Scare" began to turn the tide of progress and advancement. Republicans like Senators Joseph McCarthy and Richard Nixon and Hollywood collaborator Ronald Reagan resorted to the strategy of "R ed-Baiting" and calling New Deal Democrats "Socialists" and "Communists."
That was a very dark period in which many good, conscientious people were "black listed" and treated very badly simply because they had shown concern for the poor and the least of their brethren. And things haven't changed much in that respect.
During the last 40 years Republicans have sporadically but consistently resorted to that strategy to slander and denigrate Democrats and progressives. Nixonian and especially Reaganite Republicans, Libertarians and "Tea Party" members have nearly destroyed Roosevelt's legacy and the New Deal. They have caused the middle class to shrink, the working poor population to grow, and increased the rates of unemployment, poverty, hunger and homelessness. And Democrats have been either unable or unwilling to do much about it.
Now most American may not know all those facts. However, most Americans do know what the basic problem is regarding the economy.
Most Americans know very well that the wealthiest few rule at our expense. The trouble is, very few office holders in the U.S. Government will admit it or do what needs to be done, and those who should be telling the most relevant and crucial truths are not. Commercial journalism has become tabloid journalism, focusing on fluff and sensationalism rather than reporting the truth the people should know.
The vast majority of the people know the most essential and basic truth, though, in spite of all the distractions, rhetoric and propaganda. We know that the political economic system in America has been rigged to favor and benefit the wealthiest few at the expense of the vast majority -- regardless of whether a Democrat or Republican sits in the oval office of the White House.
That's why it could be said that in the 2012 election the lesser of the two evils won again. And, while that will surely help a little bit more, it will not bring the reform and progress we need. Just as very little changed in the last four years, very little will change in the immediate future because the basic problem remains.