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Soda Fountains and Bernie Sanders

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Message Suzana Megles

You may be wondering what soda fountains have to do with Bernie Sanders, the courageous Senator who "spilled the beans" on 10 corporations in America who don't feel they owe this land of such bountiful opportunities monetary help for her time of need. Rather they continue to "milk" her with all their might.

In Cleveland some industrious man has found a 40's soda fountain which he has brought back to life.  More power to him.  For me they are reminders of a gentler, kinder time of life.  Hence my title and the reference to people from that time.  At 70 maybe Senator Sanders also grew up in a neighborhood that had a soda fountain which people like me remember so fondly.  Sitting on a swivel chair, drinking to the very dregs a cold cherry coke on a hot summer's day was special.  We also heard the juke box playing the Mills Brothers "Paper Doll," and all this was a wonderful simple respite from daily cares and which didn't break the family bank either.

This snippet from the 40's which I remember so well including the Standard Drug in our city -which not only dispensed drugs, but had this wonderful soda fountain for young people to enjoy the simple pleasures of ice cream sodas, scrumptious sundaes and banana splits.  Banana splits.  Wow, haven't even thought of those for a long time.  Do they still have them anywhere?   Do people still make them? 

Yes, these simple times are gone forever.  We didn't look forward to a new car at graduation from high school.  A new Bulova watch would do just fine.  And we didn't have cars to take us to school.  We basically used shoe leather to get there.  We had little, but it also seems we had much- because we required so little. We were
grateful that there was food on the table and clothes on our back.  We are finally learning to be grateful for our hard-working immigrant parents whose sacrifices also built beautiful churches of worship where we learned to love God. I can even  remember making visits to the Blessed Sacrament in the evening because the church doors were always open then.  Sadly, those days are gone forever when doors can be left open without fear of intruders.

Anyways, I am proud of this Senator close enough to my generation who had the courage to address his fellow Senators on the disgrace of the 10 wealthiest corporations paying NO taxes and even getting a refund.  I would
like to tell those corporate heads - that I, with a yearly income of LESS than $20,000 received no tax refund this year. Last year I got the "princely" refund sum of $375.  But, after hearing the president talk about our huge deficit, decided to send it back to the US treasury.  I enclosed it with my note to President Obama hoping that people who got refunds and could afford to do so, would send theirs back as well.  Well, after you stop laughing, I still think its a good idea.  Our country has a huge deficit and its up to ALL of us to do something about it. I don't know what happened to that check.  I haven't spent a lot of time pouring over my bank statements to see if it was cashed.  I don't think so, but I still gave it willingly and gladly.  I wish I could give more.

So I am ashamed that the wealthiest corporations and the wealthiest people aren't doing something to wittle down our huge deficit.  Are they afraid that government will always look to them for bail outs?  If so, this is unworthy thinking. The country which gave them so many opportunities to be wealthy is now facing hard times.  Did we make bad decisions re our money?  I believe so, but that doesn't change the predicament we are in now.  I also can't help remembering a passage from the late President John Kennedy's inauguration speech - "Ask not what your country can do for you.  Ask what you can do for your country."  Wow, this wise remark has fallen on deaf ears to be sure.

Care 2 this week posted five of the corporations named by Senator Bernie Sanders in his speech to Congress.  I am repeating them here for any readers who may have missed them the first time when writers on Oped or other blogs wrote their posts.

1.  Exxon Mobil made $19 billion in profits in 2009, paid no federal income taxes, received a $156 million dollar rebate.

2.  Bank of America received a $1.9 billion IRS refund despite $4.4 billions in profits.

3.  General Electric had $26 billion in profits, and a $4.2 billion dollar refund.  (GE made it onto another top 10 list of top corporate lobbyists in 2010, spending $39 million dollars.)

4.  Chevron nabbed a $19 million dollar refund after making $10 billion dollars in profits. 

5.  Goldman Sachs (Wall Street) in 2008 only paid l.l percent of its income in taxes even though it earned a profit of $2.3 billion and received almost $800 billion from the Federal Reserve and the U.S. Treasury Deparment.   

I don't know about you, but I am deeply saddened by their greed.  I am deeply saddened that these people who have so much are still taking from a government in need.  I don't know about you, but I believe that all their tax loopholes should be removed and they should be paying their fair share in taxes. 

And to add insult to injury I read today in a New York Times opinion page that Republican Rep.Paul Ryan feels that we who have so little in comparison to these corporate tax evaders should be paying more for our Medicare to lesson the cost of "entitlements."  If his idea comes to pass, we who need Medicare, will be paying a lot more and per this New York Times editorial:  "How much more?  Calculations derived from the C.B.O. analysis show that in 2022 when the Ryan plan would kick in, the typical 65- year- old would pay $6,400 to $7,999 more per year than would be paid for comparable coverage under traditional Medicare."

Your all heart Rep. Ryan and I only hope that Democrats will keep control of the Senate and White House so this won't happen.  I'm also glad that I'm 80 because should this plan be adopted - it wouldn't take effect until 2022 when I have a feeling I won't be around- thank God.

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