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The Truth Nobody Seems to Want to Talk About

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Posted on Evans Liberal Christian Politics, by Paul Evans

I've been dancing around (yet trying to avoid) the bitter truth since soon after I started this blog immediately after the election of 2008. I was willing to give Obama the benefit of the doubt when he appointed Summers, Geithner and Bernanke as heads of his economic team, but now I believe that I was duped, as were many who worked to elect Obama as an agent of change. Will somebody please show me just what has improved in the actual lives of ordinary Americans since Bush? I've seen quite a few other journalists and columnists doing the same thing -- dancing around the truth with reluctance to make the cognitive leap towards an inescapable reality. I guess my favorite economics author who tells it like it is, is Bob Swern (bobswern) over at Daily Kos. But few seem to want to connect the dots and really summarize what is going on, so allow me try to make my own attempt. Politics is depressing. The article which opened my eyes to this and resonated with me is, "Across the Universe: The Power of Disillusionment and the Politics of Despair," OpEdNews, March 15, 2011, by Chris Floyd. A young man is disillusioned, somewhat depressed, and even contemplating drinking or suicide because his Mom's hero Barack Obama is complicit in so much that is wrong. Instead of simply making a comment of some encouragement, Chris Floyd makes this commentary in its own article, of which I wish to quote part:
You have to remember that politics is a toxin. It will make you sick, taint your mind, poison your soul, blight your life if you let it. One has to deal with politics as a form of waste management, just as you need to have some kind of sewage system in your home or community to prevent disease.

Politics -- the machinations of the stunted, damaged souls and third-rate minds who hanker for power -- is just a small part of life. It entirely lacks the tragic element; nothing tragic or depthful about politics and power, it's just brute force, greed, ignorance and spite. So there is no deep meaning to be found in it. No tragedy; no real joy either. Even the greatest moments, the epiphanies -- and they do happen in politics on rare occasions, one must admit -- will lead very quickly back into the sewage. And that's OK, that's the way it is; sewage, waste management -- it's part of life. But it's not where meaning, joy, tragedy, the salt and savor of existence can be found. So why let the evil done by third-rate goobers drive you to despair of life itself? By hook, crook, lies and murder they've already amassed all kinds of power; why give them power over your very soul?
Very well put, don't you think? Still, it's all very well to talk about politics not ruining our outlook or our lives, yet, isn't that exactly what it's doing?

It's always been the very wealthy versus the rest of us. It's just that once in a great while, usually following one of those periodic implosions we call a depression or even a bad recession, the Democrats manage to come up with enough populist leanings and legislation to make the playing field a little more level. "Equal" never really gets anywhere near to meaning "equality." But with a few handfuls of beads thrown to the populous, there can be a minimal compression of inequality so that emotions are tamed long enough for the rich to resume their systematic plundering the puny earnings of ordinary Americans. What are we talking about, put in a contemporary example? Let's look at the Waltons, owners of that ubiquitous chain of Chinese goods, WalMart. Sam Walton used to be worth about 60 billion dollars. Then he died and three of his children inherited. Each of the three today is worth at least $20 billion. That's enough to put two of the three in the top ten wealthiest people in America. There are some different figures out there about just how bad the inequality is today.

The most damning set of facts I've come across perhaps came from Michael Moore's website, although I'm not sure. The claim is made that 400 very lucky people in this fair land own more than half of America's wealth. Oh, and also, the lowest 80 percent of us own the shrinking sum of 17 percent of the wealth. This level of inequality is the worst, economists say, since the days of the old robber barons of the nineteen twenties.

Recently on Daily Kos, Bob Swern gave us some further proof of what's been going on, specifically from 1992 to 2008, in NYT to Obama, Congress On Jobs: "Bad Policy, Craven Politics." Buffett: "Stop Coddling Super-Rich":
""Referencing I.R.S. data and putting this all in context, Buffett tells us that, at the very highest income level for the 400 most successful Americans that submitted returns to the I.R.S. in 1992, they had total income of $16.9 billion and they paid federal taxes of 29.2%. By 2008, the income of the top 400 people reporting to the I.R.S. had risen to $90.9 billion, but they only paid federal taxes of 21.5%."
It is instructive to look at Wall Street and the investment banks during and "after" the last recession (which some say isn't over). While Goldman Sachs got ten billion from the bailout -- the one Congress voted on, which was only a fraction of what the Fed actually handed out (some 2.4 trillion) -- and also 19 billion from AIG bailout money that AIG owed Goldman, don't worry, everything is hunky dory for these fine executives. The Goldman execs in 2009 got to split 23 billion in bonuses.

Now, Goldman Sachs owns Burger King. Many of these workers work 70 hour weeks and often do NOT even get paid for their overtime hours with commensurate pay. But $23 billion would give every single Burger King worker extra pay amounting to $18,000 a year. As if to rub salt in the wound, after the Obama administration's "fiscal reforms," last year Goldman gave out even more in executive bonuses.

What I am talking about is that, for the first time in history, after an economic nosedive which was the second worst in our recent history, there has been this really good recovery. I mean for rich people. ONLY for rich people. Yes, through the magic of a bought Congress and some really great lobbyists, plus the best computer programming money can buy and the connivance of the Federal Reserve, the economy is great for the rich, and yet really, really lousy for the rest of us. And that's the way the rich set up this recovery. I can't prove it, but I feel deep down in my bones that Washington and the various economic elites set it up this way on purpose, in order to solely benefit the elite and well to do.

You say, let me have some data to back that up. Here are some figures that were floating around last February which are telling: The fact is that as of that date, for those making $100,000 a year or more, the unemployment rate was a very livable 3.2 percent. However for those of us making $20,000 a year or less, the unemployment rate stood at 31 percent. There seems to be a now-permanent underclass and upward mobility seems frozen. Not only do the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, but if you ARE poor, there is very little chance you will ever be counted as a thriving member of the middle class.

So we are screwed, and maybe even a fair number of the underclass now understand this, yet even the Democrats who get elected are mostly far from liberal on economic issues. With the "compromise" that Obama and the Democrats made to get the debt ceiling raised, about which Boehner crowed that the Republicans got 98 percent of what they wanted, I really believe we should all consider just giving up and moving to Europe or Canada. The game seems over here in America. Greed and evil seem to have triumphed and to be fully in control of the future. I cannot imagine Congress, Obama or anyone else saving ordinary Americans from the suffering and anguish that have recently been imposed on them by the powers that be. I pray that the future proves me wrong. But I don't think so.
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Paul Evans is a 54 year old website designer and book editor who lives in Wooster, Ohio. He owns and runs Evans Politics, a non-comprehensive news aggregation and commentary website with a lot of features including original content, streaming rock (more...)
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