Posts Tagged With: American economy

What’s Going On In America These Days?

Artwork by Steve Penley. His work is really patriotic and beautiful! 

What Is Going On?

Kamalah Harris is going to announce, very soon, whether she is tossing her hat into the ring for 2020. She’s sharp. A lawyer, she is brilliant. She has served as an attorney general in California. She was supported by Republicans in law enforcement there because she was a person who could reach across the aisle. We need that. We need fair, level-headedness that will work for the people!

 She is quick-witted and razor sharp. I like her a lot. Watch out for this woman. I will say that many women in rural farm country will not be comfortable with her. The reason why, honestly, is that she is the opposite of the way they are raised. She’s”big city” and the farming communities hate that because they feel left behind by our government.

The reason they feel this way amazes me because they honestly believe that republicans are going to save them. Yet time and time again, Republicans vote for special interest groups and for big business. They always stand with the wealthy. They have clearly shown that their values are not with working class people.

This Isn’t Rocket Science

I hope that people living where I grew up can still understand simple math. I’m not sure of that as we used to have a great school but most of the tiny schools, with low teacher to student ratios, were forced to consolidate. This was mostly due to the strangulation of the education system that also began in the 80s. As small communities begin to shrink and shrivel into nonexistence, because there is no growth, no jobs, no raises, no infrastructure, and no schools, …. maybe they will wake-up and realize that the problems in America are rooted in the wealthy not just taking your money but in keeping it. 

It’s very simple; a wealthy person doesn’t need more money. It only takes so much money to live and to survive, the rest is gravy. Even those with yachts and million-dollar toys eventually run out of ideas for spending their money. They refer to is as’wealth fatigue’ and it is a real thing. Wouldn’t you like to have this problem?

What they do is get obsessed with growing their money into more money. The way that they do this is to invest into offshore accounts and banks in order to get tax benefits of places that have lower taxes. When this happens, you are moving money out of the country and out of circulation. 

Now the amount of money available in this country is a smaller pile from which we all must pull our share from – including wages and government spending. That money gets taxed and the pile grows even smaller. Bigger companies like Walmart take all that money in,because you need spend it to survive, and they pay very low wages to the peopleat the bottom of the pile. Bigger deficits also mean less for us, as budgets are tightened to make up for it when we have responsible presidents. 

Games With America

It plays out like the divorced parent game. Dad comes along, tells you want to hear, has fewer rules, and he gives you want you want more often than not. Mom comes along and says, we must have rules. No, cannot have everything you want and now we must pay our bills. In this scenario, Dad is a Republican and Mom is a Democrat. We remember Dad as a great guy who cared about us, but reality is that Mom was the best, responsible parent who made sure we had things for rainy days. Am I making this simple to understand? 

The people at the top, who in the 70s used to take about 20 to 50x the amount that their employees made, are now taking salaries that are 600x what they are paying their lowest paid employees! Sometimes they take more than that because they find ways to pay themselves big bonuses, all while they show a business ‘loss’ for the year so that they pay no taxes.

Since no human being really needs that much money, they invest it …into offshore things that they don’t have to pay taxes on. The pool of cash remaining within America gets smaller each year. It isn’t rocket science. Big businesses have slowly killed America. Even worse, politicians have utterly convinced you to blame your problems on low income families rather than on their corporate greed.

They’ve managed to get you to believe that the wealthy  earned their huge salaries and deserve to keep every penny, and any other thought is socialist. No, people, they have conned you. They didn’t earn it. They used corporate tax breaks that they received by paying off members of the House and Senate to put those tax laws into effect. They played the system to steal from America by getting politicians to make it legal. They took from you. They didn’t make those huge profits, they squeezed it from your hard labor. They padded Rand Paul’s pockets and Mitch McConnell’s pockets, Paul Ryan’s pockets, and a hundred other people. Meanwhile, you take the trickle down and smile, while continuing to vote for them because they want to ‘give power back to the states and protect the second amendment.’ What you got is lip service and laid off. Right Ford? Right GMC? Harley Davidson? WV coal miner? Your second amendment was never, and has never been, in jeopardy. Some decent regulations would be nice but that is another article. 

Helping Ourselves Out Of This Mess

We NEED to shop small! You need to imagine every dollar that you spend at places like Walmart being put in an envelope and being sent to Russia, or Saudi Arabia, or Bermuda. Yes,it may cost you just a little but, in the end, it will come back to you! Can’t you shop at the local store that is closer to your house? That money is going into a local bank account, will probably be used within your own community to pay bills and find its way back to the employer who pays you.

This is how local communities thrive, by keeping their money freshly circulating in a big circle that doesn’t stop. You grow by finding ways of attracting some outside money occasionally. Tourism is a great example of bringing in outside money. Having a local high school, with home football games that attracts the opposing teams’ fans is also a great example. When you lose your school, you lose your heart, as a small town. Sadly, you also lose revenue potential. In terms of a country, it is the same practice, simply on a grander scale. None of this is rocket science!

I’m going to write to all the United States’ democratic senators and representatives. I’m going to ask them to consider a CAP on the amount of salary and bonuses that any CEO can take from their company. It should be based on a percentage, which means that if your lowest employees get a raise, you can too. The more they make, the more you can make. It means that more money stays in America and it also means that capitalism is still strong. You can control your salary and be upwardly mobile if you are taking your employees too! No more of this capitalism running amok!

Perhaps we even offer a bit of a tax break to the companies that have a lowest paid employee of at least $15 per hour? Maybe that break is structure to be in tiers so that if you start people out at $20 per hour, your company gets a better tax break at year end? Perhaps we say that that amount must be $20 per hour within 10 years in order to keep that tax break or lose it?

The Struggle Is Real

The working people aren’t even really living anymore, they are surviving – barely. Some people aren’t even surviving and if they manage three square meals it is a miracle. People wouldn’t need welfare if they earned enough money! Research has shown that we would spend less on food stamps and housing subsidies, as a country, if companies paid what they should in taxes and pay employees a fair living wage!

Working people, we already know, would spend that money they earn. Folks would go straight out and buy steaks instead of chicken and splurge on that package of crab meat. Parents would sign kids up for after school programs they can’t afford now. Families could all go out to the movies again. Parents would buy more clothes for the kids that they couldn’t afford for school last year. Families would take vacations again – something that has drastically dropped since the 1970s, which coincidentally was a time when auto workers and steel workers were earning $20+per hour. Is it also a coincidence that Walmart got its big start in the 80s?

In the 80s it began to become the norm for businesses to pay themselves outrageous salaries. Families began living on credit cards while corporations sucked up all the actual money. Because of credit, which was a relatively new concept, companies were able to quietly steal the cash and put it into countries like Saudi Arabia, in oil stocks, only it really wasn’t done all that quietly. Thanks to fewer regulations at that time, Wall Street wasn’t keen for anyone to see what was going on. THEY were making enormous commissions on all this offshore investing.

Ironically, all these things were happening in the 80s, as a direct result of another Republican in office who didn’t really know half of what was going on. Ronald Reagan was in beginning stages of Alzheimer’s and it was kept from the public. Suddenly, after years of being heroes, the union was a bad guy. They had “too much power” according to the press releases being fed to the public. It was all setting us up for where we are today. 

This union busting became popular and was a mantra all throughout the 90s. Today, unions have less power than they ever have. Wages for skilled workers is at an all-time low. We desperately need skilled labor, but they don’t pay well compared to inflation. In fact, most of these jobs start for less per hour than they did 30 years ago. In 1979, people were being paid $20 per hour to start as floor sweepers in factories that included the steel mill my father was working at. 

In the 1980s, the American public was distracted with the AIDS crisis, we were neck deep in theIran-Contra Affair, and politics was a shell game that the American people seemedto stop trying to figure out. When that happened, we opened the door to what we have today. Banks were also digging the country into a huge mess that would later cause recessions; the subprime loan industry being one such example. That came back to bite us in the rear end approximately twenty years after it began. Credit as a means of living better than we ever had would soon become the problem that took us down.

What Now?

Your recent Trump taxcut was temporary and when you do your taxes this year, you are very likely going to realize that. The stock market went up over the last year, only to lose it all in the month of November. This is because it was a manipulated rise. It wasbound to happen, and the smartest analysts tried to warn you but some of you were so desperate to hear that you could find your way out of this dark tunnel without having to make any personal changes, that you swallowed hard. It will take a huge December to finish off with a market gain for the year. This will be hard when 150K employees have gotten their walking papers this fall from major employers, like GM and Ford. 

The current president talks that talk but he walks the walk of the wealthy. He is a white dude who is protecting the other wealthy, white dudes. Look around. People all around you are still struggling. Trump’s father made his money off that housing market and used huge loans to build projects for housing. He then stiffed skilled laborers who built his buildings and then he refused to rent tominorities because it would cause his buildings to drop in value. His son did the exact same thing. 

We need to put a cap on the percentage of salary a CEO can be paid in relation to their lowest paid employees. This will guarantee a higher wage for even the lowest paid people. We need to offer tax breaks with CLEARLY SPELLED OUT RULES to avoid things like GMC laying off 15,000 people after receiving $6B in tax goodies and then asking to payout something like $5M in bonus money to CEOs! NO!!! The payouts in such cases need to be percentage based also, so that those being let go receive a portion as severance pay!

I will be voting in 2020. I will likely vote for someone like Kamalah Harris. There are many who talk about running and some of them are great. The primaries will determine which candidate stands out from the pack. I’ll be voting for the person who puts American workers back to work and does it the right way, not by manipulating a stock market via Tweeting. I’ll vote for the person who understands that most Americans can’t afford to invest in stock because they are worried about food, rent, medication, and utility bills – all while caring about the homeless and giving constantly to good charities that keep each other going. I’ll vote for the candidate that remembers that unions are good, and they’ve been there to help families when no one else was.

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Stop Insulting America

Please Stop Insulting Americans, Our Politicians Have It Covered

Like most Americans right now, I’m simply amazed at how bad the Romney campaign has been run. First of all, I would not have voted for Mitt Romney anyway. I’m a woman. I believe that women should have the right to abort a pregnancy, if they wish to do so … especially in cases of rape or incest. Roe v. Wade was decided upon a long time ago. Furthermore, there are enough other issues at hand, than for us to be re-visiting laws that have been in place for generations. 

Secondly, I’m a lesbian and the far right-wing politicians who seem to be represented by the republican party, keep trying to defend DOMA and legislate my right to get married to whom I wish. You are infringing upon my civil rights. You need to study your American history! Our founding fathers specifically stated that there must be a separation of church and state. Several of our founding fathers were, in fact, atheists and they clearly saw religion as something dangerous to the new country. Congress, nor states, should be legislating anything to do with marriage. Marriage is done within the church. If a church marries someone, then it is marriage and should be recognized as any marriage is. This isn’t a government concern. Keep government out of the church and church out of the government. Period. You stay out of my bedroom and I’ll stay out of yours. That is the way it should be. My marriage isn’t going to effect your marriage anymore than getting rid of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell has hurt military readiness. After celebrating it’s first year after repeal, our military is as strong as it ever was. 

On policy, Mr Romney has yet to explain exactly how he would balance the budget. I have been listening intently. I’ve heard not one specific, well laid-out plan for creating jobs or balancing the budget. All I have heard are general comments that this is what he is going to do … but no offers to explain the details. The American people are supposed to take him at his word. 

Let’s see where that has gotten us so far. Mitt, you have been caught in several instances where you might easily be called a liar during this campaign. You weren’t part of Bain anymore when all those jobs were shipped overseas? Company records CLEARLY show that you were still on the payroll! You used the basement of your son’s home as your legal address so that you could vote in another state. Records show that you were, in fact, living in another state at that time. Your wife has told us about how you struggled in the early years, yet photos of the mansion that you both lived in at that time, which was purchased for over $880k, are available online. You sold this same home for over $2 million dollars. You finally released tax information and proudly announce that you’ve never paid less than 13%. Really? I’ve never paid less than 23%.

Mrs Romney spoke about how she remembers having to live on pasta and tuna. Did you ever go without food completely? Did you ever worry about your power being turned-off? How many times did you have to wash your laundry at the laundromat? Did you ever have to scrape-up the change at week’s end, only to realize you didn’t have enough to do everything, so you had to hang it to get it all dry?

When was the last time you bought a jar of peanut butter and a loaf of bread and known that was going to be your breakfast, lunch and dinner for a week? When did you last have to go without paying the property taxes until they were delinquent because your child needed the money for something at school – and you wanted your children to have what other kids have? These are the things that the 47% have to do on a regular basis!

When was the last time you were laid-off and found yourself facing eviction or foreclosure? How would you tell your children that they had to change schools because daddy lost his job and you had to give up your home and move in with family in another city? When was the last time you took your kids camping for a week so that they wouldn’t know the power at home was shut-off until you could get it back on?

Mr Romney, recently you stated that you didn’t have anything handed to you and that you worked for everything that you’ve ever had. The press reports that you inherited $1 million in stock from your father. To the middle class (who do NOT earn $200,000+ per year) that sounds like something that was handed to you. Indeed, $1 million dollars is quite a lot to folks like us. You know, the ones that you refer to as the 47%.

I’m One of the 47%

I’ve never had a lot of money. Scraping to get by is something that I’ve gotten good at. I know how to live without a lot of things that most people would take for granted. My friends know how to get by with very little. We have conversations and share laughs about how many different ways you can prepare Ramen noodles. You have insulted many of us who have ever had to rely on food stamps at any time during our lives. The vast majority of people who have ever had to use such a program only do so as their last resort. Not to mention, those of us who have worked our entire lives (myself starting with a work permit at age 13) have paid into these programs and paid our taxes for a long, long time.

In fact, from what I have seen, I’ve paid a much larger portion of my income to taxes than you have, Mr Romney. You think because you earn more money that you should pay a lower rate? Why? I would go so far as to call this unpatriotic. I’ll even go one step further and say that if all the wealthy 1% were forced to pay a flat tax rate, equal across the board with all Americans, in a system where there were no more deductions, that everyone could actually pay about 3% taxes and there would be MORE revenue! That’s HOW MUCH money people like YOU, Mr Romney, are getting by without paying.

You, Mr Romney, are upset with teachers for striking – stating that the kids should come first. Yet the kids are who they are fighting for! They had very legitimate reasons with regards to schools not having the tools needed to teach kids to pass the standardized tests! The same tests that those in Washington say they have to be able to pass! The teachers are graded on how those kids do, even though they are disenfranchised by living in poor districts in the Chicagoland area. They have less access to teaching tools necessary to help those kids. The poorest schools have the same tests to pass, with no libraries, less access to learning tools and equipment. 

You see … it’s the kids who are losing and the teachers are fighting for themselves AND those children…and you don’t get it because you are so far removed. As usual, you are talking about things which you know not enough about! You think middle income is around $200k per year. That means that every grade school teacher in America lives in poverty. What does that say about the country that still mistakenly thinks it is the greatest country on earth? 

Don’t get me wrong. I’ve always been a proud American but there comes a time when you realize that you are living in a world that simply no longer exists. This is not my grandpa’s America anymore! We’ve become complacent about education. We’ve pumped money into wars instead of into our own children and our own country. Our people are struggling, as we continue to pump billions into wars and foreign aid. Our economy was brought to it’s knees by an industry that was fueled by the wealthy trying to become more wealthy. Who has paid the price for this mistake? The poor, working class Americans. We always are the ones who pay the price, whether at the gas pumps, the grocery store or in taxes. Where is our tax shelter? 

You want us to vote for you? You have proven that you are a liar, unworthy of my trust. You have proven that you don’t care about those who don’t see the world through the rose colored glasses of the wealthy 1%. You have shown time and time again that you have no clue what Americans are actually suffering through right now. 

You say you’ll ‘put Americans back to work’, yet your track record has been in making money by shipping jobs over seas. You have made money, by the millions, off the backs of the working class America that I call my friends and family … we are the 47% … we are the military, we are the cab drivers, the city bus drivers, the construction workers, the farmers, the teachers, the waitresses, the students, the elderly, the homeless, the unemployed and the disenfranchised voters. 

Where is OUR America? What have you people done with it? My forefathers fought in the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, the War of 1812 and my grandfather fought in WW I and was still draft registered in WW II ! My other grandpa was in the navy and at Pearl Harbor when it was attacked. His ship went down and he was lucky to have survived. My mom was a six month old baby at that time. My father served during the Korean war. My uncles served during Korea, Vietnam and in the Middle East! My cousins were deployed to the Middle East. My younger brother served in the marines and was at Guantanamo Bay, not to mention deployed all over the world for 6 years

You see, WE – the 47% – have built this country and it wouldn’t run without us! Yet congress has proven that the country can run without them, as they leave Washington with bills waiting to be passed and not passing the Veteran’s Job Act. Our politicians have been hanging us out to dry! You can vote against a bill to help the men and women who put their lives on the line for YOU each and every day?? Then you abandon your post and go home, refusing to vote on anything else until after the election … as if you are trying to hold American citizens hostage over political debate? Congress, I humbly submit that you’ve done very little to help Americans in a long, long time. We’re almost getting used to surviving without any help from you. 

Mr Romney, I’m one of the 47% and I’m mad as hell. You insult me with your absolute ignorance and your indifference. You will not ever represent me. You will not ever represent the 47% of America that you look down on with such disdain … and not because you’ve written us off as takers and moochers who won’t take responsibility for our own lives, but because we are taking responsibility for our lives and our country, with our votes, to make sure that you never EVER speak for us. 

I urge my fellow Americans to vote this year, in numbers greater than ever. Let’s lay-off some politicians who haven’t been getting their jobs done! Let’s send a message to Washington that we are sick and tired of the state of our nation and that it is US – the 47% – who are paying their salaries and that we demand a better job. We want answers, we want jobs, we want prosperity, we want liberty, and a ‘more perfect union’ and we don’t mind replacing them until we get results! Let’s give our president four more years and a congress that will honestly stay in Washington and work with him to get the job done!

Categories: American government, equal rights, gay lesbian, life lessons, Politics, self-help | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

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