Politics/Law/Government

This is not about Sarah Palin

This is not about Sarah Palin. If you want gossip about Sarah Palin read The National Enquirer. If you want to do something about the terrible state of the American economy, health care system, military, media, and government, read on.

Sarah Palin’s pregnant teenage daughter hasn’t taken money out of your pocket. The Republican Party Platform did that. Republicans know that the wealth doesn’t “trickle down,” that instead the national deficit balloons. Did you know Warren Buffet has stopped insuring bank deposits? Eleven banks have failed this year, seven of them in the last two months. This is the direct result of President Bush’s tax cuts for the rich and deregulation of the mortgage market.

Sarah Palin did not sell defense and reconstruction contracts to private sector carpetbaggers. The Republicans did that. Nor did she spend $526 billion (so far) in taxpayer money on a search for WMDs that WERE KNOWN NOT TO EXIST. She may or may not have sold one airplane. Who cares? Our troops in Iraq go dumpster diving for scraps of metal to use as armor, because the Pentagon is broke as a result of the Republican agenda of privatization. Meanwhile the Shiite government is rounding up the American-backed Sunni leaders in Iraq, and the Taliban is steadily regaining control of Afghanistan.

Sarah Palin’s decision not to abort a child was unaffected by the fact that the United States is now ranked #37 by the World Health Organization, although 55 million American’s decisions are affected by the fact that they don’t have health care. That’s 10 million more than in 2005, and 16 million more than in 2001, due largely to the Republican belief that Medicare must be destroyed. Thanks to Bush, and the Republican congress that included John McCain, America is now squarely between Costa Rica and Slovenia, just two slots above Cuba, in terms of health care.

A lot of journalists are calling for Barack Obama to “take on Sarah Palin” in some kind of charisma cage match, but the media is controlled by Disney, GE, Viacom, and Murdoch, all of whom are benefiting from enormous tax breaks and the rising cost of their commodities in this country. Barack Obama can’t win in the media, because the media is controlled by the same people who set the Republican Party Platform, the same people who are dismantling the US economy and selling it overseas while robbing the US treasury to buy our houses out from under us.

The media plays on our irrational fear of “blacks” and “muslims,” of which Barack Obama is actually neither, while hiding and distorting the truth that the Republican Party is making America so poor that soon we will have to work in sweatshops and live in rented tenements or homeless shelters. But, as our champion constantly reminds us, there is hope. We can control the media. We can turn off FOX News. We can e-mail this article to everyone we know. And on election day we can show up in such numbers that “voting irregularites” won’t matter. We can take this country back.

What are you going to do?

Josh Booth is a freelance writer living in Raleigh, NC. During the 2000 Presidential Debate at Wake Forest University he attended the Republican Rally, the Democratic Rally, and MTV’s Rock The Vote, and could not tell the difference between the events. His work has been published in The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, Brittle Star, Edifice Wrecked, Opium Magazine, The Duck & Herring Pocket Field Guide, The Blotter, You & Me America’s Medical Magazine, Quarto, Tablet, and other publications. He’s also bassist for Doco, coming soon to a town near you. He is 25 years old.

20 replies »

  1. Buffett stopped insuring bank deposits that were over the legal limit, but all other deposits under the limit are protected by the FDIC.

    As for America being poor, that’s interesting that we’re growing poor in an expanding economy. Granted, some are poor,but the poor will be always be with us always. Our poor are considered rich in some quarters of the world such as Calcutta. Our poor usually have clothes, food, maybe a bicycle, TV, and a roof over their head.

    Technology will change, and people will need to adapt in these new times. If that means doing something else, so be it. If one needs more education to learn a new trade, then that’s what they’ll have to do. Globalization is here to stay, and we better get used to it, adapt, and try to do what’s best for our selves. Those $40.00/hour entry level steel jobs are gone forever, and we’ll just have to face the fact. Globalization means that someone, somewhere, is going to do the job cheaper than we can do it here(freight included). We need to concentrate on what we do best.

    This war on globalization is going to be fought in the classroom, and we need to get the teachers unions out of the classrooms, and hold the teachers accountable. We need to seriously dial up the level of public education to compete…..just like they did after the launch of Sputnik.

    Getting back to poor, a neighbor of mine has a beach front house, no job, and lives the life of a millionaire. My accountant told me that he has negative equity in the house, leases all of his cars, furniture, and owes 5-6 million dollars around town in addition to the house. Is a guy like that poor in your eyes?

    Jeff

  2. Jeff,

    Your neighbor sounds like an Aesop’s Fable of America as a whole…and that is precisely the problem. A country that is, in fact, poor (as in drowning in debt) but pretends to be rich will eventually get a very rude awakening.

    Sure, GDP improved against predicted growth, but what does it look like factoring in inflation? (and using real inflation numbers, not the government’s core inflation numbers that don’t count the two things every American must purchase to stay alive) Moreover, where did that growth come from? Exports are doing better, but as a result of a weak dollar that hurts us in the purchase of our commodity addiction.

    It is true that globalization can’t be stopped, though it could have been structured so that more people gained from it than lost. Maytag moves a production facility to Mexico to save money, but does the price of a Maytag washer go down for the American consumer…no, it doesn’t, but the investors are happy with improved quarterlies.

    Education is the key, but teacher’s unions are not the problem. The problem is a culture that doesn’t value education. Teachers were unionized when America’s educational system was considered the best in the world. But education reforms will take at least a generation to be felt; in other words, it is too late to blunt the sharp edge of globalization with education in the near term.

    What really needs to be culled from our way of life is the segment of the population that makes a great deal of money not doing anything…i.e. not adding economic value. I am referring to all the Wall Street types who simply skim surplus value from someone else’s labor and transfer wealth from those who have not enough to those who have plenty already.

    And, no, this is not an argument for Communism, but rather for sane, rational capitalism that produces and trades in tangible goods…as opposed to leveraged debt fueled investor capitalism that knows no patriotism. You know, the kind that is always looking for some third-world laborer willing to work for pennies and allow their children to have birth defects so that some schmuck in a suit can raise the profit margin a little higher.

    By the way, if corporations were not allowed to deduct shipping costs from their taxes (and all the other ways that they externalize costs onto the taxpayer), then those products probably wouldn’t be significantly cheaper.

  3. Lex…Good points.

    When the government calculates the GDP, they apply a deflator to factor in inflation and to get an accurate comparison of GDP vs quarters.

    “You said

    “What really needs to be culled from our way of life is the segment of the population that makes a great deal of money not doing anything…i.e. not adding economic value. I am referring to all the Wall Street types who simply skim surplus value from someone else’s labor and transfer wealth from those who have not enough to those who have plenty already.”

    Which Wall Street types are you referring to? I’ll make a bold assumption that you are referring to speculators or traders. Speculator bashing is in vogue right now, but speculators add value, liquidity, and make a market. Speculation is what keeps the price of bread stable, keeps the price of mortgages down, ensures you are able to fill your car with gas. In 1972-73, there wasn’t much speculation in oil, and the Arab embargo made gas impossible to find in many places. Had there been speculation, gas would have been readily available, at a high price….but available.

    How about retirees sitting on a pile of money due to many years of thrift…they’re not doing anything, yet earning money.

    As for skimming surplus money from someone else’s labor……unless you’re in the public sector, everyone’s being skimmed that has a job. If one works at a pizza place and makes $8.00/hour, the owner of the business better be making at least $32.00/ hour off that employee to stay in business. What the pizza shop owner is doing is the same thing as anyone else on Wall Street, managing risk to make a profit. If one assumes risk, they should be paid.

    I do have a fundamental problem with government bailouts of Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, and other devices of this sort. Doing this is putting a band-aid on the problem. I would prefer those institutions to be allowed to go under, the irrational behavior punished, and the assets be properly revalued by the marketplace. The invisible hand of the free market will always go back to the middle…..without government intervention, tariffs, excess taxes, regulations, supports, or allotments.

    Leverage is a double edged sword. People complain about leverage, yet they leverage themselves every time they buy a house, car, take a loan,or use a credit card. As for investor capitalism that knows no patriotism……If you want to really be patriotic, don’t shop at Wal Mart.

    Jeff

  4. Jeff’s neighbor sounds exactly like Ronald Reagan’s welfare queen in the cadillac. You remember her don’t you? Just because she existed only in Reagan’s tall tales doesn’t mean she didn’t have an impact on people’s thinking. Now we have Jeff and his ilk, totally wrapped up in their own superiority, as they bash people with real problems by making up stories of neighbors who somehow mysteriously manage to owe millions of dollars while living the good life. Could it happen? Probably. Does it happen? Maybe, but if it does, it is rare and something that doesn’t last for very long.

  5. Susannah,

    My ilk doesn’t include being wrapped up in my own superiority, quite the contrary. Nowhere in my post did I bash anyone, and the accusation of such could be considered to be a “Tall Tale.”

    By the way, the welfare queen did exist. She was sentenced, convicted, and did some time.

    Jeff

  6. Jeff,

    “we need to get the teachers unions out of the classrooms, and hold the teachers accountable”

    Maybe where you live the schools aren’t great, but in NY State, home of one of the most powerful teachers unions, our education system is one of the best in the country. Getting a teaching job in a public school is next to impossible and the teachers are scrutinized and held accountable beyond what you could imagine. How do I know? Well my wife is a teacher, so is my sister in law, and so are a lot of my good friends. It’s those unions that help teachers earn a livable starting pay (about 35K in WNY, and they usually top out around after a long long time 70k). I’m not saying that all unions are good, but it’s the NY state teachers union is. If you want proof just look at the low paying charter schools in the city of Buffalo or NYC where they pay teachers crap. I know a lot of great teachers that teach there, and they all want out period! The teachers can’t even pay off their student loans because their only getting paid 20-25k! Keep in mind you can’t even set foot in a classroom unless you have your masters or are getting it in the next 3 years, so that’s a significant loan to pay back.

  7. Darrell, it’s nice to hear an opinion about public education from someone who actually knows what’s going on inside the system.

  8. You may want to look at the percentage tested there Jeff. I’d like to see what the scores of the 88% of high school students in Alabama are. Judging from this info 96% of high school students from ND didn’t even take the test. If you want to teach to this test then fine. However if you do a quick google search you will find NY state is always in the top ten in public school education, and it’s not solely based on a test. We have higher graduation rates and a larger amount of students who continue their post high school education (which you can see by the 88% of high schoolers who actually tested). The SAT proves nothing, I fell asleep during mine, I still got into college, and graduated with my masters with a pretty high GPA. In fact the kid who got a near perfect score on his SAT in my high school is a making 10 bucks an hour at a supermarket.

  9. I was blessed with the opportunity to serve my community by teaching in one for seven and a half years. We sort of make our own blessings, don’t we?

  10. Jeff:

    I’ve never heard that welfare queen’s name. Do you have a reference for it?

    In any case, the existence of a thing does not mean that thing is widespread. Is it your contention that this woman, whoever she may or may not have been, constituted the rule instead of an exception?

  11. Barbara Williams, in Los Angeles is the worst example, ripping off $239,000.
    http://www.spamlaws.com/welfare-fraud.html

    Reagan did exaggerate the woman he talked about. She was only convicted of ripping off $8K, and only had 4 aliases, not the 30 that Reagan reported. I looked up her name and cannot 100% ascertain her name, but it might be Linda Williams.

    I don’t know where you could get the ideat that I ever made a contention that ripping off welfare was the rule rather than the exception. I never said that.
    Some welfare is good. Handicapped, disabled, and people temporarily down on their luck should qualify for some type of assistance. I believe that the private sector can provide assistance with less red tape, and give more bang for the buck than the government agencies. However, this is merely my own personal belief.

    Jeff

  12. Dr. Slammy, Rare issues make policy all of the time. Bank robberies are quit rare expressed as a percentage to total bank branch locations, yet the policy is to convict those who are caught robbing a bank.

    Jeff

  13. I believe we all understand the difference between, say, Enron and a nameless welfare queen, who may or may not exist, especially in the form presented, when it comes to policy formulation.

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