Saturday, January 24, 2015
State of the Union
A wild ride through the land of mirrors.
Before I get to my main point let me say that yes, I am an Obama supporter but contrary to to the stunted and paranoid imaginations of countless semi-racists I do not worship the man nor do I think his leadership of the country has been flawless. Like all leaders, President Obama is just human being subject to the flaws inherit to the species and what is possible in the current political zeitgeist. Much to the chagrin to most of my family I continue to believe that despite his flaws, he is an exponentially better president than the increasingly senile and warmonger McCain. Yes, the honorable senator from Arizona is an American hero but the man, along with his bizarre REMF buddy Sweet Lindsey Graham, hasn't seen a war he doesn't want us to join since the mid-1990's. No, I won't bring up Sarah Palin, just because she is a symptom of something far worse than just the morally decayed and intellectual bankrupt American political system.
It goes without saying Obama runs rings around the weird privileged mutant Romney who even now spends most of his waking hours in the magical world inside his head where he daily inches closer to some form of divinity. To any impartial bystander it should say a lot when an incumbent president can get re-elected during one of the worst economic conditions since the Great Depression. Simply put, it was clear to the majority of the American public that Romney was nothing but a shallow, self-serving ass who would say or do anything to become president. If this offends anyone please now leave and do not let the proverbial doorknob hit you in the ass on the way out!
With that out of the way, the main thrust of my latest rant deals with several points that President Obama raised during the State of the Union speech earlier this week. I write mainly of his proposals to raise taxes on the rich and his continued support for increasing the federal minimum wage.
Nothing confirms the perception that the majority of right-wingers are a close minded group bordering on xenophobia than their belief that American business is a weak little orchid forever at risk of dying if workers get to uppity and want outlandish things like pay raises and better benefits. If you look outside the United States to such places as Europe the workers there are much better paid, and to the horror of American business, have far more paid vacation time along with paid sick and parental leave. Okay, I've seen the news and yes, the European Union is on the verge of a possible recession. Look a little closer to the details though and you might discover that has a lot to do Germany's, the economic powerhouse of the continent, stubborn adherence to financial austerity measures. But things have reached the point that even now the European central bank is planning for an American-like Quantitative Easing to prime the economic pump.
I've been lucky enough to travel a little bit and have talked with people from several European countries. Frankly except for the fact that they believe America to be an utterly beautiful country they would not in anyway trade places with those of us born in the land of the free. For those who disagree, don't blow a safety value, I realize there are a few other factors involved here including the odd European right-winger attracted the to the idea of empire and that the United States can run roughshod over most of the rest of the world. No, their social-democracies are not perfect, and the Europeans I have talked with will readily tell anyone who asks about the problems of those systems. But each and every time they always return to the fact that if some member of their family falls gravely ill they will not be financially ruined because of it. Think of that the next time there is a segment on the local news about some fundraiser for a person suffering from some disease. The always unstated reasons for such events is that the person gravely ill has insufficient or no health coverage.
I realize such an expanded, European-like social safety net comes with a price in the form of increased taxes. As a blue collar type myself who has spent many an hour working overtime for that little bit extra in the paycheck I've read the section on the stub listing all the deductions. It's a real bitch at times but then I remember that during the vast majority of the the era of trickle down economic American companies have made huge profits. Somehow the trickle Ronny promised would rain down upon the masses never quite came around. Instead the corporate CEO's and the underlings gave themselves raises with the remaining going to the shareholders. I'm sorry, it boggles my imagination that a decent hardworking person can toll for the required forty-hours and still not come away with enough pay to pay the bills and have enough left over to plan for the future.
Now this is where the Fox News crowd is going to growl like nauseated trolls and say that is only because of some fault of those people. Yeah, I admit it happens, but I personally know a honest, church going lady who works two full-time jobs to makes ends meet. No, not because she was a drug or alcohol abuser or ran up huge bill with ill gotten credit cards she couldn't afford. No, what essentially made her a slave to a flawed system is that her now deceased mother got cancer but had no health insurance because of a preexisting conditions. Don't know about anyone else but I still remember the raging Alaskan trailer trash worried over “government death panels” deciding who lived or died. Sorry folks, they already exist but they are the corporate type worried over the bottom line.
It's amazing to listen to the economic news and hear that American companies are making record profits along with Wall Street almost daily breaking new records but yet the average worker is told just be damn glad you have a job. Wages remain stagnant and health benefits are constantly trimmed because some bean counter is worried the “next quarter might be sluggish.” And god help the poor, foolish soul that even begins to suggest that workers should be able to organize and bargain with their employers. Business types scream about their precious monetary capital, to suggest the labor and time of a worker shouldn't be just as protected says a lot about how far this country has degenerated.
No, last week President Obama purposed rather meek reforms to address the growing inequality of our society. The squealing and gnashing of teeth since suggests that the precious “job creators” are both an untouchable aristocracy and the hothouse orchid I mentioned earlier. Don't know about anyone else but didn't Americans have a revolution to overthrow the tired notion of a privileged class, and didn't we write it down someplace that “all men are created equal?” On the other point, countless business pundits spout outright propaganda that the free enterprise system is the best thing since sliced bread, until someone mentions sharing the wealth, then we are told that things have suddenly become shaky and that those of us on the bottom have to work harder.
No, since the 80's we've been told that's it patriotic to give the rich special consideration and breaks and that sometime later the benefits will trickle down to those below. Sorry folks, the only thing trickling down to us is a golden colored liquid, the funny thing is that many are just too damn stupid to realize the true nature of that substance.