Joseph Segal is a passionate advocate for progressive issues and with his extensive background in web development is using Facebook and Twitter to produce tools to help people move from online activism to local civic engagement. He is also very active in Democratic Politics and supports Liberal groups and causes and the people who work each day to fight for social and economic justice.
WE MUST BE A NATION OF NATIONAL AND PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY
War is costly and terrible and yes, care is costly. Caring for the many thousands of damaged lives of those we send to fight our wars is expensive and always has been! We used to raise taxes when we had a war to pay for that war. We did that and we held War Bond drives. In the last decade our leaders put our wars on the national credit card and did the exact opposite; they lowered taxes during a war. Just ten years ago, the Republicans under President GW Bush, Boehner and McConnell ran up a massive bill for the two bloody, decade long, disastrous wars both costing us trillions of dollars and thousands of American lives. With the nod of some Democratic congress people, they enacted very costly tax cuts for the upper income bracket which produced zero net new jobs. They passed an unpaid bill for the Medicare Part D big Pharma giveaway. Not only did the Bush Administration and Congress walk away from the bill they ran up, but they blamed it not just on Democrats but on what Mitt Romney called the “irresponsible 47% of takers”, you know, the working poor, Senior Citizens, disabled people, and poor children. It is our job as informed citizens to hold our elected officials and the media accountable to the truth. We have to do what my parents and many of our parents told us growing up we should do, Tell the truth, pay our debts and keep our promises!
The deficit was no more caused by the poor and elderly than our wars were caused by our soldiers! These mostly Republican politicians like Bush, Boehner and McConnell -and many others on both sides of the isle who stood by and said nothing- walked away from their obligation to pay for what we as a nation spent. Now Boehner, McConnell and a new breed of Paul Ryan Republicans intend to point at the deficit with one hand and point at our social safety net they covet with the other!
There of course was nothing “conservative” or fiscally responsible about the way these Republican politicians EXPLODED the national debt and wasted lives and treasure on foolhardy decade long wars. They did not conserve or protect our greatest resource, our young brave men and women, when they sent them to die thousands of miles away without a clear mission, purpose, plan to win and plan to withdraw. There was nothing “conservative” about the way they spent a trillion tax payer dollars on huge tax cuts to the very rich while not protecting American jobs or investing in our industries! They did not care about the deficit then and they do not care about the deficit now! They planned to spend and borrow the country into debt as if it were the target of a Bain Capital leveraged buyout they intended to bankrupt, discharge the workers pensions (Social Security and Medicare) and then sell off the assets for a tidy profit. What we are watching now in this “Fiscal Cliff” political theater is their attempt to raid the “Social Safety Net” and sell it off to their corporate friends. They’ve planned on doing this since they were forced to give in seventy years ago!
So will we make them live up to their claims of believing in “Personal Responsibility” and pay for their debts by raising taxes on those who have benefited the most from their decade of greed and tilting the playing field in their favor? Will we raise the taxes on the top bracket to the Clinton Presidency rates when we created 22 million good jobs in the private sector? Or will we let them and the corporate media misinform and misdirect us into paying the bill by ourselves again by selling off the social safety net to Wall Street? Remember, the Middle Class did not break this economy and fixing it should not break the Middle Class!
HOW WE GOT THE NEW DEAL- SOCIAL SAFETY NET
Frederick Douglas, the great abolitionist, said:
Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.
The social safety net is what we Americans, our grandparents and great grandparents put in place to deal with the aftermath of the last Wall Street inflicted Depression that wiped out everyone’s assets and jobs. It is what the 1% Plutocrats (extremely rich people) of our grandparents’ day agreed to so they could avert the people’s responses they saw in China and Russia which of course were bloody revolutions that nationalized the industries and holdings of those very rich people of those countries – plutocrats or oligarchs.
There were massive protests in the streets by war veterans and over worked underpaid workers who could no longer feed their families, and the prospect of a revolution here in America was not only present – it was likely if something was not done to provide for the basic needs of retiring seniors, war veterans and working people. There is no such upward pressure on what are now multinational corporations run by plutocrats because they quieted the voices of the people by eviscerating unions and keeping us just poor enough, just fed enough not to rise up and storm the gated communities.
IT’S TIME WE UPDATE THE NEW DEAL TO “A FAIR DEAL”
What we need now is a new movement to go from the New Deal to a FAIR Deal.
- It should include a new National Living Wage that rewards work and personal responsibility with a dignified wage.
- It should include healthcare Insurance or at least catastrophic insurance for everyone so nobody goes broke if they get ill.
- Equal pay for women and men so women can no longer be exploited,causing money to be taken out of working families homes.
- It should include comprehensive immigration reform so that immigrants can no longer be exploited by employers and drive down wages for everyone in the process.
- Finally it should include access to affordable higher education and the right of students to seek bankruptcy relief for school loans as everyone else in the country can.
THE GOLDEN RULE
No not the Golden Rule you learned as a kid “Treat others the way you wish to be treated yourself”. Today’s Golden Rule is “He who has the gold, makes the rules!”
In the last four years 93% of all the economic gains have been sucked up to the top 1% wealthiest Americans. Only people who have millions of dollars or are connected/beholding to those who do can win national elected office and many corporations now spend more on lobbying our representatives in Washington DC than they do in taxes!
Productivity of the American worker has continued to climb at almost the same rate as corporate profits and executive compensation, yet the average wage of workers has been nearly flat for thirty years. This means that all of the gains of our productivity, our hard work and enterprise have been gobbled up by a small number of multinational corporations, their executives and a few thousand very wealthy investors. When working people can’t afford to go to the hospital or go to college our country is in great peril!
Do you see that big gap between the red and the blue lines, the gap that looks like a the peaks of the Rocky Mountains? That is where your rising wages and decent standard of living should be! That gap is where you should have been able to comfortably pay your mortgage, send your kids to a nice college, take your family vacation and invest in that business you’ve always dreamed of starting up! Your wages, our wages should be increasing at least in line with our increased productivity.
THE SOLUTION: OUR COMMUNITY, NOT THEIR IMMUNITY
We have seen how the individuals, too big to fail banks, and corporations who ripped literally trillions of dollars out of our economy through games and tricks have not only escaped prosecution, they have been rewarded with bonuses and implied government backing so they continue to grow bigger and more dangerous. They apparently are Immune from repercussions and the price of justice is a fine they’ve already figured into their cost of doing business.
Where do they get all the money they use to set up their Chinese low wage factories or financial tax avoidance schemes? WE GIVE IT TO THEM! Yes, we give them the power to continue to exploit us as workers and to have their issues take priority over ours in our government. We do that when we spend our money in their Wal-Mart type corporate modern day “Plantations” where they steal workers productive years so they can sell goods made under slave conditions in authoritarian controlled countries like China!
How did the 1% super rich Wal-Mart types get all that money shown in the Red Line in the above chart? We gave it them. Every time we shop at their stores that sell goods made by exploited workers. So the solution is to keep our money. I say again, the solution is to KEEP OUR MONEY!
We must keep our money in OUR communities, not their corporations.
How do we do this? Employee owned and operated companies!
We create community owned businesses where the workers share in the gains of our own productivity. When we work harder and smarter then WE benefit with higher wages and shared income from the companies growing bottom line. We decide together what the executives will be paid. We decide together if we want to sell products that may harm our communities health and environment or if we want to sell products that are healthy and safe to use for all of us! We build these community based companies all over the nation from clothing stores to banks! THAT is where we spend our money, and THAT is where we work our productive working years to build OUR fortunes and OUR communities together! We keep our Money and we grow stronger together!
These exploiters think their power lies in their Immunity, but we understand that our power comes from our unity and our connection to our community!
We know that it’s not an ethic of profits at any cost that builds a great nation but it’s prosperous communities and healthy families that allows us to be strong. It’s not Equity Lines that bring happiness, it’s living equitable lives!
Here is a helpful overview on how to start a small employee owned company of your own:
The National Center For Employee Ownership
Read it. Our future may hinge on your response.