The Needy and the Souless Greedy

  If, you even mention the class war you are called, a communist, a socialist or an anarchist. You are said to be someone who is full of greed and envy of those who are wealthy. I have never had a desire to be wealthy as my idea of paradise is not about having everything I could desire but about living in a world where everyone has everything they need. I hope I have taught my children that same philosophy. I am a class warrior but it’s not because of my greed. It’s because of the greed of others like the top 5 oil companies who collectively made $36 billion in the first quarter of 2011.

While they made these profits,  Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) proposed in his 2012 budget to continue the $40 billion in subsidies these companies get through the next decade. The oil companies have thanked the public for these taxpayer-funded subsidies by raising the price of gas by 30% in the past 12 months. This money for the oil companies would come from gutting $30 billion in Medicare. Ryan’s budget would also reduce projected spending on discretionary domestic programs — education, transportation and food safety. Conservatives want to wipe out the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), Social Security and Medicare. They throw around the word “entitlement” like it means greed on the taxpayers part. When taxpayers have paid into these things, you better believe they are entitled to them. Conservatives don’t consider the $40 billion in taxpayer subsidies to the top five oil companies to be greedy entitlements. To them it is all-American capitalism not the corporate socialism that it really is.

It’s not just the greed of the oil companies, it’s also other corporations that exploit taxpayers for corporate welfare. WalMart for instance, claimed it needed  to build new retail outlets and distribution centers, 90% of these huge buildings were subsidized from the public purse. Meanwhile, WalMart had $19 million to pay its CEO Michael Duke. Duke makes $9,500 an hour so he earns more in two hours than a full-time WalMart employee makes in a whole year. The average CEO made 343 times more than the average American did last year. Do I dislike CEO’s because they make that much money? No, I dislike high paid CEO’s because studies show the more they are paid, the worse they treat their employees.

I also dislike most corporations because they are deadbeats as two-thirds of them pay no taxes. Then there is the fact that U.S. corporations have no loyalty to this country no matter how many laws the Supreme Court passes giving them the same rights as citizens. If we had a war that required a draft how could you draft a corporation? Truth is, U.S. corporations would be trying to sell products to our war-time enemies to make a buck. While we give corporate welfare to corporations, the United States has lost an average of about 50,000 manufacturing jobs per month since China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001.

The wealthiest 1% of all Americans now own over a third of all the wealth in the United States. They also own over 50% of the stocks and bonds. The poorest 50% collectively own 2.5% of all the wealth in the United States. A historic U.S. low happened last year when only 66.8% of American men had jobs. “Low income jobs” account for 41% of U.S. jobs. Currently, 20% of our children live in poverty. Here are 36 statistics you should know.

Given these statistics you’d think there would be a public outcry. Instead, we have middle-class conservative republicans calling talk radio defending corporations and the rich. These callers want to protect the rich from taxes as, they think some day they will join the rich. They can’t actually be stupid enough to think “trickle down economics” works. Fact is these callers are closer to being jobless and homeless than they are to ever being millionaires. Yet, they call and attack people on welfare and never mention how we spend many times that on corporate welfare. These callers don’t know there are three types of Republicans, billionaires, millionaires and suckers and the callers are……the suckers.

Some religious leaders like evangelical, Jim Wallis have said, state and federal budgets are moral documents. They feel these budgets should not reward the greedy on the backs of the needy. Conservatives say, Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget is moral because it tries to eliminate debt that our grandchildren will have to pay. The same conservatives fight to eliminate the EPA and safety and environmental regulations on corporations. How is making jobs more dangerous, polluting our air and water more a moral thing for our grandchildren’s future?

I guess I am a greedy class warrior because I think the burden for reducing our debt should be on the backs of the Wall Streeters and the bankers who forced our government to spend trillions averting a collapse, not on seniors, the middle-class and the needy.

The wealthy and the Republican congressmen they own want to cut $8.5 billion of low-income housing, but want to keep $8.4 billion for tax deductions on second vacation homes. I think that is all you need to know to realize who the greedy are.

Joe Nichols: The Shape I’m In

The Impossible

“In our country … one class of men makes war and leaves another to fight it out.” ~ William Tecumseh Sherman

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