You hear lots of talk from conservatives saying we are a Christian nation or at least founded as a Christian nation. There is lots of proof to dismiss this but today let’s say these two statements are true. Jesus said many things about the poor such as: Luke 6:20-21 “Then he looked up at his disciples and said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.” Mark 10:21 “Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, “You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” Mark 10:21 “When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions.” Anyone notice any wealthy folks trying to become poorer? Have you been injured by a stampeded of the wealthy giving away their possessions? Today’s Christians seem more interested in getting wealthy then helping the poor that Jesus asked them to care for. Born-again religious scholars can even cite the divine source for worshiping the wealthy. It’s in that section that the Christian prophet Ronald Reagan wrote, stating that wealth is a virtue. I guess they think God sacrificed his only son so the money-changers in the temple could go about their righteous work?
I hear today’s money changers claiming President Obama is a Marxist who wants to redistribute wealth (kind of like Jesus proposed). The buzzword “entitlements” has been filtered down from the wealthy to the media they own. They want it said enough that the middle class and working class bash the poor. I hear my fellow citizens in these classes spewing the word back and bashing the poor on welfare on a daily basis. That tells me that the non-Christian attitude of the wealthy and their spin is working. If you dare bring up the fact that social welfare is 1% of the federal budget and that corporate welfare is 5% you will be accused of class warfare. I stand guilty and I want to state my case by first pointing out wealthy hypocrites like the Koch brothers. Despite spending hundreds of millions of dollars over the years, demonizing government and promoting free-market capitalism, the Koch brothers are huge recipients of corporate welfare. They graze cattle and harvest timber on public lands, reaping the profits while paying minuscule fees. They use the government’s power of eminent domain to get routes for their thousands of miles of gas and oil pipelines. They also take advantage of direct government subsidies to produce ethanol. Ross Perot and the Walton’s (owners of WalMart/Sam’s Club) are also some of the biggest welfare queens on the planet. Sports lovers love their teams so much they pay big dollars to get seats to a game or season tickets. I can’t believe how much they charge fans to see a game in a building the fans paid for. According to the Wall Street Journal, a typical sports facility costs local taxpayers more than $10 million a year. Looks like the taxpayers are the ones being played to me.
Right-wing think tanks exist to make the rich richer and they put out lies to keep working people from rising up against injustice. Robert Rector at the right-wing think tank, Heritage Foundation claimed that poor families receive $168 per day in government benefits – more than the median weekly income in this country. Like all figures from Heritage it is full of shit. It includes counting things like federal aid to rebuild communities after natural disasters as “welfare,” including programs that assist the middle class and the wealthy and then dividing the costs of all these programs by the number of households under the poverty line. According to a Census Bureau analysis, one in three Americans are poor. That is defined as struggling to cover the basic necessities of life. The “near-poor” are Americans with incomes between 100 and 150 percent of the poverty line. They found that this group, most of whom earn paychecks and pay taxes, represented a whopping one in six U.S. households don’t have enough savings to stay above the poverty line for three months or more if they lost their job. Another third are living paycheck to paycheck, teetering on the brink with no savings.
To counter these poverty figures conservatives say that our nation’s poor have it better off than the poor in other countries. I heard one conservative commentator talking about how our nation’s poor have color TV’s. Of course it is easy to afford a color TV in this country. You can get them free on Craigslist or at Freecycle. People like the latest technology and the only TV’s selling are new HD thin models. People also are buying laptops instead of desktop computers. This all means old computers and TV’s are given away free and free is a price the poor can afford. Our missions are full of homeless and you can see them under bridges. I suppose the windows of BMW’s and Mercedes are tinted extra dark so the wealthy don’t have to see such things. The rich talk about pulling yourself up with your own bootstraps. Let’s be honest, we don’t all start out with the same opportunities (read boots). The reality is that in the United States today, the best predictor of a newborn baby’s economic future is how much money his/her parents make.
How does comparing our poor to other nations poor help the poor in our country? How does saying other countries have a higher disparity between rich, middle class and poor make inequities in our country better? They don’t they are meant as feel good B.S. Conservatives love info that is feel good (instead of actually trying to do good) and symbols. Feel good B.S. and symbols like flag lapel pins and crosses are popular with conservatives because they require no effort to make things better. These so-called, “Good Christians” wear a cross but won’t do the work Christ asked them to do. The first Christians became martyrs because they were sacrificed to lions because they wouldn’t deny their faith. Today’s Christians think they are being persecuted because they can no longer ram their Christian prayers down the throats of public school children of all faiths. They think they are martyrs because they have endured the pain and suffering of hearing a store employee say, “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.” These Christians need to come down from their cross and give the wood and nails to someone who will actually use it to build a better world. If you are a real Christian shouldn’t you be doing something to help the poor all around the world? Did Jesus say, “Just take care of the poor in your own country?”
My heroes of the week are Diva and Stanley two callers to “The Tracey and Friends” talk radio show at WSOM. They both try to fight against the constant lies of the “Friends.” The “Friends” like to mute them when they can’t argue these two’s points. Stanley is a conservative but is outraged at the ideas expressed by the “Friends.” My buffoon of the week is frequent winner Jeff who is one of the “Friends.” The other day Jeff said that the disparity between the rich and poor wasn’t that bad in the USA. He said countries like China were far worse. Jeff is wrong and part of our lying media. The truth is that the gap between rich and poor in the U.S. rivals that of developing nations, ranking America as a whole toward the bottom of the income inequality barrel. When it comes to advanced economies with the biggest gap between rich and poor the U.S. came in third behind Hong Kong and Singapore.
Using an international index known as the Gini coefficient the income gap in China reached 0.3949 last year, nearing a “danger level” of 0.40 set by the United Nations for potential social unrest, according to a study released in August by the state-backed Center for Chinese Rural Studies at Central China Normal University. The official English-language China Daily called the reading for last year’s Gini index “alarming.” The National Bureau of Statistics China (NBS) director Ma Jiantang said the findings mean that China “must accelerate its income distribution reform to narrow the rich-poor gap,” By measuring equality as 0 and absolute inequality as 1, the NBS estimate would make China’s wealth gap only slightly wider than that of the United States. The difference is that in China the media and the government acknowledge that the gap between the rich and poor is a serious problem they need to deal with. They fear as the UN said that the gap has the potential for social unrest.
Here in the U.S. our conservative politicians will not only not recognize the gap they insist that taxes should not be raised on our nation’s wealthiest. At the same time they are trying to destroy unions which built the middle-class and they fight against any minimum wage increases. The UN doesn’t have to tell the U.S. that the gap between rich and poor is so bad that the country should fear social unrest. The people in this country are so complacent they could never pull off a revolution and the powers that be know it. If we even set a date for a revolution those in power could stop women who want change by just have a big Black Friday type sale at malls and at WalMarts. As for the men they’d put an extra Superbowl on TV. Men would buy expensive tickets for the game to sit in a stadium their tax dollars built. Come to think of it I think the 1%ers are trying their best to push us to revolution. The 1% would have stopped the revolution and made money from cash spent at their stores and stadiums. As the middle-class and working-class become the poor, I wonder what it will take before our citizens do something about the ever-widening gap.
Common Mama: “A New Kind of Something”
Local Music: Teddy Pantelas
“The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.” ~ FDR