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Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Kill the Poor

From today’s New York Times:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan urged Congress on Wednesday to deal with the country's escalating budget deficit by cutting benefits for future Social Security retirees. Without action, he warned, long-term interest rates would rise, seriously harming the economy.

Now we are finally getting to the heart of the Bush Administration’s War on Terror. To understand this war just remember to replace ‘terror’ with ‘middle class and below’ and it will all become clear to you. Why don’t we just do away with this whole universal public education nuisance? Bush has just given out the biggest tax cut for rich people in the country’s history yet this huge windfall has not resulted in the creation of many good jobs. Maybe it’s the tax cut we need to tear into and not the well-being of working Americans? For starters I say we start balancing the budget by shit-canning Greenspan and replacing him with a living, breathing human being.

A child could have seen what it is the Republicans have been after all along. They WANT the federal government to fail, they NEED local governments to collapse under the weight of under-taxed budgets. This has been their strategy from the beginning. Their vision is an America without taxes and without services for its citizens. Their America is basically a tax haven for the top 1%, a source of cheap and docile labor, and a market for the crappy capital goods that are being manufactured in places with even cheaper and more docile labor.

The problem with this model is that once they have completely destroyed the middle class—and they will—there will no longer be a market for capital goods. Not that Bush and Cheney could really give a shit about that; they already got theirs. We were just asked for $87 billion to prop up his quagmire in Iraq and now Bush is going to tell us we can’t afford to take care of the old people of our own country.

The crazy part of this administration is that a lot of poor people will vote for Bush because they think he is moral. He’s against fags getting married so that makes him a good guy. It will be ironic to see you on your knees giving $2 blow jobs to make ends meet when you are 65 years old because you voted for a guy who hates homosexuals but gutted your retirement.

P.S. Everyone must read John Ralston Saul's essay on the end of globalization in the March issue of Harper's (or for free here). Why is this the first essay published in this country by this brilliant thinker?


I might add these points to your historical reasons of why Americans hate "Socialism." During the post-populist, post-progressive and post-depression eras in America, conservatives and liberals rightly compromised as the social welfare state was created by FDR. A basic element of these compromises was the vocabulary Americans would use to describe their “Socialist Revolution.” Fearful of words used by Socialists (or worse, Communists), we decided to describe the social safety net by using words like “Unemployment Insurance, The Tennessee Valley Authority, the GI Bill,” et al. These programs were not called the “Tennessee Valley 5-Year Plan,” the “Job-Loss Welfare Subsidy,” or the “Veteran Surplus Job-Rationing Act” because as Capitalists, we had to name the programs with a determined legitimacy. Wage- and salaried-laborers were due the benefits because they had worked to deserve them; therefore, “insurance.” Water damming for rural electrification was a progressive project, therefore “authority.” The GI “Bill” was named with legal distinction, for those who had “earned” training through patriotic service. Of course, other social welfare programs—those that were not earned or deserved—were named “Aid to Families with Dependant Children,” “Food Stamps,” etc. These naming distinctions have a definite gender bias (men deserve insurance benefits; woman and children deserve welfare), but the major difference between American Socialism and most of European Socialism is that we Americans actually differentiate (for good and bad) between social welfare programs that pay for roads, public transportation, public schools, public medicine, unemployment compensation, food subsidies, farm subsidies, corporate subsidies etc., as if there is some division over who rightly deserves it (insurance), and who wrongly receives it (welfare). Americans demonize “dependency” as if it is some vile sickness—therefore, dependant welfare recipients are evil. And while KMPG accountants can quantify the complex value of lease-in/lease out deals for tax shelters, they cannot or will not quantify the value of a non-wage earner’s (stay-at-home-parent) value in monetary terms—for insurance purposes, for vacation benefits, or even for tax subsidies. For most students of Socialism—and for me—it’s ALL Social Welfare—and by definition, good. But for the private bureaucrat—who fancies himself or herself as a Capitalist—it’s public waste, unless it’s that big fat corporate subsidy. Squeal like a pig!

Farmer Ned

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