The plain fact of the matter is, the people who comprise the American elite are selfish, small-minded and amazingly petty individuals whose lives revolve around only one thing: the pursuit of wealth. These are people such as David H. Koch of Wichita, Kansas - he is chairman of Koch Industries (please see our article "Unmasking the Merchants of Tarshish); David Friess, an investment banker who claims that the most important thing in his life is his belief in Christ as his savior - and this despite the fact that much of his wealth was acquired through ruthless business practices which contradict the teachings of the Bible: he is a past president of the Council on National Policy (please see our article, "Council On National Policy"); Charles Schwab of Charles Schwab and Company; Jerome V. Ansel of Boca Raton, President of St. Andrews Reality; Stanley Druckenmiller of New York, Managing Director of the Soros Fund (which specializes in a high stakes and risky stock activity called "hedge betting"), etc., etc. [Please see our article, "The Image of the Beast, Part 2."]
The sad thing for the rest of the public, however, is that whenever such people rule a society, that society is corrupted to the degree that these people come to dominate it.
Some people, of course, will say that we are being too harsh in our condemnation of the economic elite. That's certainly what a lot of Christians believe: that certainly there is something more behind their accumulation of wealth; that some kind of "greater good" lies at the heart of what they're doing; that these people have a goal beyond the mere acquisition of earthly treasure. [Please see our article, "Your Blood Be upon Your Own Heads: I Am Clean of It."]
The late Professor C. Wright Mills of Columbia University writes,
THIS IS THE MINDSET THAT IS DRIVING THE
Plainly, given the "reality" described above — i.e., that restoring the marginal tax rate on the rich that existed prior to the Reagan Administration is "out of bounds" - the only two ways that financial solvency for the US can be achieved is by cutting programs dedicated to either (1) alleviating the suffering of the unemployed and under-employed, the aged, etc., and the maintenance of such programs as social security, food stamps, Medicare, Medicaid, etc. (again, programs made all the more necessary given the horrible recession the country is suffering through) OR (2) cutting the defense budget.
The Defense Budget for 2011 authorizes $549 billion in defense spending; but this figure does not include the $159 billion cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for this year. If defense spending was cut in half - to $355 billion (still three times greater than China and five times more than Russia) - the money saved could reduce the deficit to nothing over a relatively small period of time without menacing efforts to alleviate the suffering of the middle-class and the poor as a result of the current recession. All this makes one ask the question, Is all this money spent on "defense" ($711 billion) really for defense, OR is it in fact a means of PROJECTING AMERICAN POWER in order to underpin American control of its world-wide system of client-states? The answer seems fairly obvious.
But — like restoring the marginal tax rates on the rich that existed prior to the Reagan Administration — cutting the defense budget is also "out of bounds!" Why? Because a huge American military is absolutely necessary in maintaining the American New World Order System - AND THE NECESSITY OF MAINTAINING AMERICA'S DEFENSE BUDGET IS MADE ALL THE MORE IMPERATIVE BY WHAT'S OCCURING NOW IN THE MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA: A REVOLT BY THE "UNWASHED MASSES" THERE AGAINST THE PUPPET-REGIMES THE US HAS INSTALLED. [We urge you to read (or re-read) our articles, "Confronting the Inevitable Collapse of America's Client-State System in the Middle East" and "What's Happening Now in Egypt."]
WHAT THIS MEANS IS THAT THE ELITES ARE GOING TO HAVE TO ACCELERATE THE ALREADY MALIGNANT RICH / POOR DYNAMIC THAT HAS TAKEN HOLD OF THE COUNTRY OVER THE PAST THREE DECADES — a dynamic that has created over 5,000,000 millionaires and 300 billionaires in the country and plunged countless others into homelessness and poverty.
What a peculiar little lyric! Queer? - Yes! But one full of meaning. What the lyric portends is that in the "End of Days" an economic process will be let loose on the earth which will divide the earth into a world of "haves" and "have nots." It will be a relentless, almost pathological process that will reduce the great portion of mankind into a kind of abject penury where, as the lyric indicates, one will have to labor a WHOLE day to just put one loaf of bread on his table; but it will also be a process that will produce - as we suggested in the "note" above - a "global elite of worthies" whose wealth will stagger the imagination.
The meaning of this lyric is that the condition of man in the "End of Days" will be reduced to such that he will have to labor a whole day simply to buy a loaf of bread or three measures of barley. But the second part of the saying ["... and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine ..."] means that the economic catastrophe in these days will not extend to what might be called a "global elite of worthies" who have evidently allied themselves to the anti-Christ's policy of conquest - only the rich in the ancient world could afford oil and wine. [Please see Part 3 of Chapter IX, "The Seven Seals;" indeed, we URGE you to read the entire chapter - i.e. Chapter IX, "The Course and Character of the Seventieth Week."]
The truth is, over the last several years the United States has been evolving into a two-tiered (i.e., rich and poor) society. For example, of the ten job categories that are growing the fastest in the United States in absolute numbers, seven pay average wages less than $11 an hour.
Now, stop for a moment and think about that - $11 an hour: that translates into a weekly pay check of $440 a week, or about $1,700 a month. Take out a minimum of 20 percent for social security, FICA, state and local taxes, government fees, etc.), and that means that seven of the most plentiful jobs available today for most Americans produce net paychecks of about $1,400 a month. AND NOW EVEN THESE JOBS ARE DISAPPEARING!
Obviously, the wife has to work - and not because she is pursuing some kind of wondrous and exotic career that's been ballyhooed on the pages of Vogue or Cosmopolitan, but only because she has to do it to make ends meet for the family. This usually means a part-time job paying less than $8.00 an hour; and for that, the family must purchase a second clunker, pay for gas, insurance and upkeep on that, and in addition - now that she isn't home to take care of the children - childcare must be thrown into the new equation. She's lucky if she is able to net out one-third of the paycheck she earns.
This is what is happening everywhere today in about one-third of American households!! AND NOW WITH THE ONSET OF WHAT PROFESSOR MICHEL CHOSSUDOVSKY CALLS THE "WORST DEPRESSION IN WORLD HISTORY," THIS PROCESS HAS GREATLY ACCELERATED AND IS ENVELOPING A MUCH GREATER SWATH OF THE AMERICAN POPULATION.
Perhaps the greatest impediment preventing the American elite from squeezing even more money out of average Americans is the American labor movement — AND IT IS FOR THIS PRECISE REASON THAT THE ELITES HAVE TARGETED AMERICA'S UNIONS FOR DESTRUCTION — after all, as I have already suggested, the elites have to get the money from somewhere to maintain the American New World Order System; but they don't want this money coming our of their own pockets, nor do they want the defense budget cut — something that no doubt would imperil the worldwide economic system upon which their wealth rests.
Bur it's not as if people are ignorant of what the elites are up to and are desperately trying to sound the alarm; take Tennessee Democrat Steve Cohen. Cohen recently compared the effort by today's American elites to bust unions to the Nazi effort to break union power in Germany in order ensure their permanent hold on power.
Cohen — a Jew — has been sickened by the way America's elites habitually smear American unions while at the same time covering up their much more depraved indiscretions. It's a propaganda war that has been going on for years and years now — and, sadly, it has been remarkable successful. Repeating the mantra used by Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbles, Cohen went on to say:
"You say it enough, you repeat the lie, you repeat the lie, and eventually, people believe it."
Cohen, of course, is right. The fact of the matter is, a great swath of American workers have come to believe that unions are "un-American" — and all this despite the fact that by agreeing with this proposition, American workers are, as it were, "cutting off their noses to spite their face." [Please see our article, "The Elites Want High Unemployment; Examining the inverse relationship that exists between the rich and high unemployment: Busting Unions."]
Naturally enough, one might ask, Why is it so impossible for Americans — especially American Christians — to see past the kind of ruses that the elites are using against them? Why, for example, do they seem unable to grasp what has been happening to them over the past few decades? For instance, the fact that the topmost 1% of Americans now owns 34% of all private net worth; the bottom 90% owns 29%.
A key to the elite's ability to "pull the wool over the eyes" of average Americans is the alliance the elites have historically had with America's churches — a fact that has had an enormous impact on America's unions. Typical of the anti-union bias used by the church to anathematize unions (and gain the favor of the elites) is this teaching from Prof. David J. Engelsma, Professor of Dogmatics at the Protestant Reformed Seminary:
"There are many reasons why labor union membership is sinful ... but the central issue is this: in the realm of labor, the owner, or management, has the right to rule, so that the Christian worker must submit ..."
Two posters - "God is Just" and "God is Good" hang over a 19th Century workhouse for the poor in England.
According to Engelsma, the relationship between employer and employee is the same as the relationship between a stern father and a rebellious son.
"The labor unions, and thus all their members, are guilty of rebellion against lawful authority, just as is the case with a rebellious child ... Labor unionism is transgression against the fifth commandment of the law of God, 'Honor thy father and thy mother':
'That I show all honor, love, and fidelity to my father and mother and all in authority over me, and submit myself to their good instruction and correction with due obedience; and also patiently bear with their weaknesses and infirmities, since it pleases God to govern us by their hand'.
"The enforcement of the will of the laborers against the will of the employer, which is of the very essence of the union, is rebellion ..."
In addition to the traditional bias against unions as discussed above is the new church paradigm towards wealth that today's apostate church has bought into "lock, stock and barrel" — a paradigm that asserts that GOD WANTS YOU TO BE RICH. [For a refutation of this evil teaching, we URGE you to see our article, "Christianity and Capitalism."]
The very real fact of the matter is, in church after church in America the message that is being preached is that if you are not successful financially, then IT'S YOUR FAULT! GOD WANTS YOU TO BE RICH! - AND IF YOU ARE NOT RICH, THE FAULT IS YOURS! Hence, joblessness is the fault of the jobless.
For Christians to say that this isn't EXACTLY the message that is being preached in today's churches in the United States is to expose themselves as liars, because this is PLAINLY what Kenneth Copeland, Kenneth Hagin, Creflo Dollar, C. Peter Wagner, Bennie Hinn, etc. preach OPENLY, and what D. James Kennedy, Charles Stanley and Jack Hayford preach SUBTLY - and, like the SNAKES they are, with just the right amount of discretion and refinement. It's exactly this kind of haranguing of the poor by the rich and by the rich's lackey, the Religious Right, that makes it all but impossible for the unemployed and / or under-employed to salvage any sense of honor in a culture that measures success by the money one possesses and the occupation one holds. This is why the Lord called such people (i.e., the religious leaders of His day):
"... O generation of VIPERS, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?" (Matt. 3:7)
And be clear, Jesus was talking here about the religious establishment of His day (the Pharisees, the Sadducees and the scribes), just as we are talking about the religious establishment of our day (e.g., Kenneth Copeland, Kenneth Hagin, Charles Stanley, D. James Kennedy, Bennie Hinn, Pat Robertson, Tim LaHaye, Paul Crouch, C. Peter Wagner, etc.).
Olsteen: one of Christendom's
"Now the SERPENT was more SUBTLE than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made ... (Gen. 3:1)
Serpents, snakes, poisonous vipers - that's who people like Tim LaHaye, Pat Robertson, John Hagee, Charles Stanley, C. Peter Wagner, D. James Kennedy, etc. are; people who have PIMPED the church out to the elites as a WHORE (Rev. 17:1-6) - a whore who rides the BEAST (i.e., the American New World Order System) and together with it CEASELESSLY SEARCHES OUT THE WORLD FOR WAYS OF MAKING MONEY IN ORDER TO MAKE MORE MONEY, AND STILL MORE MONEY. [Please see our article, "Apostasy: Christianity in the Service of a Religio-Political-Corporate-Terrorist State."]
In doing so this "BEAST" (i.e., the American New World Order System) and this "WHORE" (i.e., the church of C. Peter Wagner, Charles Stanley, John Hagee, etc.) trample under foot the poor and destitute of the world claiming all the while that they are doing service for God.
America's clergy - pimping their parishioners out as "bitches" to the mega-rich
These are the people about whom Jesus said,
"NOT EVERYONE THAT SAITH UNTO ME, LORD, LORD, SHALL ENTER THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
"Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
"And then will I profess unto them, I NEVER KNEW YOU: DEPART FROM ME, ye that work iniquity." (Matt. 7:21-23) [Then what will the ostentatious mansions of John Hagee, Charles Stanley, Chuck Smith (who - while pretending to live in a modest home in Southern California, really resides in a huge hacienda-like mansion with the ultra-rich), Robert Schuller, D. James Kennedy, etc. mean to these reprobates? I don't imagine much on that day, when the Lord thunders at them. "Depart from me, ye that work iniquity, I never knew you."]
A WHORE; a PROSTITUTE; a HARLOT; a HOOKER - that's what this system of Christianity is; a hideous and repulsive system of belief that "programs" its members as sycophants, toadies and "fanny kissers" to the rich; a system of Christianity that HALLOWS THE HUMAN QUEST FOR PROSPERITY, AND SANCTIFIES GREED AS A MORAL IMPERATIVE. [Please see our articles, "The Elite, Money, and the End of Days," "Inside the American New World Order System," and "The Cedars: the House on 24th Street;" please also see Chapter 13 of the Antipas Papers: "The Woman of Revelation 17."]
This kind of thinking — the kind that has permitted the adoption by American Christians of what has now become known as "THE GOSPEL OF PROSPERITY" - parallels a similar mindset that has taken hold in elite circles; investment banker and author Jeff Gates writes that the origins of this mindset is traceable to elite academic circles; it's a mindset that insists that we grant not deference but outright dominance to values denominated in money. This new worldview has worked its way from elite academia into legislation to become the law of the land. [Please see our article, "The Neo-Conservatives."]
"Instead of the civil rights refrain, 'Let my people go', this widely shared belief insists on 'Let my money go'. So we enacted laws to ensure that money can flow wherever money wants to go in pursuit of the highest returns — as measured in money. Money, after all, is what really matters.
"Over decades, the respect granted financial markets became akin to reverence. In the creation of that shared faith lies how we were induced to displace commonsense with a 'generally accepted truth' that unleashed the unbridled forces of finance."
This mindset was imbedded in the curriculum of business and law schools worldwide. Akin to an operating system running silently in the background, this narrow perspective now forms the unstated foundation on which entire economies are built. Gates says that, as a result, people have been -
"Induced to grant lawful dominance to money ..."
NOTE: What's that say when this mindset is placed over and against what Christ taught:
"By inducing America to embrace this mindset, proponents of this narrow worldview evoked a social environment granting dominance to those values calculable in money. No financial return is too much; nor can any return be paid too quickly."
It is precisely these three separate mindsets — i.e., (1) the traditional anti-union mindset of Christian leaders that anathematizes those who rebel against their "betters," (2) the new Christian mindset that hallows the pursuit of money (i.e., the "Gospel of Prosperity" and (3) the new business mindset that grants lawful dominance to money insofar as America's economic and political values are concerned — that have dovetailed to drive average American workers into the poor house. [Please see our articles, "A Permanent 30% Unemployment Rate for he United States," "No Escape from Poverty," "Still Underemployed," "The US Economy Is Stuck in Misery," "Social Decay and Destruction," "New Jobless Era," etc.]
And it is exactly these three mindsets that the Koch Brothers and other members of America's financial elites have cobbled together to batter America's unions — unions that, as we indicated earlier, are now the only political and economic organizations —
that stand in the way of the elites' UTTER domination of the American economy;
that are preventing the elites from seizing TOTAL control of the budget process in the United States;
that are preventing the elites from raping the paychecks of American workers so that the money thus procured can be fed into the defense budget;
that are capable of preventing American workers from being driven "lock, stock and barrel" into the poor house, thus fulfilling the Scripture concerning the economic fate of average people the world over as delineated in Revelation 6:6:
"A measure of wheat for a penny [literally - denarius, a Greek coin which represented a WHOLE DAY'S wages], and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine." (Revelation 6:6)
- meaning that the condition of man during in the "Last Days" will be reduced to such that he will have to labor (if he can find work at all) a whole day simply to buy a loaf of bread or three measures of barley. But the second part of the saying ["... and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine ..."] means that the famine in these days will not extend to what might be called a "global elite of worthies" who have evidently allied themselves to the anti-Christ's policy of conquest - only the rich in the ancient world could afford oil and wine.
The union-busting motivation behind the struggle that the rich have launched against American unions (and, ipso facto, American workers) is made more than obvious by the alliance that Republican Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin has made with the Koch brothers.
This alliance is detailed by journalist JP Green in an article entitled "The Koch Brothers Support Wisconsin Union-Busting:"
"Eric Lipton's article 'Billionaire Brothers' Money Plays Role in Wisconsin Dispute' raises disturbing questions about the motivation of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, who has introduced a measure that would dismantle public unions.
NOTE: The effort to bust Wisconsin's public sector unions was recently passed by means of a political stratagem that bypassed Wisconsin's "Open Meetings Law." The law was blocked from taking effect by County Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi. Sumi's order prevents Secretary of State Doug La Follette from publishing the law - and allowing it to take effect - until Sumi can rule on an injunction, which if issued would block the law for a longer period. Hearings on an injunction are scheduled for March 29 and April 1.
"Astroturf" organizations funded by the Koch Brothers
'State records also show that Koch Industries, their energy and consumer products conglomerate based in Wichita, Kan., was one of the biggest contributors to the election campaign of Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, a Republican who has championed the proposed cuts.
'... Campaign finance records in Washington show that donations by Koch Industries and its employees climbed to a total of $2 million in the last election cycle, twice as much as a decade ago, with 92 percent of that money going to Republicans. Donations in state government races -- like in Wisconsin -- have also surged in recent years, records show'.
"Lipton points out that direct campaign contributions are just one pipeline for Koch money for union-bashing. As Lipton explains,
'But the most aggressive expansion of the Koch brothers' effort to influence public policy has come through the Americans for Prosperity, which runs both a charitable foundation and a [so-called] grass-roots-activists group, which in reality is nothing more than an astroturf organization. Mr. Phillips serves as president of both branches, and David Koch is chairman of the Americans for Prosperity Foundation.
NOTE: According to an article in the August 30, 2010 issue of The New Yorker, the Kochs are known for "creating slippery organizations with generic-sounding names," that "make it difficult to ascertain the extent of their influence in Washington." These kind of organizations are known as "astroturf" organizations, i.e., corporately sponsored "demonstrators" made to look as if they are "grass-roots" organizations.
'... The organization has taken up a range of topics, including combating the health care law, environmental regulations and spending by state and federal governments. The effort to impose limits on public labor unions has been a particular focus in Ohio, Indiana, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, all states with Republican governors, Mr. Phillips said, adding that he expects new proposals to emerge soon in some of those states to limit union power'.
Republican Governors Association and
Walker was elected just over three months ago on the heels of an exceptionally expensive gubernatorial race in the Badger State, fueled by groups funded by the Koch brothers, David and Charles. David Koch, the son of a radical founding member of the John Birch Society, which has long been obsessed with claims about socialism and advocated the repeal of civil rights laws, personally donated $1 million to the Republican Governors Association (RGA) in June of last year. This was the most he had ever personally given to that group. [Fellow billionaire Rupert Murdoch matched Koch's donation to the RGA with a $1 million donation from his company News Corporation, parent company of FOX "News" Channel.]
"Lipton reports that Tim Phillips, the president of the right-wing Americans for Prosperity, told an anti-union counter-demonstration at the capitol, composed of members of the Wisconsin chapter of the organization 'We are going to bring fiscal sanity back to this great nation'. As Lipton notes,
'What Mr. Phillips did not mention was that his Virginia-based nonprofit group, whose budget surged to $40 million in 2010 from $7 million three years ago, was created and financed in part by the secretive billionaire brothers Charles G. and David H. Koch'."
Green adds that Bob Edgar, president of Common Cause warns that the Koch brothers are using their money, in Lipton's words "to create a façade of grass-roots support for their favorite causes." Edgar adds, "It is not that these folks don't have a right to participate in politics. But they are moving democracy into the control of more wealthy corporate hands."
Paul Krugman explains what is happening,
"In principle, every American citizen has an equal say in our political process. In practice, of course, some of us are more equal than others. Billionaires can field armies of lobbyists; they can finance think tanks that put the desired spin on policy issues; they can funnel cash to politicians with sympathetic views (as the Koch brothers did in the case of Mr. Walker). On paper, we're a one-person-one-vote nation; in reality, we're more than a bit of an , in which a handful of wealthy people dominate.
"... What Mr. Walker and his backers are trying to do is to make Wisconsin -- and eventually, America -- less of a functioning democracy and more of a third-world-style oligarchy. And that's why anyone who believes that we need some counterweight to the political power of big money should be on the demonstrators' side.
"Governor Walker knows that if he hangs tough, he will earn the gratitude of the Koch brothers, and likely become the new GOP poster boy for anti-union conservatism. The question is whether the people of Wisconsin will see through the Koch Brothers' astroturf counter-demos and take a stand for workers' right to union representation."
Scott Walker's first act in office was to push through two corporate tax breaks and a conservative health care policy that cost the state more than $100 million in revenues. Then he called a special session of the legislation to consider a "budget repair bill" to cover a shortfall he had just made worse. The message was crystal-clear: Wisconsin was open for business--as the billionaire Koch brothers understood when they opened a lobbying office across the street from the Capitol--and working people were going to be told to pay for it.
If anyone still thinks Walker is an exception, they need only look at the proposals of other Republican governors around the Midwest. For example, Michigan's new Gov. Rick Snyder has proposed cutting 8 to 10 percent from state education funding; eliminating the state's Earned Income Tax Credits and various other tax benefits that help predominantly working people--and reducing taxes on businesses by an incredible 86 percent.
But it's important to recognize that Democrats like Illinois' Pat Quinn or New York's Andrew Cuomo are also pushing cutbacks and layoffs--only they're doing it with kinder and gentler rhetoric in the hopes of getting the cooperation of unions and pro-Democratic liberal organizations. Obama himself has furthered this agenda with his three-year pay freeze on federal employees outside defense and national security.
This shows that the drive for austerity in the U.S. must be understood as more than Tea Party fanaticism. It is one vital part of the overall policy of the American elites--another aspect of an assault on working-class living standards that has been underway for decades and has taken on a new intensity with the late 2000s economic crisis.
In other words, Scott Walker's policy is the policy of U.S. capitalism--to push down wages and benefits and cut away at social programs in order to expand the profits and power of the capitalists.
This may seem like it's stating the obvious, but it's an important starting point for understanding the outcome in Wisconsin: There was no opposition to Walker's plan from Corporate America in favor of moderation or a democratic process to arrive at a negotiated settlement because the interests of capitalism lie in as little moderation and democracy as possible when it comes to driving down workers' living standards.
By contrast, the strategy put forward by labor leaders and Democratic Party legislators in aftermath of Walker's sneak attack to ram through the anti-union law--of focusing on recall initiatives against Republican senators, and eventually Walker himself--represents a step away from the spirit of the uprising and the source of its power.
STREET POWER: that's what the elites really fear; that's what stripped the elites of their power in both the French and Russian Revolutions.
There is wide support for the recall, flowing from the bitterness that so many Wisconsites--even if they were apathetic or even half-sympathetic before--now feel toward these undemocratic tools of Corporate America. No doubt many who took part in the demonstrations will throw themselves into this effort on the local level--according to reports, in a matter of days, canvassers had already gathered one-sixth the number of signatures needed to force the initial eight recall elections.
Nevertheless, the recall strategy will necessarily slow the rhythm of the movement. It will be months and even years before the recall votes even take place. By that point, the Republicans' corporate backers will have had time to mobilize their multimillion-dollar propaganda machine in defense of their political servants, and the momentum may have turned.
What the elites are counting on is that a "me-first," self-centered" mindset will eventually take hold of those Americans who have somehow or other survived the machinations of the elites — a mindset that will allow those who still have a well-paying job to ignore the plight of those millions and millions who have been dumped from the economy.
Indeed, economist Paul Krugman believes that this kind of mindset is already taking hold of Americans around the country. Krugman writes in an article entitled "The Forgotten Millions:"
"More than three years after we entered the worst economic slump since the 1930s, a strange and disturbing thing has happened to our political discourse: Washington has lost interest in the unemployed.
Discarded like so much trash.
"Jobs do get mentioned now and then ... but no jobs bills have been introduced in Congress, no job-creation plans have been advanced by the White House and all the policy focus seems to be on spending cuts.
"So one-sixth of America's workers — all those who can't find any job or are stuck with part-time work when they want a full-time job — have, in effect, been abandoned. [Please see our article, "Dealing with the Human Trash of America's New World Order System."]
"It might not be so bad if the jobless could expect to find new employment fairly soon. But unemployment has become a trap, one that's very difficult to escape. There are almost five times as many unemployed workers as there are job openings; the average unemployed worker has been jobless for 37 weeks, a post-World War II record.
"In short, we're well on the way to creating a permanent underclass of the jobless."
well on the way to creating
Krugman asks the question:
"Why doesn't Washington care?"
Krugman answers his own question,
"Part of the answer may be that while those who are unemployed tend to stay unemployed, those who still have jobs are feeling more secure than they did a couple of years ago. Layoffs and discharges spiked during the crisis of 2008-2009 but have fallen sharply since then, perhaps reducing the sense of urgency. Put it this way: At this point, the U.S. economy is suffering from low hiring, not high firing, so things don't look so bad — as long as you're willing to write off the unemployed."
It is a sad fact of life that countless numbers of American Christians have "bought into" this selfish, self-centered mindset; a mindset that makes the defense budget sacrosanct while pushing millions and millions of American workers into the poor house. These Christians, however, would be well advised to remember the words of Pastor Martin Niemoeller:
"First the Nazis came for the Communists and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist.
"Then they came for the Jews and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.
"Then they came for the trade unionists and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist.
"Then they came for the Catholics and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant.
"Then they came for me, but by that time, no one was left to speak up."
Their time will come — and when it does, there will be no one to help them escape from being dumped on economic trash bin.
CHRISTIANS: Then it came my turn to be discarded economically, and there was no one left to help me
God bless you all!
FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO WANT TO FELLOWSHIP ON HOW TO GO ON IN THESE DANGEROUS AND TROUBLED TIMES, WE URGE YOU TO CONTACT US AT: firstname.lastname@example.org.
IN ADDITION, WE URGE YOU TO DOWNLOAD THE NEW ANTIPAS PAPERS, PRINT THEM OUT YOURSELF, AND STUDY THEM CAREFULLY; SHARE THEM WITH YOUR FRIENDS.
FINALLY, WE URGE YOU TO DOWNLOAD AND PRINT OUT THE FLYER WE SENT TO YOU RECENTLY.
Then make copies and take these copies out to the campuses where you live; pass them out; OR if that seems too "daring" for you right now, post them on telephone poles, the sides of buildings, on campus bulletin boards; post them in union halls, in the neighborhoods of the poor and downtrodden, near employment offices, wherever you can.
Once again, we URGE you to read (or re-read):
Budget Crisis? Duh, Tax the Rich!
By Robert Parry
A great tragedy of the United States is that the answer to many of the country's domestic problems is obvious, even simple, but can't be done because of a dominating political/media dynamic that rules that solution out.
The solution to these many problems — from the budget deficit to crumbling infrastructure, from mass joblessness to income inequality, from environmental degradation to educational shortfalls -- is to raise taxes on the rich and to use that money to get the United States back on track and advancing toward the future.
And there are clear justifications for doing so, from practicality to fairness. Though many multi-millionaires fancy themselves self-made men (and women), the truth is that they all have profited from investments that American taxpayers have made over the decades, and even centuries.
For instance, President Dwight Eisenhower's inter-state highway system enabled companies to move their goods more cheaply; President John Kennedy's space program spurred the growth in computer sciences; the Pentagon created the Internet (yes, with critical support from Al Gore when in Congress), which revolutionized commerce and spread information.
These innovations and many more were achieved by the federal government using taxpayers' money. Yes, entrepreneurs in their garages and dorm rooms did expand on these breakthroughs and deserve credit and a share of the profits, but they also should pay back at a much higher rate for the taxpayer-funded R&D that made their fortunes possible.
An even-stronger tax justification applies to Wall Street, where the greed and gambling of bankers tipped the economy into a severe recession just three years ago, costing millions of Americans their jobs and homes. To avoid an even worse outcome — a new depression — the federal government and Federal Reserve authorized trillions of dollars in bailouts.
To further calm Wall Street, the authorities essentially gave the bankers a "get out of jail free" card. Not a single prominent player in the sub-prime securities scandal has been prosecuted or forced to surrender much in ill-gotten gains.
Instead, many of the top Wall Street bankers are lining up again for massive paydays in the tens of millions of dollars, essentially skimming off profits that were achieved only because the U.S. government poured vast sums of public money into the financial sector. Yet, many of these same bankers insist that their taxes remain at historically low levels.
Other wealthy Americans have enriched themselves through holdings in multinational corporations that fattened their bottom lines by laying off middle-class Americans and hiring cheaper replacement workers overseas.
Not only did these American workers see their lives damaged by the exporting of their jobs but they face the indignity of helping to foot the bill for the gigantic U.S. military which protects the global interests of these multinationals.
Fair and Logical
So, it would seem both fair and logical for the U.S. government to restore the marginal income tax rates on the wealthiest taxpayers at least to levels that existed prior to Ronald Reagan's presidency. That way the rich could pay back the country for all it has done for them.
The American rich would even stand to make more money if they helped to rebuild the middle class. It has been an acknowledged rule of business since Henry Ford that companies thrive when people can afford to buy the products that the factories produce.
A socio-economic system that craters its middle class and caters only to the wealthy is not just unjust but unsafe. It is especially vulnerable to stock market speculation, to boom-and-bust cycles, and to political disruptions.
So, to take action to restore the United States to the more stable middle-class structure that reigned from the end of the Second World War until Reagan's presidency would seem to be a no-brainer.
And, the key to that restoration would be to raise the top marginal tax rates on the highest levels of income for the richest Americans from today's 35 percent to, say, 50 or 60 percent. Those marginal rates were as high as 90 percent under Eisenhower.
But today's U.S. political/media dynamic makes any discussion of higher taxes on the rich a non-starter. Instead, the debate is all about handing out more tax breaks to the rich, slashing government spending, canceling transportation projects, abandoning environmental goals, and busting unions that represent teachers and other public workers.
The test of political courage, according to the mainstream U.S. news media, is whether you're ready to go even further and cut Social Security and Medicare. But the real "third rail" of American politics is whether you'll consider higher taxes on the rich.
How hard that is was made apparent earlier this month as the nation wallowed in a sentimental remembrance of the late Ronald Reagan, the father of what his own Vice President George H.W. Bush once called "voodoo economics," the notion that reducing taxes would increase revenues.
Reagan also elevated the worship of private wealth and stoked the demonization of the public sector with his famous line: "Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem."
Yet, as misguided as Reagan's policies have proved to be, a new Gallup poll shows that Americans rate him the greatest president ever, ahead of Abraham Lincoln and George Washington.
Inspired by Reagan
Just this week, when Wisconsin's Republican Gov. Scott Walker thought he was talking by phone to right-wing billionaire David Koch, a key financial backer, Walker reminisced about his thoughts before he dropped "the bomb," his bill to strip public employees of collective bargaining rights in Wisconsin.
Walker told a David Koch imposter who was taping the call: "I pulled out a picture of Ronald Reagan, and I said, you know, this may seem a little melodramatic, but 30 years ago, Ronald Reagan, whose 100th birthday we just celebrated the day before, had one of the most defining moments of his political career, not just his presidency, when he fired the air-traffic controllers."
In other words, Reagan's legacy is still inspiring a young generation of Republicans and right-wing operatives to press ahead on an approach to the nation's economic ills that would continue low taxes on the rich, fewer regulations on corporations, structural budget deficits that compel cuts in government spending, and pressure to break unions.
Yet, over those three decades that Walker cited, Reagan's right-wing policies have savaged the middle class and shoved more people into poverty, creating an income inequality not seen since the Gilded Age of the 1920s, an inequity that contributed to the Stock Market Crash of 1929 and the Great Depression.
Another factor in today's job crisis has been the dramatic advances in technology, creating a huge surplus of labor in the United States, from factory workers to bookkeepers. And, if technology doesn't get you directly, it might still put you in the unemployment line because modern communications let your company off-shore your job halfway around the world.
So, even if today's weak recovery isn't stalled by higher Middle East oil prices or more gridlock in Washington, many Americans who lost their jobs or had to take severe pay cuts are not likely to make up lost ground. Unemployment and under-employment are almost certain to stay high, and those lucky enough to have jobs will have to work harder, faster and longer than before.
Already, most of us scramble to make ends meet, with fewer protections in the work place as unions shrink, with the 40-hour work week disappearing, with cell phone and e-mails putting us on call virtually 24/7, and with retirements postponed sometimes indefinitely.
This era's great irony may be that an earlier generation thought that technology would create so much wealth and comfort that life would be easier for the human race, giving us more time to play with the kids, to read a book, to travel or to just take it easy.
Instead, because of America's curious political-media dynamic, technology enriches primarily the rich and, for the rest of us, makes our lives more slavish, more hectic and more desperate, especially when job loss is combined with lost health benefits and endless pressure from bill collectors.
While the middle- and working-classes have seen the American dream recede for them, the upper stratum of the super rich has watched the benefits of the high-tech global economy flow disproportionately into their stock portfolios and trust funds -- while seeing their tax rates decline.
Prior to Reagan's presidency, the top marginal tax rate (the percentage that the richest Americans paid on their top tranche of income) was about 70 percent. By the time, George H.W. Bush left office in 1993, the marginal rate was at 31 percent — and the U.S. budget deficit was exploding.
To get the deficit under control, President Bill Clinton and the Democratic-controlled Congress took the politically dangerous step of raising the top marginal rate to 39.6 percent, a move that contributed to the Republican congressional takeover in 1994.
Still, the Clinton tax hike helped get the federal budget back into balance and led to a projected surplus so large that policymakers fretted about the complications that might result from the U.S. debt being completely paid off. However, when George W. Bush took power in 2001, he immediately resumed the Reagan-esque push to reduce taxes, especially on the rich.
Under Bush-43, the top marginal rate was cut to 38.6 percent and then to 35 percent, contributing to another record surge in the federal deficit. Adding in various tax breaks, the rich paid even less than the low nominal rates.
"The average rate paid by the top 1 percent of households shrank from 33 percent in 1986 to about 23 percent in 2006," the Washington Post reported. "At the same time, the share of adjusted gross income claimed by that highest-earning sliver of American society doubled, from 11 percent to 22 percent."
By the time Bush left office in January 2009, the Wall Street financial bubble — inflated in part by the rampant greed fed by huge bank bonuses — had burst and the U.S. government was stuck with a $1.2 trillion deficit that included rescuing the bankers from a disaster of their own making.
After taking over, President Barack Obama and the congressional Democrats said they wanted to "claw back" some of those inflated bonuses and collect higher taxes on new bonuses once the bailout stabilized the banks. But Obama and the Democrats also feared a replay of Election 1994, so they passed a $787 billion stimulus package and maintained high spending for Bush's two unfinished wars without seeking any immediate marginal tax increase.
The result was a further worsening of the federal deficit — creating another Republican campaign issue: Democratic fiscal irresponsibility.
Those accusations — and lavish funding from the likes of oilman David Koch — fueled the rise of the Tea Party movement, a surge that boosted the Republicans to major victories in Election 2010, including seizure of the U.S. House of Representatives and control of many statehouses.
Following those victories, Republicans insisted that Bush's tax cuts for the rich stay in place for at least two more years, a concession Obama and the Democrats granted in exchange for some additional spending on the unemployed. But the Bush tax cuts guaranteed that the deficit would stay high, opening the door for new GOP demands for more spending cuts.
The U.S. government is now hurtling toward a showdown in March when some Republicans say they will shut down the government if the Democrats don't accede to more spending cuts, which, in turn, will assure further layoffs from public-sector jobs.
Joe the Plumbers
What is perhaps most puzzling about this political-media dynamic is how many average Americans still support Reagan-esque tax cuts even when those policies have amounted to the wealthy waging "class warfare" against the middle- and working-classes as well as against future generations who are getting stuck with the bills.
During Campaign 2008, this curious anomaly was personified by "Joe the Plumber," a mid-30-ish Ohio man named Joe Wurzelbacher. Though Wurzelbacher wasn't even a licensed plumber at the time, he became Sen. John McCain's symbol of an American everyman, someone whom the 72-year-old Republican presidential nominee called "my role model."
In the closing days of Campaign 2008, Wurzelbacher launched his strange rise to national stardom by chatting along a rope line with Obama about the Democrat's tax proposals, specifically Obama's plan to lower taxes on middle-class Americans and raise them on people earning more than $250,000.
Wurzelbacher said he was considering buying his boss' company, which he thought might make slightly more than $250,000 and thus might see a rise in taxes under Obama's plan.
Obama responded by noting that any tax increase in that case would be slight and arguing that his tax plan would help America's embattled middle class because it would "spread the wealth." (Later, Obama noted that the vast majority of small businesses don't clear $250,000 and almost no plumbers do.)
Nothing in the Obama-Wurzelbacher exchange was very remarkable. In effect, Obama was reiterating the century-old case for a progressive income tax that assesses higher rates on the well-to-do than on those with modest incomes.
It was a concept famously advocated by McCain's earlier Republican role model, President Theodore Roosevelt, who in his New Nationalism speech of 1910 sounded far more radical than Barack Obama did in 2008.
"The really big fortune, the swollen fortune, by the mere fact of its size, acquires qualities which differentiate it in kind as well as in degree from what is possessed by men of relatively small means," Roosevelt said.
"Therefore, I believe in a graduated income tax on big fortunes, and in another tax which is far more easily collected and far more effective, a graduated inheritance tax on big fortunes, properly safeguarded against evasion, and increasing rapidly in amount with the size of the estate."
However, McCain accused Obama of "socialism" because of Obama's support for rolling back tax cuts for the rich. McCain's campaign began labeling Obama the "redistributionist-in-chief," a charge that the Democrats finessed during the final days of the campaign but appear to still fear.
In the first two years of the Obama administration, the "socialism" charge has been repeated over and over, even though Obama undertook extraordinary steps to protect American bankers.
Obama's practical political decision during Campaign 2008 not to aggressively defend his "spread the wealth" idea and his reluctance to tackle the issue of tax increases since then meant that the argument about the need for a greater government role in diverting some wealth from the top downward was deferred. After Election 2010, it is effectively off the table.
However, it may be the most important debate for the future of the United States and the health of the American Republic. If the government doesn't intervene through its taxing authority to redistribute some wealth that now is concentrating among the ultra-rich, the middle class is likely to continue shrinking and the ranks of the poor swelling.
As the rich increasingly dominate the political process through unlimited campaign spending and the financing of sophisticated propaganda — like Fox News and right-wing talk radio — the policy battles will continue to be fought on ground favorable to the Right: more cuts in public spending, more reductions in retirement and health programs, more union-busting.
No democratic republic can long survive such a distorted political-economic-media system.
As Justice Louis D. Brandeis noted more than 60 years ago, "we can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both."
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