Hell Yes It’s Class Warfare Part 3
In Part 1 I established the great inequality in wealth distribution, and in Part 2, I demonstrated how the self-interested among the wealthy use their wealth as public and political power. In Part 3 I will show you examples of direct and indirect attacks by the moneyed aristocracy against the rest of America by chipping away at, or eliminating social programs. It is intentional; it is methodic; and is completely without regard to the well-being of American citizens or the nation as a whole.
St. Bernard once commented about the abundance of the Catholic Church , “Thus, wealth is drawn up by ropes of wealth, thus money bringeth money … O vanity of vanities, yet no more vain than insane.” And so it is today in America.
In terms of the proper placement of power in America, it remains a conflict between the Revolutionaries and the pro-British capitalistic Tories, with the Tories now in control and only doing their thing by exploiting nature and dominating the people in the name of enriching and empowering themselves and their despotic agenda. Jefferson did, in fact, warn the people in 1816 about the emerging corporate aristocracy which was already stealing power from the people. He summed it up with the comment that “Merchants have no country. The mere spot they stand on does not constitute so strong an attachment as that from which they draw their gains.” American democracy has, in fact, been hijacked by the rich. ~ from Dr. Gerry Lower, Class Warfare Against The Poor
The phenomenon is not new in America. The industrial revolution made a select few entrepreneurs very wealthy, but often at the expense of wage earners. The miners, mill and factory workers were often immigrants, women and children and lived in abject poverty despite working 60 to 100 hours per week. Eventually, of course this led to violent protests such as Chicago’s Haymarket Riot in 1886. Progressives of the time worked toward labor laws and social programs, which when enacted stemmed the rising tide of violence. Wealth began to become more concentrated and peaked in the decade before the Great Depression.
The Great Depression resulted in massive overhauls of financial, labor and entitlement laws called the New Deal. Much the way they criticize President Barak Obama’s Stimulus Package of 2009, conservatives still argue today that the New Deal actually extended the Great Depression, making it worse and longer. However, the simple facts that it put Americans to work and decreased abject poverty significantly should suffice to put paid to that lie. In any event, it flies in the face of all but the most conservative of economists’ assessments.
Conservatives hate New Deal programs and their like, including Social Security. They have hated it since its inception and have tried repeatedly to eliminate it, despite the fact the a full 2/3rd of America’s elderly would live in poverty without it. Bush’s latest attempt to privatize it is only the latest salvo that the wealthy have lobbed at perhaps what is the single most successful government program in this country. The claims made by the administration about the non-solvency of the program have been widely and thoroughly debunked. What is beyond doubt is that the only certain beneficiaries of the privatization scheme would have been Wall Street bankers and investors, i.e. the wealthy.
President Clinton left office with a Social Security budget intact and well off enough to continue unabated indefinitely provided no changes occurred. Immediately upon the inauguration of Bush the Lesser, Republicans began to raid the Social Security trust fund to pay for the unfunded spending they so often accuse Democrats of doing. It is this very raiding of funds that gave the privatization scheme just a large enough kernel of truth to be frightening to the uninformed.
With the upcoming elections in November, many rumors and polls bode well for Republicans. Feeling their oats, they are already giving indication of further attacks on Social Security. Rumors of increasing the minimum retirement age flourish; budgets including cuts to the program have been written. On August 23, former Republican Senator Alan Simpson —appointed by Obama as the co-chair of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform—e-mailed to the president of the Older Women’s League revealing his deep hatred of both Social Security and the working people who depend upon it.
“(Social Security) has reached a point now where it’s like a milk cow with 310 million tits! [sic],” Simpson said. He blasted its recipients—retirees, those maimed and sickened by their work, and dependent survivors of dead workers—who, he said “milk it to the last degree.”
Do you think Simpson is aware that Social Security is self-sustaining; and only a 1% administrative cost adds to the deficit? Under the Republican proposed Roadmap For America’s Future, social security benefits would no longer be available for the disabled under the age of 55, the program’s trust fund would no longer be able to loan money to the Treasury in order to earn interest. Instead, the trust fund, which belongs to tax payers would be “liquidated”. The Roadmap – which should be called The Railroad – has similar proposals for Medicare, in which seniors would no longer be guaranteed insurance, but given a single lump sum payment in the form of vouchers for which to shop for insurance on the open market.
Social Security is not the only social program to be attacked. (Bear in mind that the general welfare is the responsibility of the central government and within its purview of powers delineated by our Constitution. This is despite what the most libertarian of conservatives would have you believe.) Welfare and food stamp programs have long been targets of conservatives. Beginning in the 1940s or so, right-wing politicians, with the aid of the “liberal” media have perpetrated the myth of the “welfare queen”. While it is certainly true that someone is always going to try to cheat the system, the facts about welfare do not comport with the stereotype perpetrated by such intellectual shams as Neal Boortz.
The truth, according to government statistics are that most families are on welfare programs less than two years and well less than half receive aid of any sort for more than three years. The leading researchers also agree that there is no evidence that welfare programs create a “trap” which makes recipients dependent upon aid. As the value of welfare programs continue to decline, Aid to Families with Dependent Children (welfare) and food stamps combined result in a lower than poverty income. The average familial makeup of recipients is white and consists of a single mother with one child, and the birth rates of mothers on welfare is LOWER than that of the rest of the population. Most families receiving aid are working poor, or recently unemployed. Despite the lure of free money from welfare programs, the out-of-wedlock birthrates remain below 5%. Spending for all public assistance programs combined represents only about 6% of the total federal budget – more than three times that amount is being spent for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars portion of the defense budget.
Multiple studies indicate that crime and poverty are directly related, and that the more impoverished a community, the higher the crime rates in almost all categories. There are 40 million Americans living in poverty. One in four children sometimes go without enough to eat. As long as there is poverty, crime will be a reality. As long as there is desperation, someone will take what their children need. Of course this does not account for all crime.
These facts do not deter conservatives from attacking welfare programs. Apparently that 6% for those who have not is too much to ask from the Americans who have, especially when it can go to fund extended tax cuts for the wealthy.