July 22, 2014

American Savage: Tighten Your Belt–A heartless tale of America’s love affair with the top one percent

Collin Reischman is a junior journalism major, opinion editor for The Journal and regular columnist.

I don’t have any room for hyperbole or soft, slow spoon-feeding, so, lets get serious.
When politicians tell people — while standing in expensive suits behind an oak podium —that it is time for “belt-tightening,” I want to vomit.
The math is horrifically simple. Pay for typical workers has been nearly frozen for more than a decade, while corporate tax breaks and CEO salaries keep inflating like pigs stuck with an air hose. In 2010 alone, CEO salaries shot up 23 percent.
In the last five years, decent people have been robbed, swindled, manipulated and abused by the richest of Americans and it is time something was done about it. When financial giants and money-hungry brokers gambled on toxic loans, we gave them our money.
Our elected officials handed out billions of dollars to the same people that cheated and assaulted the system that gave them their boats and vacation homes.
Now, while normal citizens, the bottom of the income earners, are being asked to make sacrifices, our elected empty suits want to give the top 1 percent even more slack. Anybody with a calculator handy will note that the $42 billion in Bush tax-cuts for the fat cats recently renewed by congress is actually more than what the GOP is willing to slash from the federal budget. Their own plan hacks $39 billion, mostly from entitlement programs.
Feel the nausea yet? Give it time.
Tax cuts for the wealthiest one percent while seniors must beg for private insurance and wave their worthless government vouchers. That is the harsh reality of what we are looking at; 50 million additional Americans without Medicaid or Medicare, and not a single extra dime asked of anyone living in a gated community in the Hamptons.
We can’t let the people who are suffering least, losing nothing and making money, suddenly catch a break from the Fed because the South and the easily confused still believe in the infantile notion of trickle-down economics.
Ronald Reagan sold some huge lies to America. His stupid corporate shilling did plenty of damage, but his grandest crime was the perpetuation of an idea that helping the rich would somehow benefit the poor. Of course, even in his time, the biggest private corporations and earners still occasionally paid their income taxes. But hey, you can’t expect the prez to stay on top of everything while his brain slowly turns to mush.
Going against our greatest, most certain notion of what money does to the human brain, America thinks wealthy criminals and free-market sociopaths will somehow help the rest of us out, if we would just give them a break and let them feed their Cayman Islands bank accounts, tax free, of course.
The sick feeling is getting worse. You might want to go to the stall for this one.
History has taught us plenty — more than our fair share about the overwhelming power of human greed.
People making seven figure salaries don’t give a shit about single mothers and sick, old people. Our government handed billions to companies that failed within the free market all while shouting rather loudly that the free market was a wonderful thing.
But then again, perhaps the electorate already knows better. Pew reports that the number of Americans who believe the free market is the most effective economy has dropped like a stone in water. Less than twenty years ago, it was in the 80 percent range. Last week, it landed at 59 percent in the new national polls.
That’s lower than China. And it’s about time.
Capitalism is sink or swim. And baby, these rich evil bastards sank when their criminal gambling of someone else’s money bit them in the ass, then their lapdogs in our elected bodies swiftly changed the subject (to socialized medicine, remember?)
Funny. I can’t remember the last time NPR, Planned Parenthood, NASA, public worker unions, PBS or education nearly bankrupted America, displaced thousands of innocent homebuyers and panicked the nation to the point of irrational delusion.
Yet that is what we are cutting from the budget in order to right the wrongs of our finances. Yes, it is socialized medicine and liberal pet-projects endangering the American empire, not foaming-at-the-mouth-greedy two bit corporate thugs.
Go ahead. Punish the poor for the crimes of the rich. Yes, we all know what comes next, just as that sick feeling in our stomach peaks halfway to the bathroom. Tighten your belt.
You’ve got a long, mad jog to the toilet.

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