Thursday, December 19, 2013

Thoughts

You've got to marvel at some of the shit we just accept on a day to day level.

This week, Congress passed a budget that mitigates some of the effects of sequestration, while keeping cuts in many governmental programs and reducing benefits for (new) federal employees and military retirees.

The obvious problem with this should of course be: some of the wealthiest Americans in the country are cutting benefits for working, middle-class people. Say what you want about the middle class (I don't think much of 'em personally) but isn't it quite astounding that the primary losers are the people that all American politicians claim to represent...the Middle Class.

Every once in awhile the Democrats throw a bone to the poor by raising the minimum wage, extending unemployment checks, welfare, etc. But that's not who the Democrats give a shit about and we both know it. In fact, Wall Street is all but salivating over the potential 2016 savior, the princess, Hillary Clinton as the next President. Any doubt you may have I encourage you to read one of the 20 financial blogs I follow on a daily basis. They're stoked. Can't wait. It could only potentially be better if Chris Christie gets elected, but for them that's like choosing between a Mercedes or a Porsche.

But this is not some rant against the upper class. The rich. The wealthy. The one percent. Whatever you want to call them. I believe some of the greed and excess is appalling, sure, but it's largely government and the politicians who enable these type of discrepancies.

Let's just put it simply again. Some of the WEALTHIEST Americans just passed a bill that cuts unemployment benefits, and reduces paychecks for federal employees. As a fed, I can attest that many workers are bums. The way I see it, is the highly skilled and educated workers are underpaid. The undereducated are overpaid. And actually, that's a good thing. I mean if you could replicate a system like that worldwide you'd have more parity, less crime, less vitriol against socio-economic classes and more respect. Respect, ah, that's a big word isn't it.

It reminds me. Can you tell me right now why you are more important or valuable than the woman who cleans the toilets? How is she not just as integral to our society than us? Here's another example, consistent scumbag George Will wrote recently how horrifying it was that a bus driver... A SCHOOL BUS DRIVER! was the highest paid public employee in California (can't remember the state but I think that's correct).

The inferred deduction is to assent to Will's disgust, that a BUS DRIVER makes so much money. My reaction was...That. Is. Fucking. Awesome. Isn't it a good thing that we value bus drivers? Isn't a safe, friendly, non-pedophilic bus driver supremely valuable? Driving children safely and timely to and from school is a big fucking deal. Think about your own kids. Or think about yourself growing up if you don't have any. It's extremely important. I'm THRILLED that bus driver is compensated handsomely. He is fucking important, and deserves our appreciation! Same with the folks who empty our trash, build our homes, and plant the trees.

Many pundits and politicians (all wealthy people) will point fingers to the sloth of the poor or the largess of the federal minion paper pushers. This is nothing short of blasphemous. The only reason the rich are able to preserve and accumulate their wealth is through the exploitation of others. There is only a finite amount of currency in the world. MOST of it is consolidated in the hands of a select few. The politicians and the 'businessmen' who lobby them. The rest of us earn pennies in comparison. Warren Buffet made something like $23Million a DAY this year. Jesus that's incredible.

Any political system in history was and is an oligarchy. It's a collection of wealthy people who band together to help themselves while seldomly throwing a bone to the masses (likely to thwart any coup attempts). And every coup attempt (as the Twilight Zone episode proves) becomes just as rapacious as its predecessor.

If you think, and I mean even for a second, that public employees are crippling our nation I have some reading assignments for you. Take 20 minutes and read a single Matt Taibbi piece. The pension funds have been RAIDED by politicians who pay for current projects at the expense of future (and often current) retirees. The funds that should be invested in municipal bonds, treasury notes or other conservative financial instruments are instead siphoned off to fund current projects that help them get reelected. And that's just for the better states. Others have their pension funds handed over to brokerage firms who squander the money with abysmal investment ETF's, stocks, or other indexes, only to have the audacity to charge MILLIONS of dollars in fees...Again, it's like a thief snatching your wallet and running off with it. And then you track him down and say, "Here, you forgot the $10 I had in my pocket." It's despicable. There's really no other word to describe it.

And...for all you so-called Democrats out there..most of the heinous crimes were committed in blue states. Like the Northeast and Michigan.

Despite that side of the pension debacle...you have people who were PROMISED a paycheck only to receive a bait-and-switch years down the road (or in some cases where the judiciary colludes like in Detroit, immediately). Yeah...sorry about that, I know you worked for 30 years under the assumption you were going to receive a portion of your salary as an annuity...yeah...about that.

Point is...it's the politicians who PROMISED and insured these benefits to begin with! The entire notion of government IS a PONZI SCHEME. I mean that in a very literal sense. Later generations suffer from current's mistakes. How about a real-world example of the follies of government.

So just a few measly hours after this lauded budget deal was passed, the Sec. of Treasury notified Congress that the debt ceiling must be raised to prevent default (remember October if confused). We're about to face another crises and they JUST PASSED the budget! They may not even pay for the increase THEY JUST AUTHORIZED. Think for a second how loony that is............

That is the current state of affairs.

Yes, the bureaucracy is bloated. Yes, there's a lot of dead weight. So make cuts the responsible way...through attrition. That's an idea everyone can get behind. But rich people cutting poor people's benefits is worse than cringe inducing. It's deplorable. Of course they didn't cut their own paychecks..or their own exceedingly more generous pensions. Which makes it all the more ugly.

If nothing else I hope you get something out of this post. Even if that means thanking the guy who's washing the windows outside your complex or smiling at the Latinos braving the cold building the mansions we live in...homes they could never afford.

These people are exploited...and nothing made me happier to know that somewhere in California is a well paid bus driver.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Congratulate the poor all you want for their efforts towards making the rest of us comfortable.Uneducated people equal poor people- it's so obvious isn't it? Give the poor quality education and the classes will merge. Give them money and we are back at square one.

ConArtist said...

I actually do not glamorize the poor. But I find your uneducated comment inaccurate. Many poor workers have great skills and speak multiple languages. More languages than many of the more affluent in society.

I don't agree that education is the panacea. I've always found that erroneous. It takes little education to drive a school bus, but that person is no less important in society than myself.

There will always be those who make poor financial decisions regardless of how much they make. For sure. But to sweep the scraps of bread they are promised is pretty pathetic.

Anonymous said...

It is not a perfect world. Reality provides none of the simplistic solutions to inequality that textbooks promote, Capitalism, communism,, monarchy's, oligarchy's, all do a pathetic job of government.
For example, in '68 the commies were welcomed in czech. because after ww2 things were in such disarray. 20 yrs later the velvet rev. ushered in capitalism because comm. had failed. etc.etc. There is no perfect system of government only imaginary systems who pretend to have all the answers. But no one system owns the truth,so one can't decry the evils of government without understanding that it is really an impossible task.
Inequality exists in nature everywhere. It would be dishonest to believe there were no predators in the animal kingdom, no predators on Wall Street, no predator nations. Ambition requires action weather to acquire food or gold.Both people and animals have habits that improve odds of survival and even success. Can government be responsible to referee matchups between impossibly unequal competitors?

Anonymous said...

I think you made some very good points in your post. How we do not pay well some of the most deserving in our society, take teachers, for example, as one poorly paid group, yet their value is priceless. Our ideas of who deserves a higher wage in our society is really off-balance. Part of that is the idolization we give to actors, and athletes. For the rich to not want to help those below them, is a short-sighted way of sabotaging their own good, and people who can benefit them most-like house cleaners, janitors, landscapers, and farm workers. The list goes on.

ConArtist said...

Perfection is never on the table, so we can rule that out immediately. Not that i believe in government, because i don't, but if there is to be one isn't protecting the exploited from the expoliters a primary precept? Epecially instead of the opposite???

I think the rich often do help those below them. Free trade agreements and corporate-government collusion keep standards menial for far too many people.

Anonymous said...

It is obvious that this country has gotten out of balance when CEOs make 800 times more than their lowest paid employees. The rich have become obscene and greedy, and a bit stupid as Colbert and Stuart so aptly show over and over again. "Oh when will they ever learn?"-as Bob Dylan crooned so long ago.

ConArtist said...

What is there for them to learn? They are the ones cashing in!

Anonymous said...

Learn that money will never buy happiness, and can ultimately lead to misery as one gets more greedy, and loses sight of what really is important.