As a daily talk show host I speak to a lot of people each week, and listen to a lot of stories. To say everyone is hurting is such an understatement it's almost obscene.
As soon as the compassionate conservative party of Republicans took unemployment insurance hostage at Christmas, the ultimate Scrooges, everyone on air, myself included, knew exactly what was going to happen: the Democrats were going to cave in on the continued tax breaks for the upper two percent of America in exchange for the continued benefits. They'd hail themselves as saviors of the poor and Republicans get to appease their only base, the monied members of America -- the top two percent, 308 million people, so seven million Americans if all taxpayers, about 150 million in the labor force, so three million if you use that figure -- either way, the numbers of Americans effected are small but their influence solid.
So cave already. No offense, but you have on everything else, at least that's America's perception, right or wrong. I know better, I know you've fought battles, but the big ones, you caved. Get 'er done. Make the deal we all see coming.
Republicans have made it clear they only want power: The Presidency, the money, the House, the Senate, the airwaves and they don't want any of it for altruistic reasons unless the benefactors are they, their families, people like them or say it with me, the richest two percent of America. It's not covert and I'm not being blasphemous, there are speeches by key Republicans that say those very things. They lie and the media labels the lies "talking points" so somehow the lie is more acceptable, and they are shameless, telling those waiting for a check in December that it can't be sent because there's no way to pay for it, while arguing to not raise taxes on those that can afford it in the SAME breath. They begin telling us we cannot afford our own country and must start cutting things that affect the poorest of the poor while they approve wars that cost billions in just hours. Even those who don't follow politics see how ridiculous and insulting to Americans this entire spectacle is.
It's getting very, very old. And it's all so simple.
Unemployment: Extend it indefinitely. The American people are a good investment AND it's insurance. In your health care reform you touted insurance companies not being able to cut you off because you've reached some spending cap but then put a cap on insurance Americans need at their most vulnerable time, when they are out of work. That makes no sense at all. We can afford it, stop saying we can't. Just like we can afford universal health care and free quality education K-University and so much more And make this real insurance. Stop letting people slip in to poverty because of some sliding scale. This insurance should take your last 24 months of income, average it, and give you at least 80% of that so you not only have an income, but have one that actually pays your bills instead of one that leaves you grateful for the next scrap the Congress throws you.
Taxes: You can't spend more than you take in, and stop saying to Americans we are wasting money; we are not. We, the People are out here trying to earn it, keep it, spend it, save it and 98% of America doesn't waste as much money as the other two percent in a week. The fact is, we need more revenues, and that means we must raise taxes. On everyone, rich , poor, across the board, make it fair, and make it enough to cover the budget;
Spending: The only thing we manufacture people want en masse is warfare; bombs, planes that carry them, missiles that shoot them, tanks that fire them, guns that shoot them and people to use it all. Did we ever, ever ask ourselves why we spend so much on defense? Who wants to take us over? Who, in the world, wants to storm in here, attack our cities, remove our government and take our country over? Russia? Iran? The only ones so far that seem to have a Coup on the brain are neocons and the Republican party (and a few teabaggers). How much does it cost to defend a country? Not this much. And if it does, we need to ask why instead of just increasing the defense budget. Cut our budget on defense to 1/2 or 1/3 of what it is now. And the amount will still be enough to pay for a soldier to stand arm in arm around every inch of our border. A million dollar per year per soldier in Afghanistan is a bad investment. And over $500 billion a year to defend a friendly country seems a bit odd. Change the economy to a peace economy. Sounds like a hippie slogan, but the war economy isn't working for most of the people. 500,000 soldiers in Iraq. 60,000 in South Korea. 30,000 here, 10,000 there, well, that path has killed more empires than ours, take a lesson from history, you know, one of the subjects the Texas School Board keeps revising in national textbooks.
Socialize: Oh ya. Energy, medicine, education. Stop paying someone to pull coal out of a mine near their house only to turn around and charge them for the heat from that coal. It's a commie left wing liberal idea, but we set up a system where things that are basic to human life are privatized; food, water, energy, housing on and on. All government does now is line us up to be customers to corporations, even in the health care "reform." That only works for the corporations, as we have seen. No one should sit in the dark, in the cold, without water or food in America simply because they can't pay a corporation or municipality for it. It's just disgraceful. And set up a real safety net for Americans. George W. Bush gave a $3.3 trillion, with a T, dollar safety net to his friends on Wall Street and even South Korean banks. Bailout this, bailout that...bail out the American people, not the American financial industry. Contrary to what our legislators believe, we are NOT the American financial industry, we are its customers and we need the help more than they.
I'd go on but it's a Christmas wish list at this point. Last week I asked on air "where's the riots?" Congress is holding unemployment hostage until they get their tax breaks for the rich and we aren't in the streets? I know some unemployed have made their way to D.C., but where's the millions?
The fact is what's happening in D.C. is now apparent to everyone; the power grab is on and the people be damned. The Democrats who have laid down in the last two years several times, are getting pummeled again.
President Obama, ask Americans. Say to the unemployed that you are not going to cave on tax breaks to the rich even if it means no unemployment benefit extension. Sorry, but it's an obvious war and Republicans are behaving like modern day terrorists, not my words, Democratic Senator Robert Menedez (D-NJ) said negotiating with them is like negotiating with terrorists. Mr. President, I thought the policy of the U.S. government was not to negotiate with these types? So stop. Compromise to them means winning and you losing.
And please, enough bad theatre. We all see clearly what is going on, my dad told it to me, and his dad his....the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer.
Until that changes, they'll be no change anyone can believe in because it all stays the same.
But ask yourself this...as unemployment goes up, not down (9.8 percent in the recent report but we all know it's about 30%), as banks foreclose on more homes and modify less (how many months have YOU been trying to work with them? ), as more people go on to food stamps (EBT Accepted here says KFC, Jack In The Box, Carl's Junior...lovely, a fat food stamp nation)...and as Republicans start to cut, cut, cut services for the poor as they are want to do...what do you expect these people, hell, you or I, to do? Will that anger ever reach a boiling point, and when it does, who does that crowd label the enemy.
It appears the haves and the have nots are now at battle on Capitol Hill. Right now, the haves are winning. But I'd be a little afraid, if I were them. Americans always get up when knocked down, some how, and sometimes, it's not a pretty process.
In any event, I think we all agree, this theatre couldn't get much uglier.
Follow Charles Karel Bouley on Twitter: www.twitter.com/thekarelshow