Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Onward and Downward!

There are two little conversations which have stayed in my mind for a good thirty years now, perfect little metaphors, little signs that pointed the way.

The first took place when Ronald Reagan was running for President. I was in a union, the Bookbinders (an AFL-CIO affiliate) and my local had endorsed Reagan. I asked the Vice-President of my Local why. She replied with a little synopsis of "trickle-down" economics: "You see, if rich people have more money, than they can give us more money"
The only thing that trickled down to that union was getting broken. Seems the "rich people" used their money to figure out ways of getting rid of the union. What a surprise!

The second was more significant, seems to encapsulate everything I see around me. In a conversation with a friend, he summed up his views thus: "You hippies (huh? Let it go...) always say 'do your own thing'. So you run around with long hair and beads, smoking pot, and saying love,love,love everybody. Well, I can do my own thing, too. And my thing is being a redneck, racist, cracker, who hates everybody."

Everybody is "doing their own thing" now. But it's good sometimes to think back to the first brave Americans who, in the late Seventies and early Eighties, made the first tentative moves towards liberating themselves from the strictures which so oppressed us back then. These were the brave souls, rejecting the intolerable burdens thrust on them by an uncaring, cold society, who first demonstrated that life could best be faced with a strict adherence to the principles and rules which govern junior-high-school social life. Most of all, we must thank them for releasing America from the elitist principles of critical thinking, and in a daring move which can only be compared to the moment when the Buddhist initiate attains Satori, or the bliss of the binge drinker who vomits before passing out, the pernicious principle of decency was cast aside.

Free to be, you and me.

Monday, January 03, 2005

Talking Points Memo: Joshua Micah Marshall scores a bullseye!

Talking Points Memo: by Joshua Micah Marshall goes right to the stinking heart of the Social Security scam in today's post. At the center of the post:

"...about $3 trillion of those dollars we needed to fund the 1980s and 1990s deficits we managed to borrow closer to home. We borrowed it from the Social Security (and a few other government) trust fund(s)."

"Almost the entirety of President Bush's Social Security phase-out plan comes down to a simple proposition: finding out how not to pay it back.

"Now, admittedly, this is an approach that the president is rather familiar with from his own business career at various failed energy companies. But it is, in so many words, a straight up con -- one of vast scale, and one which virtually no one in the media ever frames in just these terms."
"So why does the president figure he can get away without making good on the debt to the folks who pay Social Security taxes, who are overwhelmingly low and middle-income wage earners (since no one pays Social Security tax on investment income or wage and salary income over about $85,000 a year)?"

"Isn't it obvious? Because he thinks they're an easy mark."

There is more detail in the post, read it.